Bake up a Delicious Storm with Buttermilk Coffee Cake Heaven

Are you looking for a delicious and easy-to-make breakfast or dessert option? Well, look no further than this California Buttermilk Coffee Cake recipe!

This recipe has been a beloved favorite since it was first introduced in the famous LAUSD coffee cake recipe of 1954. It has stood the test of time and remained a classic for good reason.

The buttermilk and cinnamon flavors are perfectly balanced, while the walnuts add a nice crunch to each bite. It’s also highly customizable, making it a great option for those who love to experiment with their recipes.

So, whether you’re hosting a brunch or simply looking for a sweet treat, this California Buttermilk Coffee Cake will certainly hit the spot.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

California Buttermilk Coffee Cake
California Buttermilk Coffee Cake

If you’re a fan of coffee cake, then let me tell you, this California Buttermilk Coffee Cake recipe is going to change your life! Why do I love this recipe? Let me count the ways. First, it’s incredibly moist and tender, thanks to the addition of rich buttermilk. And the cinnamon and walnuts add just the right amount of texture and crunch to keep each bite interesting.

But that’s not all. This recipe is easy to make and uses simple, everyday ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. That means you can whip up a delicious breakfast or dessert cake any time, without having to run to the store for anything special.

What I also appreciate about this recipe is its versatility. You can enjoy it as-is or play with different variations to suit your taste preferences. Try adding orange essence or blueberries for a fruity twist, or omitting the walnuts if allergies are a concern.

And last but not least, this California Buttermilk Coffee Cake has a rich history behind it. It was originally created by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in 1954 as part of their cafeteria menu. Its deliciousness quickly earned it a place on many LAUSD students’ favorite dishes list and soon became known as “Famous LAUSD Coffee Cake.” The cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino also contributed to modifying the recipe by adding crumb topping which heightened its taste.

So now that I’ve given you plenty of reasons why you’ll love this recipe, don’t wait any longer and give it a try. It’s sure to become a staple in your baking rotation!

Ingredient List

 Wake up to the aroma of freshly baked California Buttermilk Coffee Cake
Wake up to the aroma of freshly baked California Buttermilk Coffee Cake

Let’s start by looking at the ingredients you’ll need for this California Buttermilk Coffee Cake Recipe. Make sure to have them all ready before starting to bake.

  • All-purpose flour (3 cups)
  • Baking powder (1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • Baking soda (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Salt (1 teaspoon)
  • Buttermilk (1 1/4 cups)
  • Butter, unsalted, softened (3/4 cup)
  • Granulated sugar (1 1/2 cups)
  • Eggs, large, room temperature (3)
  • Walnuts, chopped (1 cup)
  • Cinnamon (2 teaspoons)

Make sure that all the ingredients are measured accurately. The walnuts and cinnamon come together as a delicious mix-in while the buttermilk and butter comprise the base of this decadent recipe. Keep in mind that using buttermilk provides a tangy, slightly acidic taste to the coffee cake, so it’s important not to substitute it for regular milk.

The Recipe How-To

 This classic treat is perfect for a lazy Sunday morning
This classic treat is perfect for a lazy Sunday morning

Now that we’ve covered the ingredients, it’s time to get started on making this delicious California Buttermilk Coffee Cake.

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

Before starting with the recipe, you should preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Prepare the Cake Batter

Begin by whisking together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in a large bowl until well combined. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream together 1/2 cup of butter with 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in 2 eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Next, add in slowly, alternating between the flour mixture and 1 cup of buttermilk, mixing until just combined.

Stir in a generous amount of cinnamon and chopped walnuts to add flavor and texture to the cake batter.

Step 3: Make the Crumb Topping

To make the crumb topping, mix together 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a small mixing bowl. Use a fork or pastry cutter to cut in 1/4 cup of vegetable oil until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.

Step 4: Assemble and Bake

Pour half of the prepared cake batter into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan, spread evenly. Next, sprinkle on a generous layer of crumb topping. Add remaining batter on top, spreading it out evenly over the crumb layer.

Top off with another thick layer of crumb topping, making sure to cover every bit of exposed batter without leaving any gaps.

Bake for around 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.

Step 5: Enjoy!

After baking, let cake cool completely before slicing and serving. The result is a buttermilk coffee cake that is light and fluffy with plenty of crunch from the walnut-cinnamon-sugar crumb topping.

Substitutions and Variations

 Golden brown and moist, with a hint of cinnamon and sugar
Golden brown and moist, with a hint of cinnamon and sugar

Don’t be afraid to get creative with this recipe! There are many ways you can make this California Buttermilk Coffee Cake your own. Here are a few substitutions and variations you can try:

– Instead of walnuts, try using pecans, almonds or hazelnuts.

– Use a different type of fruit in this recipe, such as blueberries, peaches or apples. You can even combine fruits for a unique flavor experience.

– Want to make it vegan? Substitute buttermilk with almond or soy milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Replace the egg with a flaxseed or chia seed mixture for an eggless version.

– For a cinnamon crumb topping, mix ¼ cup flour, ¼ cup packed brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together in a bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons of cold butter until crumbly and sprinkle on top of the cake batter before baking.

– If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, mix ¾ cup milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice and let it sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.

– You can also use sour cream instead of buttermilk for a richer, tangier taste.

Remember that these substitutions and variations may change the flavor and texture of the coffee cake, so don’t be afraid to experiment to find your perfect version.

Serving and Pairing

 The crumbly streusel topping will leave you wanting more
The crumbly streusel topping will leave you wanting more

Once you’ve baked your California Buttermilk Coffee Cake to perfection, it’s time to serve it up and enjoy! This classic breakfast cake is a crowd-pleaser and perfect for brunch, morning tea, or an afternoon snack. Slicing yourself a piece of the cake while it’s still warm and moist, you’ll be hit with the aroma of cinnamon and walnuts, which makes for a delicious sensory experience.

As for pairing suggestions, this buttermilk coffee cake pairs perfectly with a hot cup of coffee or tea. For coffee lovers, try brewing some medium or dark roast beans to contrast with the cake’s sweetness. If you prefer tea, a black tea with fruity undertones or a green tea can balance the richness of the cake.

The cake also tastes great on its own or topped up with whipped cream, powdered sugar, or fresh fruit like blueberries. You can even add vanilla ice cream over it if you’re feeling indulgent!

This recipe is versatile enough to make as part of your dessert recipes collection; however, we love it served for breakfast. The buttermilk infusion creates a perfect balance of rich flavor and moist texture that will energize your day in every bite.

Overall, this California Buttermilk Coffee Cake is a versatile dish that can be served either on its own or with various accompaniments. Regardless of how you decide to enjoy it, be sure to savor every bite and take in all the flavors that make this cake so special!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Enjoy a slice with a steaming cup of coffee or tea
Enjoy a slice with a steaming cup of coffee or tea

This buttermilk coffee cake recipe is perfect for making ahead of time and storing. Once cooled, wrap the cake in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

To reheat, wrap the cake in aluminum foil and heat in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes, or until warm. You can also reheat individual slices in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds.

If you would like to make this cake ahead of time, you can prepare the dry mixture up to a day before baking. Simply mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt as instructed in Step 3, then store in an airtight container in a cool and dry place until ready to use.

For longer storage, you can also freeze the baked cake. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in a freezer-safe container. It will last up to 2 months in the freezer. To thaw, simply remove from the freezer and let it come to room temperature for about an hour before serving.

With these tips and suggestions, you can enjoy this delicious buttermilk coffee cake any time you like!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Share with friends and family for a cozy brunch gathering
Share with friends and family for a cozy brunch gathering

Baking a cake can be a daunting experience, especially when it’s an unfamiliar recipe. But don’t worry, I’ve got some tips to help you achieve perfect results every time you bake this California Buttermilk Coffee Cake Recipe.

Firstly, ensure your ingredients are at room temperature before starting. Take your eggs and buttermilk out of the fridge at least an hour before you begin baking. This will help everything mix together evenly and create a smooth batter.

Next, sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together to prevent lumps in the batter. When measuring flour, spoon it into the measuring cup instead of scooping it out with the cup. This will prevent excess flour from being added to the recipe which can lead to a dry cake.

When mixing the butter and sugar together, beat them until they are light and fluffy. This process is essential as it helps incorporate air into the mixture, resulting in a lighter texture to your cake.

For a delicious crumb topping, use cold butter when making it. Cold butter will create small clumps that add texture to your cake.

Lastly, don’t overbake the cake. Check every 5 minutes after the suggested time in case ovens differ. Make sure that a tester comes out clean; this indicates that the cake is ready.

Following these tips will ensure that your cake turns out perfectly every single time without fail!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the California Buttermilk Coffee Cake is a must-try recipe for all coffee and cake lovers. This delicious cake is easy to make and requires only basic baking ingredients that are readily available in most kitchens. The recipe yields a moist and fluffy cake that has the perfect amount of cinnamon, sugar, and walnuts, making it an ideal breakfast treat or dessert.

Plus, the recipe is so versatile and can be customized according to your preferences. You can try different variations by adding blueberries or orange essence to give it a unique taste.

Finally, with the help of our tips for perfect results, you’ll surely bake the best version of this recipe without any difficulty. Remember to serve it with your favorite cup of coffee or tea for a fantastic culinary experience.

So what are you waiting for? Try this California Buttermilk Coffee Cake recipe today! It’s a classic cake recipe that has been around for decades – and for a good reason! Whether you’re new to baking or an experienced baker, this recipe is sure to impress anyone who tries it. Give it a go; you’ll be glad you did!

California Buttermilk Coffee Cake

California Buttermilk Coffee Cake Recipe

A breakfast treat served at The Glenborough Inn in Santa Barbara, California.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 556.4 kcal


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, beaten to blend
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  • Preheat oven to 350*. Grease 9x12 inch baking pan.
  • Blend flour, sugars, oil and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a large bowl.
  • Transfer 3/4 cup of mixture to medium bowl. Stir in walnuts and 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon.
  • Combine buttermilk, egg, baking soda and powder in small bowl. Blend into flour mixture in large bowl until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Spoon batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle nut mixture over top, then press into batter with back of spoon.
  • Bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Serve warm with butter.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 147gCalories: 556.4kcalCarbohydrates: 75.7gProtein: 6.6gFat: 26.4gSaturated Fat: 3.5gCholesterol: 24.5mgSodium: 252.5mgFiber: 1.7gSugar: 47.2g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Breads
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