Top Secret Coffee Cake Recipe

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Watch the Top Secret Coffee Cake Video!
The cursive writing at the top of the tattered 3×5 card says, “Cafe Beaujolais’ Coffeecake,” but I’ve only known it as delicious.

This classic coffee cake recipe comes from my mother-in-law, Maria, who grew up in Los Angeles. Curiously, the Los Angeles Times has this Coffeecake recipe in their database. There are similarities, and indeed, my mother-in-law is a lifelong LA Times subscriber. On careful inspection, however, a few alterations are revealed and you can see she’s made it her own. But still no actual coffee in the ingredients.

This is a time-tested breakfast favorite in my family, and I hope it becomes one in yours as well. For added instruction and entertainment, watch the Top Secret Coffee Cake Video!

Ingredients for Top Secret Coffee Cake:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 cup corn oil
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk

Top Secret Coffee Cake Recipe
NOTES: This recipe makes one 13 x 9″ pan. The original Cafe Beaujolais’ Coffeecake calls for one cup sliced almonds added to the crumb topping mixture. Maria has always omitted the almonds. Serves 8-10.

Top Secret Coffee Cake Recipe
Mix together 2 1/4 cups flour, white and brown sugars, 1 tsp cinnamon, salt and ginger.

Top Secret Coffee Cake Recipe
Blend in oil until well combined. Remove 3/4 cup of mixture and set aside.

Top Secret Coffee Cake Recipe
To remaining flour mix add baking soda, baking powder, egg and buttermilk. Blend until smooth.

Top Secret Coffee Cake Recipe
Pour into greased 13×9″ pan.

Top Secret Coffee Cake Recipe
To 3/4 cup reserved mix, add 1/4 cup flour and 1 tsp cinnamon.

Top Secret Coffee Cake Recipe
Sprinkle over batter and bake in a 350 (F) oven for 35-40 minutes.

Top Secret Coffee Cake Recipe
Serve warm or at room temperature. This coffee cake freezes well.

Search terms: classic coffee cake recipe, how to make coffee cake, how to make crumb topping, top secret family recipe, cafe beaujolais’ coffeecake, buttermilk coffee cake recipe, cinnamon coffee cake recipe, easy coffee cake recipe

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76 Responses to “Top Secret Coffee Cake Recipe”

  1. Mike
    3/12/2012 at 12:26 pm #

    Hi Betty,

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. I don’t generally use corn oil. How much of a difference does it make if you substitute another other light vegetable oil (obviously not olive oil)? Thanks for sharing.


  2. Average Betty
    3/12/2012 at 12:30 pm #

    Sure thing, Mike — You will love this recipe and any kind of light, flavorless vegetable oil will be fine :) Let me know how it goes!

  3. Teresa
    3/15/2012 at 8:20 pm #

    Hi Betty,
    Is that 1 cup of packed brown sugar?

  4. Average Betty
    3/15/2012 at 10:20 pm #

    Hi Teresa, Yes… lightly packed :)

  5. Michael
    5/24/2012 at 9:35 pm #

    Thank you! I had never had coffee cake before, so I halved the recipe to make an 8×8 and it came out great!
    I’ve got my eye on that grilled steak burrito to try next…

  6. Tiffany
    5/25/2012 at 1:34 am #

    I have never even thought of making coffee cake myself, but tonight I found myself with an evil craving. Needless to say I made this coffee cake and it was amazing.I am officially a happy fat kid. Thank you so much :)

  7. Average Betty
    5/25/2012 at 6:39 am #

    Michael, so happy you liked the coffee cake – and I hope you enjoy the burritos :)

    LOL Tiffany! I wish I could make one right now. But I need to get to the market… I have nothing in the house and I’m craving pancakes.

    Yay for Coffee Cake!

  8. Denise
    6/10/2012 at 7:43 pm #

    hi Sara, love you recipes.I noticed you didnt put any coffee in this and i was wondering if I can.
    please and thank you :)

  9. Average Betty
    6/11/2012 at 9:08 am #

    Hi Denise, I’ve never added coffee to this cake. If you give it a whirl, let me know how it goes… Pretty sure Coffee Cake is called Coffee because you enjoy it WITH coffee. Hope this helps!

  10. Jutta Daniele -Good
    9/1/2012 at 3:48 pm #

    Hi , I am back one more time .
    I like to share this delicious German Plum cake with you. Which I just baked
    Preheat oven 385F
    grease a 9×13 pan or a 9inch spring form , dust with reg. breadcrumbs

    Cream 1 stck of soft butter
    add 3 eggs rm temperature
    add 1/2 cup of fine sugar
    grate 1/2 lemon for the zest
    add 2 tablesp. of Amaretto or 1 tea-spoon of Vanilla
    set aside
    Mix and sift:
    1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1 teasp/ baking powder
    pinch of salt
    Add to wet ingredients
    just mix until all is corporated

    Pit 2 pounds of Italien plums, these are the small purple ones, (only in August)layer the half plums on top of the dough.

    Streusel topping:
    4 table sp. of butter
    5 table sp. of flour
    4 table sp. of sugar + 1 teasp. of cinnamon
    work into Streusel and put on top of the plums
    bake for 40 to 50 minutes
    cool completely
    enjoy with a dallop of cream ‘
    Happy baking
    Jutta Daniel-Good

  11. Katherine
    9/17/2012 at 9:26 pm #

    Made this cake a few days ago, but I halved the recipe and used an 8×8 pan like someone else suggested because I was running out of flour. It came out perfect! The cake was fluffy and soft and amazing and the topping was delish. I made it for four people, including me, and it was gone within an hour haha. Definitely going to become one of my go-to recipes :)

  12. Average Betty
    9/17/2012 at 9:44 pm #

    So happy to hear it, Katherine! And thanks for sharing your tips about pan size and flour. You have truly given me a hankering for a hunk of coffee cake :)

  13. Sonia
    12/13/2012 at 12:01 pm #

    Hai,thank you for this recipe. It is simple and easy. Tried this today and the outcome is great…soft and fluffy.

  14. Average Betty
    12/17/2012 at 8:49 am #

    So happy to hear it, Sonia! Thanks for letting me know :)

  15. Christina
    5/17/2013 at 6:24 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! This coffee cake is so delicious and easy to make. I’ve made it several times now and it always gets raves. I have one in the oven now. Yum!

  16. Average Betty
    5/17/2013 at 6:42 am #

    Music to my ears! Thanks so much for letting me know, Christina :)

  17. Shana
    3/9/2014 at 5:02 pm #

    I love this recipe. I need to half it though which is straight forward enough, just curious about how long to cook in an 8×8. Suggestions?

  18. Average Betty
    3/10/2014 at 11:47 am #

    You’re going to have to feel it out – it really depends on if the batter will be deeper than the original pan size – which I think it may be. If this is the case, you may need to bake 5 minutes longer? Let me know what happens if you give it a try.

  19. plasterer bristol
    7/28/2016 at 10:24 am #

    oh wow this sounds and looks so good. My absolute favorite recipe. Thanks for sharing.


  20. mr cakey
    11/9/2016 at 9:17 am #

    Thank you for posting this. I made this prior to my parents coming back from Florida and when they came to visit we sat down and had these while having a catch up. My parents and i loved these. i will defiantly be making theses again.


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