How To Make A Coffee Cake For Just Yourself In 20 Minutes

Coffee cake served in a small greased dish with a dish cloth beneath
Kirsten Nunez

As a child, I always thought coffee cake was made with actual coffee. I mean, it was delicious, so it had to contain coffee, right? Sure enough, I eventually learned that coffee cake is simply meant to be eaten with coffee — but that didn't stop me from loving it. (British coffee cake is actually made with coffee, though, and something tells me I need to try it ASAP.) And since I basically live off of coffee these days, I recently set out to make a coffee cake recipe for one person. The small serving size makes it perfect for those days when I just want something to last as long as my first cup of coffee does in the morning, which is to say not at all.

Plus, as someone who lives alone, I don't want any leftover coffee cake (or any other food, for that matter) to go to waste by getting stale. This is why I am constantly trying out new single serving recipes like pumpkin chili for one person or fettuccine Alfredo for one person. Also, aside from avoiding a ridiculous amount of uneaten food, these small batch recipes also allow you to use up leftover ingredients. It's a win-win.

Of course, you can always freeze treats like coffee cake, but nothing beats a fresh piece right out of the oven. It's the perfect reason to brew a pot of coffee and enjoy!

Coffee Cake For One Person

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon oil or melted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon milk of choice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Butter or oil for greasing
Kirsten Nunez

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a ramekin or small oven-safe dish. For reference, the dish used in this recipe is 4x4 inches. (Isn't it adorable?)

1. In a small bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, white sugar, baking powder, and dash of salt. Mix well.

Kirsten Nunez

2. Add the vanilla extract, melted butter, and milk. Stir.

Kirsten Nunez

3. Continue mixing the batter until the ingredients are evenly combined. The mixture will be sticky; this is normal.

Kirsten Nunez

4. Scoop the batter into the greased dish. Spread the batter into an even layer.

Kirsten Nunez

5. In a separate container, combine the brown sugar and ground cinnamon. If your brown sugar has clumps, feel free to crush them up. It's not necessary, though! I decided to leave the clumps to add that extra crunch.

Kirsten Nunez

6. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture on top of the cookie cake batter. You can also drizzle more melted butter on top.

Kirsten Nunez

7. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Yum.

Kirsten Nunez

Much like a single serving of pumpkin pie or rice pudding, this coffee cake recipe makes just enough for one serving. Personally, I love making this on lazy weekend mornings when all I want to do is curl up with a good book and a cup of joe.

And while there's nothing wrong with a basic coffee cake, you can easily customize this recipe according to your taste buds. It's a great way to switch things up, experiment with new flavor combinations, and use up leftover ingredients.

Here are several ways to give your coffee cake recipe a tasty twist:

Vegan Ingredients

It's surprisingly easy to "veganize" this recipe. Simply use oil instead of melted butter and opt for dairy-free milk. I actually used coconut milk for this particular recipe.


It goes without saying that berries and coffee cake pair well together. To use berries in your little cake, toss blueberries or chopped strawberries with the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Top off the cake and bake as usual.

Chocolate Chips

This one is self-explanatory, of course. Mix chocolate chips right into the batter, or add a handful on top. When you bake the coffee cake, the chocolate will melt right into the topping. Yes, please.

Kirsten Nunez

If this isn't the perfect partner for your morning coffee, then I don't know what is.

Check out more Single Serving recipe ideas here for when your speed is less “entertaining my crew” and more “watching Netflix alone on my couch.”