Coffee Cake Muffins; Is Your Favourite Word ‘Moist’?


There are three parts to a crumbed coffee cake: the vanilla cake, the cinnamon filling, and the cinnamon topping.


All three parts are equally important, and all three parts must form one whole.


There should be no harsh flavours in a coffee cake. No bitter bite that reminds you of the time you took the cinnamon challenge for an ill-conceived youtube stunt. Instead, you should be able to eat coffee cake while watching a youtube video of the cinnamon challenge, and you should be pleased with yourself, that you have coffee cake, and they only have cinnamon.


You should only ever be pleased with yourself when you have coffee cake.


The vanilla cake that forms the base of a coffee cake must be soft. It must be moist (I’m sorry). It must taste the way a vanilla bean smells, subtle, refreshing, not too sweet.


The filling must be as much or as little as you desire! It’s completely arbitrary anyway and I wouldn’t want to impose.


The topping, however, there I will impose a little bit. You need enough to cover the tops of your muffins, or they end up looking like little bald lego men. Sometimes they end up like that anyway. I would suggest a quick dab of cream cheese frosting (cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar), which I scavenged from my mother’s birthday leftovers.


That makes it sound like I scraped frosting off a cake to put on my muffins. I didn’t, I promise. There was extra frosting. No cake involved. Except coffee cake.


Yay for Fall! It’s such a beautiful season. Who’s up for a trip back to Longwood Gardens?


Anyway, here’s your recipe for coffee cake muffins, tasty and delicious and intentionally moist.

Coffee Cake Muffins

Makes 12 muffins


1 stick unsalted butter

½ cup light brown sugar (100g)

½ cup white sugar (100g)

2 eggs

1 ½ tsp baking powder

2 cups flour (240g)

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 ½ tsp vanilla


4 tbsp butter (½ stick)

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

pinch of espresso powder (pinch!)

½ cup flour (60g)

½ cup dark brown sugar (100g)


4 tbsp butter melted

½ cup flour (60g)

½ cup brown sugar (100g)

1 tbsp cinnamon


  1. Oven to 350°F, muffin tin with cupcake liners at the ready.
  2. Whisk 4 tbsp butter (filling) in large bowl (if not already softened at room temperature. Remove butter, set to the side to use later.
  3. In the large bowl, whisk the butter (cake) and light brown & white sugars together until smooth.
  4. Add eggs, whisk to incorporate.
  5. In separate bowl, measure out flour and baking powder. Mix together lightly.
  6. In small alternating batches, add flour/b. powder mixture and buttermilk to the mixture from steps 2 and 3. Incorporate fully after each batch.
  7. Add vanilla, mix to combine.
  8. In a separate bowl, add all the ingredients for the filling except butter – mix together first and then add the whipped (or softened) butter. You’re looking to mix the butter until you get small crumbs.
  9. In another bowl, add all ingredients for topping except the melted butter – mix together first and then add the melted butter. You want a larger crumb for this.
  10. If you enjoy more filling, at this stage you can swirl the cake batter and the filling together – don’t let them mix completely.
  11. To the muffin tin-holes, dollop (either by pouring or with spoons) a base layer of cake batter, sprinkle with filling, and then add another layer of cake batter on top. Sprinkle on the topping. Do the same for each muffin.
  12. Bake for 35-45 minutes. I would check at 30, and the instrument that checks readiness should come out greased with butter & potentially filling, but not cake batter.


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