Polish Coffee Cake (my grandma’s recipe!)

A simple, yet mouthwatering yeast raised cake, with the most explosive amount of crumb topping! A recipe passed down through my family!

Polish Coffee Cake | Fabtastic Eats Do you have a lot of family recipes that have been passed down? I don’t really have that many, not in my hands anyways. Probably because until we moved out to the west coast, I really never had any need for them. My mom still makes everything that my grandma, and her grandmas made, and so we just went to her house. But noooow I find myself missing their cooking so much. Especially some of there famous recipes. Like this polish coffee cake!

I’ve talked a few times about my grandmas cooking. (& my moms, I even started a series, that I’ve definitely neglected, highlighting some of my favorite things my mom makes!) Recently when I made these crepes, in that post I yapped about Sunday brunch at my grandmas house and how it was all about eating all day long, quite literally. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that! Don’t you just love how much food brings people together? It’s a beautiful thing.

Polish Coffee Cake | Fabtastic Eats Anyhoo, this is my grandmas recipe for polish coffee cake, and I know it was handed down to her, it goes back quite a few generations. And it’s perfect. This is one of those things that she would make on Sundays for all of our brunches, and she almost alwaaaays had it. I can hardly remember a time going over there when this wasn’t sitting on her counter. And we lived a 1/2 mile from her for a loooong time, so we went a lot. Polish Coffee Cake is my all time favorite.

Polish Coffee Cake | Fabtastic Eats But not just any polish coffee cake, it has to be HERS. Because I’ve seen some that end up to dry, or they hardly have any crumb topping (wth! it’s the best part!), or they’re to dense. This one is perfect. I have her handwritten recipe for this and its gorgeous–you can see all the years she’s had it. Her recipe is double what the recipe below states. She makes massive pans, because, well, everyone devoured it. I felt a little better about having a whole pan of this in the house if it wasn’t the size of the state of texas. Especially since I ate three quarters of this cake ON MY OWN.

Polish Coffee Cake | Fabtastic Eats I exaggerate sometimes, but I am not here. I really did eat almost this entire thing myself. For breakfast, second breakfast, again for a snack, then for dinner with wine once, then as a late night treat. So what Im telling you is that while my grandma would probably claim that this is best with a steaming hot cup of coffee in the morning, and shes probably, no definitely right, it’s also absolutely fantastic, and pairs reallllly well with a glass of a full bodied red wine. It’s pure heaven. I’m giving you plenty of excuses to eat this. I was caught many times, just standing over the counter with a fork in hand for a good 15 minutes. I’m not ashamed.

Polish Coffee Cake | Fabtastic Eats So what makes this cake so special? It’s a yeast cake, but don’t get freaked, this is probably one of the simplest cakes you will ever make. It’s lightly sweetened, a little lemon rind is added, then it rises. The star of this cake is the crumb topping. The recipe below makes a lot, but don’t cut it in half, and don’t skimp, you want every last piece of that crumb on this cake! When it comes out of the oven and begins to cool, the topping gets a little crisp to it. And the butter melts a little into the top of the cake…ahh.

When we were little, and my mom made this for us, my brothers and I would just stand there and eat only the topping, you can bet my mom loved that! 😉 But now that I’m older, ahem, I can totally appreciate every aspect of this simply sweet, slightly crunchy, perfect, polish coffee cake. I will forever love my grandma for this one! Enjoy!

Polish Coffee Cake | Fabtastic Eats

Polish Coffee Cake (my grandma's recipe!)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 large cake

A simple, yet mouthwatering yeast raised cake, with the most explosive amount of crumb topping! A recipe passed down through my family!


  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • rind of 1 lemon, 2-3 TB
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Crumb Topping (aka heaven!)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup cold butter


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Grate in the lemon rind.
  2. In a small saucepan on the stove, melt the butter and milk together over medium-low heat. Remove from heat, and allow to cool to about 108°, you don't want to kill your yeast because your milk is too hot. If it is really hot, to speed up the cooling process, I put it in the freezer for a few minutes.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, begin to stir the milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Once halfway combined, stir in the eggs. Fold everything together until just blended.
  4. Grease and flour a large baking pan. Pour in the batter, it will be thick, and spread evenly in the pan.
  5. Cover and allow to rise until it doubles in size, 1-2 hours. I stick mine in the oven with the oven light on, it works pretty quick! (Just be sure not to turn your oven on while it's in there!)
  6. When it's doubled in size, preheat your oven to 350°. (make sure it's not in there still!)
  7. To make the crumb topping, aka the best thing ever, in a medium sized bowl, stir together the sugar and flour. Cut the butter in in chunks, and using a large fork, begin to mash the butter into the dry ingredients. After a couple minutes, I tend to just use my hand, its much more efficient, and you get a better crumb.
  8. Using your hands, while simultaneously squeezing into chunks, spread the crumb topping across the risen cake.
  9. Pop in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes before devouring.


Store covered on the counter.

Recipe Source: My Polish Grandma!

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