This is one of my family’s own recipes that has been passed down three generations! Grandma’s Best Coffee Cake was my Grandma Marjorie’s specialty and I hope it becomes yours, too! Packed with lots of buttery, perfectly spiced crumbs and a tender cake, it’s always first to go anywhere I bring it!
So this coffee cake recipe is a family heirloom of sorts. (Not really).
My Grandma Marjorie was an excellent cook, but she was sick most of my life unfortunately, so my mom was the one who usually cooked her recipes throughout my childhood. Her spaghetti sauce is life-changing, and she made the butteriest, fluffiest scrambled eggs I’ve EVER had in my life. But I have to say, this coffee cake recipe is my favorite!
Again, I don’t ever remember Grandma Marjorie making this coffee cake, but my mom made it all the time. We usually have it on Christmas morning before our big breakfast, and on random weekend mornings while I was growing up. But it became famous in a way, and to this day I’m irrationally proud of it.
So one time in the fourth grade, we had a “pampering spa day” for our moms (my idea; I really was a brilliant child). Every kid in the class invited their mom or grandma to come get their nails painted, get a back massage, and enjoy a light brunch.
At this point, I had not transformed into a chef, so I requested my mom make Grandma’s Coffee Cake for the event. We had made a sign-up sheet in class so there were no overlaps, and I was confident the coffee cake would steal the show.
But you can imagine my horror when Kody T’s mom brought her version of coffee cake. A COFFEE CAKE IMPOSTOR. It looked so bizarre and dry and was basically the biggest slap in the face to my precious grandma’s recipe.
The whole spa day, I fretted over which coffee cake would reign supreme. I’d steal glances over at the brunch table to scope out who was choosing our coffee cake over Kody T’s mom’s cake. I tried to go check it out, but someone had this dumb idea of pampering moms all afternoon and I never got a chance to break away.
But finally, my chance came and I raced over to the table. To my surprise and delight, EVERYONE had grabbed a square of my grandma’s coffee cake and only one slice was taken from Kody T’s coffee cake. TAKE THAT, KODY! (I am a sore loser obviously, even 20 years later).
So basically, this has been scientifically proven* to be the Best Coffee Cake recipe. A bunch of fourth graders and their moms think so, anyway, and hey, kids are tough critics. I take this as a big, fat WIN!
This coffee cake really is the best, though. It comes together in one bowl and the crumbs MAKE THEMSELVES. That’s right: you do NOT need another bowl to make up a separate crumb mixture. The recipe naturally makes a crumb mixture that you just reserve before adding the remaining ingredients to make the batter. When it bakes up, some of the crumbs bubble up to the surface, but some sink below, leaving that brown sugary burst of streusel in every bite.
This recipe is kinda heavy on the nutmeg – that was my grandma’s secret – but I promise, it is SO perfect, spicy, soft, tender, and just amazing.
From my family to yours, enjoy!
Grandma's Best Coffee Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1¼ cups brown sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1¼ cups buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 9x13" rectangular baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt and whisk together until incorporated. Pour in the oil and stir to combine until moist crumbs come together. Reserve 2 cups of the crumbs.
- Add in the beaten egg, buttermilk, and vanilla to the original bowl and stir until a thin batter comes together. Do NOT overmix the batter; some lumps are okay. Pour the batter into the prepared pan in an even layer. Sprinkle the top of the batter evenly with the crumbs.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool about 15-20 minutes before cutting into squares to serve, or cool longer if you want prettier squares as this is a very tender cake!
I hope you love our coffee cake recipe!
Have a super sweet day!