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Pecan Sour Cream Coffee Cake

This is the best coffee cake recipe if you love crispy, crunchy, buttery crumb toppings. Chef John uses twice as many crumbs - there's even a layer inside!
Makes:8 servings


  • 1½ cups pecans, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 0.125 teaspoon salt
  • 1.875 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract


Prep:25 mCook:30 mReady:55 m
  1. Gather all ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Butter an 8x10-inch baking dish.
  3. Make the topping: Mix pecans, white sugar, brown sugar, melted butter, cinnamon, and salt together in a mixing bowl until thoroughly combined and all components are coated with butter, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Make the cake: Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  5. Mix sugar and butter together in a large bowl with a spatula until well blended. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Whisk in sour cream and vanilla. Gradually whisk in flour mixture until flour is just incorporated; do not overmix.
  6. Spread 1/2 of the batter over the bottom of the prepared baking dish, then sprinkle with 1/2 of the topping. Carefully spoon remaining batter over topping, then sprinkle with remaining topping; very gently press topping into batter.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until a bamboo skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
  8. Let cool slightly before serving.

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