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  • Writer's pictureSusie Csorsz Brown

Kids can cook: Nutty Crumble Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Let's make a cake, but with a crumbly, nutty topping. Let's make a cake that is the perfect option for surprising Mom or for when we have a bunch of friends sleeping over!

Some hints: toast your nuts! I know it says it below, too, but just a reminder that one of the best ways to get a big boost of flavor is to toast the nuts! I usually toast enough for the recipe, or, if I know I'll be baking again soon, I'll do a bit extra and stick the extra into a container in the freezer. Toasting your nuts will unfortunately speed up the spoiling speed, so don't leave these toasted nuts at room temp for long.

Note that the flour in the crumble is whole wheat. This ups the fiber content of the cake, and also adds an extra nutty taste.

Final point: the cream cheese is not going to be mixed into the batter, but rather plopped in the middle of the cake for bits and bites of creamy cheese with every bite. You can use a small cookie scoop or use two spoons to drop these little blobs while assembling the cake.

Nutty Crumble Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Yield: one 8×8-inch cake


Nutty Cinnamon Crumble

3/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Pinch of fine salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

3/4 cup sour cream/Greek yogurt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2.5 ounces cold cream cheese

flaky salt, optional


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Coat an 8 × 8- 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray or brush with butter. Line the pan with a strip of parchment paper that hangs over two of the edges.

Make the crumble:

In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, walnuts/pecans, oats, cinnamon, and salt and stir to combine. Add the melted butter and stir until combined. The mixture will be sandy. Set aside.

Make the batter:

In a large bowl, whisk the granulated sugar and eggs until pale and foamy, about 1 minute. Add the sour cream, whisking again until thickened and smooth. Add butter, salt and vanilla, whisking until smooth and emulsified.

Using a rubber spatula, stir in the baking powder, baking soda, and the all-purpose flour to combine.

Assemble the cake:

Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan taking care not to let the batter drop outside the parchment; smooth the top. Use your fingers to break the cream cheese into smallish pieces and scatter them over the top of the batter. Sprinkle half of the walnut crumble on top. Spoon the rest of the batter over the crumble and use your spatula or a wet finger to gently spread and smooth the batter. Sprinkle the remaining walnut crumble on top. If desired, sprinkle the top lightly with flaky salt.

Set the cake in the middle rack, on a baking sheet (in case any of the crumbles topple out. Bake the cake until puffed and golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35-45 minutes.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack, then use the parchment paper to lift the cake out and onto the rack to cool completely. Store loosely covered at room temperature for up to 2 days or a few days longer in the fridge.


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