Ree’s Coffee Cake

I’ve been wanting to make The Pioneer Woman’s coffee cake for quite some time. The title “Best Coffee Cake. Ever.” caught my attention. The description “complete miracle” made me bookmark it. An early Saturday morning and an abundance of butter and brown sugar led me to finally make it. And now I too implore you: please, please, puhlease make this.

A couple warnings: First, this yields a very large cake! If you are going to make the full recipe, be sure you have plenty of hungry mouths to feed. If you don’t, cut the recipe in half. Second, after about 15 minutes of baking, the smell of the coffee cake will begin to permeate every corner of your home. You will seriously consider removing the pan from the oven right then and declaring this the day you created hot cake pudding. Try to resist this urge.

There really isn’t a way to describe how good this cake is. It’s like buttery, sugary, cinnamony angel food. It’s 100% amazing. As I was cleaning up the kitchen and letting the cake cool, I decided to sneak a tiny bite on my way to the sink. The taste literally stopped me mid-stride. For the next 30 seconds, I stood in the middle of the kitchen with my eyes closed, until the deliciousness began to dissipate. A mysterious crater of missing cake then began to form at the spot from where that first bite was taken. It was quite bizarre.

Ree’s Coffee Cake

(from The Pioneer Woman)


  • ¾ of a cup of butter (1 ½ sticks), softened
  • 2 cups scant* sugar
  • 3 cups of flour, sifted
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ cups of whole milk
  • 3 egg whites


  • ¾ of a cup of butter (1 ½ sticks), chilled
  • ¾ of a cup of flour
  • 1 ½ cups of brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups of pecans, chopped**

* For those who don’t know, scant means slightly less than. (I had to look it up!)

** I omitted the pecans (I like to feed treats to a friend with a nut allergy). I’m sure it would be excellent with pecans, but it was still delicious without.

Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks and set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar. Alternately add milk and flour mixture until just combined (don’t over-beat). Fold in egg whites and then spread mixture in your pan. (This cake will puff up a bit during baking, so make sure your pan is large enough to accommodate that.)

Combine the topping ingredients with a pastry cutter or pulse in a food processor until crumbly, then evenly distribute over the batter.

Bake for 40–45 minutes, or until just set.


  1. says


    There are some things one can translate to stoveless cooking; there are some things one can’t.

    This buttery, amazing, spice delight might just be one of the latter.

    Dang, I’m jealous!

    <3 Joanna @ Stoveless

  2. Wendy says

    I have to emphasis the pan accommodating the cake … I used one I thought was deep enough and had cake spilling over the sides. Wonderful, lovely, moist, delicious cake, but still spilling over :)

    It is SOO delicious, I will definitely make again. In a bigger pan. :)

  3. Frank says

    argh, so i ended up going to Ree’s website and using the ingredient list from that.

    now i realize it didnt taste quite right and also seemed a bit dry because i only used HALF the amount of butter that the recipe calls for.


    i had to lookup what a standard stick of butter was and i found it was 4oz. this though is the size of one of the half sticks of butter(4 half sticks in a box of 1lb butter). :

    looking at your picture, it seems that you’re using full 8oz sticks. am i right? so this would actually be about 1.5lbs of butter?

    • says

      Oh no—that’s too bad!

      The sticks I used and that are pictured above are actually 4 oz. sticks (the normal ones that come 4-to-1lb box). 1½ sticks (6 oz. or ¾ of a cup) go into the cake, and another 1½ sticks go into the crumb topping. So you should be using a total of 3 sticks (or: 12 oz. / ¾ of a lb. / 1½ cups) of butter in the entire cake.

      Does that help? If you only used 6 oz. of butter in the whole recipe, that would definitely make it dry and not nearly as yummy. The more butter the better!

  4. kelly says

    This looks delicious, and will definitely be making. Just wondering if it would be possible to divide up the batter into individual mason jars and bake that way. Your response would be greatly appreciated…thanx and mmmmmmmmmmmmm

    • says

      Oooo, that sounds adorable! I would suggest greasing each jar, and then only filling them up halfway (at the most) with batter. Depending on the size of the jars you’re using, I’d test them with a toothpick after 20–25 minutes of baking time, and then keep checking every 5 minutes until they appear to be done. Good luck!

  5. Karen says

    This cake sounds wonderful! But, I wonder if you could put 1/2 the batter in, then 1/2 the topping, then the rest or the batter, then the rest of the topping? Or would that cause the cake to not rise?

    • says

      I like the way you think, Karen! (The topping really is the best part.) It might affect the rise a little, but it shouldn’t be too bad if everything is evenly distributed. I might suggest making 30–50% more topping if you do it this way, so you still get decent coverage on top (where it gets all nice and crumbly). Good luck!

  6. Sheila harris says

    I just took this cake out of the oven and it looks amazing. I did it in a bunt pan but halved the recipe. I kind of wish I made the whole recipe now because I think there would have been enough room in the pan but since there is only two of us to eat this I thought it would have been to much. I have a feeling we could eat the whole thing anyway. Good bye waistline but what a way to go.

    Thanks for the recipe I will definatly be making it again and again.

  7. mc to the p says

    Can this be prepared ahead of time and put in the fridge and baked the next day–or would that really screw the consistency up / make it inedible?

    I am a seriously novice baker (let’s call a spade a spade, I’m actually just a terrible cook). This might seem like a very stupid question to many of you.

    • says

      I would suggest baking this immediately because it contains egg whites. At the very least, they’d deflate and the cake would be more dense than it should. You could maybe prepare the rest of the batter a day ahead of time and then add the egg whites the day off, but I think that probably defeats the purpose of preparing things ahead of time, since beating egg whites is a task in and of itself. Good luck! :)

  8. Amy Schueler says

    I am wanting to make this the day before serving it. Will it still be good? Also, will it keep for a few days for snacking on leftovers…if there are any?

    • says

      Hi Amy! This would definitely still be great made a day in advance. It’s also perfectly good for snacking after a few days. (The only issue that might arise is that the topping could get a little soggy. If so, a few minutes in the oven / toaster oven would fix it quite nicely.) :)

    • says

      Nope, the yolks aren’t used in the coffee cake. You can discard them, or use them for another purpose. (If I’m good about planning ahead, I’ll use them to make aioli or ice cream.)

  9. Jane says

    I am making this cake right now, I added coffee to the actual mixture, I substituted 1/4 cup milk for 1/4 cup coffee (Husband loves his coffee cake) I hope it works out ok. The whole house smells magnificent right now, I can’t wait to to have some.

  10. Michele says

    I’ve made this twice and both times ALL of the topping gets swallowed into the cake while baking. Any ideas why this is happening? It still tastes good, but none of all that goodness is on top.

    • says

      My mother has actually had the same thing happen every time she makes the recipe. (We’ve theorized that it’s something about the heat distribution in her old electric oven, but who knows.) The way we’ve figured out to avoid it is to hold off on the topping until about halfway through baking, then add it once the cake has had a chance to partially bake and establish some structural integrity to support the yummy crumb bits on top.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *