Brown Butter Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Swirl

Each year, trendy flavors take over the dessert world. Salted caramel is an example, as it went from a relatively obscure flavor combination to something you could find everywhere – in iced coffees, cookies, and even whisky.

Brown butter, on the other hand, has a unique, nutty flavor that is timeless. It’s been used both purposely – and accidentally – in recipes for many years. However, since professional and amateur chefs alike are re-discovering this signature ingredient, expect brown butter to be the star of a legion of recipes both this year – and the one after.

One of these recipes is brown butter coffee cake with cinnamon swirl. Britney Breaks Bread was kind enough to pass this one along, because as a serious chef who knows hot to put a recipe through its paces, she knew we’d give this one the attention and deference it deserves!

Here’s how to create your own batch of brown butter coffee cake with cinnamon swirl:

Brown butter coffee cake: A recipe for the chef in all of us

If you’ve ever come across a recipe for a fish or dessert, salivated over the beautiful pictures, and felt just a little overwhelmed with the preparation process, know this: We’ve been there! However, although this brown butter coffee cake with cinnamon swirl requires a bit more prep work, the warm, rich, nutty flavor of brown butter is worth every second spent mixing ingredients and carefully putting them in the oven.

To make this brown butter coffee cake just right, get organized. Prepare to make your crumb topping first, your filling second, everything else third.

So, what tools do you need? The recipe suggests using a stand mixer to combine the brown butter, brown sugar, regular sugar, and other ingredients. Can you mix everything by hand? Of course, but using a stand mixer to smooth out the ingredients makes putting together this recipe much quicker – and easier.

While I love sugar just as much as anyone else, I know that not everyone can have it. With this recipe, you can certainly substitute regular sugar and even brown sugar with other ingredients, including baking-friendly sucralose (Splenda), or even allulose, a newly popular artificial sweetener. Just make sure you choose an artificial sweetener stable enough for baking. If you pick the wrong one, your coffee cake will be a miss, not a hit!

How a French version of butter makes this coffee cake a keeper

So, where – and how – did brown butter become a popular flavor? Brown butter was used in dishes for many years, but it took the chefs in France to perfect it and popularize it in cooking circles.

Known in French as beurre noisette, literally translated as “hazelnut butter,” this warm sauce is now produced by warming up unsalted butter until you separate the milk solids from the butterfat.

To make a fantastic batch of beurre noisette on your own, you’ll need high quality butter with far more butterfat than average. In other words, don’t expect all brands to feature the butterfat level you need to transform this recipe into something your guests will talk about for years.

At Minerva Dairy, the oldest family owned creamery in the United States, we’ve been developing sky high quality butter with 86% butterfat since 1894. In many recipes for desserts, entrees, and starters, our butter is the only choice for both professional and amateur chefs.

With 6% more butterfat than average and a creamy consistency that blends easily with sweet and savory ingredients alike, our small batch, rich and creamy butter that makes everything better, including this awesome recipe for brown butter coffee cake with cinnamon swirl!

Be sure to keep up with our latest creations through our FacebookPinterest, or Instagram pages.

Prep Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 8


Crumb Topping

  • 8 tbsps Brown Butter (see directions)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsps all-purpose flour


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

Coffee Cake

  • 1 cup brown butter (see instructions)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

Glaze Topping, optional

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tbsps milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Brown three sticks of unsalted butter in a pan.  Set aside and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Make the crumb topping: add 8 tbsps of the brown butter to a bowl and add brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour.  Mix together until mixture becomes clumpy.  Add bowl to the freezer.
  4. In a separate bowl, make the filling.  Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.  Mix together and set aside.
  5. In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment or large bowl using a hand mixer, add the remaining amount of brown butter (this should be around 1 cup of butter), brown sugar, and sugar.  Whisk together until fully incorporated.  Add sour cream, vanilla extract, and vegetable oil.  Continue to mix.  Add eggs one at a time.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients – flour, kosher salt, and baking powder.  Add half of the flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix together.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Then add the remainder of the flour mixture and mix until batter is smooth, about 10-15 seconds.  Be sure not to over mix.
  7. Using a springform pan, spray the pan with oil and then sprinkle with flour to ensure cake does not get stuck to pan.  (If using parchment rounds, lay the parchment paper down on the bottom of the pan).
  8. Add half of the batter to the bottom of the pan.  Then add all of the filling.  Add the remainder of the cake batter on top of the filling.  (Batter will be thick so use a spatula or spoon to ensure that cake batter is spread evenly across the pan).
  9. Remove crumb topping from freezer and sprinkle on top of the cake batter.  Bake cake for 1 hour and 10-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow cake to cool inside pan for 10 minutes and then remove from pan.
  10. To make glaze, mix together powdered sugar and milk.  Drizzle on top of coffee cake.

Britney breaks Bread

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