Carrie’s Buttermilk Coffee Cake

Last weekend, I spent the day at Carrie’s home along with  Marla and Molly. Carrie lives on an air force base about 2 hours outside of Los Angeles. She is married to a real “Top Gun” and has two amazingly, polite, smart, and adorable daughters.  We had been talking about a day on the “base” for nearly a year and the day was finally here.

Carrie made a delicious lunch; whole, roasted chicken, vegetable tian, fresh bread and my new favorite drink of choice; kombucha.  After sitting down for a long lunch, Mr. Top Gun, took us on a tour of the base.  I was curious, filled with questions and in awe of it all.  He educated us about each and every plane that he had flown and talked extensively about his responsibilities.  I left her home after dark, and drove on the dark highway, feeling incredibly peaceful.

Carrie never fails to inspire me. I leave Carrie wanting to omit the white stuff from my pantry, something I have been trying to do for 25 years.  I feel ready. I came home that night and before bed,  instead of picking up the novel that I am currently reading, I re-read Carrie’s cookbook.  I earmarked some pages and made some mental notes.

Carrie had given me a copy of her book a few days prior to its release date. One of the first things I made from her cookbook, Deliciously Organic, was her buttermilk coffee cake.  It was devoured so quickly that I was not able to get a photo of it.  It is that good.  This past weekend, my two older boys were heading up to Lake Arrowhead for winter camp (over 4′ of snow – lucky them). The bus was taking off early on Friday morning, loaded with a group of pre-teens and a few teenagers.  I wanted to send them off with something sweet yet healthy at the same time.  No, I didn’t send them off with a bowl of fruit, but I did pack up a batch of this coffee cake instead.  I am pretty confident that this second coffee cake was gobbled up as quickly as the first one that I had made.


Buttermilk Coffee Cake


8 Tbsp. unsalted butter(organic), room temperature
1 14/ cups(230gr) Sucanat or whole cane sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/4 cup(180ml) sour cream
2 1/4 cups(300gr) whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup(100gr) walnuts or pecans


• preheat oven to 375*. Place oven rack in the center of your oven. Butter an 8×8 inch (20x20cm) baking dish.  I love this onefrom William Sonoma(I have all sizes and they are worth the investment).
• whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
• in the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and 3/4 cup(140g) of the sugar.  Mix for 3 minutes until creamy and light in color.
• add eggs + vanilla, blend well.
• add sour cream and blend until you do not see any white streaks.
• remove bowl from the mixer and add the dry ingredients.  mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until all incorporated.
• put batter into prepared baking pan.
• in the work bowl of a food processor, fitted with the metal blade, pulse the 3 tablespoons of butter, remaining 1/2 cup sucanat(90g), maple syrup, and cinnamon.  pulse a few times to incorporate. roughly chop the nuts and add to the work bowl and pulse a few times(leaving them chunky)
• crumble topping, evenly, over coffee cake batter. bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden on top(mine took closer to the 30 minute mark)
• I was tempted to add some fresh raspberries to the batter, but didn’t. will do next time. I am also wanting to make mini muffins with chcolate chips.  The possibilities are endless!

The Urban Baker /

More deliciously amazing Coffee Cake recipes:
Meyer Lemon Pull Apart Bread – Hungry Girl Por Vida
Cake on the Go – The Urban Baker
Chocolate + Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake – Chocolate Shavings
Apple Pecan Coffee Cake – Technicolor Kitchen
Peach and Almond Coffee Cake – Bakers Daughter
Banana Coffee Cake with Coconut Pecan Topping – For the Love of Cooking

Showing 21 comments
  • cindy

    the coffee cake looks amazing! i love baking w/ whole wheat pastry flour.

    sounds like you had a great day one the base 😉

    • Susan

      Hey, Cindy! It was a great day. Yet come to think of it, most days spent the “girls” is a great day!

  • Kim

    It’s amazing how a blog can do in your life, like meeting interresting people, developping self confidence, discover new products and recipe, new cultures. This coffe cake looks so good and so full of great stuff. I will definitly give it a try soon!

    • Susan

      Kim – so true! I feel I have met you through this journey and I am grateful.

  • Reply

    Susan that was such a special day we shared together! Carrie and Top Gun were wonderful hosts. Once you switch over to the unrefined ingredients you never look back. Really.

    • Susan

      I just had my Kombuca cocktail (hee) and I am so satisfied! I am going to spread the word because I am in love with this drink!x

  • Esi

    Sounds like such a fun day! I need to try more kombucha. I had a sip of it once and thought it was pretty good. Love, love, love coffee cake with big crumbs!

  • Lucy Lean

    That photo of you all with the Air Force plane behind is priceless – and this cake looks really good – I love Carrie’s recipes/book/life! Inspiring – thanks for sharing.

  • Allison [Haute Box]

    Wow. That sounds like such a magical afternoon! Thanks for sharing it with us, Susan!

  • linda

    it is so wonderful to go out of one’s environment & experience someone else’s “way of living.”
    & it is great to be able to learn about an arena that most of us are not familiar with (except thru the eyes of tom cruise)…it must have been a fantastic day!
    this recipe sounds delish & one that i will be baking soon.

    • the urban baker

      Hi Linda, it truly was a great experience with a great family as well as a great group of girls. I feel blessed to have all of them in my life! On a light note, you will love this cake!

  • Deliciously Organic

    What a sweet post. Thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad our paths crossed last year. What a blessing!

  • Cathy/ShowFoodChef

    Wow, what a fun day and I could just feel how special it was in your writing. I love any baked goods with buttermilk and this looks so good in that pic. Thanks for sharing the story and recipe.

  • Kristen

    So much fun – and that coffee cake looks good too!

  • Patricia Scarpin

    You girls sure had a lot of fun! How nice, what a wonderful day!
    And this cake… I love coffee cakes with streusel toppings, one of my true weaknesses! Looks amazing, Suz, and lucky were the boys who got to devour it! ;D

  • Reply

    Although my laser-like focus is always exclusively on coffee in the morning, I’m totally devoted to faintly sweet cakes and coffee cakes for dessert. This one is so very lovely, appealing, and totally to my taste. Kudos to you and Carrie for such a delicious-sounding recipe.

  • Katie

    Hi- Just curious, I don’t see any buttermilk in this one, but I see that it is called buttermilk coffee cake. Is there anything missing from the recipe?

    • Susan

      Hi Katie! I know – I was confused the first time I made it. But – once you eat it, it is so light that it feels like a buttermilk coffee cake.

      • Katie

        Thanks Susan! I actually had it in the oven while I wrote my original comment 🙂 I just had a fork full, and I see what you mean! So good, and very light!
        Love your blog!! 🙂

        • Susan

          Thanks, Katie! It’s a good one and a few forkfulls is somewhat “guilt-free”!

pingbacks / trackbacks

Leave a Comment