Decided on Christmas breakfast yet? Try No-Fuss Coffeecake.


Christmas Eve.

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care…

Visions of sugarplums dance in their heads…

Not a creature is stirring…

…except you, of course. Trying to figure out Christmas morning breakfast.

Christmas demands more than cold cereal. But does it warrant standing at the stove flipping pancakes, while everyone else is relaxing around the tree?

Sticky buns or cinnamon rolls are nice – especially if you were organized enough to shape them ahead, and freeze; and they’ll be thawing in the fridge Friday night, ready to bake Saturday morning.

But if you’re JUST now thinking about Christmas breakfast – here’s a simple solution, one that’s fancy enough for this very special occasion, yet easy enough that you’ll be in bed long before a visit from St. Nicholas.

Check out our No-Fuss Coffeecake.

Put the following in a mixing bowl:

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark, firmly packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon strong flavor, such as butter-rum, vanilla-butternut, etc.; or 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat everything together until smooth.

Add 2 large eggs one at a time…

…beating well after each addition.

Add 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour alternately with 1 cup sour cream or yogurt (low-fat is fine).

Add part of the flour first…

…then part of the sour cream, then flour again, and so forth, alternating until you’ve added all of both ingredients, and ending with flour.

The batter will be thick and creamy.

Lightly grease a 9” x 13” pan.

Spoon the batter into the pan, spreading it to the edges.

Next, the topping.

Combine the following in a small bowl:

3/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark, firmly packed
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chips (chocolate, butterscotch, cinnamon, or cappuccino), optional

Sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan.

Distribute it nice and evenly.

Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it overnight.

Next morning, take the cake out of the refrigerator, and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Sprinkle the cake with a judicious amount of sea salt – not too much, but enough that you can taste it – barely. I’ve used Maldon Crystal sea salt here, as the flakes are very delicate, disperse well, and don’t add any crunch – just flavor.

Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes…

…until it’s golden brown on top.

Remove it from the oven, and cool briefly before serving.

Does that look like heaven in a pan, or what?!

Serve warm, with a cup of coffee. This cake is quite sweet; coffee helps temper the sugar, as does the sea salt on top.

Note: You can skip the overnight chill in the fridge if you like, and bake the cake right away. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for No-Fuss Coffeecake.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...


  1. martibeth

    I can attest to this recipe – it’s great. But why mess with a good thing, and revise it with this new addition of salt sprinkled on top?

    But thanks for reminding me about this recipe, PJ. And Merry Christmas, and God Bless us everyone!!

    I LOVE the salty-sweet thing – that’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it! And Merry Christmas to you, too- and a great 2011. PJH

  2. subo

    Happy Holidays to all of you at King Arthur and thank you for a wonderful year of inspiration and priceless baking education. I was wondering of maple Flav-R-Bites would work in place of the chips?

    The Maple Flav-R-Bites are hard little bits of flavor that soften in a batter (like scones or other baked goods). We think they might be too crunchy in this topping. You might consider softening them in water for about 20 minutes before you sprinkling them on the streusel (just before you bake the cake). Happy Holiday Baking! Irene @ KAF

  3. fran16250

    I too have made this with great success, just like all KAF recipes! This year I am going to try the sticky buns from the baking sheet for Christmas breakfast (along with Keilbasa of course!).
    Just want to thank everyone at KAF and the bloggers here for all your support and suggestions over the years. A very Merry Christmas to all! Keep on “baking spirits bright”!
    Looking forward to a whole new year of KAF recipes!

    Thanks, Fran – Merry Christmas! PJH

  4. Maureen

    Yes, this is a great coffeecake; it’s a favorite for morning staff meetings! Everyone loves the cinnamon or cappuccino chips in the topping. I think the sea salt will make it even better, especially with chocolate chips. (Is it Christmas morning yet?!)

    Thanks to all of you wonderful folks at KAF who bring us such goodness and great reading all year long with this blog. Happy Christmas!

    Thanks, Maureen – thanks for connecting here. PJH

  5. mikest

    Thanks for the idea about mixing it up the night before! I may try the recipe, but I REALLY like my mom’s… Tho I may see if it will stand up to the night-before mixing/refrigeration.

    Oh, and I vote for the cinnamon chips! I’ve got my bag from KAF and will most likely test it out this weekend. Okay, so it won’t be for Christmas, it will still taste wonderful in the morning!!! :-)

    Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays to all of you guys there! Stay warm and have a Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year!

    I’m betting your mom’s recipe would work just fine with the overnight treatment, so long as it includes baking powder… Enjoy! PJH

  6. bBue-eyed Baker

    In reference to Subo, I think the Flav-R-Bites would be great in the batter itself, wouldn’t they? I have the cinnamon ones and they seem like that would be great and perhaps a bit less sweet that the chips on top.

  7. rebmarch

    I’ve been looking for an easy Christmas morning recipe. This is perfect! One thing, though, my kids hate nuts. If I just leave the nuts out, will it turn out? Or do I need to compensate with something else? Happy Holidays, and thanks for the great blog!!!”Yes, omitting the nuts is fine. Happy holidays! Amy @ KAF

  8. lishy

    I have made this several times and enjoyed it every time. One of the favorite variations was with the cappuccino chips, and a little bit of espresso powder in the batter. It was well loved by all who tried it. I used almonds in the streusel of that variation. I have also made it with extra cinnamon. I often made it on days when I knew I would have early morning guests, so we would have an easy warm comforting morning snack. I wonder how this would be flavored with some orange, with some cranberries added? And pecans on the top? Thank you for reminding me of this easy and awesome treat. Also thank you for providing us home bakers with such amazing resources and products. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

    I think a cran-orange version would be lovely. Orange zest, or a tiny bit of orange oil, and dried cranberries; maybe back off on the cinnamon a bit and, as you say, pecans on top. YUM! :) PJH

  9. Teresa

    Just want to take the opportunity to wish everyone at KAF a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

    Thanks for all the inspirations, lessons, ideas, tips, and for connecting with us home bakers.

    Thanks, Teresa- and a very Merry Christmas to you, too! PJH

  10. Brenda

    Merry Christmas to all you wonderful people at KAF with your great products, outstanding customer service, and lethal blogs (hey, gotta make all that great stuff)!

  11. Maureen

    Can one halve the recipe and use an 8×8 pan? we are a small family.
    That should work quite well. Happy baking! ~ MaryJane

  12. fran16250


    No, just leave out the rosewater – it’s OK, it’s not critical to the recipe, and the Fiori is a COMPLETELY different flavor. Good luck! PJH

  13. Blakeley (Cupcake Princess)

    wow that looks so good. I just got some cinnnamon chips and this would be a great recipe to use them with.

  14. Judy

    I am just now deciding if there is enough time to put together cinnamon rolls for breakfast tomorrow morning or make this coffee cake. The coffee cake is a favorite so my family will be happy either way. This coffee cake is also a favorite with my co-workers. It is perfect for a work treat — make it the night before and bake while getting ready for work and you arrive with a warm coffee cake. Easy breezy ! Thanks for all the wonderful recipes and ideas during the year. Merry Christmas.

    Dn’t make yourself crazy, Judy; go with the coffeecake. Or these easy caramel buns – ready in under an hour! Merry Christmas – PJH

  15. nancylaroche

    I made this last night and baked it today — everyone loved it! The house still smells wonderfully cinnamon-y. Very sweet, topping is very crumbly – but that’s not a bad thing.

    I forgot to sprinkle it with salt – I’ll try it next time.

    Glad it went over well, Nancy – the salt is a nice touch, give it a try. PJH

  16. Megan

    We’re doing Christmas morning at my mom’s house tomorrow – so I just got done preparing this coffee cake in my new glass bowl for my kitchenaid (thank you Santa!). I also don’t care for nuts so my topping was dried apples, cranberries, cinnamon and brown sugar…guess I won’t know what it will taste like until the morning but by the looks of it, we will not be disappointed!! You guys are the best – especially with filling your orders so quickly! The bakers in my family all got special king Arthur treats (and of course so did I!) Merry Christmas to everyone!

    Hope it was a big hit, Megan. And, Happy Boxing Day to you! PJH

  17. Victoria

    This mix makes great cookies. I had given up on cookies made with wheat flour because they hurt me, but to this mix I added white chocolate chips and raisins and they came out great. Finally I can eat a sweet without pain! I bake the gluten free bread, too, and am going to add oats next time to give it more texture for toasting. Last loaf made lots of smashed bananas on toast and was great with Italian salami and goat cheese for an open face sandwich! Thanks for helping us live more comfortably!

    I’d guess you’re referring to our gluten-free cookie mix, Victoria – thanks for your kind comments! PJH

  18. Melissafitz

    I just pulled this out of the oven this morning (a couple of weeks late, but I needed a January pick-me-up) and it was wonderful! My children’s teachers were the beneficiaries of the extras. So we all thank you!! And I love the maldon salt addition — subtle but great especially with the butterscotch chips.

  19. sallybr

    I know it’s been a while, but I HAD to post a comment here. I am the anti-cake, the cake-o-phobe by definition, and baked this wonderful cake without problems!

    Brought to our lab meeting at noon, it was basically inhaled!

    I did not even use choc chips, just kept simple with the walnuts and brown sugar only

    a real keeper! Thanks so much!


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