Try this gluten-free coffee cake recipe that’s also dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan! Enjoy this coffee cake for breakfast, brunch, or for entertaining guests.
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If you love a sweet bite with your morning coffee, you might be no stranger to coffee cake. This delicious cake can be served with brunch, breakfast, or as a dessert.
Even though it’s named “coffee cake,” it really doesn’t have coffee in it. It just tastes great with coffee alongside it. And if we’re being honest, what kind of cake doesn’t taste good with a cup of coffee with it?
Coffee cake is traditionally a cake that has cinnamon swirls throughout the cake, and a sweet and nutty crumble on top.
I’ve made this recipe a handful of times for my family, and plan to share it with my mom on Mother’s Day this year. She also should avoid gluten and dairy, so if I can share a sweet treat with her that doesn’t have those ingredients, I know she’ll appreciate it.
It’s also a great breakfast to serve if you’re having family or friends staying with you, for Thanksgiving for Christmas for easy grazing when people get up in the morning.
This coffee cake is based on a recipe for “wacky cake” or “crazy cake,” a depression era cake with no dairy or eggs, and I’ve adapted it to be gluten-free as well.
I love how quick and easy this cake comes together and how there are multiple layers of texture and flavor throughout. It’s definitely not a one-note cake!
Of course, it pairs well with a cup of coffee, but if that’s not your favorite drink of choice, tea or mimosas are always a good choice for brunch. This coffee cake can be served as dessert as well, it’s not only good for the before lunch hours.
In this post, I’ll share with you the details of how this gluten-free coffee cake comes together, how I’ve made it dairy-free, egg-free, and answer some questions you might have about this recipe. Let’s get baking, shall we?
How to make coffee cake gluten-free
To make any cake gluten-free, you’ll want to use gluten-free flour. You can make your own blend of gluten-free flours at home or buy a premixed blend from the store for your baking. The ones that work well for cakes are those with gluten-free flours with lighter textured flours, like brown rice flour and tapioca starch.
I like to use King Arthur measure-for-measure gluten-free flour blend for all my baking. It has provided consistent results for all my cooking and baking. It also contains xanthan gum so I don’t need to add that as an extra ingredient to any of my recipes.
I also like that since it’s a “measure for measure” blend, I can use it in place of a cup of all-purpose flour in many non-gluten-free recipes.
Read on: Is rice flour gluten-free?
How to make gluten-free coffee cake dairy-free
For most gluten-free coffee cake recipes, you’ll find the recipe calls for milk. To make your coffee cake dairy-free, swap the milk for a dairy-free milk of your choice.
Butter in frosting can be replaced with vegan butter, oil, or shortening to make it dairy-free.
How to make gluten-free coffee cake egg-free
Most coffee cake recipes call for eggs to help the recipe bind and rise. This recipe doesn’t use any eggs at all, not even an egg replacement, because it uses baking soda and vinegar for leavening to rise.
This cake recipe doesn’t have as much “structure” as you’d get from a cake with eggs, but it still is light and fluffy, and you won’t miss the eggs at all.
Which gluten-free flour should I use?
Any gluten-free flour blend should work with this recipe. I use and prefer King Arthur Measure-for-Measure Gluten-free flour for all my baking.
Whatever gluten-free flour you choose, be sure it contains xanthan gum to help bind the ingredients together. If yours doesn’t have it, be sure to add the appropriate amount to the recipe. The general rule is to add ¼ tsp per cup of flour, so in this recipe you’d need ¾ tsp.
Ingredients for gluten-free coffee cake
To make this gluten, dairy, and egg-free coffee cake recipe, you only need a few ingredients on hand for it to come together. You probably already have most of these already in your fridge or pantry right now!
Gluten-free flour blend
Use a gluten-free flour blend that already contains xanthan gum, or be sure you add the right amount to the recipe if yours doesn’t. I like King Arthur gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend, but you can use any gluten-free flour that you prefer.
Coconut or almond flours will not work with this recipe, and a gluten-free all-purpose flour will work best to provide the texture we’re looking for.
Read on: 5 best gluten-free flour blends
The sugar in this recipe is basic white sugar that you’d use for any other baking recipes. Use what you have on hand and what brand you like best.
Read on: Is sugar gluten-free?
Baking soda plus the apple cider vinegar in this recipe gives the cake it’s leavening, making it rise. All baking soda is naturally gluten-free, so use whatever brand you have on hand.
Read on: Is baking soda gluten-free?
Salt brings out the sweetness in this cake and gives a balance. Use any salt you have on hand for this recipe.
You can use dairy-free milk of your choice: almond milk, cashew milk, rice milk, soy milk, coconut milk, etc. Whatever you have on hand will work just fine in this recipe. I chose to use almond milk for my cake.
Read on: Dairy-free milk alternatives
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is used in conjunction with the baking soda to make the cake rise and give it its light and fluffy texture. Although it might seem weird to add vinegar to a cake, you won’t taste it at all once it’s baked.
Vanilla extract is my favorite ingredient to add to any cake recipe, because it gives so much flavor and makes the house smell amazing. Vanilla extract is naturally gluten-free, so you can choose any brand for this recipe.
Read on: Is vanilla extract gluten-free?
How to make gluten-free coffee cake
Let’s go over how to make this gluten-free coffee cake recipe step-by-step so you can see just how easy it is, even without dairy or eggs!
Preheat the oven
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Prepare the crumble
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the crumble topping. Stir together until ingredients are well incorporated. Set aside.
Combine the dry ingredients
In a large bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together.
Combine the wet ingredients
In a separate bowl, combine the dairy-free milk or cooled coffee, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract. Whisk together.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients
Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Whisk until just combined, don’t overmix.
Transfer batter to prepared cake pan
Transfer half the batter to prepared cake pans. Use a spoon or spatula to spread the batter evenly in the pan. Sprinkle half the cinnamon swirl mixture over the batter.
Pour the remaining cake batter over the cinnamon swirl mixture and spread evenly. Top the cake batter with the remaining cinnamon swirl mixture.
Sprinkle on the crumble
Sprinkle the prepared crumble topping evenly over the whole cake.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes
Transfer the cake pan to the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.Check the cake is done by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, you’ll know the cake is done.
Cool the cake
Remove the cake from the oven and allow them to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
Can I freeze the cake?
Freezing this cake is extremely easy. Once the cake has cooled, wrap it in plastic wrap, then put it in an airtight container before placing them in the freezer.
When ready to frost the cake, remove the cake layers from the freezer and allow to defrost completely before frosting.
Can I use this recipe for cupcakes?
This recipe can easily be adapted for cupcakes. Follow the steps in the same way, just dividing the batter among muffin cups instead of in a baking pan. Be sure to check the doneness around 15 minutes, so the cupcakes don’t overcook.
If a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted in the middle, you’ll know they’re done. If it doesn’t come out clean, put it in for another few minutes.
Can I make the cake ahead of time?
You can make the cake a day ahead of when you’d like to serve it. Be sure to use plastic wrap or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days for best taste and flavor.
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup dairy-free milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup gluten-free flour
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ⅓ cup vegan butter, melted
- ¼ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9" x 9" glass baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. You'll need a few bowls to prepare this recipe.
- In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the crumble topping. Stir together until ingredients are well incorporated. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together.
- In a separate bowl, combine the dairy-free milk, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract. Whisk together.
- In another bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon for the cinnamon swirl. Whisk together.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the flour mixture. Whisk until just combined, don't over mix.
- Transfer half the batter to prepared cake pans. Use a spoon or spatula to spread the batter evenly in the pan.
- Sprinkle half the cinnamon swirl mixture over the batter.
- Pour the remaining cake batter over the cinnamon swirl mixture and spread evenly.
- Top the cake batter with the remaining cinnamon swirl mixture. Then sprinkle the prepared crumble topping evenly over the whole cake.
- Transfer the cake pan to the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Check the cake is done by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, you'll know the cake is done.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool before cutting into slices.
- Serve with a cup of coffee, tea, or your favorite beverage!
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Next time you’re looking for a gluten-free coffee cake, I hope you try this recipe! It’s gluten, dairy, and egg-free, so it works well for folks with multiple allergies or food intolerances. It’s great for breakfast, brunch, snacks, or dessert.