Best Buttermilk Coffee Cake

Sweet and enjoyable, this Buttermilk Coffee Cake with a sweet cinnamon and brown sugar crumble topping is very easy to make!

With simple ingredients, our old-fashioned coffee cake is perfect for a special brunch on Christmas or Easter or an easy dessert any day of the year!

9x13 pan of Amish buttermilk coffee cake with a piece on a plate and glass of milk

Easy Buttermilk Coffee Cake Recipe

Everyone in our family enjoys this adaptation from an Amish cookbook, our Buttermilk Coffee Cake.  We love making this coffee cake recipe for dessert and weekend brunch.  The kids may sneak a piece for a snack once in a while.

Each family member has offered a different comment about this cake that makes me laugh.

The first time I made this buttermilk coffee cake recipe my son insisted that I had made this cake before.  He recalled this Honey Bun Swirl Cake made from a box mix and similar, yet different. 

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This coffee cake is made from scratch, but almost as easy as using a box mix.  The streusel topping also lends a different flavor than icing.  Buttermilk gives the cake a rich, home-baked goodness flavor that is unmatched in my opinion.

My toddler is confident she made the cake because she “mixy up” the topping and dumped a couple measuring cups of flour and sugar in the mixing bowl.

My husband said the cake reminded him of one that his grandma used to make.  She used a smaller pan and the topping went much further down into the cake.

Overhead view of cinnamon and brown streusel topped buttermilk coffee cake on a blue and white napkin.

A few more Amish style recipes that we enjoy are our Scalloped Corn Casserole, Amish Meatloaf and Pineapple Cream Cheese Pie.

These are all simple and delicious recipes that our midwestern family enjoys eating!

How to Make Streusel for Coffee Cake

To get a smooth cake finish with melted butter in the streusel bake the cake about 2/3 of the baking time and then add the streusel and finish baking.

Fork full of a white buttermilk coffee cake with a silky crumb and brown sugar topping on a white plate in front of the full cake on a blue and white napkin.

Some experimenting uncovered that using melted butter in a streusel and pouring it over freshly mixed batter will allow the butter to seep down into the cake and create little canyons throughout the baking process.  My husband isn’t sure how his grandma baked her coffee cake, but we wonder if she didn’t use this amount of topping with a lot of melted butter in a smaller pan to create this finish.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder regarding which finish is preferable.  The taste is the same in each baking experiment.  Here is a picture of pouring the streusel on the batter before baking.

How To Make Buttermilk Coffee Cake

  1. Cream butter, sugar and egg.
  2. Dissolve soda in buttermilk and add to creamed mixture.  Mixture will show signs of curdling.
  3. Stir in vanilla.
  4. Mix dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture.
  5. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan and bake for 20 minutes at 350.
  6. Mix together streusel ingredients, brown sugar, melted butter, flour, and cinnamon.
  7. Sprinkle streusel on cake. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Sweet topping baked on a simple buttermilk coffee cake on a white napkin with blue lines.

Substitute For Buttermilk

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, no need to buy an entire jug.  Simply mix 1 tablespoon of a plain vinegar or lemon juice with 1 cup of regular milk.

Step By Step Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F and coat a 9 x 13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium sized mixing bowl cream together butter, sugar and the egg.

Melted butter, granulated sugar and an egg in a mixing bowl.

Dissolve baking soda in the buttermilk by stirring. Then add to creamed mixture.

Add vanilla and stir.

Buttermilk added to creamed butter and sugar in a silver mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl sift together the dry ingredients including all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.

Add to liquid ingredients and stir.

Flour added to coffee cake batter made with buttermilk.

Using a spatula scrape the edges of the bowl and spread evenly in a baking dish.

Thick Amish style buttermilk coffee cake batter spread out in a 9 x 13" glass pan.

Partially bake for 20 minutes.

Warm golden brown buttermilk coffee cake in a 9x13 pan on a wooden counter top.

Making The Cinnamon Streusel

While cake is beginning to bake in a small mixing bowl stir together melted butter, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Melted butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small white bowl to make a topping for coffee cake.

After cake has partially baked for 20 minutes sprinkle this topping even over the cake.

Thick crumbles of brown sugar, cinnamon and butter spread over top of a partially baked buttermilk coffee cake recipe.

Bake an additional 10 minutes for until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Enjoy while warm or at room temperature with a cup of coffee or Cafe con Leche.

More Easy Cake Recipes

Piece of buttermilk coffee cake with brown sugar and cinnamon streusel

Buttermilk Coffee Cake

Servings 15 pieces
Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life
Sweet and enjoyable, this Buttermilk Coffee Cake with a sweet brown sugar crumble topping is very easy to make!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


Cake Batter

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup flour


  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  • Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan and preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a mixing bowl cream butter, sugar and egg.
    1 cup sugar, 1 stick butter, 1 egg
  • Dissolve soda in buttermilk and add to creamed mixture.
    1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 cup buttermilk
  • Stir in vanilla.
    1 teaspoon vanilla
  • In a separate bowl sift together dry ingredients and slowly add to creamed mixture.
    1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pour into baking pan and bake for 20 minutes.


  • Mix together streusel ingredients, brown sugar, melted butter, flour, and cinnamon.
    3 tablespoons butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Sprinkle streusel on cake about 20 minutes into baking. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Can be eaten warm or allow to rest for a couple hours while streusel sets up


Calories: 261kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 3gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 250mgPotassium: 90mgFiber: 1gSugar: 28gVitamin A: 300IUCalcium: 50mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

Tried this recipe?Mention @PlowingThroughLife or tag #PlowingThroughLife!

Originally shared on October 3, 2019 with updates made on April 2, 2024.


  1. For some reason my streusel didn’t come out crumbly. Sugar completely dissolved in melted butter and flour didn’t help at all. It was almost impossible to sprinkle it on top and it didn’t cover the whole cake like in the picture. What did I do wrong?

    1. So sorry to hear that! This is definitely a heavy streusel, but there should be plenty to spread over the pan. I always use regular butter, all-purpose flour and light brown sugar. If that doesn’t work I might try adding 1 – 2 more tablespoons of melted butter. I hope it goes better next time because we always love this cake!

  2. My thought is do not melt the butter. I personally find I get a mush mess n not crumbly. I’m baking it today n will try just soft butter maybe 4T. Will let you know. The cake looks n sound yummy n easy. I love both.

    1. Sorry not soft butter……chilled butter

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