Sourdough Coffee Cake

When my grandmother passed away, we found a hoard of clippings and recipes written on scraps of paper and the backs of envelopes.   My aunt decided to collect and record these random scraps into a family cookbook.   (Bless her heart because these were the days of dot-matrix printers and minimal word processing programs.)  What she created is cherished by all in the family.  We call it the pink book.

I have found family favorites in this book (like her potato salad) along with some truly vintage and interesting recipes like President Johnson’s chile con carne.

I don’t even remember why I was flipping through it the other day, but the book literally opened to a sourdough page.  You know I have been on a sourdough kick lately so I perused this page carefully.  There was a recipe for sourdough biscuits and instructions for feeding sour dough:

Feed every 4 days.  Write down on dough bowl.  1/2 c. sugar, 1 c. flour, 1 c. sugar.  Wait 2 days before making coffee cake after feeding.

I think some more instructions are needed here—like the starter itself.   I also am certain there’s a typo here because I can’t imagine adding 1 1/2 cups sugar!

Underneath these instructions was the coffee cake recipe.  I had to try it.

Sourdough Coffee Cake

From Grandmother’s Archives

Another good way to use your sourdough!


For the cake:

  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. flour plus 1 T.
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 T. water
  • 1/4 c. Crisco oil (I used coconut oil.)
  • 1 c. sourdough
  • 1 egg

For the topping: 

  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 T. cinnamon
  • 1 T. flour
  • 1 c. brown sugar (I decreased this to 1/2 c.)
  • 3 T. butter (my addition)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. In a separate smaller mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Mix together until smooth.
  3. Spray a glass 9″ x 9″ baking pan with cooking spray (or smear bottom and side with butter). Pour into pan.
  4. Make topping by mixing together the sugar, cinnamon flour and brown sugar until lumps are removed. Sprinkle mixture on top of batter. Cut the three T. of butter into small cubs and dot over the topping.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Yield: 9

I updated the instructions quite a bit and you can see from above some of my substitutions (and decreases).  I really can’t imagine using a full cup of brown sugar in this recipe.   

The results were pretty darn delicious.   The topping sinks to the bottom so you have an ooey-gooey topping (once you flip the servings upside down).  

Nuts would be a great addition to the topping mixture.

It’s been a while since I have done a Cookbook of the Week  review (like almost a month) so I am using this post to suffice.  I’m sorry you can’t order “the pink book” from Amazon, but I will share recipes when I can.

What’s up next in our sourdough adventure?   Some great herbed crackers from a recipe that Mom sent.   Totally will blow your mind!

5 comments to Sourdough Coffee Cake

  • That looks so inviting with that ooey-gooey topping or bottom 🙂

  • Such a great looking coffee cake. I want some. 🙂

  • Mae

    What a great idea! My mother kept her notes on the backs of envelopes or scraps of paper too. I’ve gone through some of them, but never typed it up the way your family did. I’m very tempted by that recipe, but I don’t understand the concept of “too much brown sugar.” I eat it right out of the bag sometimes.

    be well… mae at

  • Liz

    I definitely need to make a starter… with so much time on my hands, I should have done it by now!! Don’t you love a family cookbook? This recipe is a treasure (despite the typo, :))

  • What a very special cookbook! I wish my grandmother would have written things down. She had the best buttermilk biscuits, but then she did use homechurned butter. 🙂 I’d love to see more of the recipes from the pink book. This coffee cake is a great teaser.