Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel

It’s a cold, wet morning in London, so I need little excuse to fire up the oven and bake a rich, decadent coffee cake. This recipe skimps on nothing – it is full of butter and is generous on the streusel. It also uses lots of vanilla extract (not essence), so it’s absolutely crucial that real vanilla rather than imitation is used. If you have only imitation vanilla, use only half the amount, then pour the rest down the drain and buy real vanilla next time you’re at the shop.


Preheat oven to 175C/350F

Have ingredients at room temperature



2 C plain flour

3/4 C sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt


Rub or cut in:

1/2 C (110g) unsalted butter


Break into a measuring cup:

1 egg. Beat, fill to 1 C with milk and add to dry ingredients with 2 tsp pure vanilla extract.


Pour into a greased spring-form pan and cover with the streusel topping – see below.




4 Tbsp plain flour

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 C packed light brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt


Blend these ingredients with the back of a spoon until they crumble and add:

1/2 C chopped pecans


Sprinkle evenly over the cake batter and bake for approximately 25 minutes until a tester inserted comes out clean. Serve warm. Unlike many coffee cakes, this will keep for a day or two and remains delicious and succulent.


About timwaterman

I am a landscape architect, urbanist, writer, and lecturer based in London.

4 responses to “Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel”

  1. CoffeE says :

    Have you ever tried any other nut besides pecan? I am not a pecan fan and wonder if slivered almond might not work. Of course, I know I can just leave out the pecans.

  2. timwaterman says :

    I think you’d want to use chopped rather than slivered almonds, but they should be fine. I’d imagine walnuts would be tasty as well. The slight saltiness of the streusel plays well off the nuts, so I’d recommend not omitting them altogether.

  3. Melanie Austin says :

    Thank you, Tim, for this recipe. I was looking for you and your family online and found this. Delightful!

    Your old Moscow friend,


    P.S. I miss those days when I could drop by the coffee shop.

    • timwaterman says :

      Now there’s a tear in my eye! Lovely to hear from you Melanie.


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