Super Easy Cinnamon Coffee Cake ~ a soft pillowy cake with a simple flavor profile and a retro vibe (no one will guess it starts with a boxed mix!)
It’s cold outside, maybe there are flurries falling…you’re up early, and there will probably be at least a few mouths to feed. This simple breakfast cake can be made quickly and quietly without disturbing anyone, although the scent of it baking is a wake up call that can’t be denied.
It’s a lot like one my mom used to make, and while it’s not fancy in any way, it’s got a simple charm. It’s the kind of cake you pull out of the oven, set on the counter, and let people pick at to their heart’s content. It won’t last the day.
Cake mix isn’t a dirty word around here ~ the convenience, flavor, and texture can’t be beat for an occasional treat. No pantry is complete with out a couple of boxes stashed away for a rainy day (I’m partial to Duncan Hines.)
How to doctor a cake mix ~
Most of us don’t realize how much control we have over a simple boxed cake mix, and there are lots of ways to vary it, and make it seem more homemade…
- First, think about substituting the water for a more flavorful or luxurious ingredient like buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt, or juice.
- Consider adding natural flavorings to disguise any ‘boxed’ flavor. Add vanilla extract, paste, or the seeds of a vanilla bean…almond extract is wonderful in a white cake. You can use citrus zest, espresso powder, spices, whatever fits your recipe.
- Turn a white cake mix to chocolate! Add about 1/4-1/3 cup cocoa powder, and a couple of tablespoons of sugar to the dry mix. Add a little extra water if the batter seems very thick.
- Don’t use electricity when mixing your cake, use an old fashioned whisk, and don’t be afraid of lumps. Mix just until no flour remains, the texture will be more like homemade.
This cake gets a double layer of cinnamon sugar ribboning through it, and then a light scatter of grated butter over the top. To grate butter just run cold (or frozen) butter along the largest holes of a boxed grater. You’ll get fine ribbons of butter! This technique is useful for making scones, biscuits, or any recipe where you need to cut butter into a flour mixture. I used it here to insure a light even spacing of the butter, I didn’t want clumps.
There’s a special place in my heart (and stomach) for easy breakfast cakes, have you tried these?
Reader Rave ~
“I made this coffee cake and it is a definite keeper!!! I took your suggestion and added some chopped walnuts, Can’t wait to try with cardamom next time around.
Thank you for all your wonderful recipes” ~Kathy
An easy classic cinnamon sheet cake that starts with a cake mix.
- Duncan Hines Classic Yellow Cake Mix
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk (you can use regular milk)
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 4 Tbsp cold (or frozen) unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350F Spray and flour a 9x12 pan.
- Whisk together the cake mix, eggs, buttermilk, and oil just until thoroughly combined. Lumps are fine.
- Whisk together the sugar and cinnamon,
- Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and spread out evenly. Sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar over the top. Repeat with the remaining batter, and sprinkle the rest of the sugar over the top.
- Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the butter right over the top of the cake, and let shreds fall evenly across the surface.
- Bake for about 23-25 minutes, or just until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.
Make this super easy cinnamon coffee cake your own ~
- Add finely chopped walnuts or pecans to the cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Use cardamom instead of cinnamon for a warm exotic flavor.
- Add mini chocolate chips to the cinnamon sugar layers.
- Make muffins!