Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake (inspired by Cooks Illustrated)

(High altitude adjustments in italics)

Lemon Streusel:  

zest from 1 lemon
1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1 stick (8 tbsp. butter), room temperature


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus 2 Tb)
1 1/8 tsp baking powder (1/2 tsp)
1 1/8 tsp baking soda (1/2 tsp)
1 tsp table salt
10 Tb (1 stick plus 2 Tb) butter, softened but still cool
1 cup plus 4 Tb sugar (minus 2 Tb from the 1 cup)
2 Tb lemon zest plus 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 large eggs (5 large eggs)
5 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream
8 oz cream cheese, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (365 degrees for high altitude) Grease a 10 inch tube pan and set aside.

Start with your streusel: Rub the lemon zest into the sugar, add the flour and salt and whisk together. Add the butter and cut/rub together until all dry bits are incorporated and your streusel has clumped together like slightly dry cookie dough. This takes a little while, but it's so worth it! Set your streusel in the fridge while you get your cake ready. 

Now the cake: Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside. Rub the lemon zest into 1 cup sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the butter and beat until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides again. Add 4 tsp vanilla and mix till combined. Reduce speed to low and add one-third flour mixture, followed by half of sour cream, mixing until combined after each addition. Repeat with the last two thirds of the flour mixture and the remaining sour cream. 

Reserve 2 and 1/4 cups batter and set aside. Spoon remaining batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Return now-empty bowl (no need to wash it out) to mixer and beat cream cheese, remaining 4 Tb sugar, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and remaining tsp vanilla on medium speed until smooth. Add 1 and 1/4 cup of the reserved batter and mix until combined. Spoon cheese filling mixture evenly over batter, keeping filling about 1 inch from edges of pan and smooth the top. Dollop the remaining cup reserved batter over filling and smooth the top. It won't cover the filling completely, that's okay! With butter knife or offset spatula, gently swirl filling into batter using figure-8 motion, being careful to not drag filling to bottom or edges of pan. Firmly tap pan on counter 2 or 3 times to get rid of any bubbles. Sprinkle lemon streusel evenly over batter and gently press into batter to make sure it sticks.

Bake until top is golden, and long skewer inserted into cake comes out clean (skewer will be wet if inserted into cheese filling), 45 to 55 minutes. Remove pan from oven and firmly tap on counter 2 or 3 times (top of cake may sink slightly). Cool cake in pan on wire rack 1 hour. Gently invert cake onto rimmed baking sheet (cake will be topping-side down); remove tube pan, place wire rack on top of cake, and invert cake sugar-side up. Let it cool completely before slicing!! This may take another hour or two, be patient, if you cut into it while still warm it will fall!