small batch streusel coffee cake recipe

About This Small Batch Streusel Coffee Cake For A 6-Inch Pan

This small batch streusel coffee cake recipe is made in a 6-inch round cake pan, making a 6″ round coffee cake swirled with cinnamon brown sugar, and topped with buttery, crunchy streusel! The cake is made with sour cream, making it extra moist and flavorful.

Looking for more simple and easy cake recipes? Check out this 6 Inch Cheesecake Recipe or this 6 Inch German Chocolate Cake Recipe!

Why You Should Make The Recipe

Here are all the reasons to make this streusel coffee cake:

The recipe is small batch.

Most coffee cake recipes are made in a 9 x 13-inch rectangular cake pan, serving 18 to 24 people. But this streusel coffee cake recipe is made in a 6-inch round pan. The smaller cake size only serves 4 hungry folks or 6 more reasonable ones!

For more small batch baking recipes, check out Hummingbird High’s recipe archive!

The recipe uses basic pantry ingredients—no extra trip to the grocery store required!

It’s likely that you have everything you need in your pantry to make this homemade coffee cake: flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. That’s it! Additionally, you’ll need butter, eggs, and milk, too. However, you do need sour cream to make the recipe. But you can easily substitute the sour cream with yogurt or other creamy dairy—learn more in the recipe!

The cake recipe stores well.

Because of the sour cream and cinnamon filling in the recipe, the cake crumb stays moist and fresh for days. Additionally, because it’s a coffee cake with streusel topping, the buttery streusel topping acts like a lid and helps prevent the cake from drying out. Cool, right?

small batch streusel coffee cake

Ingredients and Substitutions

Now that I’ve convinced you to make this coffee cake with sour cream, here’s everything you need to make the recipe:

Shopping List For Small Batch Streusel Coffee Cake Recipe

  • granulated sugar
  • all-purpose flour
  • ground cinnamon
  • kosher salt
  • unsalted butter
  • light or dark brown sugar
  • Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • baking powder
  • whole milk
  • sour cream
  • pure vanilla extract
  • large eggs

And let’s talk about some key ingredients and potential substitutions:

Common Ingredient Substitutions For The Recipe

Here are common substitutions for the ingredients in the recipe:

  • All-Purpose Flour. Substitute the all-purpose flour with your favorite 1-1 Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I like the ones by Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Baking Company) to make the brownies gluten-free!

  • Kosher Salt. Replace the kosher salt in the recipe with half its amount with table salt. Note that if the recipe instructs you to use ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt, use a pinch of table salt instead.

  • Unsalted Butter. You can substitute the unsalted butter with salted butter without any noticeable difference in taste.

  • Brown Sugar. Either light or dark brown sugar works in the coffee cake recipe.

  • Cocoa Powder. Dutch-processed cocoa powder will make your swirl darker—learn more below! But in a pinch, unsweetened cocoa powder will work, too.

  • Whole Milk. Whole milk in the cake batter can be substituted with low-fat or skim milk, as well as whatever plant-based alternative dairy milk you prefer. Just note that if you use a milk with a “strong” flavor like coconut, soy, or oat, you’ll be able to taste it in your coffee cake, too.

  • Sour Cream. You can substitute the sour cream with crème fraîche or plain unsweetened regular or Greek yogurt without any noticeable difference in taste.

Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder

You need ¼ teaspoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder to make the cinnamon swirl for this coffee cake.

Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder versus Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder, when used in baking recipes, often comes in two varieties: natural unsweetened, and Dutch-processed.

Natural unsweetened cocoa powder is more typical and is cocoa powder in its purest form. It is slightly reddish brown in color and results in deeply flavored chocolate goods. Because it is slightly acidic, it is often paired with baking soda in baking recipes to help create a chemical reaction that will cause the baked good to rise in the oven.

Dutch-processed cocoa powder is natural unsweetened cocoa powder that’s been treated with alkaline to neutralize its acidity, giving it a darker color and milder flavor. It is the cocoa powder that is used for making midnight-black baked goods like Oreos.

slices of small batch streusel coffee cake

How To Make Streusel Coffee Cake

Here are the basic steps to make this streusel coffee cake recipe from scratch:

  1. Prep the ingredients for the streusel, cinnamon filling, and cake batter. (Prep Time: 10 minutes)

  2. Prep the pan. (Prep Time: 5 minutes)
    Because the recipe makes a tall and deep cake, I instruct you to line the pan with an unusual method. You’ll need to create “handles” from parchment paper that will help you lift the pan out of the cake.

  3. Make the streusel. (Work Time: 5 minutes)
    Most streusel is made by cutting cold butter into dry ingredients. However, I’ve found a faster and easier method. I instead instruct you melt the butter and mix it into the dry ingredients to form large clumps and crumbs.

  4. Make the cinnamon filling. (Work Time: <5 minutes)

  5. Make the cake batter. (Work Time: 10 minutes)

  6. Assemble the cake. (Work Time: 5 minutes)

  7. Bake the cake. (Bake Time: 55 minutes)

Best Recipe Tips

Tip About Ingredients

  • You can skip the Dutch-processed cocoa powder in the cinnamon filling; it’s mostly there for color and to make the cinnamon swirl filling stand out against the cake’s yellow crumb! Dutch-processed cocoa powder adds more contrast, but in a pinch, natural unsweetened cocoa powder works too.

Best Equipment Tip

  • This recipe makes a relatively TALL coffee cake! You need a 6-inch cake pan with at least 3-inch tall sides (I used this one for my cake). If you have a 6-inch springform pan, now is the time to use it. Springform pans tend to have taller sides than regular cake pans, and it will be easier to turn the cake out of the pan if you go this route. If you go the springform cake pan route, you can skip the step of lining the pan with handles since you can just unlatch the sides! 

Foolproof Technique

  • In the recipe below, I instruct you to cut long strips of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan with (in addition to the traditional parchment paper circle). These long strips will later serve as handles to pull your cake out of the pan.

    Truthfully, you don’t *need* the handles to turn out the cake. You can turn out the cake by running an offset spatula or butter knife along its border to unstick it from the pan. Then, place an upside-down plate over the top of the cake pan and invert the cake very quickly. Carefully lift the pan off the cake, then place another upside-down plate over the bottom of the cake and quickly flip the cake again so it’s right-side-up on the second plate. Voila!

    But why don’t I instruct you to do this? It’s a little more finicky than the handles, and you can lose quite a bit of streusel if you’re not quick enough with your flipping. But you do you!

More Simple Cake Recipes

Get the Recipe: Small Batch Streusel Coffee Cake Recipe

This small batch streusel coffee cake recipe is baked in a 6-inch round pan. The cake is moist and swirled with cinnamon, then topped with crunchy streusel.
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Ingredients

For the Streusel

  • cup (2.35 ounces or 67 grams) granulated sugar
  • cup (1.5 ounces or 43 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (1 ounce or 28 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly 

For the Cinnamon Filling

  • cup tightly packed (2.5 ounces or 71 grams) light OR dark brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder

For the Coffee Cake Batter

  • 1 ¼ cups (5.65 ounces or 160 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • cup (2.65 ounces or 75 grams) whole milk, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces or 57 grams) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 Tablespoons (½ stick or 2 ounces or 57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (3.5 ounces or 99 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons tightly packed light OR dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature

Instructions
 

  • First, make the streusel. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt for the streusel.
    Add the melted butter and use a rubber spatula to stir until a crumbly mixture forms with some large pieces still intact. Do not overmix.
    Place the bowl in the freezer, uncovered, while you make the filling and coffee cake batter.
  • Make the cinnamon filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder for the cinnamon filling.
  • Make the coffee cake batter. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
    Cut two long strips of parchment paper, each roughly measuring 3 inches wide and 15 inches long. Generously spray a 6-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with the parchment paper strips, making a cross with the two strips in the center of the pan and ensuring that they overhang at least 2 inches above the cake pan’s sides. Place a parchment paper circle on top of the strips. Spray the parchment, too.
  • Prep the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and kosher salt for the cake batter.
    In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk, sour cream, and vanilla for the cake batter.
  • Cream the butter and sugars, then add the egg. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugars for the coffee cake batter. Beat on medium-high until light, fluffy, and doubled in volume, 3 to 5 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. Reduce the mixer to low and add the egg.
  • Add the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in two equal parts, adding the second half only when the first half has been just combined. Add the wet ingredients all at once and beat on low until just combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl once more, and beat on low for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Assemble the coffee cake. Use the rubber spatula to scrape half the cake batter into the prepared cake pan. I like to use a digital scale to divide my batter and ensure an even cake. This recipe makes around 18.3 ounces (519 grams) of batter—scrape 9.15 ounces (259 grams) of batter into the pan. Use an offset spatula to spread it evenly and smooth its top. Sprinkle half the cinnamon filling (1.3 ounces or 37 grams) evenly over the batter. Scrape the remaining cake batter over the filling, and use the offset spatula to spread it evenly and smooth its top.
    Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon filling over the batter.
    Use a butter knife to lightly swirl the filling into the cake, then smooth its top once more. Sprinkle with the frozen streusel.
  • Bake the coffee cake. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached.
  • Serve and store. Use the overhanging parchment paper strips to pull the cake out of the pan and onto the serving platter of your choice. Serve immediately.
    The coffee cake can be stored at room temperature, under a cake dome or a large bowl turned upside down, for up to 3 days. Press a sheet of plastic wrap against any cut surfaces to prevent the cake from drying out.

Notes

  • You can skip the Dutch-processed cocoa powder in the cinnamon filling; it’s mostly there for color and to make the cinnamon swirl filling stand out against the cake’s yellow crumb! Dutch-processed cocoa powder adds more contrast, but in a pinch, natural unsweetened cocoa powder works too.
  • This recipe makes a relatively TALL coffee cake! You need a 6-inch cake pan with at least 3-inch tall sides (I used this one for my cake). If you have a 6-inch springform pan, now is the time to use it. Springform pans tend to have taller sides than regular cake pans, and it will be easier to turn the cake out of the pan if you go this route. If you go the springform cake pan route, you can skip the step of lining the pan with handles since you can just unlatch the sides! 
  • In the recipe below, I instruct you to cut long strips of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan with (in addition to the traditional parchment paper circle). These long strips will later serve as handles to pull your cake out of the pan. Truthfully, you don’t *need* the handles to turn out the cake. You can turn out the cake by running an offset spatula or butter knife along its border to unstick it from the pan. Then, place an upside-down plate over the top of the cake pan and invert the cake very quickly. Carefully lift the pan off the cake, then place another upside-down plate over the bottom of the cake and quickly flip the cake again so it’s right-side-up on the second plate. Voila!
    But why don’t I instruct you to do this? It’s a little more finicky than the handles, and you can lose quite a bit of streusel if you’re not quick enough with your flipping. But you do you!
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Michelle holding Weeknight Baking cookbook covering her face.

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Weeknight Baking:
Recipes to Fit your Schedule

Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.