Sweet, cinnamony, light, fluffy, and super tender, this Gluten-Free Coffee Cake is certain to become a family favorite. Made with primarily pantry staples and boasting a tall layer of buttery rich cinnamon-flavored crumble, nobody would ever guess this easy homemade recipe for crumb cake is celiac-friendly.
Table of contents
- Why You’ll Love This Gluten-Free Coffee Cake Recipe
- Ingredients & Substitutions
- How To Make Gluten-Free Coffee Cake
- Optional Variations & Add-Ins
- Expert Tips
- Storage & Freezing Instructions
- More Gluten-Free Breakfast Favorites
Why You’ll Love This Gluten-Free Coffee Cake Recipe
If you’ve ever tried to make your favorite coffee cake recipe gluten-free, you probably know it’s not quite as simple as swapping in a GF flour blend. Wouldn’t that make life so much easier?!? Yeesh.
Luckily, I take my role as a recipe tester very seriously, so I’ve finally nailed the perfect proportions and method for making a lovely snacking cake that just so happens to be celiac-friendly. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’m pretty sure this is the best of the myriad gluten-free coffee cake recipes I’ve tried!
Aside from being absolutely loaded with a crave-worthy cinnamon crumble topping and being laced with a cinnamon sugar ribbon of deliciousness, this obscenely delicious breakfast pastry is also:
- Super moist & tender. Even if you’re new to the world of gluten-free baking, chances are you’ve tried at least one recipe that yielded tough, dense, and/or dry results. It’s such a bummer! This little coffee cake, however, comes out moist AF with the most enviably tender crumb you ever did see. It’s truly superb.
- Made with mostly pantry staples. Aside from the butter, eggs, milk, and sour cream, every other ingredient is something you’re almost certain to have on hand already.
- Quick & simple. It takes only about 15 minutes of active kitchen time to make this cinnamon crumb cake, and you don’t even need to get out your electric mixer.
Ingredients & Substitutions
This yummy gluten-free sour cream coffee cake requires simple, easy-to-find, and mostly pantry ingredients. Here’s what to grab:
- Gluten-free 1-to-1 flour - I prefer using Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour, but any cup-for-cup all-purpose GF flour blend that includes xanthan gum should work. If gluten isn’t an issue for you, you can easily swap in regular all-purpose flour instead.
- Cornstarch - Adding cornstarch to all-purpose flour is an old baking trick that emulates the lower-protein content of cake flour. I used the same treatment in this gluten-free recipe to get a gorgeously light, fluffy, and fine crumb consistency.
- Fine salt - If you’re using a different style of salt, please refer to this guide.
- Baking soda & baking powder - You’ll need both types of leavening to get the light, tender crumb we’re after.
- Granulated sugar - Feel free to swap in organic cane sugar or coconut sugar if you prefer, but note that you’ll get more hints of caramelly molasses flavor.
- Butter - Using butter, rather than oil, helps to give this breakfast cake a ton of moisture. You’re welcome to swap in plant-based butter if you prefer.
- Eggs - For binding the batter together. Let them come to room temp to make them easier to mix in.
- Milk - Any percentage of dairy milk or any unsweetened plain or vanilla plant-based milk is perfect.
- Sour cream - Nearly all of the best coffee cakes I’ve ever tried have been made with sour cream. The acidity helps to activate the leavening and also results in a more tender consistency. Feel free to use an equal amount of plain greek yogurt or your favorite mayonnaise instead!
- Vanilla extract - For rich, complex vanilla flavor. Feel free to swap in equal amounts of vanilla paste or powder, or use half as much ground vanilla.
- Ground cinnamon - This warming spice feels like a mainstay of all the best crumb cakes. Feel free to experiment with other warming spice blends like pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice.
- Brown sugar - For giving the cinnamon filling and crumb topping extra moisture and a hint of caramel flavor. Feel free to use either light or dark brown sugar, or swap in a less refined option like muscovado sugar, grated jaggery, or piloncillo.
Choosing a gluten-free flour blend
If you’re new to gluten-free baking, I strongly recommend you start out with a store-bought gluten-free all-purpose flour blend. These products are specifically formulated with “cup-for-cup” or “measure-for-measure” ratios in mind.
While you’re welcome to start tinkering with your own blend, I find the number of different bags of flour required an unwelcome burden in my cramped kitchen cabinets. Bob’s Red Mill is my go-to, but King Arthur, Krusteaz, or any other 1-to-1 blend should do the trick.
The biggest thing to look for is the addition of xanthan gum, which does a bang-up job of emulating gluten proteins.
How To Make Gluten-Free Coffee Cake
This gluten-free crumb cake comes together with very little fuss. Aside from some built-in resting time to let the GF flour rehydrate, it’s as quick and simple as making any other coffee cake recipe! Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Make the filling. Combine the ground cinnamon and brown sugar. Set it aside.
Step 2: Make the topping. Combine the gluten-free flour, cornstarch, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the cold butter and work it into the flour using your hands or a pastry cutter. Set aside.
Step 3: Mix dry ingredients & butter. Whisk together the gluten-free flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and granulated sugar. Add the softened vegan butter and work it into the flour until the mixture looks like sand.
Step 4: Mix wet ingredients & add to dry. In a separate bowl, mix the oil, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Step 5: Add milk. Stir in the milk until a smooth batter forms. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Once the batter comes together, continue mixing the batter for 2 more minutes. Cover the bowl and let the batter rest for 30 minutes.
Step 6: Prep. While the batter rests, preheat your oven to 340°F (170°C) and grease and line an 8x8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
Step 7: Assemble. Put ⅔ of the rested batter into the pan and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar filling in an even layer, and spread the remaining cake batter on top. Smooth the surface and add the crumble topping.
Step 8: Bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes. Let it cool completely before serving.
Optional Variations & Add-Ins
While I think this recipe for gluten-free coffee cake is simply perfect just as written, there is plenty of room to make it your own. Here are a few variations worth considering:
- Add some pizazz. Sprinkle your baked coffee cake with powdered sugar or drizzle on a simple glaze (made with powdered sugar and milk) for a pretty finish. This is totally optional, but will hide any imperfections on your crumb layer!
- Swap in almond extract for vanilla to give your crumb cake more of a marzipan flavor.
- Add crushed nuts to the crumb topping to add texture and a toasty, nutty flavor. I love pecans, walnuts, or almonds.
Making a gluten-free dairy-free coffee cake with this recipe
To make this gluten-free cinnamon coffee cake dairy free, you can substitute equal amounts of vegan butter for regular butter, unsweetened non-dairy milk for milk, and mayonnaise for sour cream/greek yogurt.
- Don’t rush the resting step. For lack of a better word, GF flour is “thirstier” than regular flour, so it needs time to rehydrate. If you try popping the batter directly in the oven, it’ll end up tasting grainy rather than light and fluffy. Nobody wants that!
- Let the cake cool completely before cutting. While I know it’s absolute torture to have to look at and smell your incredible creation without getting to dig right in, you’ll find that patience truly is a virtue here. Gluten-free cakes will continue to cook through as they cool, so don’t slice the cake open prematurely! If you do, you’ll find that the cake is mushy, and the moisture we worked so hard to create will steam away through the cuts and leave you with a dry cake.
- If you have it, use patty paper. You know those small squares of parchment paper they use to keep burger patties separate? Well, they also do a bang-up job of sealing moisture in a cut cake. Every time you remove a slice from the crumb cake, push a piece of patty paper up against the cut side before placing it back in the airtight container.
So long as you follow the recipe as written, your coffee cake will turn out fluffy and moist AF.
To KEEP it that way, make sure to store it in an airtight container at room temperature for no more than 3 days. Any longer than that and the environment will start to dry it out and make it crumbly.
Coffee cake is so named because it’s usually served with coffee or tea as a morning or afternoon snack. While I’m sure there are some recipes that do include coffee, my particular recipe doesn’t include any coffee, coffee-flavoring, or coffee grounds.
Storage & Freezing Instructions
Baked coffee cake will last for up to 3 days in an airtight container on the countertop, but after that, it starts to get dry.
It can also be frozen for up to a month if it is well-wrapped in several layers of plastic wrap before being placed in a freezer-safe airtight container or zip-top bag. Remove wrap and allow to defrost at room temperature before serving.
More Gluten-Free Breakfast Favorites
- Banana chocolate chip pancakes
- Banana muffins
- Cranberry orange muffins
- Lemon poppy seed loaf
- Chocolate chip banana bread
- Pumpkin bread
I hope you love this fluffy coffee cake! For more tasty gluten-free recipes, be sure to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook. You can also sign up for my email newsletter to get all of my newest content delivered straight to your inbox — I promise I won't spam you. 😉
Gluten-Free Coffee Cake
- 1⅓ cup gluten-free 1-to-1 flour
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup butter
- 2 large eggs
- ⅔ cup milk
- ⅓ cup sour cream or plain greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup butter
- ⅔ cup gluten-free 1-to-1 flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- In a small bowl, combine the ground cinnamon and brown sugar to make the filling. Set it aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, cornstarch, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the cold butter and work it into the flour using your hands or a pastry cutter.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and granulated sugar. Add the softened vegan butter and work it into the flour until the mixture looks like sand.
- In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Stir in the milk until a smooth batter forms. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Once the batter comes together, continue mixing the batter for 2 more minutes. Cover the bowl and let the batter rest for 30 minutes.
- While the batter rests, preheat your oven to 340°F (170°C) and grease and line an 8x8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
- Put ⅔ of the rested batter into the pan and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar filling so it's an even layer, and spread the remaining cake batter on top. Smooth the surface and add the crumble topping on top. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes. Let it cool completely before serving.
- To make this gluten-free cinnamon coffee cake dairy free, you can substitute equal amounts of vegan butter for regular butter, unsweetened non-dairy milk for milk, and mayonnaise for sour cream/greek yogurt.
- Baked coffee cake will last for up to 3 days in an airtight container on the countertop, but after that, it starts to get dry.
- It can also be frozen for up to a month if it is well-wrapped in several layers of plastic wrap before being placed in a freezer-safe airtight container or zip-top bag. Remove wrap and allow to defrost at room temperature before serving.
I made this gf coffee cake yesterday with Better Batter (original blend). It is already gone! I chose this recipe because of the delicious looking pictures. Mine turned out exactly the same, and tasted as good as it looked.
Thank you so much for your lovely comment and rating Rachel! So glad you enjoyed my coffee cake recipe😊