This coffee cake is loaded with pure lemon flavor, cream cheese, and a sweet vanilla glaze! Perfect for a special occasion… like Tuesday! The breakfast cake is perfectly flavored and the cream cheese adds the creamiest, tastiest texture! If you love this lemon version, I know you will enjoy my Blueberry Coffee Cake!

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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 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. I even used it on my Cream Cheese Sweet Bread.

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

More Coffee Cakes

Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
4.91 from 41 votes

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!

Ingredients

Crumble

  • ½ cup (113g) butter, cold and cubed
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • cup confectioners' sugar

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar

Lemon Coffee Cake

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup (113g) butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk (I prefer whole)
  • cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Glaze

  • 1 cup (125g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325°F and prepare a 9×9 square pan with non-stick spray or butter and flour.

Crumble

  • 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

  • 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

  • In a small bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
  • 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.
  • With the mixer on low, add in the eggs and vanilla. Mix on low until combined.
  • In a 1-cup measuring cup, add the milk and fresh lemon juice. Stir together well.
  • 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.

Assembly

  • Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • 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.
  • Evenly sprinkle the crumble over top the cream cheese.
  • 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.
  • Remove coffee cake from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Drizzle glaze over top and serve.

Did you make this recipe?

Thank you for making my recipe! You took pictures, right? Well go ahead and post them on Instagram! Be sure to mention me @iambaker and use the hashtag #YouAreBaker.

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. Excellent! It was done in about 45 minutes! Added lemon juice to the glaze! I highly recommend this recipe. Question…..do you store it on counter or in refrigerator? Wasn’t sure with the cream cheese.

    1. I keep it on the counter the day I make it – it usually gets eaten up. 🙂 Then I refrigerate.

  2. OMGoodness! I doubled the recipe today and I tripled the Cream Cheese. When I tell you that this is by far one of the absolute BEST desserts EVER!!! Thank you so much for sharing your amazing talent with us.

  3. This looks delicious! I love lemon but have been trying to do a plain version of a similar cream cheese crumb cake that is-do you think I could try that with this recipe and replace the lemon juice with more milk and leave out the zest? Or would you recommend I go about it differently? Thank you!

  4. It was amazing when I made it! I altered it alittle bit for some more adult ingredients and turned it into a edible. And it was phenomenal! The recipe is amazing!

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