Sour Cream Coffee Cake

17 Jun

This is the final recipe in the sour cream fest that this blog has become, don’t worry.  Or, if this has been helping you get rid of sour cream: you’re welcome.


I am officially finished with my second year at university, which is weird and definitely scary, but mostly kind of sad.  I had a tremendous year, and an especially excellent last quarter.  I’ll miss everyone and everything from this year when I’m in China more than I can say.

But it is definitely nice to be on break.  I’ve decided to take a break from intense brain-work for once and get physical this summer.  I took a 9 1/2 mile walk the other night and biked 51 miles yesterday (and ended up wayyyy outside of Chicago in the process, which was cool because I missed seeing forest).  I’ve got plans for tomorrow morning involving pre-dawn biking to the University of Chicago and watching the sun rise on the city from afar.  It’s going to be a good summer.

Fun fact: I had no idea where I got this recipe and swore it was from Magnolia, but couldn’t find it in the book.  Luckily I have not cleared my browser history recently…  The recipe is from TorontoJo on ChowHound.  Scroll down until you get to their entry around the middle of the thread.


  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  The recipe says to use an 8 x 8 pan, but I strangely enough don’t have one, so I used a loaf pan and ended up layering the coffee cake (a layer of cake, a layer of topping, a layer of cake, a layer of topping).  This significantly alters baking times, so keep that in mind if you do choose to use an 8 x 8.

Stir together the sour cream and baking soda and set it aside.  It puffs up!  It’s so cool.


Check it.

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs and mix to combine.  In a small bowl, whisk the baking powder with the flour.  In alternating parts, add the sour cream and flour mixtures to the butter + sugar + egg bowl.

Whisk together the topping ingredients in a small bowl.


Spoon a layer of cake into the pan, then a layer of topping, etc. until everything’s gone.


Aw yeah.


Bake that for 40+ minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.  I think mine took an hour or so to bake, actually, possibly more (it was a month ago, sorry).  If you’re using an 8 x 8, bake for 30-40 minutes.


Enjoy in the company of bros/slash invite people over and push baked goods on them so your veins don’t start pumping butter/sour cream.

It’s a real fear for me, okay.  You know how much I bake.

The book I’m longing to recommend is another Banana Yoshimoto, because I’ve finally read all of her books that my library has, but let’s diversify things a bit, shall we?  I was actually going to recommend yet another book about China, but then I went on Tumblr a minute ago and saw that all of Bill Nye the Science Guy is online, so I’m recommending that instead.

If you don’t know who Bill Nye is then you seriously need to drop what you’re doing and get thee hence (to that link up there), because goddamn, this man is the greatest.  Every child who took science in middle school a) knows Bill Nye and b) knows the theme song to the show (guaranteed).  But this show is more than an educational kids program.  It shows how fun science is and how beyond cool the universe and its inner workings can be, which is something that I think people need to be reminded of on a daily basis.  If you have lost the sense of wonderment at the universe that you surely had as a kid, then sorry, but you are doing life all wrong.

If I had any capacity for math and wasn’t deeply in love with political science, I would absolutely be pursuing astrophysics right now.  I actually didn’t take a lot of science classes in high school and that probably helped my love of science more than anything.  Nothing kills the excitement of science than standardized tests and memorizing formulae (unless you’re into that kind of thing).  Textbooks are, sadly, not written to instill a deep and abiding love of chemistry or a fascination with the mystery of QED or an admiration for badass scientists like Rosalind Franklin and Richard Feynman.  Bill Nye the Science Guy is.  Do yourself a favor and watch at least one episode.  Go, for the love of science!


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