Coffee Cake with Butter Icing

 Topped with Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans

I have been baking and eating coffee cake for as long as I remember. To me, coffee cake is a cake baked with or flavoured with coffee, just the way banana cake is a cake baked with bananas and an apple cake is a cake baked with or topped with apples.

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A few years ago, I realized that there are several other definitions of coffee cake. What is your definition of coffee cake? Should a cake be defined coffee cake because it’s being served with coffee? or because of the ingredients added to it, even though they have nothing to do with coffee? or because it’s being served around a coffee table?  or because people have long associated certain types of cakes with coffee? The following two definitions are taken directly from Wikipedia:

Coffee cake: A class of cakes eaten alongside coffee as part of a breakfast meal or during a “coffee break” or offered to guests as a gesture of hospitality on or around a coffee table. Under this definition, a coffee cake does not necessarily contain coffee.

Coffee cakes are typically single layer cakes that may be square or rectangular like a ‘stollen’ or loaf-shaped rectangular cakes, or may be ring shaped. Coffee cakes may be flavoured with cinnamon or other spices, seeds, nuts and fruits These cakes sometimes have a crumbly or crumb topping called streusel and/or a light glaze or drizzle. Some similarity to teacakes may be found, though teacakes can be individually sized baked items served with tea.

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My definition of a coffee cake, today and all other times in this blog is a cake made with or flavoured with coffee and baked in any size or shape as a I deem fit for my liking. I made this cake last week, iced it with some left over butter icing and decorated with chocolate covered coffee beans. The ideal thing would have been to add some fine instant coffee (not granules) to the butter icing to make it have coffee flavour and colour but I could not get instant coffee from my local store.

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I hope you will enjoy eating this cake. I enjoyed it more than I can say.

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Always remember to assemble all ingredients before you start baking.

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Dissolve coffee in the hot water,

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combine sugar and coffee water in a pan (pot),

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Stir  the mixture over heat without boiling until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil, remove from heat, cool syrup to room temperature.

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Beat the butter, vanilla and egg yolks

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until light and fluffy. This is what it should look like once you finish beating. With mixture on medium speed, gradually pour in cooled coffee syrup in a thin stream, into the egg yolk mixture, continue beating until all the syrup is mixed in

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This is what the mixture should look like once you’ve added  the coffee syrup.

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Stir in the sifted flour all at once, until just combined

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This is what the mixture should look like after you’ve stirred in the flour.

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Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.

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 Fold  half the egg whites into the mixture, then fold remaining egg whites gently into the mixture.

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This is what the final mixture should look like after you’re done with folding in.

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Spread into prepared tin (pan). Bake at 360°F (180°C) for about 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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Stand a few minutes before turning onto wire rack to cool.

Coffee Cake_9854I had some left over butter icing which I used to ice the cake, then I decorated with chocolate covered coffee beans.

Coffee Cake_9878I served this cake with tea. You can serve this cake with whatever you want.

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The cake did not live to see the end of the afternoon. It was too good to be saved for tomorrow.

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We enjoyed eating it, while it lasted.

Coffee Cake with Butter Icing

Preparation time: 30 minutes + cooling time;;  Baking Time 1 hour: Makes: 9 x 5 Inch Cake


  • 225g (2 cups minus 2 tbsp, 8oz) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder or two tablespoons instant coffee granules (I used Nescafe granules)
  • 80ml (⅓ cup, 2.7fl oz) hot water
  • 180g (1 scant cup, 6½oz) sugar
  • 125g (½ cup, 4½oz, 1 stick + 1 tablespoon) butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs, separated


  1. Grease a 14cm x 24cm (5.5” x 9.5”) loaf pan. Line the base and sides with parchment (grease-proof) paper. Sift or whisk the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small pan, dissolve the coffee in the hot water, then add the sugar to the dissolved coffee and stir over medium heat without boiling until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil, remove from the heat and cool the syrup to room temperature.
  3. Beat the butter, vanilla and egg yolks together until light and fluffy. With mixture on medium speed, gradually pour in cooled coffee syrup in a thin stream. Continue beating until all the syrup is mixed in.
  4. Stir in the sifted flour all at once and fold in or mix on low speed until combined.
  5. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold half the egg whites into the mixture, then fold remaining egg whites, gently, into the mixture.
  6. Spread into the prepared tin (pan). Bake at 360°C (180°C) for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Stand a few minutes before turning onto wire rack to cool.
  7. For cup measures: spoon the flour into the cup, heaping it up over the top, then slide a knife across the top to level off the extra. Be careful not to shake or tap the cup to settle down the flour or you will have more than you need. I use a 240ml American cup.

Points to Note:

  • Please note that oven temperatures are given as a guideline only. You may need to add or reduce the suggested temperature depending on your oven. I baked at 360°F for 50 minutes.
  • Last Updated: December 2, 2018 

Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

55 thoughts

    1. Hi Candy,
      I did look at the link but didn’t see the recipe. Thanks for providing the link all the same and for visiting my blog. Wish you a lovely week!

    1. Hi Maggie,
      Thanks for visiting me several time today.
      I love this coffee cake. It’s one of my favourites. You’re welcome to try it. Enjoy it, if you do.
      Thank you so much for Facebook, WordPress and everything. I really appreciate all your kind gestures! Wish you a lovely week ahead!

    1. This cake is amazing and easy to make. It’s one of my favourites. Please try it and give me a feedback!! My warm wishes to your family in Udaipur. I just love the name “city of lakes” I hope one day, I shall visit India!!!

      1. Best thing about this cake is that you have used only whites so the fat count is lower. Looks delicious with a few steps….will gonna try it very soon.
        Thanks for your wishes Liz, you can plan for a trip to India anytime. Udaipur is full of nature and beauty. The best period to visit is July – October….

        1. Wait a minute, I used egg yolks as well. Did you miss them? One day, one time, I’ll surely come to India, “Insha Allah” I must add Udaipur to my very long bucket list. I love nature and beauty and anyway I’m a botanist too, so I have a great love and passion for plants in general. I read the book “The god of small things” by Arundhati Roy. I loved it but it was also sad and informative.
          My brothers in law went to Agra University, many years ago. Thanks so much for visiting me again. Wish you a lovely evening!!!

    1. Thank you for stopping by too. i also love coffee cake end even mocha ice-cream.Hope to see you again in future. Have a pleasant week!

  1. Mini List Time!!!

    a) Did I hear you correct when you said your coffee cake did not make it past the afternoon? And … *gasps* … you chose NOT to share with us?!?!?

    b) As I look at the photos, I can almost guess the speed your beater is on as your lift it out the bowl nod nods.

    c) I like both definitions of coffee cake … that way I can partake of it in either case wooohooo lol

    d) Go back to letter (a) please. *gives you a pouty look*

    1. Hi Katie,
      my favourite pastime missed you…we kept on wondering when you would come, (liz and the blog).
      a) yes it didn’t make it past afternoon even though it came out of the oven in the afternoon..we tried to share but too late.
      b) as I lift it out of the bowl, it’s usually on the highest speed, to clear off the mixture and it splats all over the place-I have not looked at the picture now, but I think that’s what you mean. (by the way it’s a simple hand mixer about 19 bucks)
      c) Then you must be eating too much cake in the name of having a coffee cake..
      d) next time I might just, save you a piece, you never know. Okay I am now LOL very loud, enjoy the rest of the evening, and thanks for brightening my days!

  2. That does indeed look yummy! I love to garnish with chocolate covered espresso beans too. Having grown up in the States I am used to a coffee cake being any type of cake served with coffee, be it in the morning or afternoon. That being said I do not drink coffee and eat my cake with hot tea! I do love coffee in cakes though so this looks perfect.

    1. Hi Mama D1xx4xy,
      I am so happy to see you. How are the boys? I love cake with hot tea too..and I love my tea spiced with ginger, cardamon and some cinnamon, tastes too good to be true. Thanks so much for stopping by I must stop by and see what you’ve been up to. Thanks and have a wonderful week. Hope to see you more often!!! Liz

    1. Please do try it. It’s amazing. I bookmarked your Amarula cake. A must make for me!!! Have a pleasant week and hope to see you more often!!!

  3. I agree that a coffee cake has coffee in it. I used to hate coffee flavoured things when I was a teenager, even though I liked coffee. Odd really. Though maybe it was because people used Camp Coffee to flavour instead of the real thing. Do you have that in Canada? It’s chicory based. Also, if ,my maths is right then it is 9 days to your 4month blogiversary. I can’t believe your blog is so young – it’s great. Thank you very much for stopping by my blog I’m so glad it let me to yours – I’ve added you to my feed reader so I will get updated when you post anything new.

    1. Thank you for teaching me about Camp Coffee, I have just been reading about it in Wikipedia and yes, it’s a coffee substitute with chicory and a tiny splash of coffee. I love coffee cakes, they taste really nice. I don’t know if we have camp coffee here in Canada, will have to check the supermarket shelves the next time I am doing grocery shopping. I would love to try it, to see exactly what you mean. Thank you for reminding me about my 4-month-blogiversary which is just round the corner, I love my blog so much, so I spend quite a bit of time in it. It’s almost like my 5th baby. I also enjoy cooking so much, it really is “my favourite pastime”. Thanks so much for having a conversation with me. I love talking to and learning from people. What would the world be without all these nice people I am meeting here, you inclusive? I hope to see more of you. Take care!!!

    1. I adore coffee cake, am glad you do too. thanks for stopping by and thanks for this note. look forward to seeing you more often!!!

  4. I’ve never made coffee cake (I mean, the one flavoured with coffee… haha, love your exploration of the concept!). I do love them though. Yours looks gorgeous with the chocolate covered coffee beans. Mmm, I’m on my ‘coffee break’ at work (drinking tea, weirdly) and I wish I had a piece of this very appropriate coffee cake. Ah, food blogs always make me hungry!

    1. Hi Laura,
      I take more tea than coffee, so the concept of coffee cake accompanying coffee might not work for me, but I can still take my tea with a coffee flavoured cake. I want to make that Banana Coconut Rum Cake, as soon as I find the coconut flour. Never heard of it, but will try to find some. (I only know shredded and desiccated coconut). Thanks for stopping by, thanks for having a conversation, look forward to seeing more of you. Have a wonderful week! and why is the break called coffee break, yet some people take tea, others take juice or a smoothie…..yet we call it coffee break..ha ha!

  5. I wish I could just reach in and grab a piece! What a lot of time this must take you Liz, not just making the recipes, but doing the step by step and then posting all of the photos – so well done I might add! Keep up the good work!

    1. Ha ha this is very true. The posting takes me a long time, but I love doing it and I think its the only way I can inspire more people to cook/bake. I love pictures, I can never buy a cookery book without pictures. I need to see what I’m going to make in advance. Thank you so much for always stopping here, without people like you I would probably have given up by now. But when you visit and have a conversation with me, I feel motivated to keep on posting. Have a wonderful week and thanks for your friendship!!

  6. This looks so great! I used to be so confused when I was younger – I thought coffee cake had to have coffee in it! Then I realized anything my parents ate with their coffee was coffee cake. I pretty much take it to mean, if I can eat it with my coffee, then it must be coffee cake!

    1. Ha ha, that is hilarious, what about if you don’t take coffee? then you could never have a coffee cake, unless you have a flavoured one. I love taking tea, rarely take coffee but I always take my coffee cake with tea, or sometimes I take it with a cold beverage. How one defines the cake depends on where you grew up and what people called it. Thanks so much for joining this interesting conversation, I hope to see more of you. Thanks for liking so many of my posts, I truly appreciate the kind gesture. Have a fantastic week and do come again!

    1. I also love coffee cake, it tastes so nice, so that makes the two of us. Thanks so much for stopping by and for having a conversation with me. I really appreciate. Hope to see you more often? Have a fantastic week!!!

  7. It looks so interesting. I wonder if this cake can be cooked by steaming. A friend of mine loves coffee and steamed cakes. It would be a perfect combo in a cake! 😀

    1. Hi Hari,
      Thanks for stopping by, I think the best way of making this cake is in the oven, that will give you the best results. It’s a very tasty cake and I really enjoyed eating it. It was gobbled up so fast, I think I have to bake one another day. Have a wonderful week and hope to see you again!

      1. I think you are right. Steaming the cake will make it too moist. The steamer won’t be able to give the crispy, smokey effect that only the oven can give.
        Well, I just had a fun Monday lunch. I wonder what I will do for the rest of my off-day. Maybe I should cook something! 😀
        I hope you have a wonderful week, too, Liz!

        1. Thanks Hari, your photography has really improved. I loved the avocado juice photo. Enjoy the rest of the week!

  8. I agree with you, coffee cake is cake with coffee flavour! I got very confused in the US with people talking about coffee cake and there being no coffee in it… It took me ages to work it that it meant it was for eating with coffee. Which if you don’t drink coffee must be really annoying! I have had a craving for coffee cake recently too, yours looks lovely and I can’t believe I didn’t think to use my chocolate coffee beans on mine!

    1. Hi, and thanks for popping by. I agree with you..not everybody drinks coffee but they can eat a coffee cake. It also took me some time to figure out the so called coffee cakes that are taken with coffee. Thanks for your compliments, I love using the coffee beans, they make the cake look nice. I have just been admiring the lovely cakes you make on your blog. You are really talented. Have a fantastic week and hope to see you more often.

  9. Think it’s only logical that coffee cakes have coffee in them. Otherwise every other cake can be known as a coffee cake, according to the other definition, which is clearly not the case.

    1. Hi and thanks so much for joining the conversation. I totally agree with you about the definition of coffee cake, after all there are some people who don’t sit around the coffee table but they still eat cake. Have a fantastic week and hope to see more of you!!!

    1. Thank you so much for joining the conversation. This cake was absolutely delicious, while it lasted. We gobbled it all up, very fast. Have a wonderful Sunday and enjoy the week!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. I am just having my first cup of coffee right now and I’m loving every moment of it. Enjoy your Sunday!!!

  10. Coffee cake is definitely ONLY worthy of that title if it has a cake which has been flavoured with coffee and, preferably coated with coffee flavoured butter icing. A generous helping of coffee icing in the middle is often a feature of a coffee cake I’ve made but then Mud loves a coffee cake to taste of ….. well, coffee!

    Love the look of your cake and the idea of chocolate coated coffee beans 🙂

    1. Dear Mrs Mud,
      Thank you very much for clarifying and agreeing with my definition of coffee cake, so the definition “cake made with or flavoured with coffee” wins the day. I totally agree with coating with coffee flavoured butter icing too…and some generous icing in the middle. Thank you for loving the look of the cake, that makes me very satisfied. I hope to see more of you in future and wish you all the best with in your gardening venture, I love plants!!!

  11. That looks lovely – I’ve always been slightly mystified by the concept of a ‘coffee cake’ as being ‘one that you eat with coffee’ as I eat all my cakes like that! Your definition of it being one that’s got coffee as part of the ingredients is definitely the one that makes most sense to me.

    1. I totally agree with you, when I first heard that a coffee cake is one eaten around a coffee table, I was dumbfounded, because I sometimes eat my lunch around a coffee table, so should I call it a coffee lunch? or if I took tea around a coffee table then does it become a tea coffee? So to me coffee cake is a coffee flavoured cake and it will remain so. Thanks so much for joining the conversation!!!

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