Vanilla Coffee Cake Muffins are fluffy, buttery and delicious. Topped with a crunchy homemade pecan streusel, these vanilla muffins are a sweet addition to any weekend breakfast or brunch. Makes 12 muffins.
Coffee cake has always been one of my favorites.
When I was a kid, the members of my parents’ Sunday school class rotated bringing breakfast every week.
I always loved when it was my parents’ turn because my mom usually baked a Sour Cream Coffee Cake, complete with a crumbly topping.
She’d bring the whole cake to their class, and I always found myself hoping there would be leftovers.
However, I never understood why it was called a coffee cake.
This was, obviously, waaaaaaaaaaaay before I was introduced to the comforts of a cup of coffee and how delightful coffee cake is paired with it.
Why I love this recipe:
These Coffee Cake Muffins remind me of that recipe my mom made.
They’re chock full of vanilla flavors and scents… and they’re also really buttery.
The pecan streusel has a lovely crunch, and the whole combination is just lovely.
They are perfect kind of decadent treat to start off a morning or an at-home brunch.
As our older daughter said, “The vanilla is really good!”
These muffins are fluffy with a tangy cake base.
The crumb topping is crispy and sweet. Not only does it add texture inside the muffins, but it adds crunchy sweetness on top, too.
Need some breakfast or brunch assistance? Head on over to my Breakfast and Brunch recipe index for inspiration!
What you need to make this recipe:
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- Muffin tin or muffin pan
- Parchment paper muffin liners—These are my all-time favorite because no muffins stick to them! I highly recommend getting a pack and using them for every muffin/cupcake you bake.
- Large mixing bowl
- Hand mixer (or a stand mixer)
- 1-tablespoon cookie scoop
Let’s talk ingredients!
In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.
Here’s what you need:
- Unsalted butter—you’re going to need a stick and a half, or 12 tablespoons total
- Granulated sugar—also known as white sugar, this is our sweetener for the muffins. There is no substitute.
- Vanilla—this recipe calls for vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract. They add amazing flavor to the muffin base, and I highly recommend using both.
- Greek yogurt—this adds creaminess to our muffin recipe and is used in place of traditional sour cream. Greek yogurt is lower in fat than sour cream, but I like the combination of it with the butter and other muffin ingredients.
- Eggs—we’ll need them to give the muffins structure, as well as some rise.
- All-purpose flour—I always use unbleached AP flour, but you can use the regular kind, too.
- Leaveners—we’re using both baking powder and baking soda in this recipe. Make sure they’re fresh!
- Kosher salt—I’m partial to fine kosher salt. Fine sea salt would also work here.
- Brown sugar—I call out dark brown sugar here, but if you only have light brown sugar, that works, too!
- Pecans—or walnuts. Chop ’em yourself to vary the texture or purchase the pre-chopped kind from the store. They all work.
How to make Coffee Cake Muffins
First and foremost, preheat the oven.
Also, line a muffin tin with paper muffin baking cups. Set ’em aside for later.
Make the muffin batter
In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar using a hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth and fluffy .
Add the eggs, vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract and Greek yogurt. Use the hand mixer to blend ’em until smooth. These are considered our wet ingredients.
In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Use a whisk or a rubber spatula to stir until combined.
Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet, blending until just combined.
Make the streusel topping
Combine the brown sugar, flour, butter and vanilla extract in a smaller bowl.
Mix ’em until combined.
Add the pecans, and stir those in, too.
When combined, set aside.
Prepare and bake the muffins
Dollop 2 tablespoons of the batter using a cookie scoop into the bottom of each baking cup.
Sprinkle a little of the streusel on top of the muffin batter. I used about 1 tablespoon per muffin, but you can eyeball it.
Add an additional 1 tablespoon scoop of the muffin batter on top. Smooth it down with a spatula, butter knife or offset spatula.
Sprinkle additional streusel on top of each muffin.
Transfer the muffins to the preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the muffins have risen, are golden brown and are cooked through.
How do I know when they’re done?
The tops of the muffins will be golden brown. But also give them a test by inserting a toothpick and checking the toothpick when removed to confirm the muffins are not raw in the middle.
Allow 5-10 minutes to cool on a wire rack, then enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
The general line of thinking is that coffee cake is made with and/or intended to be enjoyed with coffee.
Some people like coffee in their coffee cakes. I am not one of those people. 😉
Absolutely. These coffee cake muffins make for a delightfully sweet and buttery breakfast treat.
Technically, you could take this muffin batter and bake it in a bundt pan* (affiliate link) like a classic coffee cake. However, I have no clue how long it would take to bake or what it would look like, especially since the streusel topping would not actually be on top of the cake.
You could swirl it through the cake batter, though, and I’m sure that would be delicious.
I’ve changed this recipe over the years for consistency’s sake, as well as for the sake of not needing extra special ingredients if you don’t have these on hand in your home.
Here are some ways to infuse more vanilla into the coffee cakes:
Substitute ¼ cup vanilla sugar for the same amount of regular granulated sugar.
Instead of vanilla bean paste, scrap the seeds from a whole vanilla bean and toss those into the batter.
If you are dairy free, use room temperature coconut oil in place of the softened butter. Use melted coconut oil in place of the melted butter. Use an unflavored or vanilla dairy free yogurt, too!
Quick tips and tricks to the best coffeecake muffins
- Bake ’em in advance for a playdate or kid-centric gathering. My kids adore these muffins, and yours might, too!
- Make ’em dairy free with a few swaps. (In fact, this was developed as a dairy free recipe.) Use coconut oil and dairy free yogurt in place of the butter and Greek yogurt.
- Don’t skimp on the vanilla. You really can taste it, and that makes this coffee cake muffin recipe feel special!
- Store ’em on the countertop covered for 1-2 days. The streusel topping will become less crisp the longer the muffins sit out, but their flavors are still amazing.
More muffin recipes to try:
Fluffy, delicious Vanilla Bean Coffee Cake Muffins, filled and topped with a pecan streusel. These muffins are the perfect sweet addition to any weekend breakfast or brunch!
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place paper muffin baking cups on a muffin tray, and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Make the muffins
- In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy using a hand mixer or stand mixer.
- Add the eggs, vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract and Greek yogurt, blending until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and whisk until combined.
- Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing until just combined.
Prepare the streusel topping
- In a smaller bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, butter, pecans and vanilla extract.
- Mix until combined, and set aside.
Prepare and bake the muffins
- Use a cookie scoop to dollop 2 tablespoons into the base of each baking cup.
- Sprinkle a little of the streusel topping on top of the muffin batter. I used about 1 tablespoon per muffin.
- Top each muffin with an additional 1 tablespoon of muffin batter. Smooth down the batter with a spatula or offset spatula.
- Top each muffin with more streusel topping, too.
- Transfer the muffin tin to the preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the muffins have risen, are golden brown and are cooked through. Be sure to test them by inserting a toothpick and checking the pick when removed to confirm the muffins are not raw in the middle.
- Allow 5-10 minutes to cool, then enjoy warm!
Recipe adapted from Laughing Spatula's Ultimate Sour Cream Coffee Cake.
I've changed this recipe over the years for consistency's sake, as well as for the sake of not needing extra special ingredients if you don't have these on hand in your home. Here are some ways to infuse more vanilla into the coffee cakes:
- Substitute ¼ cup vanilla sugar for the same amount of regular granulated sugar.
- Instead of vanilla bean paste, scrap the seeds from a whole vanilla bean and toss those into the batter.
- If you are dairy free, use room temperature coconut oil in place of the softened butter. Use melted coconut oil for the melted butter. Use an unflavored dairy free yogurt, too!
Quick tips and tricks to the best coffee cake muffins
- Bake 'em in advance for a playdate or kid-centric gathering. My kids adore these muffins, and yours might, too!
- Don't skimp on the vanilla. You really can taste it, and that makes these coffee cake muffins feel special!
- Store 'em on the countertop covered for 1-2 days. The streusel topping will become less crisp the longer the muffins sit out, but their flavors are still amazing.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Serving Size:1 muffin
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 285Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 132mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 5g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.
This post was originally published on January 9, 2015. The text and images were updated and republished in February 2021.