Coffee Cakes from your Bread Machine

Breakfast will never be the same once you master these easy to make coffee cakes.

7 - baked apple turnover


Coffee cake is ubiquitous. Around the world and across cultures a morning bread or sweet cake is often served with tea and yes, coffee. What’s interesting are the similarities in terms of toppings and ingredients. Regardless of the geography, cinnamon often shows up as a topping along with a sugar or sugar-based glaze. Nuts are commonly used as a topping and occasionally fruit.

Most coffee cake recipes using a bread machine depend on the dough cycle to knead and raise the dough, and then the bread dough or cake batter is topped in a baking pan and finished in the oven. We’re going to explore some of those variations plus one that is made start to finish in the bread machine.

Some recipes result in a traditional dough-ball, while others result in a batter or coarser dough. Don’t worry. Just follow the recipe and you should have good success. Remember too, any bread or cake finished in the oven should be checked for doneness with a wooden skewer. This technique involves plunging the thin skewer deep into the center and assessing wetness or moisture that indicates the interior has not fully baked. When the skewer emerges dry you can rest assured it’s done.

Also, make sure you let any sugar-topped or glazed bread or cake rest and cool. Sugar right out of the oven can be very hot and cause burns and blisters on your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Let them rest for at least 10 minutes before digging in.

As always you can vary the toppings. The basic recipes should be strictly adhered to, but the toppings can be customized to your tastes as long as you’re judicious with quantities. For example, you may love cinnamon but a half cup is way too much.

Take the less is more approach until you get a little experience with proportions and recipes. The same is true for too much brown sugar although I can never seem to have enough nuts on my coffee cakes. That’s up to you and the nuts are more forgiving, especially since you can easily flick them off the top if there are too many.


Sweet Cinnamon Coffee Cake Recipe:

(Makes a 1 pound coffee cake)

 Cinammon sugar coffee cake loaf Cinammon sugar coffee cake sliced 2

This coffee cake is started in the bread machine through the dough cycle and is then finished in the oven. It’s very easy to make, but there are two critical steps. One is to put the dough into a buttered baking dish and then top it and allow it to rise. The second is to check for doneness by inserting a wooden skewer into the center until it emerges dry. It’s a light and flavorful breadcake and will keep for a couple of days if wrapped, and up to a week if refrigerated.


  • 7/8 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast or bread machine yeast


  • 2 tablespoons of butter melted
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of chopped nuts of your choice (optional)


Put all of the ingredients into the bread pan in the order indicate, but reserve the topping ingredients. Set the bread machine to the dough cycle. Butter a glass baking dish and pour the dough into the dish. Let rest and rise for about 10 minutes and then brush with the melted butter. Blend the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and then sprinkle on top and finish with a coating of the chop nuts if you choose to add them. Let the topped dough rise for another 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F./190° C. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean and dry. Make sure you place a baking sheet under the baking dish because both the nuts and the brown sugar make fall from the cake as it continues to rise in the oven. When done, let rest in the dish for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the coffee cake and slice and serve.

Cinammon sugar coffee cake 3 Cinammon sugar coffee cake sliced


Sweet Apple Turnover Recipe:

(Makes a 1 pound turnover)

1 - apple turnover dough rolled out 2 - apple turnover dough topped in middle with apple filling

3 - apple turnover sliced into strips 4 - apple turnover beginning the wrap


This recipe is a bit creative as it relates to shaping the dough. Once again, we’ll use the dough cycle and finish in the oven. An egg yolk and water glaze gives it a nice golden color and I like to top the glaze with large grain, granulated sugar to add a dash of sweetness to the crunchy crust.

While this recipe calls for a cup of canned apple pie filling, you can substitute any fruit pie filling from strawberry to blueberry.


  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 3 tablespoons of softened butter
  • 2 cups of bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast or bread machine yeast


  • 1 cup of canned apple pie filling
  • Powdered sugar (optional)


Add all of the dough ingredients to the bread pan in the order indicated and select the dough cycle. When the cycle is complete place the dough on a floured work surface and roll out into a rectangle about 14 inches long and 10 inches wide. Place the dough rectangle onto a lightly oiled or butter baking sheet. Spoon the filling into the center of the rectangle from top to bottom about 2 to 3 inches wide. With a knife, cut slits in the dough from the edge of the pie filling to the edge of the dough rectangle about one inch apart. One at a time, lift the dough strips over the filling and continue to criss-cross until you get to the bottom. Brush the dough with the egg yolk wash and sprinkle with large grain sugar or wait until after baking and sprinkle with the powdered sugar if you prefer.

Preheat oven to 375°F./190° C. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Let rest for 10 minutes and then slice and serve.

5 - apple turnover wrapped and glazed with egg yolk wash 6 - baked apple turnover


Breakfast Batter Bread Recipe:

(makes a 2 pound loaf)

This recipe if for a batter bread. It is intended to be both mixed and baked in the bread machine. After the mixing cycle you will not see a dough ball, but a thick batter in the bread pan. That’s okay. There is a secondary step where you will top the bread about an hour before the cycle is complete. Like most batter breads, this has a dense and moist texture. The topping are up to you, but we’re going to stay a bit traditional with a cinnamon/sugar topping and some raisins and nuts.


  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped


Put the ingredients into the bread pan in the order indicated and select the batter bread cycle. Take note of the total time on your bread machine display. An hour before the total cycle including the baking is complete, you’ll want to add the topping. The time can vary from one model machine to another. After you’ve topped the loaf in the bread pan let the cycle finish and cool the loaf in the bread pan for 10 minutes.

This is one of those times when you might want to remove the paddle or paddles after the kneading cycle. Because of the toppings you can’t turn the loaf upside down to release it from the bread pan or the toppings will simply fall off. I run spatulas down either side and carefully lift the loaf. It’s not elegant and you’ll lose some of the toppings, but you can always gather them and sprinkle them back on. I won’t tell if you don’t tell.


Insane Coffee Cake Recipe:

(Makes a 1 pound coffee cake)

It’s time to take the gloves off and get serious. This coffee cake recipe is intense. It’s dense, packed with flavors and textures and is actually overwhelming without the relief of a lot of coffee or tea. It’s another one of those recipes that starts in the bread machine and finishes in the oven. As usual you can customize toppings. Just stay true to the basic measures and stay totally true to the dough recipe. This is going to be more of a crumb-type/crumbly mixture.


  • 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons bread machine flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (1-1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Add ingredients to the bread pan in order indicated but reserve the chocolate ships and walnuts. This is a very different order from traditional dough recipes. You’re adding the dry ingredients first, and the wet ingredients last. You may also need to lift the lid and encourage ingredients to blend with a long, thin spoon.
  2. Select either the pizza dough cycle or the cake cycle if your machine has that setting.  Towards the end of the kneading cycle you’ll hear an audible beep.  This is the signal to add the chocolate chips and the walnuts.  If you have a fruit and nut hopper you can add the chips and nuts to the hopper and it will add them automatically.  Just make sure you are using the pizza dough or cake batter cycle on your machine.  If your machine doesn’t have those settings, use the white bread setting but shut the machine off after the kneading cycle is complete so you can finish in the oven.
  3. Once the cycle is complete, pour the batter into a lightly oiled or buttered 9 inch round baking pan that has been buttered or oiled on its sides.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°F./190° C. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Let rest for 10 minutes and slice and serve.



As you’ve probably already determined, coffee cakes are largely defined by their toppings rather than the primary dough ingredients. Some are yeast-dough based and other are baking powder/soda and batter based. Either way, the toppings make them coffee cakes. Once you get the idea of how to make these various bread and coffee cake styles you are once again on a path to explore and appreciate your bread machine and your skill.

Steve Nubie

Steve Nubie has been writing professionally for 38 years. He is a Chef and has traveled across Asia and Europe studying language, culture and cuisine. He instructs culinary classes in the Culinary School at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and has written extensively on cuisine, cooking, diet and nutrition. He is a published author of 10 books including a cookbook and continues to write on subjects related to culinary trends.

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