Perfect Start to Your Day: French Coffee Cake Recipe

Bonjour! As a lover of French pastries, I am excited to share with you my favorite recipe for French coffee cake. This moist and sweet cake will transport your taste buds straight to the charming patisseries of Paris.

What makes this recipe special is the addition of instant coffee, creating a depth of flavor that sets it apart from other coffee cakes. The streusel topping adds the perfect crunch to complement the soft sponge-like texture of the cake.

Not only is this cake perfect for a breakfast treat, but it also makes a lovely addition to any brunch or dessert spread. I guarantee that your guests will be asking for seconds!

So put on some Edith Piaf, preheat your oven to 350°F, and let’s dive into this classic French coffee cake recipe. Bon appétit!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

French Coffee Cake
French Coffee Cake

Are you on the hunt for the perfect coffee cake recipe? Look no further than this French Coffee Cake Recipe. What makes this coffee cake different from others is its delicate, moist, and sweet flavor that will leave you desiring for more. With a light dusting of powdered sugar on top, this cake is sure to make your taste buds dance with delight.

But what makes this recipe truly special are the ingredients. It includes instant coffee, which gives it an extra boost of flavor and aroma. The sour cream provides a lovely tanginess that contrasts perfectly with the sweetness of the sugar, while the vanilla adds a warm undertone that elevates the overall taste.

This cake recipe is easy to follow with simple instructions that will leave you with a moist, sweet cake that is perfect for any brunch dessert or breakfast treat. This classic coffee cake can be paired perfectly with a fresh brewed cup of coffee, but its versatility allows it to be paired with any beverage of your choice.

By making this French Coffee Cake Recipe, you’ll be transported to a cozy French café enjoying a freshly baked gâteau Grenoblois. The comforting aroma and taste of this indulgent breakfast cake is not to be missed. Trust me; you will love this classic concoction in every bite.

So go ahead and give it a try! With its crumbly streusel topping and delicate texture, it’s sure to become one of your go-to recipes for any occasion.

Ingredient List

 See how this coffee cake looks before you indulge in the decadent flavor.
See how this coffee cake looks before you indulge in the decadent flavor.

French Coffee Cake Recipe Ingredient List

Here is a list of ingredients you need to make the best French Coffee Cake recipe ever. Make sure you have everything on this list before starting.

  • 2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅔ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup margarine or butter (at room temperature)
  • 3 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Streusel Topping:
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped

The Recipe How-To

 You can almost smell the aroma of this French Coffee Cake.
You can almost smell the aroma of this French Coffee Cake.

Now that you have all the ingredients ready, it’s time to start baking your French Coffee Cake. Follow these steps for a moist and flavorful cake.

Mixing the Cake Batter

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F before starting to prepare the cake batter.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together 1 cup of margarine and 2 cups of granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Then, add 3 eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Beat in 1 teaspoon of vanilla until well incorporated.
  5. In another bowl, combine 3 cups sifted cake flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon baking soda.
  6. Add the dry ingredients gradually into the creamed mixture alternately with 2/3 cup of sour cream, starting and ending with the dry ingredients mixture.
  7. Mix until just evenly combined, do not overmix.

Adding the Streusel Topping

  1. Mix together the ingredients for the streusel topping: ½ cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of instant coffee, ½ cup of flour, ¼ cup of margarine (or butter), and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon until crumbly.

Assembling the Cake

  1. Prepare a greased 10-inch tube pan by coating with some margarine or cooking spray.
  2. Spread half of the batter mixture in the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add half of streusel topping mixture over top of the layer into an even layer.
  4. Repeat process by adding second layer with remaining batter on top followed by rest of streusel topping mixture
  5. Bake at 350°F for about 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Serving and Pairing

  1. Let cake cool down before slicing into desired portions.
  2. Best enjoyed with a steaming cup of coffee or hot tea.

Now you know how to make a delicious French Coffee Cake right in your own kitchen!

Substitutions and Variations

 Put some love in your baking routine with this French Coffee Cake.
Put some love in your baking routine with this French Coffee Cake.

French Coffee Cake is a classic dessert that is loved by everyone. This decadent cake recipe is incredibly versatile and can be adapted to suit your preferences. While the traditional recipe calls for certain ingredients and measurements, there are plenty of substitutions and variations that you can make to put your own spin on this beloved cake.

Substituting ingredients is a great way to customize this recipe and create new flavors. Replace sour cream with Greek yogurt for a healthier option or with buttermilk if you prefer a tangy flavor. If you want to steer away from the traditional taste, consider using brown sugar instead of white sugar, as it will give your coffee cake a rich caramel-like flavor.

Another way to transform your French coffee cake is through added toppings or fillings. Try adding fresh fruit like blueberries or raspberries to the cake batter for a fruity twist. For those who love nuts, consider swapping out the streusel topping for a French walnut crumb or caramelized pecans.

You can also modify the texture of the cake by changing the flour type. Swap out all-purpose flour with cake flour for a lighter crumb or pastry flour for a flakier crust. You may also replace some flour with rice flour for a gluten-free option.

Last but not least, if you’re looking to elevate your French coffee cake recipe, consider adding extracts such as almond or peppermint, which are perfect in complementing the flavors of coffee cakes. With all these options available, the possibilities are endless when it comes to making variations of this classic coffee cake recipe.

Serving and Pairing

 This coffee cake has the perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness.
This coffee cake has the perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness.

The French Coffee Cake is a delectable brunch dessert that goes perfectly with a hot cup of coffee or tea. Serve it warm for the best experience, and savor the moist, sweet goodness of the cake with each bite. This cake pairs well with a range of flavors and beverages, including vanilla coffee, French vanilla, and butter coffee.

For a classic afternoon tea pairing, serve the French Coffee Cake alongside the refreshing taste of iced lemon tea. The tanginess of the lemon balances beautifully with the cake’s sweetness, making for a delightful treat.

Another perfect pairing for this cake is a creamy latte or cappuccino. These drinks’ smooth, frothy texture complements the crumbly softness of the cake’s moist interior. You can also try enjoying this coffee cake with hot cocoa or a rich chocolatey drink to get that perfect chocolate-coffee combination.

Overall, The French Coffee Cake is an excellent addition to your brunch table, and its versatile flavor profile allows you to experiment with various beverage combinations. Be creative with your serving suggestions and elevate your coffee cake game!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The perfectly glazed French Coffee Cake will make your mouth water.
The perfectly glazed French Coffee Cake will make your mouth water.

If you’re like me, you love having breakfast treats that are ready to go in the morning. Well, I have good news: this French Coffee Cake Recipe is perfect for making ahead!

To make it ahead, simply prepare the cake as instructed and allow it to cool completely. Once cool, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge or freezer. If you’re storing in the fridge, it will last up to 3 days; if in the freezer, it can be stored for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to serve, simply remove the cake from the fridge/freezer and allow it to come to room temperature. To reheat, place slices in the microwave for a few seconds or pop them back into the oven at 350°F for 5-10 minutes.

One thing to note when reheating is that the streusel topping may lose its crispiness. But don’t worry, it will still taste just as delicious!

Trust me, this French Coffee Cake Recipe is perfect for those who love convenience without sacrificing flavor. It’s a great option for meal prep or brunch parties where you can impress your guests with a moist sweet cake that tastes like a piece of heaven.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Enjoy a slice of this French Coffee Cake with a good cup of coffee. Heaven!
Enjoy a slice of this French Coffee Cake with a good cup of coffee. Heaven!

Achieving a perfectly moist and sweet French coffee cake can be challenging, but with the right tips, you can bake a mouth-watering dessert that will have everyone asking for the recipe. Here are some of my top tips for ensuring your French coffee cake turns out perfectly every time.

Firstly, make sure to measure all ingredients precisely. While using too much flour or sugar may seem harmless, it can affect the texture and overall taste of your cake. Use measuring spoons and cups to ensure you get the right amount of each ingredient.

Secondly, don’t overmix the batter. Mixing for too long can lead to a tough and dry crumb, which is not ideal for a French coffee cake. Mix until just combined and then stop!

Thirdly, use room temperature ingredients. This allows the ingredients to blend more easily and results in a smoother batter.

Fourthly, prepare your pan properly by greasing it generously with margarine or butter and dusting with flour. This will ensure your cake doesn’t stick to the pan and comes out with a crispy exterior.

Fifthly, keep an eye on your oven temperature. If your oven runs too hot or too cold, it can affect the baking time and result in unevenly baked cakes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit before you begin baking!

Lastly, let your cake cool completely on a wire rack before serving or storing. The cooling process helps set the crumb structure and ensures that when you cut into the cake, it won’t fall apart.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to baking the perfect French coffee cake every time!


Now that you know how to make French Coffee Cake, you may have some questions about the recipe or ingredients. Here are some frequently asked questions that will help you achieve a perfect coffee cake every time.

How is French cake different?

When it comes to cakes, the Americans prefer their cakes to be on the sweeter, fluffier, and larger side. On the other hand, the French like their cakes to be less sweet, denser, richer, and smaller in size.

What makes coffee cake different from cake?

What sets coffee cakes apart from other cakes is their distinctive streusel topping and lack of frosting. Some coffee cakes contain a delectable swirl of streusel or are infused with flavorful fruit, nuts, or chocolate. Additionally, they might have a light drizzle of glaze on top to add a touch of sweetness.

What makes a coffee cake a coffee cake?

Coffee cake is a delicious single-layer cake mixed with crumbles of streusel on top, which is perfect to have with a cup of coffee. Despite its name, the cake does not contain any coffee flavoring.

What’s the difference between coffee cake and streusel?

When it comes to making crumb cake and coffee cake, the amount of streusel topping used is the main difference between the two. Normally, crumb cake has a more generous layer of streusel topping than coffee cake, and it’s possible to make coffee cake without adding any streusel topping at all.

Bottom Line

So, what are you waiting for? Gather all the ingredients and give this French Coffee Cake recipe a try. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. Plus, it can even become your go-to cake recipe for every occasion – be it a brunch dessert, breakfast cake, or just a classic coffee cake.

But don’t just take my word for it. Invite your friends over and let them taste the moist and sweet flavor of this delicacy. And if someone asks you what makes this cake so different from others, tell them it’s the instant coffee mixed with the perfect blend of flour, sugar, sour cream, and margarine that makes it unforgettable.

Remember, making great coffee isn’t just about following a recipe; it’s also about understanding the impact of each ingredient and how they work together to achieve the desired outcome. So with this recipe in hand, you’ve got everything covered to make an irresistible French Coffee Cake.

Give it a try and impress everyone with your baking skills!

French Coffee Cake

French Coffee Cake Recipe

I got this from an Episcopal Church cookbook on a visit to St. John's/Divine in NYC. The cake is very good and not real sweet.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 1 coffeecake
Calories 2898.2 kcal


  • 2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 pint sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee


  • Sift flour, soda and baking powder together.
  • Cream sugar and margarine together.
  • and beat in eggs.
  • Add 1/4 of flour mixture and 1/3 of sour cream; continue to alternate.
  • and cream until blended.
  • Add vanilla.
  • Grease and flour loaf pan.
  • Combine ingredients, pour 1/3 batter into pan.
  • Sprinkle 1/2 filling over batter.
  • Add another 1/3 batter and remaining filling.
  • Cover with remaining batter.
  • Marble with knife.
  • Bake at 350F for 45-50 minute Dust with powdered sugar when cool.
  • 12 servings.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 964gCalories: 2898.2kcalCarbohydrates: 452.7gProtein: 41.7gFat: 103.2gSaturated Fat: 39.4gCholesterol: 491.6mgSodium: 2489.7mgFiber: 5.7gSugar: 234.6g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Breads, Breakfast, Oven
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