Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

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

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

Slice of Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake


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

4.97 from 27 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.

Looking for More Lemon Treats?

Lemon Cheesecake Pie

Lemon Pound Cake

Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Helen valdes says:

    Cant wait to try your recipe out I love lemon cakes and scones.
    Everything lemony for me.

  • Kim says:

    Where Can I Find The scone recipe. Thanks

  • Nancy says:

    Made this recipe. It’s really really good! Very rich and yummy. Didn’t do the glaze because it was sweet enough. Highly recommend.

  • Foodiewife says:

    What a terrific recipe! It’s so moist and delicious. I’d definitely double the cream cheese filling, next time. I didn’t add the glaze, and though the cake was good, just the same. Thank you for sharing this winning recipe.

  • Diane Manning says:

    I’m interested in the recipes.

  • Toni says:

    Great recipe.
    Thank you

  • Abby says:

    I just made this today and my pan was for sure too small as it’s quite thick. I should’ve used a rectangle pan instead of square!
    Also is the cream cheese filling meant to be seen when you cut into the cake as I think mine has been absorbed into the cake!! It’s still delicious tho!!

  • Natalie says:

    Can this cake be frozen?

  • Mary says:

    I wuold try..seem deliciuo.

  • Rayna says:

    This is simply amazing. I love the labor involved even more; the results are so worth the effort. Thank you for sharing.

  • Danielle says:

    Can this cake be made in a Angel food cake pan?

  • Polly says:

    Mine didn’t turn out as shown. I used a 13 x 7 glass pan and the cake was twice as thick. The cream cheese layer is invisible and I had to cook it about 50 minutes to get the middle done. So it was a little less moist that I like. A lot of labor and not as great as I thought it would be.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Oh dear so sorry! Sounds like it was overbaked though. It is definitely better when the cake isn’t dry and well done.

  • Beth says:

    325 or 375? Two different te.ps listed.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Not sure where you are looking? It says 325°F in the recipe.

  • Dianne says:

    I used an 8 in Square pan covered will foil halfway through cooking.I added 1tbsp fresh ginger to the cream cheese filling because I love those flavor combo.I had to cook 1hr @325 but worth every crumb. Thank you for this amazing recipe.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Debbie Bellflower says:

    Looking forward to making this Lemon is my new favor CHOCOLATE has been an addiction for me most my life

  • Naomi Harrison says:

    Yes I did but I used lemon flavor instead of vanilla in the cake them I used lemon juicy instead of milk in glaze I love lemons

  • Kathy says:

    Can you make as muffins

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Kathy! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Yes, you could make these into muffins. However, you will need to adjust the baking time as they will not take as long to bake. Have a great day!

  • Susan Horn says:

    This is delicious! I used a 9”x9” pan and it took about 50 minutes. I added blueberries, but I did add the glaze, as we are trying to cut down on sugar! We also had it for dessert and it was really good!

  • Mina says:

    This was my husband’s request for his birthday and it came out amazing! I doubled the cream cheese and skipped the glaze. It made me feel like a professional baker!

  • mary johnson says:

    If you don’t have a real lemon can you use lemon juice from the bottle

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Mary! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Because this recipe used 2 tablespoons of lemon zest, I would not suggest substituting lemon juice for it. You would need too much liquid to get the same amount of flavor, which would negatively affect the final product. Have a great day!

  • Alicia Munoz says:

    Amazing recipe!!! The best I have tried!! Thank you for sharing!!!

  • Beverly says:

    What’s with the picture of oatmeal in with the recipe? Is it suppose to be in the recipe?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      It’s not a picture, it’s a video. 🙂 If you click on it you can see a recipe.

  • Chris says:

    Can you use gluten free 1:1 flour?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Chris! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Yes, you sure can use gluten-free flour at a 1:1 ratio with all-purpose flour. Have a great day!

  • Dianna Cervantez says:

    Can you make this in a bundt pan?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Dianna! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Yes, you can use a large bundt pan for this recipe. Have a great day!

  • Katy says:

    Can buttermilk be swapped for the milk?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Katy! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. You can use buttermilk in place of milk in this recipe. However, you would need to lessen the amount of baking powder used to 1 teaspoon PLUS add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. I hope this helps! Have a great day!