This sourdough starter discard coffee cake is a delicious way to quickly and efficiently use up sourdough starter discard! Just be warned, this sourdough coffee cake can be best described as a cross between a funnel cake and powdered sugar donut! A unique twist on a traditional coffee cake!
This sourdough coffee cake recipe might be my favorite sourdough discard recipe! It's the perfect sourdough discard coffee cake for a lazy Sunday morning, special occasion or even to enjoy as a leftover the next morning! Grab a cup of coffee, and let's make this easy coffee cake!
WHAT IS SOURDOUGH STARTER DISCARD?
The obsession of baking crusty and fluffy home made sourdough bread has one clear drawback: discarding a portion of the unfed starter. When I say "sourdough starter discard," I am talking about a step in the feeding process where I remove a portion of the hungry sourdough starter and replace it with flour and water to "feed" the bacteria cultures and create fermentation.
For my basic sourdough recipes, I have a feeding routine that is very simple and easy to follow. My starter, like any hungry little house pet, needs food, water and attention to survive.
To feed my starter, I discard about half and add back in 1 scant cup all purpose flour and ½ cup of filtered water. I have a rubber band around the container to mark the starting height of the mixture. As it begins to bubble and grow from the fermentation process, the starter will grow past the rubber band and creep up the jar. If my starter is VERY active, for example on a day when I am baking multiple loaves and feeding it often, it will sometimes ferment itself right out of the jar!
If you are into a deeper dive of the chemical reaction, check out the caption on this time lapse video of my ultra-active starter overflowing!
HOW TO USE A SOURDOUGH STARTER DISCARD
A sourdough starter requires daily feeding if kept at room temperature, but on days when I am not baking, it can rest in the refrigerator for up to a week between feedings.
Not to worry! This can be a very simple process and the feelings of wastefulness can be cured with a few simple recipes!
When I am not in the mood or don't have time to bake with my discard, there are several ways I can make it disappear. I can either feed it to our chickens or pig, put it in a jar and refrigerate it for later, compost it or simply throw it away. This is truly 'discarding.'
To be honest, one of my favorite ways to make a discard disappear in the most delicious way possible is by baking with it! SOURDOUGH CRACKERS, SOURDOUGH CREPES, SOURDOUGH BANANA BREAD... there are so many tasty possibilities! I have even used a few tablespoons to thicken chicken and noodle soup or beef stew. If you are looking for an easy recipe, you've found it!
I also share my very favorite basic sourdough loaf recipe along with easy to follow tips in my post, HOW TO BAKE A PERFECT LOAF OF SOURDOUGH BREAD.
INGREDIENTS FOR EASY SOURDOUGH COFFEE CAKE
200 GRAMS SOURDOUGH STARTER DISCARD || The fed/hungry status of the discard really won't make a difference in this recipe! I store the leftover sourdough starter in a refrigerated mason jar. I'll use it in recipes for up to three weeks.
4 TABLESPOONS BUTTER, DIVIDED || I use a fork to mix half of the butter in the coffee cake batter and use the other half to grease the cast iron skillet. Result? A crispy and crunchy crust!
starter into a fluffy and light cake-like batter. Air bubbles form as the baking powder mixes with the flour in the starter and the batter puffs up within seconds.
2 TABLESPOONS SUGAR || I like this coffee cake to be sweet. This amount of sugar does the trick! Feel free too scale up or down depending on preference. If you are not planning on serving this with maple syrup, I would add a few extra tablespoons of sugar.
1 TABLESPOON OATS || I love dusting coffee cakes with a sprinkle of oats and brown sugar. It adds a layer of streusel-like texture to the coffee cake. Quick oats or steel cut oats are both fine!
1 HEAPING TABLESPOON BROWN SUGAR || I prefer using light brown. It has less of a strong molasses flavor.
1 HEAPING teaspoon CINNAMON, DIVIDED || Half of the cinnamon will be mixed into the batter. I add the remaining half to the faux-streusel topping. A little bit of warm cinnamon in each delicious bite!
¼ TEASPOON SEA SALT || Sweet always needs a little salt to balance it out. In my kitchen, I use sea salt or Himalayan salt. These varieties contain beneficial trace minerals and nutrients that plain table salt is lacking.
1 TABLESPOON POWDERED SUGAR || Just for fun, a dusting of powdered sugar makes this coffee cake feel extra special.
OPTIONAL || A teaspoon of vanilla extract in the batter. I also have made this recipe with fresh blueberries on top of the batter and it was delicious!
SERVING SUGGESTION || Maple syrup for serving! Think of this as a crispy funnel-cake mixed with a pancake.
quantities are on the recipe card.
HOW TO MAKE SOURDOUGH STARTER DISCARD COFFEE CAKE
- If the sourdough starter has been stored in the refrigerator, let it sit at room temperature for thirty minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Preheat a cast iron skillet. Setting the oven to medium heat and letting the skillet slowly creep up to temperature allows it to cook evenly and be nonstick.
- Add the starter, baking powder, 2 tablespoons of butter, white sugar, half of the cinnamon and sea salt in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk it together. This will be a thick batter!
- Add two tablespoons of butter to the skillet and swirl it around the bottom and sides of the pan. It will begin to turn bubbly and brown, just like the browned butter I use in my SNICKERDOODLES. Browned butter has definitely become a lasting obsession in my kitchen!
- Pour the batter into the skillet and gently spread it out over the melted butter. Sprinkle the top with the oats, brown sugar and remaining cinnamon for a simple crumb topping. Watch as the coffee cake begins to lightly fry along the edges of the pan. After about two minutes, the edge of the cake will be slightly crisped and cooked. Place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking for about ten minutes.
- After the coffee cake has cooled a bit, my boys like to dust their slice with powdered sugar. This is the easy way to get kids excited about a delicious coffee cake!
You won't need a stand mixer or even a hand mixer for this original recipe! The only thing you'll need is a medium or large bowl to stir the sourdough mixture in and a cast iron skillet for baking. I am using a small skillet, and would recommend an 8 or 10-inch. The batter will resemble a thick pancake batter and can be stirred with a wooden spoon or spatula.
If you make this recipe, please leave a comment below! This provides helpful feedback to both me and other readers. For more delicious recipes from scratch and homesteading tips, follow me on instagram @NinnescahHomestead
Sourdough Starter Discard Coffee Cake
- cast iron skillet
- Mixing bowl
- 200 grams sourdough starter discard hungry or fed
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 1 tablespoon baking powder heaping
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon oats quick or steel cut
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon divided
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- maple syrup for serving
- If the sourdough starter has been stored in the refrigerator, let it sit at room temperature for thirty minutes to loosen up a bit. Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Preheat a cast iron skillet. I do this by placing it on the stovetop over medium heat for about two minutes until it is very hot but NOT smoking. If it begins to smoke, I remove it from the heat until it cools slightly.
- While the skillet is preheating, add the sourdough starter, baking powder, two tablespoons of butter sugar, half of the cinnamon and the sea salt to a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add two tablespoons of butter to th skillet and swirl it around the bottom and sides of thespian. It will melt and turn bubbly brown.
- Pour the batter into then skillet with the melted butter. Gently spread it out, but DO NOT MIX IT WITH THE BUTTER. Sprinkle the top with oats, brown sugar and remaining cinnamon. Watch as the edges of the coffee cake begin to lightly fry and crisp up. After about two minutes, the edges will be almost fully cooked. Place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking for about ten minutes.
- To serve, dust with powdered sugar. This coffee cake is best if eaten immediately, but can be stored at room temperature for about a day.
Ready for more recipes from scratch? Check out a few of my recent favorites!
I can’t believe this recipe doesn’t have dozens of five star ratings - wow. It’s so ridiculously good (and easy!)
I’ll admit that I stumbled across it because I scrolled past half a dozen recipes that involved creaming butter and baking for an hour and… that was too many steps and extra ingredients for this morning.
THANK YOU for this recipe, and thanks for your video! Glad to know I’m not the only one with burnt crispies on my cast irons, and glad to know I’m not the only one who couples feeding my starter with using up discard!
I added about 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries after transferring the batter to the pan - highly recommend. I also added one tbs of brown sugar to the batter, and only a scant sprinkle of it on the top, and I think it turned out heavenly. To the extent that it came out of the oven 5 minutes ago and the hubs and I are fighting each other’s forks to snag the last bites! Ha!
If you’re considering making this - DO IT!!!
The blueberries would be such a good addition to this coffee cake! I love this idea! I'm always on the hunt for sourdough discard recipes, too. It feels so much better to make something with it than to toss it in the compost. THANK YOU!!!!!
Just made this. VERY easy and relatively quick. In the skillet it cooked quickly but never got “crispy” around the edges until after the oven. It just got a ton of bubbles turned round holes from the baking powder. Luckily at the end, putting powdered sugar on top helped to hide that it’s appearance was… weird. A very thin, crater-y thing. That said: with all the butter and sugar, you can’t go wrong. It was tasty and my 9 year old is chomping it down and gives it the thumbs up. Easy use of discard and quick to make, makes it a recipe that we will repeat.
It's almost like a funnel cake that isn't fried, if that makes sense. Very airy and light. My kids really like to eat it with syrup like a pancake. An easy way to make a quick breakfast with discard! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!
I was expecting this to include coffee in the Ingredients 🙂
It's always strange when a 'coffee cake' doesn't actually have coffee, isn't it? I wonder if it's because it's a cake that is eaten for breakfast with coffee? I'm not really sure!
That could be it, Meg - something to eat with our coffee! Great recipe, I actually added a little brewed coffee to the batter 🙂
Oops I forgot to leave my review, I adore this recipe! I just add a tablespoon of strong brewed coffee to the starter and a pinch of salt. I serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt....so good. Thank you, I love that there are no additional flours to add in this recipe!
Absolutely amazing, super quick and easy to just throw together while making breakfast! Buttery and fluffy. I personally would add another tablespoon or more of sugar but that’s just my sweet tooth talkin’
Hi Tiffany! Thanks for the review! I am also a bit of a sweet tooth... I like to eat it with a generous drizzle of maple syrup! Hope you have a wonderful day!
I tried this recipe because it looked like a true sourdough 'discard' recipe. It seems that most discard recipes use discard as a partial replacement for the flour and liquid, this one highlights the discard. To save time this morning (not having to warm up refrigerated discard), I gave my starter a little extra feeding last night. This is a great use of discard and delicious as written. It was early and I didn't think to mix the topping together prior to sprinkling on the cake and it still had a great texture. I'm thinking of sauteing up some apple slices the day before to press into the top with some pecans may be in our future.
Thanks for a great recipe.
Sorry, forgot to add the 5 Star rating 🙂
This is such a brilliant recipe. Most sourdough discard recipes have way too much additional flour in them, this one is relatively simple and so flavorful. I brewed a strong coffee shot and added it to the sourdough discard while it was coming to room temperature. Great coffee flavor, would love to develop more variations on this. Thank you!
Thank you for your review, John! I think the addition of apples and pecans would be absolutely delicious. Excellent idea!
What size skillet did you use? Thank you!
I have both an eight inch and a ten inch. When I use the ten, the dough barely goes to the edges but it still works!