Sourdough Coffee Cake with Walnut Streusel

Sourdough Coffee Cake with walnut streusel is made with active sourdough starter and enriched with butter, milk and eggs. The brown sugar crumb topping and vanilla glaze are the crowning glory of this special breakfast (or dessert) treat.

a spoon drizzling icing on a sourdough coffee cake

If you don’t already have one, I can show you how to make a sourdough starter and how to feed a sourdough starter.

A timeline for making Sourdough Coffee Cake:

  • If your starter needs feeding, do that the night before or early in the morning of the day you want to make the dough.
  • Mix the dough in the afternoon. Allow it to ferment at room temperature all day.
  • While the dough ferments, make the streusel and crumb topping.
  • In the evening, roll the dough and shape the coffee cake. Place the cake into the pan and refrigerate before going to bed.
  • Take the pan out first thing in the morning and let it come to room temperature to finish rising (about 1 – 1 1/2 hours).
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven.
  • Sprinkle the crumb topping onto the cake and bake.
  • You can have warm coffee cake for breakfast or brunch.

Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make a Sourdough Coffee Cake:

sourdough coffee cake dough on a floured surface
The dough starts out quite soft and sticky. It will change as it ferments.
three photos showing the progress of sourdough during fermentation
During the long fermentation the dough will become more aerated and more cohesive.
a handing folding sourdough for coffee cake
You will periodically fold the dough during fermentation. This helps redistribute the yeast.
2 photos showing how to roll and form a sourdough coffee cake
Roll the dough, scatter the streusel filling and then form it into a ring.
3 photos showing sourdough coffee cake rising over night
At left is how the cake starts. In the middle is after a night in the refrigerator. On the right is after rising at room temperature in the morning.
3 photos showing a sourdough coffee cake before and after baking
Scatter the crumb topping over the risen cake, then bake and cool before icing.

FAQs about making Sourdough Coffee Cake:

Can I work ahead to make the dough?

Yes, the dough can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. The night before you want to bake, roll the dough and form the cake. Refrigerate overnight and bake in the morning.

Can I bake the coffee cake the same day I make the dough?

Yes, start the dough early in the morning and skip the refrigeration step.

Can I omit the walnuts from the streusel?

Yes, you can use any other nut in it’s place or eliminate the nuts all-together. You’ll have less filling if you don’t use any nuts.

I don’t have a tube pan, can I still make this cake?

Yes. After shaping it into a ring, you can set the cake on a parchment lined baking sheet. The cake may rise more out than up on a sheet pan.

How long does the Sourdough Coffee Cake stay fresh?

It really is best the day that it is baked.

Can I freeze Sourdough Coffee Cake?

Yes! Slice the cake. Wrap each slice individually and store them in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. You can also wrap and freeze the entire cake.

Can I re-heat previously frozen slices of the cake?

Yes, Just wrap the slice in foil and reheat in a 200°F oven until slightly warm. To rewarm the entire cake, allow it to defrost then warm in a 200°F oven.

a sliced sourdough coffee cake on a cake stand
a hand holding a piece of sourdough coffee cake

Try these other fabulous coffee cake recipes: Peach & Pecan Coffee Cake, Banana Coffee Cake, Pumpkin Coffee Cake, Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake.

I know you hate to throw away that sourdough discard. Check out these recipes that use sourdough discard.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a slice of sourdough coffee cake on a plate
Print Recipe
4.58 from 38 reviews

Sourdough Coffee Cake Recipe

Walnut Streusel Coffee cake made with a active sourdough starter and enriched with butter, milk and eggs.
Prep Time45 minutes
Bake Time30 minutes
Rising Time12 hours
Total Time13 hours 15 minutes
16 servings
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  • 8 oz active sourdough starter (1 cup, 100% hydration)
  • 4 oz whole milk (½ cup, warmed to 100°F)
  • 10 oz all-purpose flour (2 cups, see note)
  • 3 oz granulated sugar (⅓ cup)
  • 2 oz unsalted butter (melted and cooled to room temperature)
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon


  • 3 oz brown sugar (⅓ cup)
  • 3 oz granulated sugar (⅓ cup)
  • 4 oz walnuts (1 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon table salt
  • 2.5 oz all purpose flour (½ cup)
  • 2 oz unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)


  • 1 egg (for egg wash)
  • 4 oz confectioner’s sugar (1 cup)
  • 1 oz whole milk (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, combine 8 oz active sourdough starter, 4 oz whole milk and 1 cup of the flour. Mix until it forms a thick batter. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30-60 minutes.
  • Add 3 oz granulated sugar, 2 oz unsalted butter (melted & cooled), 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon cinnamon to the bowl. Mix on low speed to combine. If working on a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook. With the mixer running, add the remaining flour until the dough gathers on the hook and clears the sides of the bowl. If working by hand mix as much flour as you can with the spoon, then finish kneading in the rest of the flour by hand. If the dough is very sticky sprinkle in a little more flour as you knead.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead to a smooth ball. The dough should be soft and silky.
  • Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat the dough. Cover the bowl and set it aside at room temperature.
  • After 60 minutes uncover the bowl, lift one side of the dough and fold it into the middle of the dough. Repeat with the other three sides of the dough then flip the dough over. You're basically turning the dough inside-out to redistribute the yeast. Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes repeat the procedure again. Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes the dough should be ready to shape. The dough should be lively and aerated. If it still seems sluggish give it some more time to ferment. The total time will vary based on dough temp, air temp and how active your starter was.
  • While the dough ferments, prepare the streusel.

Prepare the Streusel/Crumb Topping

  • Combine 3 oz brown sugar, 3 oz granulated sugar, 4 oz walnuts, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and ⅛ teaspoon table salt in a food processor. Process until the nuts are chopped coarsely but not ground to a powder. Remove 2/3 cup for filling and set it aside.
  • Add 2.5 oz all purpose flour and 2 oz unsalted butter to the remaining streusel and process until it forms clumps. Set it aside to use later as the crumb topping.


  • Generously butter a 10" tube pan. Roll the dough to a 12"x 16"rectangle. Brush the surface of the dough with egg wash. Sprinkle the streusel over the dough. Roll the dough into a log, pinch the seam to seal.
  • Bring the two ends of the log together to form a ring. Pinch the ends together.
  • Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan. Cover the pan and place the cake in the refrigerator overnight.
  • The next morning, take the cake out of the refrigerator. The cake should rise in the refrigerator overnight, but it is probably not fully proofed. It should be almost doubled in volume. Leave the cake at room temperature to finish rising, it may take 1-1.5 hours.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 °F. To speed up the rising you can put the pan in the oven, VERY BRIEFLY, while it's just starting to warm up.
  • Brush the surface of the cake with egg wash. Grab large chunks of the crumb topping and break them into smaller chunks over the surface of the cake.
  • Bake until the cake is well risen and golden brown, about 30 minutes. You can use a probe thermometer to check the internal temperature. It should be about 200 °F.
  • Cool the cake for 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Combine 4 oz confectioner’s sugar with 1 oz whole milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to form an icing with the texture of thin pancake batter. Drizzle the glaze over the cake and allow it to set.

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If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.
The cake is best the day it is baked but will keep at room temperature for 1-2 days.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 105mg | Potassium: 87mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 224IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. I have made this Coffee Cake recipe a couple of times and now I don’t have any sourdough. How would I make this recipe using yeast? Would I use 112 gr of water and 112 gr of flour in place of 224 gr of sourdough and add proofed yeast?

    1. I haven’t tried it so I couldn’t say exactly the results you’d get. I think as long as you don’t overdo it it would probably be ok. If you try it let us know how it works.

  2. Hi! I had a problem like a few bakers I’ve seen here in that the dough seemed way too wet. I added 50-60g more flour, and trusted that it would “see the light” as it fermented and underwent the stretch and folds. Sure enough, it was a *beautiful* dough by it was ready to shape!

    I will be adding this to my go-to recipes. The long fermentation and generous quantity of starter are very satisfying (it’s for-real sourdough!) and contribute great flavor. Lovely recipe. It was my first from your site, and I’m looking forward to making more.

    1. Yes, it’s hard to appreciate how the dough transforms during fermentation until you see it. That’s why sourdough is endlessly fascinating.

  3. Made these today,but made them as cinnamon buns omitting walnuts.They came out so well,this is going to be made on repeat.Thank you for the recipe 🙂

  4. I have no idea why this would not work for me, but at least for me, the ingredients were way off – it was way too wet. I’m a fairly expert baker, and this was so wet that there was literally no way I could have done stretch and folds on it was basically liquid. Probably had to add another 2 cups of flour to get to the right consistency. My starter is a rye blend starter, but that shouldn’t have made this much of a difference. Still working on making this, but no idea why mine didn’t work correctly.

    1. I can’t say what happened. But as you can see from the photos, the dough does start out quite soft and sticky and should become more cohesive as it ferments. Do you have a lot of sourdough experience? Sorry, I’m not questioning your skill, just asking because sourdough is quite different than regular bread dough. My basic questions are always to ask if your starter is a 100% starter, if you gave it the 30-60 minute rest at the sponge stage and if you weigh or use volume measure for the ingredients.

      1. Yep. 100% hydration starter that was fully active. I’ve made several successful loaves of sourdough bread, multiple batches of sourdough cinnamon rolls, sourdough bagels, sourdough rolls, sourdough scones, etc. I gave it about 40 minutes rest at the sponge stage. Ultimately, after adding a lot more flour, it came together well (with the consistency I would expect based on my cinnamon rolls that’s I’ve been baking every week). I used King Arthur’s Sir Galahad flour so I know it’s not due to poor quality of flour. No idea what happened. Maybe my egg was too large?

        1. I always use “large” eggs. If you used extra large or jumbo that would add more moisture. I can’t say how this dough should compare to other dough that you’ve made. Hopefully, in the end you got a nice coffee cake.

    2. @Megan, I had the same exact experience and notice that has been my case with multiple of the recipes on this website, but none quite this intense! Not sure what the deal is as I don’t have it with any other recipes that are in grams. Great recipe otherwise, but the flour ratio was sadly way off! Going to try the recipe again and see exactly how much flour is needed to bring it together right.

    1. Do you mean you want to make the crumb topping into a powder? You could use it without clumping it together.

  5. Not sure if I’m missing something very obvious but where does the coffee element come in? I don’t see any coffee in the ingredients lists? Thank you

    1. Coffee cake is so-named because it’s great with a cup of coffee. More because it’s often a breakfast/brunch cake than because there is coffee in the recipe.

  6. The recipe references the crumble top … but it don’t see it’s ingredients or how to prepare it. Will try this with crumble from another recipe, and hope for the best!

    1. The crumb topping is the streusel that was set aside then mixed with flour and butter to form crumbs (see steps 1&2 for preparing the streusel). I’ve updated the recipes to make it more clear.

  7. I truly enjoyed making this Coffee Cake. I loved having a dough project to tend to throughout the day. The dough was wonderful to work with and smelled so good. However, I did not have a Tube pan and substituted a Bundt pan. I refrigerated it overnight. It rose nicely in the morning, however since the pan was DARK, FYI, it over baked the crust by the time I had the internal temp to about 200 degrees. Next time I will bake it on a stone and roll it out thinner as my dough AT 12 X 16 was very thick. Overall, it is delicious!

    1. Yes, pan color and material can make a big difference in how something bakes. I would suggest that if you don’t have a tube pan just roll the dough into a log and them form a ring. Place the ring on a parchment lined sheet pan to rise and bake. You’ll probably lose the hole in the middle but I think it should bake pretty evenly.

    1. What size loaf pan? It’s a fairly substantial sized cake and I’m not sure you could fit it easily in a loaf pan. If you don’t have an angel food cake pan what I would do is form it into a ring and bake it on a sheet pan.