This German coffee cake recipe has been passed down through my family for generations. We do not know who first had the recipe, but we do have some stories about it that have been passed down through the years. My great-great-great grandfather did not speak any English when he went into kindergarten, only German. The recipe was brought over from Germany, and my family cannot trace it much farther back than him. 

My great-great-great grandmother used to make this coffee cake for her four sons every weekend. They would come pick it up and enjoy it with their families. From there my great-grandmother, Marjorie Green, continued to make the recipe. She made it every Sunday for her children and their spouses during Sunday school for the kids. While the kids, my mom was one of six children, were in Sunday School, the adults went to enjoy coffee cake. They then all went to church together with their kids after Sunday School and brought a coffee cake home with them. This coffee cake was a special treat every Sunday, or anytime my great-grandmother visited my mom. 

Several years back, probably close to eight or nine year ago, my mom was making this traditional family recipe for the first time in a long time. She made the mistake of adding sweetened condensed milk instead of regular condensed milk. She then added the icing as she always had. Through this mistake, my mom realized the coffee cake was just as good, if not better, with sweetened condensed milk holes and no icing - thus the new version of our family recipe was born!

And if you need to know what kind of coffee to pair with this delcious recipe as you devour it over breakfast, check this out!

The Best Homemade Coffee Cake

  • Prep Time:5 hrs
  • Cook Time:20 mins
  • Total Time:5 hrs 20 mins
  • Servings:2
  • Medium


  • 2 Packages Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 Cup Warm Water
  • 1 Cup Scalded Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Tsp. Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons Tbsp. Crisco or butter
  • 5 Cups Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • Topping:
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk
Georgia Thomas
  • Step 1

    Get all of the ingredients out and easily available

    Georgia Thomas
  • Step 2

    Scald the Milk. This can be done on the stove or in the microwave. You want the milk to have a film on top.
    For the microwave: Put the milk in for 2 minutes for 1 cup or 3 minutes for 2 cups.
    For the stovetop: Stir the milk and then let it sit. Eventually a film will develop. Do this on medium heat.

    PRO TIP: If you blow on the milk, you will be able see a film when the milk has scalded.

    Georgia Thomas
  • Step 3

    Mix warm water with the yeast. The water needs to be warm (but not hot!) in order to activate the yeast. Stir in the yeast. If the water is hot, it will kill the yeast which will make the bread fail to rise.

    PRO TIP: Add a pinch of sugar if the yeast is not activating within the first two minutes. The extra sugar will allow the yeast to activate. If this does not work, likely the water was too hot or too cold, and it would be best to do this step over again.

    Georgia Thomas
  • Step 4

    Mix sugar, salt, scalded milk, and Crisco (or butter) to create a batter.

  • Step 5

    Add a cup or two of flour until you have a thick batter. You only add enough flour to make the batter thick typically no more than 2 of the 5 cups of the flour.

    Georgia Thomas
  • Step 6

    Beat the two eggs together in a separate container.

    Georgia Thomas
  • Step 7

    Add the yeast in water mixture and beaten eggs into the thick batter.

    Georgia Thomas
  • Step 8

    Add the remainder of your flour slowly. (Subtract the number of cups you added previously from 5 to get the number to add here). Add cup by cup. By the last cup, you may want to put some flour on the countertop and put the batter on top; then, you can need the last cup of flour into the dough.

    Georgia Thomas
  • Step 9

    Knead until smooth and holds a ball shape. (However, do not knead past this point, this may cause the dough to fail to rise).

    Georgia Thomas
  • Step 10

    Grease the edges of a large bowl with butter. Then, place the dough in the bowl and lightly coat the dough with butter.

    Georgia Thomas
  • Step 11

    Allow the dough to rise until it has roughly doubled in size. Cover the bowl with a towel. This should take an hour to an hour and a half.

    PRO TIP: If you do not have a proofing setting on your oven, turn the oven on low and put your bowl with dough on top of the oven - NOT IN IT! The warmth coming from the empty oven will come up as hot air rises and create a warmer environment around the oven for your dough to raise.

    Bonus: This image is after the dough has been pushed down slightly. It will raise to be larger than this.

    Georgia Thomas
  • Step 12

    Then punch the dough to get the air out. Take the dough and divide it into two large pans or three circular pans.

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  • Step 13

    Spread the dough so that it covers the entire pan. Cover it with a towel and allow it to rise (proof) a second time. Again this should be about an hour to an hour and a half.

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  • Step 14

    Melt some butter. Take sugar and add cinnamon until you get a darker mixture, cinnamon sugar.

  • Step 15

    Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.

  • Step 16

    Take the melted butter and brush it onto the newly risen dough. Then, liberally sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top.

    Georgia Thomas
  • Step 17

    Open up on of the containers of sweetened condensed milk. Using the back of the spoon create a divet and fill it with sweetened condensed milk. Do this across the dough.
    PRO TIP: You can never have too many sweetened condensed milk holes!

    Georgia Thomas
  • Step 18

    Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven.

    PRO TIP: If you put the pan to close to the top of the oven, it will brulee the cinnamon sugar. You do not want this to happen, so it is best if you bake the pans on the bottom rack of the oven.

    PRO TIP: You do not want to overbake. If the bread looks done, take it out!! Overcooked coffee cake is much worse than underdone coffee cake. If it is underdone, you can always put it back in.

  • Step 19

    ENJOY!! Eat the coffee cake with friends, family, share a pan with a neighbor, or eat the entire thing by itself straight out of the oven.

    PRO TIP: It is best right out of the oven!

    Georgia Thomas