Quick Coffee Cake

By CHEF TRACY DARUE for the Flathehead Beacon

Even though it’s been hot outside, I still enjoy baking first thing in the morning when it’s cool. This is a wonderful treat for breakfast or to take along in to a picnic. I like to get the topping and dry ingredients ready the night before. In the morning, while the oven is preheating, I whisk together the wet ingredients, mix the batter and bake it (then I turn off the oven as soon as the cake comes out, hoping it won’t heat up the kitchen too much). I also like to mix it up by adding fresh fruit, like blueberries, to the batter. There are a few variations at the end of this recipe that I hope you’ll try.

Topping Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled

Cake Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 oz. unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled
  • 3 each large eggs


For the Topping

Mix together the sugars, cinnamon, and melted butter until well combined. Stir in the nuts.

For the Cake

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-13 inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. In another bowl, stir together the yogurt, eggs and melted butter. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle topping evenly on top of batter.

Bake in the middle rack of the oven until topping is golden brown, approximately 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool for approximately 15 minutes before slicing.


Lemon Blueberry/Huckleberry: Decrease cinnamon in topping by 1 teaspoon. Stir 2 cups fresh blueberries/huckleberries and zest of 2 lemons into batter.

Apple Walnut: Substitute walnuts for the pecans, and add 2 cups diced fresh apple.

Chef Tracy Darue is the Instructional Coordinator of Baking and Pastry at The Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. She is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, former chef/owner of a bakery and restaurant, and former school district food service director. For more information about the Culinary Institute of Montana at FVCC, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com.