Ma’amoul Coffee Cake
I am going to start off by saying that this ma’amoul coffee cake is divine. It is light, aromatic, and bursting with textures. You have crunch from the chopped walnuts and stickiness from the chopped dates. The cookie spice which has notes of cinnamon and anise makes this cake even more reminiscent of the well-known ma’amoul cookie.
What is ma’amoul?
Now, you may be thinking what is ma’amoul? It is a very popular Arab holiday cookie often served around Ramadan, Eid, and Easter. It is buttery and traditionally stuffed with date paste or nuts. The most popular nut is walnuts mixed with cinnamon and sugar. These cookies also have notes of anise in them from the cookie spice then are baked and topped with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. They are so delicious but tedious as each cookie is intricately made. This ma’amoul coffee cake lets your house smell just as if you are baking ma’amoul with half the work! You will be pleasantly surprised that it tastes quite similar too!
You may be thinking, how did I combine a traditional maamoul cookie with coffee cake? Well, the mash-up is quite perfect and ingenious. Ma’amoul cookies are buttery, fragrant, slightly crumbly, and often stuffed with dates or nuts. Coffee cakes are also buttery, light, crumbly, nutty, and cinnamon-forward. The idea to combine the two flavors was purely accidental but a beautiful accident at that. I was blown away by the flavors and textures of this cake and how my kitchen really did smell like the holidays as if I was baking ma’amoul. Better yet, this cake takes half the time and achieves the flavors of ma’amoul we love while giving off coffee cake vibes.
What makes this a ma’amoul coffee cake?
When I was developing this cake, I wanted it to be fluffy, moist, and light. Sour cream does just that. And in most coffee cakes, you will find sour cream in a recipe as it really adds the perfect tang and moist texture to the cake. Also, to add a little extra finesse to the cake; I split the batter in half and topped in half and layered the cake while baking with batter then topping then batter then topping. This also gave off the popular coffee cake look of cinnamon in the center and a streusel-like topping.
Ma’amoul comes to play in this dessert in several ways. First, with the pieces of sweet chewy Medjool dates from Natural Delights. Their dates are hearty and add the perfect amount of sweetness, and freshness. Not only that, but they are free of any preservatives or pesticides, and easy to find in most local supermarkets. Check them out next time you are grocery shopping! Dates are such a perfect addition to this recipe and really took this cake to another level.
That and using the spices often found in a traditional cookie in this ma’amoul coffee cake. Cookie spice or ma’amoul spice is often found in Middle Eastern grocery stores in the spice section. I highly recommend purchasing it for this recipe. Alternatively, you can use mainly ground cinnamon & anise, with hints of cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg to achieve a similar flavor for your own maamoul spice blend recipe.
Walnuts are also the most common nut in ma’amoul cookies. They are often chopped very finely or ground in a food processor then seasoned with sugar and cinnamon. The filling and/or topping for this cake is just that. It is chopped walnuts with sugar and cinnamon. This cake really ties in all these flavors that just work together so well. Oh, and if you like to stick to cookies then try my date walnut cookie for a delicious bite!
I work with dates often and have plenty of recipes utilizing this beloved fruit to the Middle East. Feel free to check out some of these recipes if you are a date fan like me!
Sticky Date Cake, Date Shake, Date Bars, Makrouta, Tahini Date Cake, Date Nut Rolls, Stuffed Dates 5 ways
If you have any questions or comments, leave them below. Share your remakes with me on Instagram! I love to see you making my recipes for your loved ones.
Ma’amoul Coffee Cake
- 1 cup Granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup Unsalted butter, melted (1 stick) Light olive oil (must be light) would work as well.
- 2 Eggs
- 2 tsp Vanilla
- 3/4 cup Sour Cream plain yogurt is a good substitute but recipe was tested with sour cream
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 1/3 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tsp Cookie Spice (ma'amoul/ka'ek spice)* see notes
- 1/2 tsp Ground Anise, optional add for a more pronounced flavor. ma'amoul spice should already have anise in it too.
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 10 Natural Delights Medjool dates, chopped
- 1 cup Walnuts, finely chopped may need more
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Cookie spice (ma'amoul/ka'ek spice)* see notes
- 3 tbsp Brown sugar
- Powdered Sugar for sprinkling on top
- Cream together the butter and sugar with a whisk or rubber spatula or using the paddle attachment for your Kitchenaid.
- Then, add 1 egg at a time, mixing together. Add in the vanilla as well and give it a stir.
- At this point, add the sour cream and stir everything together.
- Slowly pour the baking powder, all-purpose flour, ground cinnamon, ground anise (if using), and ma'amoul spice into the wet mixture. Mix together until creamy and smooth. Avoid overmixing so the batter remains fluffy and light.
- Gently fold in the chopped dates then set the batter to the side.
- For the filling/topping, mix all the ingredients in that category together really well other than the powdered sugar.
- In a greased 8 or 9 inch round or square baking pan, add half of the cake batter. Then add half of the filling mixture (try to have more of the cinnamon sugar in this layer -reserve more of the nuts to go on top) then add the rest of the batter making sure to spread it well. The batter is a bit sticky so spread it gently. It is easier to add the batter in scattered dollops first then spread. Top it off with the remaining nut mixture covering the surface of the cake. Pat the topping slightly into the batter to help it stick more after baking. *The layers of cake batter will appear thin and not seem like much when being spread in the pan but I promise you it will yield a great end result.
- Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 45 minutes if using a 9-inch pan and closer to 50-55 minutes for an 8 inch pan. You can check if the cake is fully baked by giving it a little jiggle and/or inserting a toothpick into the center. If the toothpick comes out dry, the cake is baked through. *To avoid over- browning, bake the cake at the bottom rack for 35 minutes and the remaining time on the top rack till baked through.
- Keep in mind that the size pan you use will make a difference with baking time as mentioned above. If a muffin pan is used, bake time may be cut by half. Just keep an eye on the cake.
- Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes before topping with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and slicing through and enjoying! This cake tastes better once its room temperature as the flavors and textures become more pronounced with time. I enjoy it best a few hours after baking it. It keeps well room temperature for 2 days in an airtight container. After that, keep it in the fridge sealed then warm whenever you want to enjoy a piece.
- This cake is absolutely divine with a cup of warm coffee!
Thank you so much!!!!
Just wondering, may I use yogurt instead of sour cream?
Yes, plain yogurt should work fine!
Soooo good! Make it NOW, you will not be disappointed.
Thanks so much!
Oh my gosh!
I just made this cake it is so delicious, my kids just loved it…. Truly amazing….Thank you so much!!
This recipe is delicious! My family and I loved it! This will be a staple recipe in my kitchen 🙂
Thanks for the lovely review, Nalani!
Is there any substitute for the sugar? Maybe honey or maple syrup? Thanks!
You can try an alternative sugar like date or coconut sugar but I am not sure about a liquid sweetener. The ratio may be different but if you were to try; I would suggest honey over maple syrup.
Was really excited to try it and OH MY 🤤 Super delicious 😍 and fluffy! Truly amazing 🤩
I have a special coming over today and I have baked this cake for her. I can’t tell you how excited I am for her to taste this. Thank you so much.
That’s awesome, thank you!
I almost didn’t make the recipe as I didn’t have the ma’moul cookie spice however Heifa has a notes section for substitution. I’m so glad I made the recipe, this cake is so delicious. For the flour mixture spice, I used 1/2 tspn cinnamon and 1/2 tspn anise. For the nut topping spice I used 1 tspn of cinnamon and 1/4 tspn of anise. Also, I didn’t have enough walnuts so I mixed the walnuts with pecans and almonds for the nut mixture. Slight variation to the recipe but still so good!
Happy to hear it worked great for you, Jen!
This was AMAZING! Worked well from the first time trying it and havent even baked for a long time. I couldnt find the cookie spice so I made my own mixture of: cinnamon, anise, allspice, ground clove and ginger, and mahlab. It worked really well.
Thanks, Bushra. Lovely choices of aromatics for the cake!
What were the proportions of your spices? I can’t find this cookie spice in any Arab/middle eastern store near me.
I would do ground anise and ground cinnamon in place of maamoul spice.
I’ve tried this cake and it was a success! Substituted the sour cream for a mix of labnah and plain yogurt and I added a dash of blossom water or rose water to the walnut mixture to boost the taste and give it an extra kick and that extra maamoul flavor 😍
Lovely to hear!
Just made the cake! Mashallah thank u so much! Appreciate u sharing it!
My Pleasure, Enjoy!
This cake was delicious! It will definitely go in my recipes binder! I did decrease the amount of sugar and it came out great.
Happy to hear!
Thank you for sharing this amazing super easy recipe!! And it’s so different than all coffee cake…I love it 😊
Can you double the recipe for a 9×11 inch Pyrex?
Hi Rahaf, doubling should fill a 9 by 11.
Mashallah made this cake twice now and it’s soo good. Perfect for company and I can tell I will be making this a lot in the future ❤️
This was sooo delicious! Made it for dessert for tonight’s Iftar and the whole family loved it 😍
Thanks so much!
Deeelicious!! Made this today for first day of Ramadan. My entire family loved it! I ended up using plain yogurt instead of sour cream. Thank you, it was definitely a hit!
Love to hear that!
Hello Heifa, Ramadan Kareem. I just made this cake and it looks amazing. I’m wondering if I should serve it with maybe whipped crème or caramel glaze. Is the cake too dry if eaten by itself? Thank you for this amazing recipe.
Salam Nadia, Ramadan Kareem! I promise you this cake is moist and delicious on its own but please feel free to add a caramel drizzle or whipped cream on the side but it does not need it in my opinion.
Delicious cake ! Made it already 2 times and probably this weekend making my 3rd … everybody loves this cake
That is awesome!! It is pretty addicting.
Possibly one of the best desserts I have ever had and recipe is so easy to follow! Love ❤️
Thanks so much, Nadia!
If I could leave 10stars for this recipe I would! This is honestly the perfect recipe to the most luxurious, moist and delicious date cake I have tried until now! Made the recipe as is, no modifications, easy to follow and make and came out absolutely perfect. It was a hit with all my family and friends even though some do not like dates! This is one of those recipes that you want to save to make again and again just like I am doing!! Thanks so much Heifa for your hard work 🙂
This made my heart so happy. Thank you for making my day!
This was amazing!! 🤤🤤
I will diffidently do this recipe again. It was so flavorful and moist, even my kids loved it!! This is one of the many recipes that I have saved to my collection. Love your detailed recipes!! Thank you Heifa, I am never disappointed when doing your recipes!
This makes me happy! Thanks for the kind review!
This cake was delicious! Hit the spot for Ramadan
Thanks for the recipe,i made it and it was very good and tasty.
Wallah this Recipe is in point made it for the first time ever took to my mamas house and it was a hit my niece had made it before but she said mine is so fluffy Alhamdillah thanks so much Haifa for sharing this recipe
Thanks so much, Yasmin
Made this for a friend and had a slice and we both LOVED it! I didn’t include the anise but I imagine it would taste more like mamoul if you do. Super easy to make.
I am so happy to hear that!
Super easy to follow the instructions! Thank you, this was a family hit of mine especially after iftar with a cup of coffee.
Love to hear that!
It is amazing! The smell and the taste 😍 thank you so much for developing this recipe ❤️
Notes that might be helpful for someone else:)
I didn’t have sour cream so I used milk and added vinegar to it. I also didn’t find the cookies spices so I used the spices that I usually use to make my mamoul.
I used half the sugar and it was coconut sugar and was happy with the taste (I don’t know what will happen if I cutdown more of the sugar quantity)
Wow this cake was so much better than I expected!! For some reason I thought it might be dry and not as flavorful but wow it’s moist and full of those comforting and cozy smells 🙂
I am glad you gave it a chance and enjoyed it!
All i have to say is wow this cake was absolutely incredible. Literally taste exactly like a Mamoul cookie but honestly even better. Fufu you have definitely out did yourself the entire family loved this Mamoul cake
Thanks so much, Layalee
I made this cake the other day. Wonderful and very tasty!! Thank you.
This cake is divine! And exactly as described ma’maoul in a cake- yum.
Definitely a staple for us now❤️
So delicious! This is the only coffee cake recipe I’m going to use now because it was just so good.
Made this (for the second time) to take to a dinner invitation. Everyone loved it with their tea and coffee.