Culinary SOS: Heirloom Bakery and Cafe’s sour cream coffeecake

(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Dear SOS: The coffee cake at South Pasadena’s Heirloom Bakery and Cafe, near the train station, is fabulous. Each day it’s flavored differently for variety ... chocolate chips, raspberry, etc. I would love to have the recipe to make at home for a treat for those days when my walking partner and I aren’t splurging and stopping for breakfast.

Joanne Nuckols

South Pasadena


Dear Joanne: We loved the light texture and subtle tang of this simple coffee cake, marbled with a wonderfully crumbly topping of brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans and chocolate chips. A slice of this should brighten any morning.

Heirloom Bakery and Café’s sour cream coffeecake

Total time: About 1 hour

Servings: 8 to 12. This makes 1 (9-inch) square cake.

Note: Adapted from Heirloom Bakery and Cafe in South Pasadena.


1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled

In a large bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, chocolate chips, pecans and butter. Set aside.

Cake and assembly

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups (6.4 ounces) flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Prepared topping

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated, then beat in the sour cream and vanilla.


3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.

4. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the butter and egg mixture to form a batter. The batter will be lumpy; simply continue folding until no large lumps remain.

5. Spoon one-half of the batter into a greased 9-inch-square baking pan, then layer with half of the topping. Layer with the remaining batter, then the remaining topping. Bake until the coffee cake is puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

Each of 12 servings: 373 calories; 4 grams protein; 45 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 21 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 74 mg. cholesterol; 32 grams sugar; 183 mg. sodium.