Best Doggone Cowboy Coffee Cake recipe (yee-haw!)

Cowboy Coffeecake, in a word: Yum.

Cowboy Coffee Cake, in a word: Yum.

And no, you don’t have to be a cowboy to make or enjoy this coffee cake!

We have a long and delicious history at our house with this particular Cowboy Coffee Cake. This recipe–or a version of it–I originally found in the old red and white checkered Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, and I started making it for special occasions, when a little more posh was called for at breakfast time: holidays, when company was coming, the last day of school each spring, when the wretched lost gerbil was found, and so forth.

It’s a celebratory food, to be sure.

It’s one of those recipes for me, Gentle Reader, that I can almost make with my eyes closed. It’s an easy recipe to begin with, and when I’ve made it scores of times, well, it’s nice to have such an easy and satisfying recipe in your arsenal against hunger and cranky family members, isn’t it?

ccc4Which made it such a shock when it disappeared from the newer editions of the BHG Cookbook–I upgraded and bought myself a new copy, only to find some of my old favorite recipes were missing! *gasp* There is a buttermilk coffeecake recipe that I think is quite close to the original recipe, if not the same one entirely.

But does “buttermilk coffeecake” have the same alluring, today’s-a-good-day-for-an-adventure sound as “Cowboy Coffee Cake”? (As if.) No. No, it doesn’t.

When I needed a quick coffee break treat to serve the guys working construction on our kitchen, I pulled out my old recipe for Cowboy Coffee Cake. Everybody loves it. It stirs up pretty quick. You can dress it up for fancy occasions, and I nearly always–even in the middle of a kitchen remodel–have all the ingredients for it.

Gentle Reader. It’s the perfect recipe.

cccAnd because I love you all so entirely, I’m sharing my version of this iconic classic with you. There are other versions online (there are versions of everything and their dog online, too, such is the nature of online, don’t you agree?) but I can say with all candor and humility: Mine is the best version, because it contains my updates from a couple of decades (cough) of obsessive tweaking, not to mention some time-tested add-ins.


And here it is:

5.0 from 4 reviews
"Cowboy Coffee Cake"
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
This is the perfect recipe: it's easily dressed up for company, it stirs together quickly, everybody loves it, and I nearly always have everything I need to make it in my kitchen. Perfection!
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 cups unbleached flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • ⅔ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup buttermilk (emergency substitution: 1 Tb lemon juice added to milk to make one cup, and allowed to sit for 5 minutes)
  • 2 well-beaten eggs
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Any of the following can be added to this recipe: 1 cup blueberries, chopped apples, smashed banana, ½ cup toasted coconut, or anything you might like in your coffeecake!
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Grease and lightly flour one 13 x 9 inch pan or two 8 x 8 inch square pans.
  3. Toast your chopped nuts in the oven for 10 minutes with 1 Tb butter, and a sprinkle of cinnamon, or until toasted and slightly browned, and aromatic. (Trust me on this one. Roasted nuts are soooo much better.)
  4. In an electric mixer, combine the flours, salt, sugar, honey, butter and cinnamon until crumbly.
  5. Stir nuts into ½ cup of this mixture for topping, and set aside.
  6. To the remaining crumbs, add the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves. Mix together well.
  7. Combine the buttermilk and beaten eggs and add to the crumb mixture. Mix well.
  8. Pour into prepared pan(s) and sprinkle with the reserved crumb and nuts mixture.
  9. Bake 25 to 30 minutes (the larger pan may take 35 to 40 minutes, depending on your oven). Allow to cool at least a half hour before slicing. Unless you don't want to (and we never do), in which case: absolutely scrumptious served warm, with a big glass or milk or cup of good coffee.

By the way, have you ever wondered about goose eggs? I’m sure many people do. 😉 This is a typical sized goose egg from our goose, Lucy, and it is equivalent to two good-sized chicken eggs.

See how big the yolk is? I thought you might enjoy that.


That’s it for today. TTFN.

See you after while, Crocodile!

13 thoughts on “Best Doggone Cowboy Coffee Cake recipe (yee-haw!)

  1. Chef William Chaney

    Great looking recipe. I might rename mine Ranch-hand coffee cake but I will try to make this for a party for sure. I might go a little lighter on the freshly grated nutmeg but that is because in my house I like it hidden in the background with just a hint of flavor. And of course down here we make our own buttermilk via the lemon. No geese but we do have 6 ducks. However my wife and her sisters raise them the same as chickens, to become a special dinner on some holiday, so I leave that be. She did name the baby rooster so he becomes a family member and will be spared the crockpot.

  2. Judy Simpson

    Oh Amy I have the same cookbook. We received it for a shower gift 48 and a half years ago. I have made the coffee cake with blueberries may times. Love that recipe but will try your jazzed up one sounds so good. I used to take it to work for coffee break and it was always a hit!
    I do love your blog.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      OH I wish I still had that old one. I just used it up! The pages were falling out, stained, etc., but I do hate to toss a good old favorite like that. And I do appreciate your sweet words so much. They are music to my typing fingers, as it were . ..

  3. Cynthia Rose

    My cookbook is copyrighted 1976 and still lists Cowboy Coffee Cake. I am trying the original version tonight since I am out of honey and nuts (so sad). I look forward to trying your version.

  4. Betty Stazenski

    My husband bought me a BH&G cook book when we were first married–(I couldn’t boil water without burning it). That was 51 years ago. I still have my moms–(printed in 1944)–Cowboy coffee cake is husbands fav. (It is his birthday cake every year). Will definitely give your version a try. Thank you.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      You are welcome! My sweet daught just brought me home a brand=new BH&G cookbook, and I sadly retired my old copy that i had been using for 35+ years. There were pages missing and several pages were difficult to read because of grease spills, etc. That is a great cookbook! Glad to meet another devotee of the Cowboy coffee cake!

  5. olive

    I have my Grandmother’s BHG cookbook and it’s fairly disintegrated by now. In college I used to make Cowboy Coffee Cake because as you said, the ingredients are almost always in the kitchen. This morning I wanted to make something for my sick neighbor who loves sweets so I went to the cookbook and the page was…GONE! So thank you for posting the recipe, I’m looking forward to the Cowboy Cake coming out of the oven in 11 minutes.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Olive, see—that’s exactly what happened to me! I’m glad I’m not the only one who uses her favorite cookbooks to the point of disintegration!

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