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Starbucks Copycat Coffee Cake

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With a thick streusel crumb topping a fluffy, buttery cake, this Starbucks Copycat Coffee Cake will get them out of bed in the morning! It’s a delicious, easy classic crumb coffee cake recipe. Gluten free option included!

Occasionally I will surprise my family with a sweet treat on a school morning. But, I am not getting up before dawn to make a coffee cake!!!

If you love a quick and simple coffee cake, you should try these reader favorites: Blueberry Crumble Cake, Cinnamon Swirl Cake & Gluten Free Coffee Cake.

Plated piece of Starbucks Copycat Coffee Cake with a strawberry and fork.


Which is why I love this recipe, it’s inspired by Picky Palate’s Copycat Starbucks Cake recipe, with my usual tweaks and tips.

Top view of copycat starbucks coffee cake with a wedge missing.
With a thick streusel crumb topping a fluffy, buttery cake, this Starbucks Copycat Coffee cake will get them out of bed in the morning! #thefreshcooky #coffeecake #starbucks #copycat #crumbcake


Here are my ingredients, you may certainly use any regular yellow or vanilla cake mix, I like this natural one from Trader Joe’s, plus I swap out the oil for melted butter!

  • Vanilla or Yellow Cake Mix | use all natural or your favorite store-bought brand.
  • Ingredients on box to make cake | Or swap out melted butter for oil and milk for water.


  • Salted Butter | Cut into cubes
  • All-Purpose Flour | I use organic, unbleached
  • Cinnamon | Adds that amazing flavor, traditional to coffee cake
  • Brown Sugar | I used light, but you could use dark too
  • Vanilla Extract | I use my homemade vanilla extract
  • Kosher Salt | to enhance the flavors
  • Powdered Sugar | optional, for dusting
Ingredients for Starbucks Coffee Cake. L-F Brown Sugar, vanilla cake mix, butter, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, flour.

TFC PRO TIP | Did you know you can do that with any boxed cake and brownie recipe? Melt butter, swapping for oil and let it cool slightly before mixing into dry ingredients.

How to Bake a Tender Coffee Cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 350º F. Crack eggs into a 2 qt mixing bowl (or stand mixer) and add milk (or water) and give them a whirl to mix.
  2. Add cake mix and blend for the recommended amount of time on the box, generally about 2 minutes at medium-high speed.

TFC PRO TIP | Did you know you can also swap out your water for milk in your cake mixes? Milk will make it moister and less crumbly. Slowly add in your cooled butter while mixing.

  1. Pour half of the batter into two greased 8×8 pans or 9×13 pan. It measured about 4 cups of batter, pour 2 cups into each pan. Eyeballing works just fine too.
Pouring Starbucks coffee cake batter into prepared pans.
  1. Bake at 350° for 12-18 minutes or until the center is wiggly, semi-set, but not soupy, you don’t want the cake completely baked as you’ll put it back in the oven.
  2. A few minutes longer if you opted for the 9×13 pan. Keep in mind you may need to check it sooner or keep it in longer, I bake at mile high altitude and sometimes you need to adjust your times up or down. 

How to Make the Best Crumb Topping

  1. Cut the cold butter into cubes (I slice the cube lengthwise down the middle then chop the cube into tablespoon sized chunks). You can also grate your cold butter using a box grater, then pop in freezer until ready to use
  2. Add your all-purpose flour, packed brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla into a large bowl.
A bowl filled with brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and flour while pouring in vanilla for coffee cake crumb topping.
  1. Break out your “Big Bertha” and use it, you’ll be happy you did, plus it must count as exercise right? Lift it up and down elbows tight against your sides, 10 reps should do it. I tried.
  2. Don’t forget a nice little pinch of sea salt.
Crumbly coffee cake crumb mixture.
  1. You want it to stick together when you grab a handful, like this! Much better and less mess too!

As soon as your cakes are partially done, remove them from the oven and grabbing handfuls of the crumb topping, gently break apart and spread evenly onto the hot cakes.

The crumbs  will “sink” into the cake slightly.

Hand placing rich buttery crumb topping on top of hot coffee cake.

Return to the oven immediately and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, under-baking them slightly (around 10-12 minutes) if you want to reheat them in the oven when ready to serve.

Let cool fully on a cooling rack, then cover with foil for easy reheating the next day and freeze the second one for later.

Finished starbucks coffee cake in red square baker.
How Can I Store Coffee Cake?

This coffee does well on the counter in an air tight container for 3-4 days. Refrigerate up to a week. Freeze up to 6 months.

Can I Use White or Spice Cake Mix?

While I have not tried it, I do not see why they wouldn’t work, in fact I think the spice cake mix would be grand.

Does Coffee Cake Have Coffee In It?

American’s coffee cakes do not have coffee in them, instead they are called coffee cakes as we eat these cakes with our coffee.

Can I Add Coffee to the Coffee Cake?

Yes! I would replace ¼ cup of liquid (milk or water) with strong brewed coffee to the cake mix. You could also add 1 teaspoon of espresso powder to the cake mix.

Gluten Free Starbucks Copycat Coffee Cake

As with many of my recipes, I offer gluten free options as I have many family and friends who are gluten free, my suggestions are below:

  • GLUTEN FREE CAKE MIX | Use your favorite vanilla (<–my favorite), yellow or white gluten free cake mix and the follow other ingredients and instructions.
  • CRUMB TOPPING | Use a good cup for cup gluten free all purpose flour or even better (in my opinion) use ½ gluten free oat flour and ½ gluten free all-purpose flour in the crumb mix.

If you are looking for gluten free options, you might try these recipes:

Dust with powdered sugar just prior to serving. Yummy! I sure hope you enjoy this Starbucks Coffee Cake Copycat recipe!

Square of Starbucks Coffee Crumb Cake on white plate with fork pie and a few berries.

Try these other delicious breakfast and brunch recipes:


  • UNDERBAKE | Ever so slightly, when you reheat it it will finish baking, but not become dry.
  • FREEZE | I highly recommend you freeze one of these cakes, wrap in plastic and place in ziplock baggie.
  • BAKE AHEAD | Do not skip the step of pre-baking the cake portion, this enables the heavy crumb to stay on top and not sink.
  • CHILL CRUMB TOPPING | While cake is baking, place crumb topping in fridge or freezer, this will slow down the melting of the butter.

More Great Breakfast Treats!

Wedge of Starbucks coffee cake on white plate with full cake in background.

Starbucks Copycat Coffee Cake

Author: Kathleen | The Fresh Cooky
4.20 from 10 votes
A delightfully simple, moist, make-ahead coffee cake bursting with flavor and loads of crumb! Inspired by Starbucks Coffee Cake. Plus Gluten free instructions.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Breakfast Sweets
Cuisine American
Servings 14 -18 servings
Calories 354 kcal



  • 1 box Yellow or Vanilla cake mix, substitute with your favorite Gluten Free cake mix
  • plus ingredients for cake mix; eggs, butter/oil and water/milk


  • 2 sticks cold, salted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour, I use organic or substitute with GF AP Flour or Oat Flour
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 ¾ cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar, optional, for dusting


  • Preheat oven to 350° and spray two 8×8 pans with non-stick spray or one 9×13 pan.
  • Prepare cake mix in a large mixing bowl according to box instructions. It’s helpful if the bowl has measurements if you plan on splitting the batter. If you are using butter in place of oil, make sure you have cooled the butter slightly to avoid "cooking" your eggs.
  • Mix 2 minutes on medium-high, scraping down sides of bowl once. Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Bake at 350 for 12-18 minutes, until center is wiggly, barely set, not soupy.

Crumb Topping

  • In a large bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, combine butter, flour, brown sugar, vanilla and salt and mix until butter incorporated and mixture is uniform without large chunks of butter.
  • Once cakes are finished with initial baking, remove and immediately crumble the topping over the hot cake(s), spreading evenly.
  • Return to the oven and continue baking an additional 10-15 minutes. If you will be freezing or serving later, pull out on the earlier side (about 10 minutes) and reheat at 300 for 10-15 minutes when ready to serve.
  • Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar. Cool completely and wrap well if freezing. To reheat, cover with foil and place in 275° oven for 20-30 minutes. Removing foil for last 5-10 minutes.

✱ Kathleen’s Tips

*I swap out equal amounts of melted butter for the oil in the recipe and use milk instead of water.
Swap out the cake mix for your favorite gluten free cake mix and make as directed.
In the Crumb topping use a good GF All-Purpose 1-1 or cup for cup flour in place of regular flour, or try half GF All Purpose and half GF Oat Flour


Serving: 1 Calories: 354 kcal Carbohydrates: 60 g Protein: 3 g Fat: 11 g Saturated Fat: 7 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g Cholesterol: 27 mg Sodium: 306 mg Fiber: 1 g Sugar: 37 g

Nutrition Disclaimer

The Fresh Cooky is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Kathleen Pope, The Fresh Cooky.

About Kathleen Pope

Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer

Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.

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  1. Topping came out a soupy mess with puddles of butter and the crum completely melted. I think it kept the cake from baking through as well. It was way too much butter, or perhaps my butter got to warm or was not mixed enough? Either way, this did not work for me.

    1. So sorry to hear about that Heather. It could be your oven temp is off, or your butter was too soft. Maybe try baking the cake portion a little longer and put the crumb topping in the freezer while it backs so your butter is nice and firm.

  2. Our cakes are baking now. We love the idea of having one for another time but were a bit confused about the freezing directions. Are you suggesting two methods?- one with sliced squares of partially baked coffee cake and one for freezing and baking/reheating as a whole? or both?

  3. This cake is so delicious. I did what you said and made plenty of the crumb topping. It came out so good. Every one loves the crumb topping anyway so make plenty. This was a show stopper and very good. You need a great cup of coffee, or tea, or even a big glass of milk for this delicious cake. Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Hi Kimberly, no this one is different, I’m attaching the other one here, because it’s fast become a family favorite!
      Give it a try and let me know what you think! If you don’t have one of the specific flours, just exchange it for another GF flour in it’s place.
      Every Day Coffee Cake | Gluten Free

  4. 5 stars
    You won’t believe it…but reading this actually makes me want to bake!! Lol you are THAT good my friend! Love that your recipe instructions are full of your personality too. I have yet another reason to look forward to Fridays! ❤

  5. 5 stars
    You won’t believe it…but reading this actually makes me want to bake!! Lol you are THAT good my friend! Love that your recipe instructions are full of your personality too. I have yet another reason to look forward to Fridays! ❤