From the Recipe Box: Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

by kitchenarian on September 21, 2011

My son and I have a morning ritual. He has never been much of a morning person or breakfast eater no matter how hard I have tried over the years. When he got older,  I even tried to get him to drink coffee thinking it would make a difference, but that didn’t work either.

We see each other for about five minutes in the morning before he heads off to school. By the time he shows up in the kitchen dressed and ready to go, I have set out his apple juice with a glass and have lined up on the counter a small array of breakfast items for him to choose from: breakfast bars, crackers, fruit, or even a peanut butter sandwich. He drinks his juice and then chooses from the morning’s selection. He will usually grab one or two items, mutter a sentence or two, and head off to school after the perfunctory good-bye kiss. Idle conversation is not usually part of his morning agenda. But one morning this week, he paused and asked me if I would please make “that” coffee cake. I didn’t need to ask which one, I already knew.

This coffee cake is a family classic and we all love it.  I have a feeling that even my Sous Chef might long to be home when she sees this post from all the way across the pond at Oxford. I have made this for years and years. The recipe is adapted from my local Junior League cookbook, Virginia Fare.

The recipe actually originates from a coffee shop that I used to frequent years ago when my children where in pre-school. I would meet friends there for morning coffee, conversation, and this coffee cake. While the coffee shop has long closed its doors, the recipe lives on and has become a family favorite.


½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sour cream
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ – ½ cup extra chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine ½ cup sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add one cup of chocolate chips and set aside. In a stand mixer, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed until well combined. Add butter, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes. Pour half the batter into a greased 9 x 11 pan. Sprinkle half the topping over the batter. Pour remaining batter on top. Sprinkle with the remaining topping. Add extra chocolate chips to the top.  Bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.


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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Tiffany September 21, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Ah, this is the best way to start a day, end a day, or enjoy a midday snack! 😉


Cassie @ Bake Your Day September 21, 2011 at 9:31 pm

I love sour cream cake. Absolutely adore the texture that it provides. This sounds amazing!


Tina@flourtrader September 21, 2011 at 9:48 pm

The picture of the cake is very tempting. Nice amount of chips and a wonderful looking texture. I imagine that this is quite tasty, thanks for sharing the recipe.


Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts September 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Love that all your son has to say is “that” coffee cake. So great when food has that much of an impact. I am trying to relish my little 6 year old. He is growing up too fast though – already wants to walk home from the bus by himself, and tonight he wanted to read books to himself before bed! Not looking forward to teenage years 🙁


Kim Bee September 21, 2011 at 10:41 pm

I love this post. First because I am not a morning person so I can relate to your son. Second as I think it’s adorable he knows exactly what he wants. Love your morning routine and that you keep trying.


Elies_Lie September 21, 2011 at 10:58 pm

I always loves to having a dessert after breakfast!
Well… a dessert after everymeal actualy… hehe he!
Tq for posting this recipe & glad toknow that ur son enjoys his breakfast this time – even asking for the menu! Good job! buzzed! 😉


Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. September 21, 2011 at 11:49 pm

I’ve recently learned what wonderful things sour cream can do for baked goods! This cake looks perfectly moist and delicious!


Joanna from Chic & Gorgeous Treats September 22, 2011 at 1:03 am

Though I may not be a coffee drinker, I do love hint of coffee in cakes.. This looks simply delish. What a great combination. Choco chip and coffee.. yumm!! Cheers, Jo


Beth Michelle September 22, 2011 at 2:20 am

I love this recipe. It looks amazing and your photos are beautiful!! Bookmarking this!


Laurel @ Lolly's Sweet Treats September 22, 2011 at 9:30 am

Coffee and chocolate are a wonderful combination. You are a wonderful mother!


RavieNomNoms September 22, 2011 at 9:35 am

WOWZA! This looks absolutely amazing. Sour cream in cakes is WAY underrated. I think it adds such a nice texture. Gorgeous!


Kimmi September 22, 2011 at 10:32 am

I love everything about this. everything!


Sous Chef September 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm

THE COFFEE CAKE!!! You’re absolutely right, I just got stomach pangs of jealousy looking at this picture. Glad to see it finally arrive on the Kitchenarian 🙂


Jess September 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm

This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it. Thank you for sharing the story about breakfast with your son too!


Amy September 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm

My husband is the same way! I recently started making coffee cake just so he would eat something. This is a recipe I can add so he has a little more variety 🙂


Susie September 22, 2011 at 4:34 pm

The coffee cake looks wonderful. I love coffee cake. My son is not a morning person and certainly does not like to eat breakfast. I just recently starting buying bars etc for him to choose from on his way to school lol. I will have to make this to see if on Saturday’s it may coax him to eat.


Jenny from "From the Cupbard" September 22, 2011 at 7:26 pm

I can’t wait to try this! The texture looks soft and comforting.


Fresh and Foodie September 23, 2011 at 10:43 am

Ohhhh my god. This looks incredible. Definitely bookmarking this one.


Danguole September 23, 2011 at 4:00 pm

That cake looks amazing–I can already “picture” how dense and tangy it is. I bet your son will totally be making it himself in no time!


Alix September 26, 2011 at 12:34 am

Tried this for kids 1st day of School holidays. Had it for morning tea. They loved it. It will be repeated.


The Dinner Belle for September 26, 2011 at 10:57 am

I too make a version of this cake! In my family recipe we use brown sugar and add chopped pecans and chocolate chips to the inside layer and then more sprinkled on top. Have to ensure that with each bite you get some of the crunchy, chocolatey, cinnamon goodness!

The Dinner Belle at


The Food Hunter September 26, 2011 at 11:48 am

Making this one for sure!


Lisa September 28, 2011 at 8:30 pm

This post really brought a smile to my face. My mother used to make almost the exact same thing, but in a loaf pan, with more of that “topping” plus walnuts, in the center. I don’t make it very often, and I wish I could still be sharing it with my mother, but it is delicious!


kitchenarian September 29, 2011 at 6:45 pm

I am so happy this recipe brought back such happy memories for you. I hope you find your mom’s recipe and make that bread soon. Thanks for your comment.


Kristen D. September 30, 2011 at 4:01 am

Thanks for the recipe! I made it this afternoon and it’s already half gone! I’ve never made a cake that didn’t involve Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker, so this was kind of a big step for me to take. Thanks again!


kitchenarian September 30, 2011 at 7:12 am

I am so glad you like it! It is a favorite around here. I’m thinking about making another one this weekend. Enjoy!


Patty H. October 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm

This looks so awesome! I love coffee cakes, and always get excited about trying new recipes, so I can’t wait to try this one.


Linda October 26, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Finally had a chance to make this coffee cake for my tennis team today! It was delicious! Everybody wanted the recipe. Told them to check out your blog! Thanks for the recipe.


K November 9, 2011 at 10:02 am

Oh that looks fantastic. I love the shimmery, cinnamon-y top.


Lauren December 3, 2011 at 1:23 am

I have a new kitchen and appliances, just made your coffee cake and the new oven burnt it all over!! NUTS! I liked my old trusty oven.

Hope I can salvage it…x


kitchenarian December 3, 2011 at 8:47 am

I just made that coffee cake this week too! So jealous you have all new appliances, that’s awesome. 🙂 I hope the coffee cake survived!!


makakona March 19, 2012 at 12:14 am

i have a trusty old oven and it burned my cake, too. 🙁 i will lower the temp to 350 next time and watch it carefully.


m.s.marlowe March 28, 2012 at 8:27 am

Gosh, I have been making this exact coffee cake for over 40 years. I got it from my husband’s aunt in Phila and she had been making it for years. It is a family favorite of ours. So glad to see it on this site.


kitchenarian March 30, 2012 at 8:31 am

Thanks! It is amazing isn’t it? We love it.
Thanks for the comment.


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