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!
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.
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.
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.
Once the batter is ready, it’s spread into a cake pan with a cinnamon and coconut sugar swirl in between. Swoon!
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.
All that’s left to do is bake to golden brown perfection!
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).
We hope you LOVE this vegan coffee cake! It’s:
Quick & easy to make
& Incredibly delicious!
More Vegan Cake Recipes
- 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
- 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake
- 1-Bowl Carrot Apple Snack Cake
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!
1-Bowl Vegan Coffee Cake (GF, Oil-Free)
- 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
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp coconut sugar
- 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.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with fortified almond milk and arrowroot starch and without optional ingredients.