Too Big To Fail

No failing grade here, I give this Sour Cream Coffee Cake a big, fat A+. You’ll never guess where this recipe came from. I got the recipe out of the Los Angeles Times, and they got it from the LAUSD. That’s right, the Los Angeles Unified School District. Can you imagine. I always think of school cafeteria food as being inedible, but this is actually one of my all-time favorite cake recipes. This cake has been served in Los Angeles school cafeterias since 1959. With all the problems we have with the schools here in Los Angeles, at least they have good cake, right?

To me this is the ultimate comfort food. A big slice and a hot cup of tea! The cake is light and fluffy, but very moist because of the sour cream. And then, the double whammy of the nuts and brown sugar through the middle of the cake and on top. Yeah, I know, who gets this excited about cake.

However, this is a great cake to serve for a brunch because it’s not overly sweet. I also like to bring it to parties when I’m asked to bring a dessert. It’s usually the one cake that always disappears.



1959 LAUSD Sour Cream Coffee Cake

From the Los Angeles Times

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sour cream


1/4 cup flour

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup butter

Mix together flour, sugar, salt and nuts.  Add butter in small pieces. Rub in by hand until mixture is crumbly. Do not overmix.

All ingredients should be room temperature. In a bowl mix together flours, baking soda and baking powder. In bowl of electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and light.  Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing just until flour is blended. Blend in sour cream, then remaining dry ingredients.

Butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan. Spread half of the batter into the pan. Sprinkle with half of the topping and spread with remaining batter. Sprinkle with remaining topping. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes.  Makes 8 servings.

Perfect to bring to a brunch

8 Comments on “Too Big To Fail”

  1. Sheryl, looks like another recipe I’m gonna have to make gluten free. Seriously, I think i’m packing on the pounds as the days go on. Man oh man this looks good though! You always find the best recipes, but it’s really the talent of the chef that makes it all happen and you sure know how to bake!!! Love it, can’t wait for more! 🙂

    • Lindsey, with all the marathons you run I wouldn’t worry about the pounds! I can’t wait to see YOUR rendition of this cake. I appreciate the comment, and I wish you continued success with XO Baking Co.!

  2. Marion says:

    I can testify that this cake is great…it is Mom and Dad’s favorite

  3. Carol says:

    Looks Delicious Sheryl!!

  4. Karissa says:

    I love older recipes, so fascinating to me! I’m going to save this and try it sometime, thank you for sharing!

  5. Luksana says:

    I am going to try this recipe today to have with a coffee. The first photo so delicious. Thank you Mama.

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