Nana Recipe Wednesday–Sour Cream Coffee Cake

by Sarah on October 12, 2011

What do you say Nana, a little coffee cake while listening to records?  Who’s Tom Lehrer anyway?  (Sidenote:  My Dad says Nana and Boppa used to go to the Hungry I in San Francisco–this record was recorded there.  Perhaps they were in the audience?)  (Sidenote 2:  I want that chair and that record player.  They are long gone but that big painting above her head is hanging in my dining room).

Back to cake.   Looks good, doesn’t it?  Well it was.  It was soft, creamy almost.  With a nice crunch from the brown sugar and walnut swirl.  You cannot resist the siren call of Nana’s coffee cake.

These are the cake ingredients.  Probably all stuff you’ve got hanging around the house so you can make it right now.

Just mix it all up in the mixer (except the sour cream–don’t add that yet).

These are the ingredients for the aforementioned sugary swirl.

Mix that up too, and set it aside.

Grease and flour either a bundt pan, a tube pan or just a regular Pyrex baking dish.  Put half the batter in, then half the sugar mixture.  Then the rest of the batter.  Then the rest of the sugar.

Then take a butter knife and cut some swirls through it!  Go around the cake a lot if you want a lot of swirls.

Use that order if you’re using a Pyrex.  My advice if you’re using a tube pan or bundt.  I would put some of the sugar on the bottom–THEN add batter, sugar, batter and maybe a small amount on top.  Remember, with a bundt or tube the top will end up being the bottom when it’s flipped out of the pan.

Bake it at 350* for about an hour, or until your toothpick tests clean.

When it’s completely cool, run a knife around the edges, put a plate on top, then quickly flip it.  See what happens when all the sugar is the last layer?  It just falls off onto the plate.

Still tasted really great.

Make this soon!

Nana's Sour Cream Coffee Cake


  • 1/4 lb butter
  • 1/8 lb margarine (I used all butter = 6 Tbsp)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  • Preheat oven to 350* and grease and flour your pan of choice: tube, bundt or Pyrex.
  • Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Set aside. In another bowl, sift the flour, soda, baking powder and salt. Add 1/3 of butter mixture, mixing, then 1/3 of the sour cream. Alternate the additions of the butter mixture and sour cream until it's all mixed together. All vanilla and mix.
  • Pour 1/2 of batter into the pan. Add 1/2 of the brown sugar mixture, then the rest of the batter. Marble the cake by drawing a butter knife through the batter in swirls. Top with the rest of the sugar.
  • Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick tests clean. Let cool in pan completely on rack, at least 2 hours. To remove, run a knife along the sides and middle, put a plate on top, then quickly flip it over. The cake should drop onto the plate.
  • Nana says this cake freezes well.

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