This Yellow Cake Mix Coffee Cake is another easy winner for a quick breakfast or dessert! I really love recipes that start with a cake mix because it saves me time AND mess. And this breakfast cake has that perfectly soft cake layer topped with a sweet, nutty crumble. Coffee cake perfection!
Ingredients for cake mix coffee cake
- Box Yellow Cake Mix — We have tried this recipe with many different brands of cake mix and they all came out great! Duncan Hines, Betty Crocker or King Arthur are all delicious. However, it unfortunately did not work well with a gluten free cake mix.
- Unsalted Butter — Melt butter and allow to cool for a rich topping. Vegan butter or coconut oil can also be substituted, but the mixture may be a bit runnier, but will still bake fine.
- Light Brown Sugar — Perfectly rich and sweet, brown sugar adds that deep flavor of molasses.
- Chopped Pecans — Pecans are always my go-to nut in sweet recipes, however you can use whichever nut you prefer, or omit the nuts altogether.
- Large Eggs — Be sure eggs are room temperature, otherwise it can adjust bake time and change the texture. For tips on getting eggs to room temperature quickly, see section below.
- Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt — Yogurt can be substituted for a healthier option and won't change the flavor much at all.
How to make a perfect coffee cake
The ideal coffee cake should include 2 essential things. Deliciously soft and moist cake coupled with a brown sugar crumble in the middle and on top. I love how the middle layer of crumble gets soft and a little gooey, and the topping gets a little crispy. Such a great combination of flavors and texture.
Start by removing ⅔ cup of the cake mix straight from the box and combining with brown sugar, butter and pecans. This makes the crumble. Couldn't be easier, right?
Next, stir up the rest of the cake mix with room temperature sour cream (this makes it super fluffy and moist) and room temperature eggs.
how to get room temperature ingredients — fast!
Eggs — speed up the process of getting eggs to room temperature by dropping them gently into a bowl or cup full of hot water (not boiling) and let sit 5 minutes. Done!
Yogurt or Milk — To get yogurt to room temperature quickly, simple place in a microwave safe bowl and microwave at 50% power in 15 second intervals, stirring each time.
Butter — the best way to soften butter to room temperature is to get a tall glass and fill with hot water. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes until the glass is hot. Empty the water and turn the glass upside down over the wrapped butter. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. this will gently warm the butter through to the center.
Last, pour half the coffee cake mix into your prepared baking pan, then add ½ the crumble, then one more layer of cake mix and top with the rest of the crumble. Press the crumble into the top lightly with your hands so the crumble sticks well.
Bake it up for 45 minutes to an hour, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let it rest 15 minutes and then slice it up and enjoy!
More Ways to Enjoy Coffee Cake
This easy cake recipe has been tried many different ways by readers, here are a few of the favorite ways to make this coffee cake recipe:
- In a Bundt Pan - To bake this recipe in a bundt pan, the directions to mix the cake and topping will be the same. However, rather than saving half the crumb mixture for the "top", (since the top of a bundt cake will end up being the bottom) make 2 layers of crumb in the center of the cake. The cake will bake a little faster, so be sure to for doneness after 30 minutes. After turning out the bundt cake, feel free to top it off with a glaze, such as this one on top of our Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Scones.
- As Muffins - To turn this coffee cake into coffee cake muffins, mix the batter and topping as per the directions. But grease or line a 12 cup muffin pan and create layers in each muffin cup. Bake 25 minutes and be sure to check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center.
How to make extra large bakery-style muffins
It's really easy to make these muffins like the ones you get at a bakery — big enough for a filling breakfast. Try using these 6 cup muffin pans and scoop batter and topping evenly between all 6 cups. Increase the bake temperature to 425 degrees F and increase bake time to 8 minutes and 350 degrees F for 15 minutes, checking center for doneness with a toothpick or fork.
How to store coffee cake
Coffee cake will keep fresh for about 1 week in the fridge when properly stored. Simply cover with foil or plastic wrap to prevent cake from drying out.
To freeze coffee cake, allow to cool completely and remove entire cake from baking dish. Wrap entire cake tightly with saran wrap, 2 layers is best. Then place in a ziploc bag to keep it from freezer burn. When frozen, the cake will stay fresh up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Slice and enjoy!
This coffee cake recipe is the perfect starting point and blank canvas to modify your recipe however you like.
- Add fruit such as blueberries or raspberries into the batter. Just one cup of your favorite fresh or frozen berries — gently fold into the wet mixture. Increase bake time by about 5 minutes to account for the moisture from the berries.
- Add one teaspoon of vanilla bean paste to the wet batter. This intensifies the flavor and adds a deeper flavor.
- Try adding one teaspoon of almond extract for a unique flavor to offset the sweetness of the topping.
- Add espresso powder or granulated espresso to the wet batter to add a delicious coffee flavor right into the cake. This makes it the perfect companion to that morning cup of coffee.
If you love cake for breakfast like I do, try our Banana Coffee Cake Recipe or my absolute favorite Apple Upside Down Cake. Both can be made gluten free and both make an amazing complement to my morning cup(s) of coffee.
Or if you love recipes that are made with a box cake mix, we have many more you can find here.
Can I make this coffee cake without a box cake mix?
Yes! To replace the box mix, simply stir together the following:
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 3½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
Continue to make the cake as per the instructions below, using the above mixture as a direct replacement for the box cake mix. That was easy!
Yellow Cake Mix Coffee Cake
- 1 yellow cake mix
- ¼ cup unsalted butter - melted and cooled
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup chopped pecans - or nut of your choice
- 3 large eggs - room temperature
- 1 ½ cups room temperature sour cream - or plain yogurt
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Lighty grease a 9"x13" inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
- Remove ⅔ cup of cake mix straight from the box and combine with melted butter, brown sugar and chopped nuts; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine remaining cake mix with the room temperature eggs and sour cream, mixing with a wooden spoon until batter is smooth. Pour half into prepared pan. Top with half of the crumb mixture. Repeat layers.
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, checking for doneness after 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.