Coconut Chai Coffee Cake

by jenna on November 5, 2012

Do people really make coffee cakes anymore?

I hope so.

I can’t think of a better hostess or new neighbor gift than a sweet, homemade coffee cake…and this coconut chai variation is really something special. It’s perfectly light and fluffy, and topped with the most delicious spiced streusel. Yep, in my opinion a coffee cake is only as good as the streusel it’s topped with. Folks, if you don’t know this already, I have a MAJOR thing for streusel and get a lot of joy from picking it off coffee cakes and pies belonging to innocent bystanders. I also get a lot of joy from swiping my finger through the frosting at the bottom of cakes…..I’m not sure what that says about me as a person? Moral of the story: don’t let me near your streusel, frosting or pie crusts. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

This recipe comes from the seriously wonderful Aida Mollenkamp. I just love LOVE her new cookbook, Keys to the Kitchen. It’s gorgeous and the pages feel really nice to flip, which is sort of a big deal because who wants to own a book with icky pages? Her photography is stunning and the recipes left me drooling.

Any time I review a cookbook, I like to make a couple of the recipes on my own before I write about it. This time, I chose to make Aida’s prosciutto-sage chicken with pan-roasted figs for a date night meal for Adam and I a few weeks ago.…it was amazing. I love how there are little tips and menu ideas to go along with the recipes in the cookbook, too. I know this book will be a great resource to me in the days to come — I’m already planning out my next meal from it.

As much as the prosciutto chicken was hit, so was this coffee cake. I enjoyed a thick slice alongside my morning scramble eggs and then brought the rest over to Adam to take in to the office. They were very thankful.

What’s really special about this coffee cake is that the streusel actually has a hint of black pepper in it, along with various other spices and flakes of unsweetened coconut. Wow. I’ve never tried putting black pepper in my baked goods before, but this made a believer out of me —- it was SO crazy good.

So…if you make one coffee cake this season {and you really should}, try this one. It’s yummy.

Coconut Chai Coffee Cake

makes 1 cake to serve about 8

from Keys to the Kitchen

Print this Recipe!


for streusel —

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

for cake —-

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup sour cream

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

special tools: 9″ springform pan


Preheat oven to 350.

Coat a 9″ springform pan with butter and flour. Set aside.

Combine all streusel ingredients in a small bowl and mix until clumpy and well incorporated. Place in the fridge until you’re ready to use.

To make the cake, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Cream together the brown sugar and the butter in another bowl using an electric mixer. Add the sour cream and mix well, then add the eggs and vanilla and blend until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined, then transfer the batter into your prepared pan and spread evenly. Remove the streusel from the fridge and scatter it on top of the cake, pressing gently so it adheres to the batter.

Bake the coffee cake for 50-55 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.


1.5 hours



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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Amelia November 5, 2012 at 3:47 am

Haha, I do the same thing with streusel topping and pie crust. The cake and pie filling, eh leave it, but the crust, oh the crust! Not so much a fan of the icing….I think it was overload from my buttercream/wedding cake making days.

Loving your recipes this time of year and always. πŸ™‚


Joelle (on a pink typewriter) November 5, 2012 at 4:22 am

This looks fabulous! Ps. Congraaaaaats!!!!!


Michelle @ Eat Move Balance November 5, 2012 at 4:33 am

There is definitely a lacking of coffee cake in my life. It used to be something we had with my grandparents growing up….those were the days!


Blog is the New Black November 5, 2012 at 4:34 am

All the flavors in this sound incredible!!


Averie @ Averie Cooks November 5, 2012 at 4:42 am

“Do people really make coffee cakes anymore?” <– YES! I made one this weekend in my 9" springform pan! This one looks great and as soon as we polish off the one I made, I'm thinking chai, coconut, and some black pepper sounds creative & fun!


Gabby (Quest for Delicious) November 5, 2012 at 4:50 am

Love the thought of all those warm chai spices in a coffee cake!


Leah @ Chocolate and Wild Air November 5, 2012 at 4:51 am

Yum, love a good coffee cake. And love a good chair latte. So I definitely need to try this!


Betsy November 5, 2012 at 4:51 am

YUM! LOVE coffee cakes… i make a cinnamon one all the time. and CONGRATS on your engagement… saw the pic on Instagram! Such a special time… Happy planning and best wishes!


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 5, 2012 at 4:52 am

I totally agree with you on the importance of the streusel. In fact, I think it would be an awesome idea to just make a streusel cake. Does such a thing already exist? It probably does, but in the meantime, I’d take a slice of this coffee cake. Chai spices are my favourite!


Amanda November 5, 2012 at 4:59 am

I’m going to have to make this coffee cake! I loooove coffee cake and save the streusel layered top for last and wash it down with my coffee. Nothing beats that!

Btw, I follow you on twitter….. Congratulations : D


Molly @ RDexposed November 5, 2012 at 5:01 am

These recipes must have sealed the deal! Hope you’re eating some engagement coffee cake this morning for breakfast!


Deva by definition November 5, 2012 at 5:11 am

This sounds amazing! I saw your Instagram
Feed this morning – congratulations!!


Angela @ Happy Fit Mama November 5, 2012 at 5:24 am

GASP! I don’t own a springform pan! Must go to the store immediately to purchase one. πŸ™‚


Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats November 5, 2012 at 5:27 am

I, too, am a complete sucker for streusel (and coffee cake!) Sometimes I make apple crisp *just* so I can eat the streusely crisp on top…! Great fall flavor combo of chai and coconut too. I will definitely make this! And, CONGRATS, Jenna – couldn’t be happier for you two! πŸ™‚


Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) November 5, 2012 at 5:35 am

The flavors in this cake have my name written all over it. I will definitely be making this for our next breakfast potluck at work – yum!


Abby@ Totes Delish November 5, 2012 at 5:51 am

This looks TOO good! Perfect for a cold morning on a fall weekend. Congrats on your engagement! : )


Kitchen Mommy November 5, 2012 at 5:54 am

Great-sounding recipe! I am totally making this for my mom when we are there for Thanksgiving. She loves chai tea.


Katie D. November 5, 2012 at 5:57 am

I make pfferneuse cookies that have black pepper in them, so good!!


Katie @ Talk Less, Say More November 5, 2012 at 6:04 am

YUM! This look like it’s right up my alley!


Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots November 5, 2012 at 6:13 am

yes people still make coffee cake! It is my boyfriends favorite thing so I make his grandmothers recipe passed on to me by his mother! coffee cake is the way to his heart except they call it tea cake!


amy walters, aDESIGNdock November 5, 2012 at 6:36 am

Mmm…I love coffee cakes. There’s something so retro and days-gone-bye about them that I just adore.


Jenny November 5, 2012 at 6:41 am

I just made this last week and it was epic!


jaime @ sweet road November 5, 2012 at 7:01 am

I remember guests would always bring coffee cake when I was younger. In recent years I have had them more often as a winter treat… so sure, people are still making coffee cake! You take on it with coconut sounds delishhh!!


Lia November 5, 2012 at 7:18 am

I just needed to see the title of this post to have a better day. That sounds and looks and smell, in my mind, AMAZING! We used to eat coffee cake every weekend. My dad would make it with chunks of brown sugar that would sink into the top. We’d eat it fresh to of the oven smearing butter on it! It’s been a fair few years wince I’ve made coffee cake. Thanks for the awesome reminder!


Sarah November 5, 2012 at 7:24 am

I love coffee cake! Especially the plain kind, but this looks delicious too! I always go home for breaks and my mom has some waiting on the counter.


{Moni} @ Moni Meals November 5, 2012 at 8:06 am

well Helllllllo Monday Morning!

This looks DEVINE Jenna!

Thanks!! Can’t wait to make it.


gwen November 5, 2012 at 8:06 am

First, congratulations on your engagement! I saw your Instagram post, and now I can’t wait to see your engagement unfold on your blog.

I’ve made this cake, too! I absolutely loved the flavor of the crumb topping, but the cake itself was too dense and dry. I might’ve overbaked the cake β€” so that’s my word of caution to everyone else who tries the recipe! πŸ™‚


allie@sweetpotatobites November 5, 2012 at 8:18 am

this looks so good – perfect fall coffee cake!

congrats on your engagement!


jenna k November 5, 2012 at 8:52 am

i love coffee cake, but i love engagement pictures/details even more πŸ˜‰


Dione November 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I ditto that!


Addy@ Six-Kick Switch November 5, 2012 at 9:18 am

I totally make coffee cakes still – anything with a crumble topping is in, in my book! I love Aida too – I got to sit in on a workshop with her at last year’s Craftcation conference – talk about a hard-working lady! Can’t wait to get a copy of her new book.


Erica @ Coffee & Quinoa November 5, 2012 at 9:40 am

Love these photos! So beautiful. And the cake sounds delicious, too!


Amy November 5, 2012 at 10:09 am

this looks amazing! can’t wait to make this happen.

longtime follower. congrats on your engagement! so happy for you & adam!


corinne November 5, 2012 at 10:54 am

I love coffee cake but I love engagement stories even more…DO TELL πŸ™‚

CONGRATS πŸ™‚ Such a special and fun time! Enjoy every minute and don’t forget to breathe


Sonia the Mexigarian November 5, 2012 at 11:02 am

I LOVE coffee cake, but have been kind of afraid to make it. there’s this one coffee cake from Hobee’s that’s simply amazing and if I could get a cake to taste like it, I’d be happy. though this does sound delicious. coconut, chai, what’s not to love πŸ™‚


Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe November 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Nobody’s streudel is safe around me either…a coffee cake just ain’t a coffee cake without some dang good streudel. I love that this recipe has black pepper in it – when I make homemade chai I always use black peppercorns. They certainly add a little something something.
PS. I just can’t hide my grin after seeing your Instagram feed this morning. The biggest of congratulations to you my dear!


Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen November 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I hope so, too! Coffee cake is a tradition in my family – my mom makes her unnnbelievable German sour cream coffee cake (courtesy of a church cookbook handed down by my Mimi from… I wanna say the ’50s) every single year for breakfast on Christmas morning. It’s one of those recipes that I know I’ll be handing down to my kids eventually.

This recipe looks incredible – definitely trying it. Oh, and congrats to you and Adam!! The instagram photo was adorable!!


Malkire November 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I have tried a number of your recipes recently and I have to say each one has been simple to make and flavorful. My husband and I have put a few into the regular rotation and this cake looks like our next recipe to try!


janet November 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Awesome. Just finished making it (using the Chai Tea spice mix recipe I got at my African cooking class … Smells SO amazing.

Congrats on your engagement!!!!!


Elise November 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Pepper is a pretty classic ingredient in some German and Scandanavian spice cookies (and maybe cakes too?).

And Congrats!


Caroline L. November 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm

This certainly does look like something special!!

PS. Congratulations Jenna, so happy for you πŸ™‚


erin @WELLinLA November 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm

You had me at coconut and it was LOVE at chai! Coffee? Yes, please!

Congrats, congrats, congrats on your engagement!


Sam @ Better With Sprinkles November 5, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I definitely do the same thing with struesel topping and frosting..especially if it’s buttercream. It’s actually ridiculous how much buttercream I can eat. :-p


Carrie @ The Cook's Palette November 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm

I totally baked a coconut chai bread the other day too AND put black pepper in it! I was trying to be authentic to chai spices. It really does give it a special kick. This one looks delicious!


Emily @ Life on Food November 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Sundays = Coffee Cake


Saeriu November 6, 2012 at 10:06 am

Coffee cake is in heavy rotation in our house. Almost once a week. I’m always on the look out for something new when it comes to coffee cake. I have a tough crowd at home. My husband doesn’t care for coconut–something I should have found out before we were married! πŸ™‚ Just kidding. I love, love, love coconut. This looks wonderful!


Laura Dembowski November 6, 2012 at 5:45 pm

I love coffee cake. Totally agree the more streusel a coffee cake has the better. Also a huge fan of frosting and pie crust :). Huge fan of Aida too, so I know this cake must be a winner.


aida mollenkamp November 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Thanks for sharing this, Jenna. Love your sunny photos of this coffee cake.


Jamie @ Thrifty Veggie Mama November 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm

I love coffee cake and actually made one a couple weeks ago. Even though I don’t drink coffee! Love the flavors going on in this cake


Nicole November 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Just made this and the whole house smells amazing! Perfect for a rainy day!


Kona December 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm

You better believe people still make coffee cakes, it’s one of my favorites. Although I find myself more often than not picking it up at QFC instead of making it myself.


Jijin Mohan April 23, 2013 at 11:14 pm

I’m gonna take a print of this page and give to my Mum, looks delicious.


Patricia Field February 17, 2015 at 6:52 am

This coffee cake looks delicious and I so want to bake it but I am lost?
How do I transfer your American measures to metric . How big is a cup? A teacup a mug or a coffee cup???


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