Maida Heatter's Budapest Coffee Cake

December 11, 2015

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

Leave it to The Queen of Cake herself, Maida Heatter, to give us a giant bundt of a coffee cake that doesn't need to hide behind a crumb layer nor a multi-inch shellac of cream cheese.

The cake is dense enough that you can break the slices apart with your fingers (important for: faster eating, fewer utensils, snacking straight from the fridge), and it's tangy and smooth thanks to the 2 cups of sour cream.

Here, the streusel topping typically found on top of coffee cake migrates inwards, in tiger stripes of brown sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, raisins, and nuts that alleviate any batter boredom. It's less messy, it's less precarious, and it offers a reality show-style BIG REVEAL upon first slice.

From Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts (Andrews McMeel Publishing 1999).

Sarah Jampel

Makes: one giant bundt
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 1 hrs


For the nut filling:

  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons raisins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped

For the cake batter and the icing:

  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot milk, plus more as needed
In This Recipe


For the nut filling:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together all of the ingredients. Set aside.

For the cake batter and the icing:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and butter a 10-inch Bundt pan.
  2. Into a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Using a paddle attachment of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Add 2 teaspoons of the vanilla and the sugar and beat on medium speed for a minute or two.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each until just incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl, as necessary, to keep mixture smooth. Beat at high speed until mixture is light and creamy, about 1 minute.
  4. Turn mixer to low speed. Add dry ingredients in three additions and sour cream in two additions, beating only until smooth after each addition.
  5. Spread a thin layer of batter in bottom of prepared pan. Sometimes it’s easier to use a small spoon to drop some batter into pan, and then to smooth it together. Top with 1/3 of nut mixture. Repeat until you have 4 layers of batter into pan and smooth it together. Top layer will be batter.
  6. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center of cake comes clean. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes, then turn out and re-invert on a rack.
  7. Combine confectioners' sugar, hot milk, and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a small bowl. Mix well, Mixture should have the consistency of a thick cream sauce. Place a sheet of wax paper underneath a cooling rack. Pour glaze over cake, letting it run down the sides, while still hot. When glaze is set, transfer cake to a serving plate.
  8. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.

More Great Recipes:
Cake|American|Milk/Cream|Sour Cream|Serves a Crowd|Bake|Christmas|Thanksgiving|Dessert|Breakfast|Brunch

Reviews (34) Questions (2)

34 Reviews

Mary J. October 23, 2018
Can this be made in a 9x13 pan leaving an inch and a half for the rise? Extra batter could be used for muffins. I would start checking for doness at 35 minute. What do you<br />guys think? Ty
Oscar C. January 31, 2018
I have a lot of filling leftover here. Does anybody have any alternate uses?
Yette V. January 29, 2018
This was a fail for me. It was not dense as described. Rather it was light and fluffy like cake and did not come cleanly out of my bundt pan. I double checked all my ingredients and it was all fine. Though maybe I used the wrong flour, but no. Anyone else<br />Have this trouble?
Tracy January 21, 2018
The lovely cake is in the oven now....sure to spill over as I only found my 10 cup bundt pan....I'm sure it will still be delicious and appreciated by all!
Krystyna G. January 20, 2018
Looks delish. Hubby allergic to nuts. Best substitute?
Lori April 13, 2017
I recently purchased my first bundt pan and have been looking for the perfect recipe. This sounds delicious but I have family members who are cholesterol conscious. How much of a difference would it make if I either used low-fat sour cream or low-fat greek yogurt?
KarenO January 2, 2017
Likely this was my fault because I subbed chocolate chips for the raisins, but I found this cake way too sweet. I don't like the idea of using raisins for this so I don't think I'll make it again.
Elizabeth S. April 15, 2017
We used dates instead, it is great
Kate December 7, 2016
Is this ok to make the day before?
Jessie G. October 12, 2016
Made for Yom Kippur break-fast and it was a hit. Easy to make. Moist. Delicious. I will absolutely make this cake again. Note: I put some of the glaze on while the cake was hot, and then added more when the cake cooled a bit, which I recommend - so there is a white glaze over the cake.
Nancy September 29, 2016
This is one of Maida's recipes that I've had dog eared since the book came out way back when. I made it last night and it was everything I could hope for. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
jelloooojen August 20, 2016
Do you think this would work in a regular loaf pan? <br />
David F. May 7, 2016
It recommends serving warm. Have folks made this the day before and reheated? Time/temp/storage?
Jeannie March 25, 2016
I made this last week and it was wonderfully delicious and moist, and I loved the filling, but I'm wondering what makes it "Budapest"?
patty L. March 10, 2017
all hungarians want to name it after them! I know, I am a Magyar!
Victoria T. January 27, 2016
Fantastic cake! The texture was perfect!<br />I substituted sour cream for the equal amount of plain yogurt and reduced the amount of sugar though. The cake was a success!
weyams December 20, 2015
Please confirm: I keep staring at the butter total in the cake and it says 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups). 1 1/2 cups equals 12 ounces not 6 ounces. Can you confirm the correct total before I give this recipe a whirl? Thank You in advance.
weyams December 21, 2015
Excuse me, I meant 1 1/2 sticks not cups but still equals 12 ounces and leaves me confused as to the total ounces of butter.
Author Comment
Sarah J. December 21, 2015
The correct amount is: 6 ounces butter = 1 1/2 sticks butter = 3/4 cup butter. One stick of butter weighs 4 ounces, so 1 1/2 sticks weighs 6 ounces.
weyams December 21, 2015
Got it, Thank You. I was thinking cups not sticks, my mistake.
Author Comment
Sarah J. December 21, 2015
Glad we got it figured out! :)
Terri December 20, 2015
Does this freeze well??
Author Comment
Sarah J. December 20, 2015
I haven't tried freezing it, but I'd imagine it would hold up well: It's a fairly sturdy cake! Ice the cake once it's thawed, and remember to follow Alice's rules for defrosting cake: It should be thawed in the bag/wrapping, overnight in the fridge.
Lauren B. December 20, 2015
Can you please be more specific about the Bundt pan? Like how many cups capacity? I have one that looks like a sunflower, it is VERY wide but very shallow so I don't know if it will hold this recipe when it rises in the oven and I really don't like surprises like cake overflowing to oven bottom.
Author Comment
Sarah J. December 20, 2015
A 10-inch Bundt pan should hold 12 cups of batter. Does that help?
Lauren B. August 20, 2016
Yup. I will just see how many cups my pan will hold...
Sachi December 18, 2015
And here I am looking for a recipe with coffee 'in' it :D I shall make this however ! Perfect for tea ! ;)
Chef D. December 17, 2015
nosher December 16, 2015
Hi, Sarah, This is an old-ish recipe. Did Maida use unsalted butter? Thanks.
Author Comment
Sarah J. December 16, 2015
Unsalted butter!
nosher December 16, 2015
thanks so much.