1-Bowl Vegan Coffee Cake (GF, Oil-Free)

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Gluten-free vegan coffee cake slices drizzled with glaze

What started out as an attempt at healthier cinnamon rolls morphed into this delicious, 1-bowl vegan coffee cake. Why? Who doesn’t love coffee cake? Also, no yeast, no proofing, no rolling.

Coffee cake is like cinnamon roll’s easier, less fussy, equally delicious cousin.

You’re going to fall in love with this tender, gluten-free cake that’s naturally sweetened, laced with cinnamon, and topped with a pecan crumble. Let us show you how it’s done!

Coconut sugar, vanilla, pecans, cinnamon, maple syrup, applesauce, dairy-free milk, and gluten-free flours

Origins of Coffee Cake

While the name “coffee cake” might make you think it contains coffee, that’s not usually the case. Instead, coffee cake refers to eating a sweet cake alongside a cup of coffee. It’s believed that the concept originated in the 17th century in Northern/Central Europe.

Then, immigrants from Germany and Scandinavia brought it to the US. By the late 19th century, some American bakers did add coffee to the cake batter and others modified it to be denser and more cake-like.

Our version is not traditional but is our inspired, plant-based, gluten-free take on this sweet, cinnamon-infused treat.

Stirring dry ingredients in a mixing bowl

Vegan Gluten-Free Coffee Cake

The gluten-free flour base for this cake is a mix of almond flour, potato starch, and arrowroot starch. Almond flour makes it moist and hearty, while potato starch and arrowroot lighten up the texture. For natural sweetness, we used coconut sugar, and for leavening, we used a mix of baking powder and baking soda.

Pouring wet ingredients into dry in a mixing bowl

Next, we added dairy-free milk and apple cider vinegar for a “buttermilk” effect, which adds richness in flavor and fluffier texture to the cake.

We used applesauce to add moisture while keeping it oil-free, but you can also sub dairy-free yogurt (we used half of each!) for a heartier, richer texture. Lastly, maple syrup adds sweetness and vanilla extract provides delicious aroma and vanilla flavor.

Bowl of vegan coffee cake batter

Once the batter is ready, it’s spread into a cake pan with a cinnamon and coconut sugar swirl in between. Swoon!

Spreading coffee cake batter over a cinnamon swirl layer

Then comes the coconut sugar-pecan crumble topping made with gluten-free flour, pecans, coconut sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and optional coconut oil! It adds the perfect sweet crunch to the top of the cake.

Sprinkling coconut sugar crumb topping over vegan coffee cake

All that’s left to do is bake to golden brown perfection!

Holding a pan of vegan oil-free coffee cake

Serve plain or (our preference) finish it off with a drizzle of powdered sugar glaze, dollops of coconut whipped cream, or dairy-free yogurt (we love Culina plain or vanilla).

Drizzling glaze over vegan coffee cake

We hope you LOVE this vegan coffee cake! It’s:

Tender
Perfectly sweet
Cinnamon-infused
Quick & easy to make
& Incredibly delicious!

This is the perfect dessert for the holidays and beyond! Serve with a cup of coffee, chai, dairy-free milk, or a pumpkin spice latte to be instantly transported into cozy winter holiday mode.

Slice of coffee cake drizzled with powdered sugar glaze

More Vegan Cake Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Close up shot of a fork and plate of vegan gluten-free coffee cake

1-Bowl Vegan Coffee Cake (GF, Oil-Free)

Fluffy, tender coffee cake with a perfect crumb that’s easy to make (1 bowl!), naturally sweetened, vegan, and gluten-free. Laced with cinnamon sugar and topped with cinnamon pecan crumble!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Slices of gluten free vegan coffee cake with glaze
4.79 from 64 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 10 (Slices)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 Days

Ingredients

CRUMBLE TOPPING

WET INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dairy-free milk (we used almond milk // coconut, oat, or rice should also work)
  • 1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or sub plain dairy-free yogurt for richer cake // for yogurt we prefer Culina)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or agave nectar)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

DRY INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups almond flour (not meal // we prefer Wellbee's brand)
  • 1 cup potato starch (not flour)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch or cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt (optional)

CINNAMON SWIRL

FOR SERVING optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and lightly grease one 9-inch round springform pan or two 6-inch round cake pans (as the original recipe is written). You may also be able to bake in a 9×13 dish, but the cake won’t be as tall. Dust greased pan(s) with a little gluten-free flour and shake out excess. Set aside.
  • CRUMBLE TOPPING: To a large mixing bowl add the coconut sugar, gluten-free all purpose flour, chopped pecans, coconut oil, and maple syrup and stir to combine. It should be the texture of wet sand (a little gritty, a little clumpy). If too wet, add some more gluten-free flour. If too dry, add a bit more maple syrup. Transfer to a small dish and set aside.
  • LIQUID INGREDIENTS: In a liquid measuring cup, measure out dairy-free milk and add vinegar, applesauce (or yogurt for more rich, moist cake), maple syrup, and vanilla. Whisk/stir to combine. Set aside.
  • DRY INGREDIENTS: To the large mixing bowl from earlier, add almond flour, potato starch, arrowroot or corn starch, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (optional) and whisk to combine.
  • Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until well incorporated and no large lumps remain. The batter should be semi-thick but pourable. Add more almond flour if too wet or dairy-free milk if too thick.
  • Add half of the batter to your prepared pan and gently shake to spread. Then add the cinnamon swirl layer (coconut sugar and ground cinnamon) in an even layer.
  • Top with remaining cake batter and spread into an even layer with a spoon. Top evenly with crumble topping.
  • Bake on center rack for ~40 minutes for a 9-inch spring form, 30-35 minutes for 2 6-inch round cake pans, or 35-40 minutes for a 9×13 dish. You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the edges and surface are golden brown.
  • Let cool completely in the pan before serving (if using a springform pan, cool for 15 minutes with the ring on, then remove the ring and allow to cool on a cooling rack). Serve as is or with vanilla dairy-free yogurt, coconut whipped cream and berries, or a powdered sugar glaze (recipe in notes).
  • Store cake covered at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Video

Notes

*For optional glaze combine 1 cup (112 g) sifted organic powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, and 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) dairy-free milk of choice in a mixing bowl and whisk into a pourable glaze. If too thick, add more dairy-free milk. If too thin, add more powdered sugar. Drizzle over cake once cooled.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with fortified almond milk and arrowroot starch and without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 10 servings)

Serving: 1 slice Calories: 342 Carbohydrates: 44.5 g Protein: 7.1 g Fat: 17.1 g Saturated Fat: 1.3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.11 g Monounsaturated Fat: 10.83 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 280 mg Potassium: 297 mg Fiber: 4 g Sugar: 21.9 g Vitamin A: 4.67 IU Vitamin C: 0.09 mg Calcium: 172.54 mg Iron: 1.32 mg

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  1. Kate says

    Yum! I substituted tapioca starch for the cornstarch and made these in muffin tins instead of a big cake. I feel I could leave out a little bit of the sugar next time just for personal preference, but overall this is an awesome recipe!!!

  2. Blythe says

    Good recipe, good texture and flavor. Would make again with a lot more pecans or walnuts for more crunch and extra flavor. Also wondering if adding apples would work to this recipe? I saw your apple coffee cake recipe but don’t have all of flours and I know I like this one.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for sharing your experience! Apples will add more moisture, so it will likely be a little gummy, but should still be tasty.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Caren, we haven’t tried this with all purpose flour and can’t guarantee results, but it should work. We think ~1/2 the total amount of flours would be best, so ~1 1/2-2 cups all purpose flour? Let us know how it goes!

  3. Ham says

    I made this total of four times. I like how it’s so easy to make and taste great. Even my non vegan friend enjoyed this. It isn’t too sweet and it pairs well with black tea. The fourth time I made this, I put a bit of instant coffee to change it up and it was great too. Will be continue to make this recipe in the future :)

  4. Annie says

    Hello!
    Thank you for this recipe! I made it yesterday (half recipe) in a 6″ spring form pan using yogurt instead of apple sauce and it baked up tall and delicious looking!

    However, when I cut into it today, it had a large hollow area under the crumb topping. I searched the other comments, but didn’t see this issue listed. Any ideas why it might have sunk, while the topping remained in tact across the top? So tricky, as it appeared beautiful! Could I have undercooked it? When I tested with a tooth pick at 30 min, it came out with a few crumbs.

    It tastes great, but I want to be sure I’m serving my guests a well make dessert. Thanks for any help you can provide!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Oh no! Sorry to hear this recipe gave you some issues, Annie. We’re not sure why that would have happened, is it possible your baking powder or soda are expired and it didn’t rise all the way?

  5. Jenny says

    I made this in a 9×13 pan, and it turned out so well! I added about a cup (or a little more) of some gf sourdough discard/starter, and it added a nice tang and rise. I also layered blueberries in with the cinnamon sugar layer and topping, and it was delicious! I’m a huge fan!