The Secret Ingredient That Will Make Your Coffee Cake Extra Moist

If you enjoy partaking in the wide, wonderful world of sweet breakfast treats, then chances are you've sunk your teeth into a fluffy slice of coffee cake. The ultimate companion to a hot cup of joe, a good piece of coffee cake is rich and moist, with a sweet, crunchy streusel that runs through the middle of the cake and is also heaped on top (via King Arthur Flour). Rich with eggs and plenty of butter, it's also a cake that keeps well, and can be enjoyed on repeat throughout the week, according to Southern Living.

There are tons of variations on coffee cake recipes, from studded with strawberries and rhubarb, to drenched in caramel sauce, to drizzled with vanilla and rum. But there's one ingredient, in particular, that's found in many coffee cake recipes, and it's garnered something of a reputation for bringing tons of moisture and richness to this breakfast classic. 

It's sour cream

If you're anything of a baker, you've probably turned to sour cream on more than one occasion to add richness and moisture to everything from cakes, to muffins, to scones. According to Allrecipes, this tangy, fatty dairy product is a baking all-star: Due to its thick texture, it can add a lot of moisture to cakes without thinning the batter too much, resulting in a tender, fine crumb. Its high fat content lends a satisfying mouthfeel, while its acidity helps tenderize the gluten strands in baked goods, helping to create a soft, tender result.

Sour cream is an extremely common ingredient in coffee cakes, and for good reason. Southern Living notes that out of the many coffee cake recipes they have published, almost all of them contain sour cream. In addition to the qualities listed above, Southern Living adds that sour cream's tanginess helps balance out the sweetness of coffee cake, which usually contains quite a bit of sugar in the form of that irresistible streusel. So the next time you want to bake up a treat to accompany your morning java, check your fridge to make sure you've got some of this wonder ingredient stocked.