An easy, rich, and delicious cinnamon pecan coffee cake topped with brown butter pecan streusel. The perfect accompaniment to a warm cup of coffee!

sliced and iced cinnamon pecan coffee cake on parchment

This has to be the easiest coffee cake recipe out there.

Cinnamon pecan coffee cake is topped with jumbo-lump brown butter pecan streusel and a delicious and easy coffee cake on the bottom. But it’s also a sophisticated coffee cake, you know? The brown butter gives it the most irresistible toffee scent. Combine that with pecans and warming spices, and it just knocks it out of the park. Your whole house will smell warm and cozy, and it doesn’t hurt that there’s a warm coffee cake to enjoy afterward! And if that wasn’t enough, I went ahead and poured on a glaze to make it that much more irresistible.

It’s the coffee cake that works all year round, but it’s extra special in the fall. Next time I think I’ll swap the cinnamon for pumpkin pie spice when I make another batch of this brown butter coffee cake.

showing texture of coffee cake on white parchment

Ingredients for brown butter cinnamon pecan coffee cake

  • Butter: Butter is used in both the streusel topping and the coffee cake. We’ll brown a stick in a light colored sauce pan first, before adding it to the other streusel ingredients. The other stick of butter is softened and beaten with the sugar to make the coffee cake portion of this recipe.
  • Pecans: You’ll want to chop up whole pecans or purchase bits and pieces. They give the streusel topping the best nutty flavor!
  • Flour: Unbleached all purpose flour is what I use when making my coffee cake.
  • Sugars: We’ll use both brown sugar and regular sugar for this recipe. The brown sugar works well with the brown butter in enhancing the toffee-like flavor.
  • Spices: I’m using ground cinnamon and nutmeg for this recipe. Feel free to swap for pumpkin spice if you’re looking to add more fall flavors.
  • Leavening agents: Both baking powder and baking soda are used in this recipe. The leavening agents will react with the milk and yogurt to create carbon dioxide which will help the coffee cake rise.
  • Vanilla: I’m generous when it comes to vanilla! The flavor works beautifully with cinnamon, nutmeg, and the brown butter!
  • Eggs: are used to add flavor, texture, and stability to the coffee cake. Remember, a coffee cake is a bit more dense than a traditional cake that you would frost. 
  • Dairy: We’ll use both plain yogurt and milk for this recipe. They give this cake a delicious texture. It’s sturdy but tender at the same time, just like the way a good coffee cake should be.
steps for making cinnamon pecan coffee cake

How to make cinnamon pecan coffee cake

  1. All good things start with brown butter. Add the stick of butter to a light-colored sauce pan and melt the butter and then allow it to brown. Swirl the pan or stir often to make sure the butter doesn’t burn. Pour this into a glass measuring cup and allow it to cool to room temperature before making the streusel topping.
  2. When in doubt, add cinnamon pecan streusel topping. Combine the pecans, flour, both the brown sugar and granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Using a fork, whisk these ingredients together. Then, slowly pour in the brown butter as you comb the mixture with the fork to create small crumbs. Pop the streusel in the fridge so that it firms up a bit while you’re preparing the coffee cake batter.
  3. Batter and bake. I like to spray a 9-inch springform pan and then use a sheet of parchment paper between the base and the rim to make for easy removable and clean up. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a regular bowl using a hand mixer, whip the butter until pale. Then add the sugar and vanilla and allow them to whip with the butter until smooth. Add the eggs one and a time waiting until each is mixed in before adding the next. Then, we’re going to add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the yogurt first, and then the milk. So it’s ⅓ flour, all the yogurt, ⅓ flour, all the milk, and finally, the remaining ⅓ of the flour. Spread the coffee cake mixture in the prepared pan, sprinkle with the struesel, and bake in the oven until the cake is *just* done. You can check this by inserting a skewer or toothpick in the center of the cake just to make sure you aren’t left with wet batter. Allow the cake to cool in the cake pan for several minutes before removing. If you plan on adding icing, let it cool completely first. Then drizzle with icing to your heart’s content!
brown butter streusel on coffee cake before baking

FAQs about cinnamon pecan coffee cake

Do you have other flavor suggestions?

I’ve made a walnut and apple version of this cake in the past that was wildly delicious! And you can evenly swap the pecans for walnuts or swirl in some pumpkin butter or apple butter into the coffee cake before baking. 

What does the crumb topping taste like?

The crumb topping has the most amazing toffee-like nutty flavor from the browned butter and the nuts.

How do you make icing for coffee cake?

It’s just ½ cup powdered sugar mixed with a bit of milk to make a thick glaze. 

iced coffee cake on white parchment

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sliced coffee cake with icing on plate with fork
Yield: 8-10 slices

Brown Butter Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

An easy, rich, and delicious cinnamon pecan coffee cake topped with brown butter pecan streusel. The perfect accompaniment to a warm cup of coffee!

Brown Butter Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake

Ingredients

Pecan Streusel:

  • ½ cup salted butter, cold
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup EACH: light brown sugar AND granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cake:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup salted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup milk

Instructions

    1. BROWN BUTTER: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray line with parchment paper; set aside. Add the cold butter to a light-colored saucepan over medium heat, stirring or swirling the pan often until it foams, then browns and smells nutty; this will take 5-8 minutes. Pour the browned butter into a spouted glass measuring cup and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
    2. CRUMB TOPPING: In a medium bowl add the ingredients for the streusel (accept the brown butter) and whisk using a fork. Pour the brown butter in slowly while you stir with the fork to create crumbs. Break up any giant pieces. Place the bowl in the refrigerator while you make the coffee cake batter.
    3. COFFEE CAKE BATTER: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to mix for another minute. Add the eggs one at a time, waiting until each is incorporated before adding the next. Stop the mixer, scrape down the side and up the bowl. With the mixer on the low speed, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients until combined, then add greek yogurt. Once mixed, add ⅓ of the flour mixture, add the milk, and finally the remaining ⅓ of the flour. Do not overmix; the batter will be pretty thick, and that’s okay!
    4. BAKE: Spread batter in springform pan. Top with prepared crumb topping and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (crumbs are fine, just no wet batter!) Let cool for 20 minutes before attempting to remove from pan. Serve warm with icing on top, if desired!

Notes

  • Icing: Combined ½ cup powdered sugar + 1-4 teaspoons milk. Start with 1 teaspoon of milk and add more until you get a nice thick, pourable glaze. The thinner the glaze, the more it’ll run off the coffee cake!

Have you made this recipe?

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