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Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

This is an easy and delicious cinnamon swirl coffee cake that can be made for any occasion that requires a dessert and a cup of coffee. Think breakfast, brunch, parties or lazy Sundays when people might stop to your place for a visit.

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake slices of cake on long plate

What is a Coffee Cake

This is an American coffee cake recipe. American coffee cakes are sweet cakes that are meant to be served with a cup of coffee.

We are not talking about a cake that is made with coffee among other ingredients.

German immigrants brought this type of cake to America and since then, it was embraced by many communities around the US.

You can find this type of cake under different names like Gugelhupf or kaffekuchen, but most Americans, especially the ones in the Midwest know it as a coffee cake.

American coffee cakes are informal cakes that can be made any day of the week. Some recipes are made with buttermilk, some with sour cream (probably this one is the most popular), some with milk.

Most of them rise with baking powder or baking soda and can also carry fruit, cinnamon, cocoa powder, nuts, etc. These ingredients could be used as a topping, mixed in the batter, or just swirled gently to create a pattern in the cake.

However, most recipes use basic ingredients that most people have in their pantries at all times.

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake on a platter with kitchen towel0

Some characteristics of coffee cakes:

  • Cinnamon– most coffee cake recipes have this ingredient either inside the cake or as a topping
  • Topping– this is usually made with granulated or brown sugar mixed with cinnamon, cocoa powder and sometimes nuts, like chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds for more texture
  • There is no frosting– because it is a casual cake, most of the times the surface of the coffee cake is simply dusted with powder sugar or drizzled with some icing glaze.

What is cinnamon swirl coffee cake

My recipe comes from Minnesota. Here, people love to bake these coffee cakes that are popular whenever there is a gathering.

With a preponderantly European population that settled in this region from Scandinavia, Germany and Central Europe, Minnesota has an old baking tradition.

The characteristic of this bread is the fact that after the batter is mixed together and poured into the tube pan, the topping is swirled into the batter.

There is not only one coffee cake recipe. The variations are multiple, from how the batter is made to what kind of topic is used or how the topic is added.

You simply cannot go wrong with a dessert like this if you plan a brunch or a big party where a cup of coffee or tea would be involved.

What kind of ingredients you need for this cinnamon swirl coffee cake:

  • Butter– the butter needs to be unsalted and at room temperature
  • Granulated sugar– use granulated sugar, not powdered sugar/confectioner sugar, as the amount you need will be different.
  • Eggs– I used large eggs
  • All purpose flour– this is the most popular type of flour in US and good enough for this cinnamon swirl coffee cake.
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Milk– I used whole milk. I would not use fat free, because you need that fat from the milk.
  • Vanilla– I used vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon– I used powder
  • Cocoa Powder– do not use mixtures for chocolate milk, you need cocoa powder for baking.

How to make this cinnamon swirl coffee cake

First thing first, we need to preheat the oven. Also, grease a 9-inch tube pan and set it aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake butter and sugar in the mixer0

You can do this with a hand mixer, whisk or even in a KitchenAid if you are the lucky one to own one.

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake beaten butter and sugar in the mixer0

After the butter and sugar are creamed together, start adding the eggs, but one by one.

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake beaten butter and sugar in the mixer with egg0

In a different bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and start adding them to the butter, alternating with the milk. Place the vanilla in the milk before you do this step.

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake dough in the mixer

Some recipes use raisins in the batter, which are optional. However, if you choose to add them, this is the moment.

Pour batter in the prepared tube pan.

Use a small bowl to mix the ingredients for the topping together. Add the topping on top of the batter.

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake unbaked with topping

Grab a wooden skewer, knife or fork and swirl the batter to slightly mix the topping in.

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake ready for baking0

Bake the cake for an hour or until is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake baked0

Allow the cake to rest inside the pan for about 10 minutes before you remove it from the pan.

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake on a metal rack0

Serve it with coffee or tea with your favorite people.

Can I add anything else to the batter ?

  • if raisins are not your thing, you can add cranberries or candied fruit.
  • lemon zest is great if you want it more lemony
  • nuts, like chopped pecans, walnuts or even slivered almonds are a great addition
Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake on a platter0

How do I store a coffee cake

Room temperature: Place it in an airtight container and keep it for up to two days.

Freezer: Place it in a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag. It should be good to eat for up to 3 months.

Refrigerator: Place it in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week.

If you like your coffee bread warmed up, you can reheat it in the microwave in 10 seconds increments until warm.

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake slices of cake close up0

Interested in more coffee cake recipes?

Gluten-free coffee cakes

Romanian Raspberry Coffee Cake

Easy Plum Coffee Cake

Walnuts And Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Best Recipes For Coffee Cake

Cranberry Orange Banana Bread

Check out the web story for Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake!

Yield: 20 servings

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake on a platter square picture0

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake to make any day of the week when you crave a humble dessert.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes


  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Optional: 1 cup raisins


  • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 inch tube pan and set it aside.
  2. In a large bowl or a KitchenAid mixer beat butter and sugar together until light and creamy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time.
  4. In a different bowl, sift together dry ingredients and add them to the butter, alternatively with milk and vanilla. If you choose to add raisins, add them now.
  5. Pour batter in the greased tube pan.
  6. Mix the topping in a smaller bowl. Add it to the top of the batter.
  7. Take a wooden skewer or knife and swirl the batter to slightly mix the topping in.
  8. Bake at 350F for about an hour. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 298Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 274mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 1gSugar: 26gProtein: 5g

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