The Washington Post

Simple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Simple Cinnamon Coffee Cake 16.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Jun 12, 2018

With a short ingredient list that comes together quickly, this supremely fluffy coffee cake from Schlow Restaurant Group Executive Pastry Chef Alex Levin is destined to be a new favorite in your house. See easy VARIATIONS, below.

His recipe originally called for baking the cake in a Bundt pan, so that's an option; additional baking time will be likely.

The cake is lovely on its own; the chef recommends serving it with lightly sweetened whipped cream and macerated fruit, such as berries mixed with lemon juice and sugar.

Click here to see step-by-step photos for this recipe.

Make Ahead: The cake can be stored tightly wrapped in plastic or in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to several months.

16 - 20

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 16-20 servings; makes one 9-by-13-inch single layer

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at soft room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk (see VARIATIONS)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13 baking pan with cooking oil spray and line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired, spraying it as well.

Use a fork to stir together 1/2 cup of the sugar and all the cinnamon in a medium bowl, until well blended.

Combine the butter, the remaining 2 cups of sugar and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer; beat on medium for 4 to 5 minutes. Because there is much more sugar than butter, the mixture will not fluff up very much, but it should be fully incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, then add the vanilla extract. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Add half the flour and half the baking powder; beat on medium speed until fully incorporated. Add half the milk and beat (medium speed) until well blended. Repeat with the remaining flour and baking powder, and then add the remaining milk, beating to form a thick, smooth batter.

Spread half of the batter (total batter weight is about 3 pounds if you prefer to be precise) evenly in the pan, smoothing the surface. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar on the surface. Repeat with the remaining batter and cinnamon sugar.

Bake (middle rack) for 35 to 40 minutes, until light brown and firm to the touch; a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean. Cool completely (in the pan).

Run a round-edged knife around the sides to loosen the cake before serving.

VARIATIONS: The recipe is adaptable. In addition to or instead of the two layers of cinnamon sugar, you can use any kind of soft fruit, such as blueberries. Jam would be lovely, too. So would chocolate chips, says Levin, even though his family calls it the Gideon Cake in honor of his brother, who does not eat chocolate. Depending on your guests' dietary preferences, you can swap coconut oil in for the butter, and nondairy milks or even orange juice for dairy milk (regular, low-fat or nonfat).

Recipe Source

Adapted from Levin, executive pastry chef of Schlow Restaurant Group.

Tested by Becky Krystal.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at

Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 20, using low-fat milk): 220

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 6g 9%

Saturated Fat: 4g 20%

Cholesterol: 40mg 13%

Sodium: 70mg 3%

Total Carbohydrates: 40g 13%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 26g

Protein: 3g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

Most Read Lifestyle