‘Barefoot Contessa’: Ina Garten’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake Has an Unusual Ingredient That ‘Turns Up the Flavor’

Barefoot Contessa star Ina Garten is well known for taking ordinary recipes and elevating the flavors. Her sour cream coffee cake perfectly illustrates that concept, with one ingredient she says “turns up the flavor.” Plus she adds a delicious glaze because “too much is never enough.”

Ina Garten on the Today show
Hoda Kotb and Ina Garten on the ‘Today’ show | Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten’s coffee cake recipe doesn’t skimp on taste

Garten demonstrated how to make her sour cream coffee cake recipe on her Barefoot Contessa cooking show. You can easily make this ahead of time when having guests over as the crowd-pleasing cake is an amazing dessert or welcome addition to your breakfast or brunch menu.

“It’s a really moist sour cream cake, with a streusel in the middle,” Garten explained as she got to work on the recipe.   

Garten offered several tips throughout her demonstration, such as the choice to use cake flour in her coffee cake recipe. “Cake flour, I found, is a little lighter and fluffier so that’s what I use,” she shared.

The secret to a “really moist” coffee cake? The addition of sour cream, she noted.

As for Garten’s unusual coffee cake ingredient, she recommended using walnuts. “I don’t know how traditional walnuts are for a streusel cake, but I’m going to add some,” she explained. “Because I think it turns up the flavor.”

The Barefoot Contessa star also demonstrated her philosophy that “too much is never enough” by drizzling the cake with a sinful maple glaze.

How to make Ina Garten’s sour cream coffee cake recipe

It may look like Garten’s sour cream coffee cake recipe has a lot of ingredients and steps, but mixing the cake batter together is simple and the streusel and glaze require very little prep time. (You can find the recipe on The Food Network website.)


  • 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups sour cream
  • 2 ½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Streusel ingredients

  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts, optional

Glaze ingredients

  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cream together the butter and sugar in an electric mixture for 4 to 5 minutes, until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the butter and sugar mixture, then add the vanilla and sour cream.

Sift together the dry ingredients (cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add the dry ingredients until everything is combined.

Combine the streusel ingredients together in a bowl, using your hands to pinch it together until the streusel becomes crumbly. Add the walnuts and combine them with the crumbled mixture.

Pour half of the batter into a buttered and floured 10-inch tube pan, then sprinkle ¾ of the streusel over it. Add the rest of the batter, smooth it out, and sprinkle the remaining streusel over the top.

Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool at least 30 minutes on a wire rack before placing it on a plate.

Whisk together the glaze ingredients, adding water if necessary to thin it out, then drizzle it over the top of the cake.