Cinnamon-nut Coffee Cake

The light crumb of this yeasted coffee cake is easy to prepare, fragrant with cinnamon and nuts and glazed in a vanilla icing. Pour a cup of coffee―it’s time for a break!

Cinnamon-nut Coffee Cake

When Friends Inspire

It was late May. The world was about to enter a third month under the gloomy, restrictive veil of covid-19. I suspect for many, including me, a journey of introspection ensued while sheltering in place. Homes strengthened their position as sanctuaries and safe havens, nuclear family bonds tightened too. Moreover, civil unrest erupted in Minneapolis when a black man was needlessly killed by the hands of police. That killing reverberates globally to this day.

Escapism became defined as binge watching TV, novel reading, home cleanup/improvement projects and social media. Social media for me is not escapism but rather a tool of communication for friends and virtual friends―the ones you’ve met online based on shared interests. My interaction of this variety is intermittent at best, but alas, I can do a dexterous scroll through any of the platforms as nimbly as an expert X-box player.

While scrolling the Twitterverse that day late in May, as colorful imagery, anecdotal humor and political fodder rolled past my eyes I was suddenly stopped in my tracks. The image that captured my gaze was of a yeasted coffee cake all nutty and cinnamon-y through a pillow-like crumb. It was also touted as an easy recipe. The photo was from my friend, Jean, who writes the lovely blog Delightful Repast. I met Jean 10 years ago on Twitter. We were participants in the Los Angeles Times #WeekendEats; a share your food images tweet fest that took place every Monday morning. It was always great fun to see what people were making and/or eating over the weekend. If your image caught the eye of the food editors a feature or retweet was always an honorable nod from the newspaper. It was in these exchanges with foodies from all over that friendships budded.

Coffee Cake Process

Jean’s blog voice is warm and welcoming as she chronicles recipes and stories; her work is sensible and accessible. Her photos are equally as splendid. The coffee cake is just one example. After liking and retweeting the picture I had gone on about my day but as days passed turning into weeks, the image stayed on my mind.

It will come as a surprise to Jean that her coffee cake became my summer obsession. It’s what happens when friends inspire friends! I baked up several of them including a couple of variations. Each one that turned out was as tasty as the last, the easy yummy recipe from my friend at Delightful Repast.

Cinnamon-nut Coffee Cake Slice

Adapted from Delightful Repast

Cinnamon-nut Coffee Cake

Cinnamon-nut Coffee Cake

The light crumb of this yeasted coffee cake is easy to prepare, fragrant with cinnamon and nuts and glazed in a vanilla icing. Pour a cup of coffee―it’s time for a break!
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, cinnamon, coffee, fruit, pecan, walnut, yeasted
Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 12
Calories: 266kcal
Author: Brooks Walker


  • 13x9x2 baking pan
  • parchment paper


For the dough

  • 3 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (462 g)
  • ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour set aside for dusting/shaping (36 g)
  • ¼ cup sugar (50 g)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • cup milk, plus ⅔ cup water heated to 120 to 130F
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and divided

For the filling

  • ¼ cup sugar (50 g)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the cinnamon-nut topping

  • 1 cup medium chopped pecans or walnuts (114 g)
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar (50 g)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 Pinch salt

For the glaze

  • ½ cup powdered sugar packed, not sifted (58 g)
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted
  • 2 teaspoons milk room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Begin making the dough about 3 hours before you plan to serve the coffee cake. In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, yeast, salt and cardamom. Add heated milk and water, egg and all but 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and stir vigorously with a large spoon until combined and then continue stirring for one minute. Cover and let rest for approximately 20 minutes. This is a good time to make the filling, the topping and to prepare the baking dish.

To make the filling

  • In small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon.

Make the topping

  • In a small bowl, stir together nuts, flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt.

Prepare the baking pan

  • Spray the sides and bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking dish or pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper long enough to go up the short sides of the pan. Spread 1 tablespoon of the melted butter over the parchment.

Shape and fill the dough

  • Using the reserved 1/4 cup of flour, lightly flour work surface. Scrape the sticky dough onto the flour. Lightly dust the dough surface with flour and press it into a rough 13x9-inch rectangle. Spread cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough. Starting at one of the short ends, roll the dough loosely and place it length wise in the prepared baking dish. With lightly floured hands from the reserve, gently press the dough down to fit the dish; if the dough resists, allow it to rest a few moments and then continue pressing. 
  • Brush the remaining melted butter on top of the dough. Sprinkle the nut topping evenly over the buttered dough. Sprinkle the nut topping evenly over the top and gently press the mixture into the dough. Cover loosely and let rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Towards the end of the rise, preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Let the baked coffee cake stand for 5 minutes before turning out onto wire rack.
  • Allow the coffee cake to cool for about 20 minutes.

Make the glaze

  • Whisk together the powdered sugar, melted butter, warm milk and vanilla extract until fully blended and smooth. Drizzle over the lukewarm cake. Cut into 12 squares. Store in an airtight container.


This coffee cake is dreamy on its own, but fresh seasonal fruit makes a lovely addition. Just dot the top of the buttered dough with sliced fruit or berries before you add the cinnamon-nut topping, gently press and proof.


Serving: 1square | Calories: 266kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 250mg | Potassium: 58mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @cakewalkr or tag #cakewalkr!

Feeling adventurous?

Utilize seasonal fresh fruit by adding some just before the nut topping goes on. The peach is dreamy!

Peach Cinnamon-nut Coffee Cake

And the blueberry is divine!

Blueberry Cinnamon-nut Coffee Cake

Apple season is upon us. I’ll bet you can guess where I’m headed next. Get into the kitchen and bake up this tasty coffee cake for your family and friends.

Until next time, happy baking!


  1. 5 stars
    Brooks, you don’t post frequently, so I’m always excited when you put up a new post. So I pop in today and find *this*—yes, it was a surprise! I’m honored to have such a fine baker doing one of my recipes and riffing on it with some of my favorite fruits. Your writing is as beautiful as your food and photography! Wishing you and your family all the best at this “interesting” time.

    • Brooks Walker says

      Thank you, Jean and likewise! I’m thankful for the terrific recipe and friendship too. Cheers! 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Brooks, This looks delicious and with the vanilla glaze looks amazing! I did lots of baking during the first months of Covid, making cookies and coffee cakes. I hope you and yours are staying safe and healthy. Take care, Joan

    • Brooks Walker says

      We are well, thanks Joan. Hoping the same is true for you and yours. I have reason to believe many kitchens across the globe lately have fired up their ovens. I appreciate you stopping by. 🙂

  3. It has been and looks like it will be a very difficult time and social media has definitely been a bit of a saviour, keeping in touch has never become more important. These inspirational recipes help make this journey palatable. And who doesn’t love cinnamon coffee cake?

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