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Lemon Coffee Cake

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The bright lemon flavor of this lemon coffee cake will awaken your senses at breakfast or brunch.
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Table of Contents
  1. Lemon Coffee Cake Ingredients
  2. How to Make This Lemon Coffee Cake Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This lemon coffee cake is the perfect accompaniment to your morning coffee or Sunday bunch. It’s just the right mix of sweet and tangy with a lemony filling, velvety cream cheese layer, and crumble topping that you won’t be able to help but crave all the time.

Our original coffee cake and blueberry coffee cake offer easy recipes for other varieties of this delightful bakery treat.

Lemon Coffee Cake Ingredients

You’ll need:

For the Cake 

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) block of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk

For the Lemon Filling

  • 1 (15-ounce) can lemon pie filling or a thick lemon curd

PRO TIP:

Lemon pie filling has a great consistency for holding itself in a nice central layer. Lemon curd will also work, especially if it is a thicker lemon curd. Our recipe for homemade lemon curd is more creamy and, though it tastes great, it soaks into the coffee cake more than a premade lemon pie filling.

For the Cream Cheese Filling 

  • 1 (8-ounce) block of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the Crumble Topping

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons cinnamon
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons milk

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

TOPPING: For this great recipe, you can stick with the crumble topping and glaze but if you want to fancy it up even more, you can add fresh fruit on top of the cake. Blueberries would be a delicious addition paired with the tangy lemon flavor.

How to Make This Lemon Coffee Cake Recipe

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

STEP TWO: Grease a glass 10×15-inch baking dish or a DEEP 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside. 

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

Using either a 15×10-inch baking dish or a DEEP DISH 9×13-inch will prevent the coffee cake from spilling over the edges.

For the Cake 

STEP THREE: In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy (about 2 to 3 minutes). 

STEP FOUR: Add in brown sugar and white sugar. Beat until fluffy (about 2 to 3 minutes). 

STEP FIVE: Beat in both eggs until combined.

STEP SIX: Beat in vanilla extract until combined. 

STEP SEVEN: In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt. 

STEP EIGHT: Slowly beat in a third of the dry ingredients into the wet, ingredients then add half of the buttermilk. Then beat in another third of the dry mixture and the rest of the buttermilk. Then beat in the remaining flour mixture into the wet mixture. Beat just until combined and do not over mix. 

STEP NINE: Pour half the batter into the prepared baking dish. The cake batter will be thick. 

For the Lemon Filling

STEP TEN: Spread the lemon filling carefully over the batter in the baking dish. Leave about ¾-inch space between the lemon filling and the edge of the pan. Lemon filling that spreads to the outside of the pan will burn while baking. Carefully top with the remaining batter, working from the outer perimeter in to make sure that the lemon filling stays contained within the batter layers.

PRO TIP:

Keeping the lemon filling to the center and away from the edges of the pan is really important. The coffee cake cooks for so long that if the lemon filling seeps out and is along the edge, it really burns and turns the whole crust to a charred mess.  

For the Cream Cheese Filling

STEP ELEVEN: In a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese filling ingredients: cream cheese, sugar, egg, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Spread the cream cheese layer over the top layer of batter.

For the Crumble Topping

STEP TWELVE: Whisk together flour, brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon until well combined. Stir in the melted butter with a fork until it is a crumbly mixture and there is no more visible white flour. Sprinkle over top of the cake. 

STEP THIRTEEN: Bake the cake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the center is set and no longer jiggles. Cover the coffee cake with aluminum foil after the first 20-30 minutes of baking to prevent the top from burning while the layers underneath cook through. Make sure to cool cake completely before adding the glaze. 

PRO TIP:

For the Glaze

STEP FOURTEEN: In a small bowl, stir together powdered sugar and milk. Drizzle over top of the completely cooled cake. 

How To Serve

This divine lemon crumb coffee cake is just the right thing to serve alongside a cup of coffee or pumpkin spice latte in the morning or with a warm mug of afternoon tea.

Don’t let the name stop you from serving it for dessert with a drizzle of caramel sauce or an indulgent spoonful of whipped cream.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Store leftovers of this lemon cake in the fridge in a sealed food storage container for 4 to 6 days. 

IN THE FREEZER: To freeze this delicious cake, wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place it into a heavy-duty freezer bag or airtight container. It will keep for two to three months.

Layers of moist cake, cream cheese and lemon pie filling make this citrusy treat a winner for breakfast or brunch. Add a cup of coffee or tea and you will have a sweet treat to enjoy as you start your day.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I store coffee cake?

You can store this lemon crumble breakfast cake in the fridge for 4-6 days or, for longer storage, in the freezer, well wrapped in plastic wrap for 2 to 3 months.

What should I serve with coffee cake?

Serve this lemon cream cheese coffee cake for breakfast or brunch alongside a warm drink and other sweet pastry treats.

Does coffee cake contain coffee?

Generally, coffee cakes, especially those made in North America, rarely contain coffee. There are some recipes from Europe that may contain coffee. Coffee cake has been given this name because it is often served with coffee (or tea) on the side.

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Lemon Coffee Cake

5 from 1 vote
The bright lemon flavor of this lemon coffee cake will awaken your senses at breakfast or brunch.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk

Lemon Filling

  • 15 ounces lemon pie filling or a thick lemon curd

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 lemon zest, about 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Crumble Topping

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • tablespoons cinnamon
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • tablespoons milk

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Grease a glass 10x 15-inch baking dish or a DEEP 9×13-inch baking dish. Set aside.

Cake

  • In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese until creamy (about 2 to 3 minutes).
  • Add in brown sugar and white sugar. Beat until fluffy (about 2 to 3 minutes).
  • Beat in both eggs until combined.
  • Beat in vanilla extract until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch and salt.
  • Slowly beat in a third of the dry mixture into the wet, then add in half the buttermilk. Then beat in another third of the dry mixture and the rest of the buttermilk. Then beat in the remaining dry mix into the wet. Beat just until combined but do not over mix.
  • Pour half the batter into the prepared baking dish. The batter will be thick.

Lemon Filling

  • Spread the lemon filling carefully over the batter in the baking dish. Leave about ¾-inch space between the lemon filling and the edge of the pan. Lemon filling that spreads to the outside of the pan will burn while baking. Carefully top with the remaining batter, working from the outer perimeter in to make sure that the lemon filling stays contained within the batter layers.

Cream Cheese Filling

  • In a medium mixing bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the cream cheese filling ingredients: cream cheese, sugar, egg, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Spread the cream cheese layer over the top layer of batter.

Crumble Topping

  • Whisk together flour, brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon until well combined. Stir in melted butter with a fork until it is a crumbly mixture and there is no more visible white flour. Sprinkle over the top of the cake.
  • Bake cake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the center is set and no longer jiggles. Cover the coffee cake with aluminum foil after the first 20 to 30 minutes of baking to prevent the top from burning while the layers underneath cook through. Let the cake cool before adding glaze.

Glaze

  • Stir together powdered sugar and milk. Drizzle over top of completely cooled cake.

Notes

  • Lemon pie filling has a great consistency for holding itself in a nice central layer. Lemon curd will also work, especially if it is a thicker lemon curd. Our recipe for homemade lemon curd is more creamy and, though it tastes great, it soaks into the coffee cake more than a premade lemon pie filling.
  • Using either a 15×10-inch baking dish or a DEEP DISH 9×13-inch will prevent the coffee cake from spilling over the edges.
  • Keeping the lemon filling to the center and away from the edges of the pan is really important. The coffee cake cooks for so long that if the lemon filling seeps out and is along the edge, it really burns and turns the whole crust to a charred mess.  
  • This is a nice thick, moist cake. It takes quite a while to cook all the layers through completely. Be sure to cover the top with aluminum foil to prevent the crumb topping from burning. You can also place the baking dish on a sheet pan in the oven to catch any spills and reduce browning on the bottom of the coffee cake.

Nutrition

Calories: 742kcal | Carbohydrates: 117g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 126mg | Sodium: 335mg | Potassium: 235mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 82g | Vitamin A: 936IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 3mg
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