Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

filed under: Breakfast · Cakes · Coffee Cakes on August 3, 2019

This Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake is loaded with pure lemon flavor, cream cheese, and a sweet vanilla glaze! Perfect for a special occasion… like Saturday! 🙂 If you love this lemon version, I know you will enjoy my Blueberry Coffee Cake!

Slice of Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

I am asked this often, so I will just answer it now in case anyone is wondering. What is a coffee cake? It is basically a cake that is suitable for serving with breakfast. No, it does not have coffee in it, it is just best served with coffee. It often has a crumble, streusel,  or topping made with sugar, flour, and cinnamon. (This does not have cinnamon.)

This particular lemon coffee cake recipe with a crumble topping and vanilla glaze is bursting with flavor and has a rich buttery texture. It’s made with simple ingredients and takes only a few minutes to whip up but the best thing is that it can be made ahead of time. Perfect for busy mornings.

My family is a big fan of sweet breakfasts – monkey bread, pancakes, cinnamon rolls are all a favorite in our house but if I serve something with streusels on top they go extra crazy. An easy crumble topping is by far my favorite thing to put on a cake! It’s so easy to make and transforms a simple cake into something special.

Overhead View of Lemon Coffee Cake

How Do You Bake a Lemon Coffee Cake?

  • Don’t skimp creaming the sugar and butter together until pale and almost doubled in mass. This step aerates the butter and will result in a finer crumb and lighter texture.
  • The batter should be thick. Just carefully smooth it into the corners of the pan.
  • Because you are zesting and juicing the lemon, try to use organic if possible.
  • Make sure you prepare your baking dish well, but either using a non-stick spray or lining with parchment paper. I only recommend 9×9 pan, as 8×8 is too thick and will not bake evenly.
  • Always test with a skewer if the cake is done! Every oven is different so baking times can vary. A wooden toothpick works best, and you want it removed with a few crumbs clinging to the toothpick. A dry toothpick could mean it’s overbaked.

Glaze drizzled over Lemon Breakfast Cake

Vanilla Glaze, Yay or Nay?

I mean, it’s not even a question in this house. We vote YES on a glaze, every time. This glaze recipe is simple, only milk and confectioners sugar. You could add vanilla or even lemon extract for a fun twist! The most important part is consistency. I prefer a glaze that is loose enough to pour, but thick enough to hold its shape on the cake. If your glaze is too thin it will almost disappear into the cake. If it is too thick it will land in a blob and I kid you not I might fight you for that piece. 😉

Start with the basic recipe and tweak as needed. You can always add more confectioners sugar if it is too thin or more milk if it is too thick.

Piece of Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake with Bite Taken

How do You Make a Crumble Topping?

This couldn’t be easier, but adds something amazing to any coffee cake! Grab these ingredients:

  • butter
  • flour
  • sugar

The butter should be cold and cut into small cubes. Add all ingredients to a bowl and using a fork or your hands (I prefer hands, and often let the kids help out with this step) and combine all ingredients, making sure the butter is broken down and no larger than a pea when you are done. That’s it!

Fork taking a bite of Lemon Coffee Cake


Can This Lemon Coffee Cake be Made Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can make this cake ahead of time. It tastes delicious fresh out of the oven but even better on the next day after it has been warmed slightly. Store it covered at room temperature (or in a cold place if it’s a hot day). It will keep fresh for 2-3 days, probably even longer but it’s always gone before I could test it.

Can I Add Blueberries to This Coffee Cake?

Yes, absolutely. I have also made this cake with raspberries and it was delicious too. I would use 1 to 1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries and fold them into the batter last.

Close up of Lemon Coffee Cake Recipe

Looking for More Lemon Treats?

Lemon Cheesecake Pie

Lemon Pound Cake

Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes

4.75 from 4 votes
Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Cooling Time
10 mins

A refreshing and delicious way to start the day!

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: coffee cake, lemon coffee cake, lemon cream cheese coffee cake
Servings: 9 servings
Calories: 597 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke- iambaker.net
  • 1/2 cup (113g) butter, cold and cubed
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
Cream Cheese Filling
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
Lemon Coffee Cake
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (113g) butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk (I prefer whole)
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup (125g) confectioners sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons of milk
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and prepare a 9x9 square pan with non-stick spray or butter and flour.
  1. Using a food processor, fork, or your hands; combine butter, flour, and sugar in a bowl. (I prefer clean hands.) Make sure the butter is broken down and no larger than a pea when you are done. Set aside.
Cream Cheese Filling
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand-held mixer, combine the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Lemon Coffee Cake
  1. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand-held mixer, combine the butter, lemon zest, and sugar. Mix for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  3. With the mixer on low, add in the eggs and vanilla. Mix on low until combined.
  4. In a 1-cup measuring cup, add the milk and fresh lemon juice. Stir together well.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in the stand mixer and turn it on low. With the mixer on low, drizzle in the milk & lemon juice. Mix until just combined. Turn mixer off. Scrape sides as needed.
  1. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  2. Spoon cream cheese mixture over top and then spread out with a spatula getting it into every corner. It does not matter if the cream cheese and batter combine slightly.
  3. Evenly sprinkle the crumble over top the cream cheese.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes at 325°F. Check doneness of cake with a toothpick. If an inserted toothpick is removed with wet batter, it is not done. (Or if it appears shiny on top it is not done). If the cake is not done and the top is starting to brown, cover with foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Everyone's oven is different so make sure the cake is done before removing.

  5. Remove coffee cake from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  6. Drizzle glaze over top and serve.


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  • Andee Kauffman says:

    Can I use a 9×13 pan?

  • Patty says:

    Could you use lemon curd instead of cream cheese?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      You could. 🙂 I haven’t tested that specifically so can’t speak to its effectiveness.

  • Pat says:

    I think I would add some lemon zest to the cream cheese filling. And maybe some to the glaze as well.
    Sounds GREAT!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      I would try it as is first… there is no lacking in lemon flavor!! 🙂

  • Barb says:

    Have you ever froze this?

  • Maureen Forsman says:

    For baking this in an 9×13 I would make one whole recipe and then a half. You should be okay with that pan size.

  • Jessica StClair says:


  • Nadine says:

    Almost decided not to keep recipe because it is very time consuming and took lots of bowls and over an hour to get done, but my husband and all my coworkers loved it. Brought home an empty pan, and I had made the recipe twice!

  • Deirdre Butlin says:

    Could you use fresh ricotta instead of cream cheese?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Have not tried that so can’t speak to its effectiveness.

  • Marilyn Feather says:

    Any idea how many carbs there are in this?

  • Michele Reno says:

    Great recipe! Pretty Girl

  • Winnie says:

    I took this to a tea party, everyone’s loved it.

    It was more difficult to make than i expected. I am still confused about combining the milk and lemon juice.

  • Alluson Cain says:

    The lemon cream cheese coffee cake fabulous!! I’ve made2..how’s would I use blueberry or raspberry in this recipe in place of the lemon??

  • Cheryl Algie says:

    Has anyone made this ? I just did and I am pretty sure there is a mistake in the amount of butter for the crumble because it went into a dough ! It’s in the oven now and took me an hour to mix up and used half my kitchen full of utensils so it better turn out and taste great as all I’ll be left with is a mess and a sink full of dishes ! Not happy !

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      That could be two things: the butter was not broken down into small enough pieces (they should be pea-sized) or your oven is running hotter than it should. (A common problem to have!) You left this comment before trying the coffee cake, did you like it?

  • Mandy Gsell says:

    Where does coffee come in????

  • Mandy Gsell says:

    Oops so sorry for my last comment asking where coffee is ! I now know why it is so called . That will teach me to read everything!!,

  • Lee Tonnies says:

    I just made this & it is awesome!!Shared bet. grown daughter,son & neighbor. ALL loved it. Me too! Its a keeper for sure!!!

  • Susan kleinfeld says:

    I’m gonna make this looks delicious!!

  • Sassyfras says:

    Do you use salted or unsalted butter for this recipe?

  • Mary Lynch says:

    Late to the party, I know! I had some leftover cream cheese, so I made this coffeecake. It was absolutely delectable. The cake was very tender and carried both the flavors of butter and lemon well. It baked neatly and easily, without mess, and came cleanly out of the pan for easy eating. The taste was very reminiscent of a favorite commercial cream cheese cake. I did aerate the butter and sugar very well, as the comments direct, and that worked beautifully. Thanks for this wonderful recipe, Amanda!

  • Linda says:

    I had an 8×8 pan it’s taking over an hour to bake. I want to make these in large muffin form for g/daughter to take to classes (college) what how long do you think they will take to bake?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Because they will be much thicker in an 8×8 it will take longer. I don’t know the exact times as I don’t use an 8×8.

  • Heather says:

    I made this coffee cake this morning (Oct ’19). However, since I’m Gluten-Free, I used Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour in place of the regular flour. I didn’t have whole milk, so added a tad of half & half to my 2% milk for the batter. I also added a couple of drops of Lemon Extract to the glaze. It took about an hour to prep/put together and 45 minutes to bake. It’s delicious and very lemony. I haven’t had GF coffee cake this good in a very long time. It was well worth the effort. I’m enjoying every bite as I write this. Thanks-it’s a keeper.

  • Judi says:

    I need to use gluten free flour. Need I change anything else?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      You should not need to!

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