Desserts,  Recipes

Sour Milk Coffee Cake

Sour Milk Coffee Cake
Coffee Cake Made With Sour Milk

In which my mother tries to sabotage me by giving me bogus recipes:

More. Than. Once.

Allow me to back up…

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders in mid-March 2020, I went food shopping and bought a little extra, hoping not to have to go out for a while. While we used up almost everything, after a few weeks, the quart of half and half I’d purchased for my coffee started to sour with almost a pint left in it.

My mother has a recipe for a sour milk coffee cake that she’s been making since she was 12 years old, given to her by her best friend’s mother. It’s really good, and I love it, but I’ve never made it myself. I asked her if I could use half and half instead of milk and she said yes. I then asked her to send me the recipe and she did.

I made the coffee cake and while it was good, it wasn’t as good as hers and it seemed a bit dry. When I brought my mother a piece, I told her I wanted to change the recipe and she told me I probably hadn’t added enough oil.

I followed the recipe you sent me!” I said, frustrated.

I always add more oil“, she said.

Wait, what? Why did she give me a recipe that was wrong? As someone who works with recipes for a living making sure they are 100% accurate, this goes against every fiber of my being.

It was just a mistake, she said.

Later, she sent me revised versions of the recipe created for different pan sizes and those recipes were also missing ingredients. I’m telling you, it was deliberate sabotage! (Just kidding)

I made another sour milk coffee cake, tweaking the recipe a bit, and was happy with the outcome.

I brought her a piece.

She said, “I think it needs more spices. I always add more…


Happy Mother’s Day Mom, I love you! Thanks for sharing your recipe! 🙂

This post was updated with new photos and some minor recipe adjustments in February 2021.

Sour Milk Coffee Cake
Sour Milk Coffee Cake

Recipe for Sour Milk Coffee Cake:

Sour Milk Coffee Cake

A spiced cake made with sour milk.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, dessert
Servings: 12 Servings


  • 9" Springform Pan


For the topping and batter:

  • 3.25 cups all purpose flour
  • 1.25 cups brown sugar packed
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1.25 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1.25 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1.25 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1.25 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 cup neutral oil canola, grapeseed, etc

For the batter:

  • Remainder of the recipe above see instructions (reserve 1.25 cups for topping)
  • 1.25 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1.25 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.25 cups soured milk (or buttermilk)


Prepare the pan:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the pan or spray a 9" Springform pan with pan spray and then coat the inside with flour (about 2 tablespoons).

For the Topping

  • In a large bowl, using your hands, mix together the first 8 items; flour, brown sugar, white sugar, 1.25 teaspoons each of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ground ginger, and oil until they resemble lumpy bread crumbs.
  • Set aside about 1.25 cups of this mixture for the topping.
    Crumb topping for cake

For the Cake Batter

  • Add the baking soda, baking powder, and the rest of the cinnamon to the remaining dry mixture in the large bowl. Add the soured milk and the eggs to the bowl and stir with a mixing spoon until thoroughly blended.
    Sour Milk Coffee Cake Batter
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and then sprinkle the reserved topping over it.
    Sour Milk Coffee Cake
  • Bake the cake in the center of the oven for about 40-45 minutes. Start testing for doneness at about 35 minutes by sticking a wooden skewer in the center. If the skewer comes out sticky, bake for another 4-5 minutes and test again until it comes out clean in the center of the cake.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool on a baking rack. Wait at least 20-30 minutes before running a flat knife around the inside of the springform pan and then removing the ring.


If you don't have sour milk you can add about a teaspoon of vinegar to a cup of milk, leave it for a few hours and it will sour.
You can also use buttermilk instead of soured milk.
This is the type of 9" Springform pan I use.
Sour Milk Coffee Cake
Sour Milk Coffee Cake

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Sour Milk Coffee Cake
Coffee cake made with sour milk or buttermilk on


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