Coffee cakes typically get their name from the fact that they are served with coffee, not because they have coffee in them. This Coffee Swirl Coffee Cake is an exception to that rule because it not only goes with coffee, but it has coffee baked right into it! This is a bundt cake that looks similar to many other bundt-style coffee cakes, but delivers a beautiful coffee swirl at its center, rather than the cinnamon-sugar or streusel centers that are so much more common. For a coffee lover, this cake could easily become a brunch favorite.
The base for this cake is a very moist vanilla cake made with plain greek yogurt. The Greek yogurt really helps keep the cake moist, and gives it a nice neutral flavor that the vanilla can really stand out against. You can actually use either nonfat or full fat greek yogurt and get a good result both ways, but you can also substitute sour cream into this recipe too for a similar effect. The light-colored cake is sweet enough to balance out the strong flavor of the coffee that you get in the dramatic, dark swirl in the center of the cake.
For the coffee swirl, I recommend using a strong instant espresso or Starbucks Via for the mixture to give it a really distinct coffee flavor. You want that coffee to really stand out, and the vanilla cake can handle the contrast. You can use instant coffee instead for a milder flavor. A hint of cocoa powder brings out some of the cocoa notes in the coffee, which keeps it from seeming too intense, too. The coffee swirl mixture is dry and crumbly, so be sure that it gets surrounded by cake batter when you incorporate it into the cake. It will form a kind of swirl as the cake bakes, and create a beautiful finished look with minimal effort from you.
Coffee Swirl Coffee Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup plain, greek-style yogurt or sour cream
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
2 1/2 tsp instant coffee or espresso (or Starbucks Via)
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract.
Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the yogurt (or sour cream), then stir in remaining flour mixture. Batter will be thick.
In a small bowl, beat together butter, instant coffee/espresso, cocoa powder and brown sugar until well combined. Mixture will be crumbly.
Spread half of the cake batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the coffee mixture in a ring in the center of the layer of cake batter, then top with remaining cake batter, spreading it evenly to cover the coffee mixture.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.