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.
Trying it now! Looks and sounds delicious.
Use a bigger pan if not you will have a mess in oven
I'm so sorry it overflowed! I've not had this problem, but the recipe could also be made in a larger pan (9"x13") if it seems overly-full. I hope you'll try it again!
I just put mine in the oven in a 9 x 13 pan
The same thing happened to me. I believe it needs to be baked in a 9 x 13. It's frustrating that this created another job for me to do (clean my oven).
I'm so sorry! Truly. I hate cleaning my oven. I've added a note to the recipe that a 9x13 pan may be better if you don't have a 9x9 with high sides. I really am sorry and I hope you give it another go, it's really delicious!
Mine is in the oven now, smells delicious, I used half a teaspoon of expresso powder and cinnamon in mine, recipe from pinterest. In an 8x8 pan, again from pinterest. I sure hope I don't have a mess when it's done , but if so, If it tastes as good as it smells I won't mind the clean up! Lol
No overflow!, can't wait to try it !
I made this last night, so delicious! Amazingly I had all the ingredients. So easy to make. Thanks so much for the recipe.
I used an angel food pan, worked great, the cake was delicious!
Ooooh, yum! I'm so glad you loved it.
I just made it- I added a little vanilla bean paste too. So yummy ! I was tempted to add some apples but maybe next time! I also skipped the nuts and baked it on top of a sheet pan in case it overflowed. Ps. We couldn’t wait for it to cool and ate the first 2 pieces about 5 minutes out of the oven. Ty ty. Sharing!! Theresa
So happy you liked it! Such a deliciously simple recipe. Love your apple idea, I'll have to give that a try.
I do not have sour cream or yogurt, can I use the recipe on the cake mix which calls for 1/3 cup butter?
P.s I always use milk instead of water also in my cake recipes.
I haven't tried it that way, but you can make the cake according to the directions and modify it the rest of the way with my recipe. It'll be different, but still delicious, I'm sure.
I made this in a greased and floured Bundt pan. Looks and tastes delicious. It is always a crowd pleaser for a brunch.
Did you still separate the mixture into layers or just cook all cake with crunch on top?
The cake is layered with cake, topping, cake, topping. Take a look at the video for the visual on how to layer. Enjoy!
Hi Janice, how long did you bake it in The Bundt pan?
Have you ever added cinnamon to this recipe?
I haven't, but I'm sure it would be amazing!
Hi do you prepare the rest of cake mix according to the cake box or just add the sour cream and eggs?
For this recipe, you'll ignore the coffee cake instructions on the box and just add the sour cream and eggs as noted in the recipe.
Daniel L Bost
😬, oops, made cake for instructions on box and then added the extras. Used 2 - 9x13 pans hopefully it comes out.
Daniel L Bost
Just a heads up even though I made my faux pas everything came out delicious.
I added cinnamon (probably 2 T) to the strudel type layer and 1T vanilla and 2 T butter to the sour cream mixture--I only had 1 cup of sour cream on hand. It was wonderful and easy.
How much sour cream is needed? 1 container is 8onz?
This recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of sour cream. 1 cup is 8 ounces, so you'll need two 8 ounce containers or one 16 ounce. Enjoy!
I only used 12oz of sour cream or 1 1/2 cups as stated in the recipe. If you wouldn’t mind clarifying, is it 2cup ( 16oz) or 1 1/2 cups (12oz) ?
Hi Jennifer! Thank you for your question. It is indeed 1 1/2 cups of sour cream, or the equivalent of 12oz. I hope you enjoy!
No coffee in the recipe - ?
Sorry, this is a classic coffee cake, usually made to go WITH your coffee, but does not contain any coffee in the recipe. Hope you enjoy!
Easy recipe and so good. I added a Pinchot pie spice to topping. Very good
Easy recipe and so good. I added pie spice to strudel topping. Very good
I used plain yogurt in place of sour cream. No overflowing using 9x9 pan. However, cake did fall in the middle. Still delicious.
Cake fell in the middle .. otherwise delicious,
Literally eating this as I type, and it is so good! I read the comments prior to baking and decided to go with a 9x13. I only had a enough brown sugar for one brown sugar layer (in the middle) and made a cinnamon sugar mix drizzled with melted butter for the topping.
This is husband and children approved!
So glad you all loved it!
For filling, I used one cup crushed graham crackers instead of nuts and one teaspoon cinnamon, used 9x13 pan, and a glaze. Very good.
I used 1tsp vanilla, 1/2 tbs cinnamon and 1/2 c oil in the cake mix portion, 1/4 tbs cinnamon in the 2/3 cake mix portion, skipped the nuts, baked in 9x9 pan @ 350 for 50 min. No overflowing. It was awesome. Thank you for the recipe.
How funny. I also added oil to the cake mix. I subbed the sour cream for buttermilk (I use buttermilk for all my baked goods) added cinnamon to the streusel. I didn’t think there was enough mix for a 9x13, so I used a large loaf pan .. it’s currently in the oven so we shall see how it turns out.
If you are worried about overflowing 9 x 9 pan then turn oven temperature down 25 degrees
Thank you for this tip! Love it!
Any recommendations to substitute the sour cream if I don’t have any on hand? Also would this work with a gluten free yellow cake mix? Thanks
Hi Holly! Thank you for your question. You can use plain yogurt to substitute the sour cream. And it should work fine with a GF yellow cake mix, although I haven't tried it yet. I'm planning on trying soon and I'll update the recipe once I know!
This was so delicious and very easy to make! I was a little skeptical about the 2/3 cake mix as the crumble, I just couldn’t see how 1/3 of the batter would be enough to make this but it is and holy yummyness!!! I went with a deep dish 2 quart casserole dish and it was perfect. It was nice and puffy but then fell a bit while cooling, I think maybe my base layer wasn’t thick enough?! Wish I could post pics that how good this was lolololol Perfect way to start the new year
Is that 2/3 cup or 2/3 cake mix that you mix with the butter and sugar and nuts
2/3 Cup of the cake mix. It doesn't sound like much, but it all works out in the end. I hope you enjoy it!
Hi I'm about to make this now can I use a loaf pan if so how long should I bake like 15 mins more??
I haven't tried this recipe in a loaf pan yet. Let me know how it turns out!
I'm baking this as I write this. Very easy to follow and I didn't change a thing except I'm making muffins! I have guests coming to my cottage so I thought I would try something easy and new. I let you know if its a hit or miss.
I just made this and oh my gosh..... it is so SO GOOD. My family loved it. I messed up the measurements tho. I mixed up 2/3 of entire cake mix (not 2/3 cup) with brown sugar and I used 1/2 cup of melted butter and 1 cup chopped pecans. For the batter i had about a cup of cake mix left so I mixed that with about 1 1/2 cups of sour cream and 3 eggs. Mixed that up and poured half into 9x13 pan and covered it with half of the brown sugar & nut streusel type mixture. Then spread out the rest of the batter on top of that then sprinkled the rest of the nut brown sugar mixture as last layer. So I ended up with not a lot of batter and lots of nuts & brown sugar streusel mixture. I didn’t notice I read recipe wrong until I decided to write out a recipe card and came back to jot down all the ingredients and realized my mistake. But it actually turned out awesome this way.!!! I’ll make again with your measurements. Either way it’s a really great recipe & a really great coffee cake. Thank you!!
I added half a crisp apple and crushed walnuts teaspoon cinnamon.
Turned out amazing in 9x9 pan
I have this cooling at the moment, but made it for breakfast tomorrow. My house smells so good. Can't wait! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for your comment! I hope you enjoy it!
I substituted 1C plain yogurt and 2-3 T of milk for the sour cream. It was super light and fluffy!! My family loved it.! Also added a T of vanilla! Yum!! Thanks!!
So glad you liked it! And I love your edits, sounds great and would make it lower in fat too!
Can you use 2% milk and fat free sour cream?
Hi Kelly! I haven't tried it this way. Let me know how it turns out!
Recipe looks good and easy to make, however how and where does the coffee come from?
Hi Deanna! I know the recipe name is misleading, but this recipe is made to be eaten with coffee, but does not contain any coffee. I hope you love it!
Added 1 cup diced apples(sprinkled in flour) and a tablespoon of espresso powder came out so yummy!!! Great recipe and super easy!
Sounds yummy! I'm glad you liked it!
An I use salted butter
Salted butter is ok to use, it adds about 1/4 tsp of salt, which won't change the flavor too much.
Twila G Lenoir
Best cake mix makeover ever. 1/2 tsp vanilla added.
Thank you so much for the recipe.
So glad you liked it!
I made this on 2 different occasions and it is delicious. I baked in a 9 X 9" glass baking pan. It did not overflow but the center fell both times. Not sure what caused this. Still tastes delicious. Do you have any idea why it fell in the center?
Thank you for your comment! Yes, we've had the same thing happen in a 9x9 baking dish. When baked in a 9x13, it doesn't fall. Our theory is that the weight of the cake and the topping become a little too heavy in a 9x9. We just baked this recipe today and are making some slight changes to the instructions to address this exact issue! So stay tuned!
This was an incredibly easy and delicious recipe. Took me less than 10 minutes to put together and cooked flawlessly. I did see the comments about the overflowing after I started filling my pan. It’s a more shallow pan so I put a sheet pan underneath just in case and we didn’t have any issues at all. The buttery layers of pecan and brown sugar had this sweet, sticky flavor that reminded me of pecan pie. Just delightful. Saving this recipe!
Thank you for your comment! I'm so glad you loved it and it all baked ok!
Thanks for this! Could use instructions for cupcake/muffins! ❤️
Great idea! I'll work on it!
Does anyone have any idea what I can use for a topping s I forgot the crumble mix in the middle and didn’t put anything on top either. I shouldn’t have done this when I’m tired. Im doing it for a special event at church tomorrow. I also made 2 loaves of Zucchini bread and 6 dozen chocolate jumbles cut into crosses which I still have to frost.
Oh my goodness, I have definitely been there before! I would likely make the crumble with just brown sugar, pecans and butter (reduce the butter by half) and sprinkle on top. And then include a simple powdered sugar drizzle. 2 Cups powdered sugar with 2 Tablespoons milk and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Mix this together to make a glaze to go on top of the "crumble". You could also skip the sugar and serve with berries and cream or butter and jam...I'm sure it will be delicious either way! Let me know how it goes!
I have made before with yellow cake mix which is great but can you use white cake mix for a change.
Made this today. DELICIOUS!! No nuts since hubby can't have. Thank you
I made this last night for this morning. LOVE IT! I did not read the comments first and used a 9 x 13 pan ONLY because i's new and pretty! hahaha I will mak ethis againa and again I am sure of it! I amy add thiungs here and there for varity but it is YUMMY as is!
I made this recipe as stated, accept I did use a 9x13 pan. And I added a can of lucky leaf pie apples.
I added 1/2 half of the batter to pan, layered the apples slices in 3 rows, sprinkled half of the brown sugar nut mixture on top of the apples.
Then followed the other half of the batter, then sprinkled the other half of the brown sugar nut mixture on top.
The with the spatula spread it all evenly
Baked for 55 mins @ 350
It’s was PERFECT and so so good
Oooooh, that sounds AMAZING! So glad you used this recipe!
I made this for Mother’s Day. DELICIOUS! Making it again today and adding crushed pineapple since it reminded me of pineapple upside down. I’ll let you know. Thank you for this awesome recipe.
YUM! So glad this recipe is a good jumping off point for so many delicious flavors!
I have made this recipe 3 times and from the start i have used a 9×13 pan and this cake keeps getting better and better!! I LOVE THIS RECIPE!! Most all my husband loves it this time i put some light fruit in it couple strawberries and a couple bananas its cooling on the stove.perfect ladies
Thank you for the comment! I'm so glad you love it!
Sounds amazing. I’m thinking of making it with a box of butter pecan cake mix. Could you make this in a Bundt pan?
Ooh, that sounds delicious! I believe some of our readers have made it in a bundt pan, but I have not. I'll give it a try when I have a chance and let you know how it goes!
Added vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and an apple. I used a bundt pan and baked it for 45 min. It came out perfect!
Oh my gosh! I just made this with cranberries and walnuts and it is AMAZING! Taking it to a meeting in the morning, so I made just a tiny "sample cake" in a ramekin and it was SO GOOD! Thank you for this wonderful versatile recipe!
Has anyone tried baking in a large bread pan and if so could you tell me how it turned out please😊
Fantastic recipe 😍took this to a Christmas brunch and everyone wanted seconds ! Thank you so much for a quick recipe with homemade goodness ♥️
I have made this twice in a 7x11 Temptations bakeware. I used Carrot Cake Mix....absolutely delicious!! Easy and perfect for quick coffee cake.
I have 5 minutes until it's done. Smells great, easy to make. I added 1 tsp each cinnamon and vanilla. Oh, I used a 9 x 13" pan. It is puffed up to the top. I know it will sink a little I hope not too much. I think my work teammates will love ❤️ it tomorrow!!
Just made this. Used a 9 x 13 glass cake dish. It is absolutely delicious!! Baked at 350 for about 35 minutes.
The recipe is great and easy to follow yet getting to it on your site is
Making this keto style and used Madagascar vanilla and cinnamon in 9x13.
My go to coffee cake. Everyone loves it - I just leave out the nuts for those with sensitivities. Delicious as is, or I add some warm spices during the holidays. Thanks for a wonderful recipe!
I made this recipe to exact specs. To jazz it up a little I added a can of apple pie filling in the middle of the layers and drizzled the top with caramel when finished.
Super easy! I added fresh blueberries, as your recommendation idea, and nice delight in the bite. I had it for bedtime with tea 😃Thanks so much.
Turned out DELICIOUS! Made exactly as written (using 9x13 pan). Excellent!
I made this tonight. Unfortunately, I didn't have sour cream or yogurt, so I used ricotta cheese. It was delicious! My family loved it! Fairly easy to make too. Thanks!
Is the box of cake mix 15 or 18 Oz?
15 ounces works best and is a more common amount. Hope it turns out great!
I made this recipe AGAIN. This time I substituted a Krusteaz Wild Blueberry Muffin Mix and it was great!