How to Make the Best Gluten-Free Coffee Cake [GF Crumb Cake] in 4 EASY Steps

Everyone needs a great coffee cake recipe – even if they follow a gluten-free diet! This Gluten-Free Coffee cake is made of a rich and buttery yellow cake that’s topped with delectable cinnamon streusel topping. Gluten-Free Crumb Cake is perfect for Mother’s Day, brunch, Christmas, or better yet — no occasion at all! It’s quick and easy to pull together, too!

A pinnable image of a gluten-free coffee cake slice.

Yep! You read that right, with some planning, you can have this Gluten-Free Coffee Cake recipe assembled by the time the oven is done pre-heating. So, let’s get started.

First off, unlike a traditional yellow cake recipe, this one is meant to be a little denser. This helps the cake layer stand up to the weight of the crumb topping. Therefore. no sifting of the ingredients is necessary! Just a straight measure and pour into the bowl.

How to Make Streusel Topping

I think we can all agree that the best part of any Gluten-Free Coffee cake is the cinnamon streusel crumb topping. Am-I-right?

No special tools needed here though. The best tools for this job are your hands. If you prefer not to get your hands dirty, you can use a pair of forks, a pastry dough blender, or even a silicone spatula.

I prefer to start with butter softened overnight to room temperature. I blend this together and set it in the freezer while I prepare the cake batter. Then I just crumble it over the top and pop the whole thing in the oven. It’s just that easy.

If you want to make this recipe now but do not have softened butter – no worries! You can leave them out of the counter for a couple of hours or if you are really in a hurry, you can float them in a bowl of warm water and they will soften up in 10 to 15 minutes. A third technique is to warm in the microwave, but this tends to be tricky and I personally always end up with a mess of half soft/half melted butter.

A clear mixing bowl containing the cinnamon streusel crumb topping mixture.

Does Coffee Cake Have Coffee in it?

The short answer is “No.”

Gluten-Free “Coffee Cake” is a bit of a misnomer and the name is a bit misleading. Typically gluten-free coffee cake or any coffee cake for that matter does not include coffee in the batter. Traditionally, it is a cake served alongside a cup of coffee as a dessert. Any time someone in my family says “Come by for cake and coffee,” this is typically what you will be served.

Some people may also call this a crumb cake or a cinnamon streusel cake.

Coffee cake squares on a piece of parchment paper. They have been spaced apart to see the moist and tender texture of the cake.

Recipe Notes:

All gluten-free all-purpose flour is not created the same. The brand I use (Bob’s Red Mill) already has xanthan gum [paid link] in the blend, so there is no need to add more. However, if the brand you select does not contain xanthan gum [paid link], you will need to add 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum per every cup of flour used for both the crumb topping and the cake batter.

Xanthan gum provides elasticity and stickiness to the batter and gives the cake structure in the place of gluten. Most gluten-free all-purpose flours, like Bob’s Red Mill, already contain xanthan gum, so you may not need to purchase it separately. Be sure to check the ingredients on your bag of flour.

Brown Sugar is naturally more moist than white sugar due to the molasses in it. It also creates a softer, more moist cake with a darker finished color.

Whole Milk helps keep the cake moist. Changing to buttermilk, nut milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or water will all work, but will change the texture of the cake. Just know that ahead of time.

Apple Sauce added to the batter helps the cake retain a little extra moisture. I use unsweetened applesauce just to help the cake retain moisture.

a close-up image of a slice of gluten0free coffee cake on a plate. from the screen, a fork is seen cutting a slice out of the cake to be eaten. In the background is a cup of coffee

Baking Variations:

For standard-sized muffins, line a muffin tin with liners. Scoop batter evenly between the wells and add crumb topping. Bake 17 to 20 min or until the muffins are set. The center of the muffin should not jiggle when lightly shaken and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Yields: about 12 muffins

Serving Suggestions:

If you’ve been eating a GF lifestyle for at least a little while, you might have found that cakes and biscuits seem to taste fine right out of the oven but after a day, they seem to dry out considerably and become dry and crumbly. No one wants that!

I’ve added many different items into this cake batter that help it retain that moisture. I’m happy to report that even days after baking, this cake was still moist and tender just the way it was intended to be.

If you prefer, that fresh-from-the-oven slice of warm gluten-free coffee cake, you can achieve that by microwaving a piece for about 10 to 15 seconds on High to warm it up a bit.

You might also like to crown this classic coffee cake with some fresh fruit, a dollop of freshly whipped cream, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and it will be even more amazing. I enjoy mine in the evening with a freshly brewed cup of coffee.

An up-close image of the tender and moist crumb of the gluten-free coffee cake. A fork rests on the edge of the white serving plate. Red berries can be seen in the background.
Gluten Free Coffee Cake Web Res 24

Gluten-Free Coffee Cake

Ronda Eagle | Kitchen Dreaming
Everyone needs a great coffee cake recipe – even if you follow a gluten-free diet! The yellow cake layer is moist and tender and topped with the perfect amount of cinnamon streusel crumb topping. It's quick and easy to pull together requiring only 10 minutes of prep time.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Breakfast, brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 18 servings
Calories 227 kcal

Equipment

  • 9-inch x 9-inch square baking pan

Ingredients
  

Crumb Topping

  • 1 cup Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour , like Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Mix [See Note 1]
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar , packed;  [See Note 2]
  • 8 Tbsp Butter softened
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Cake

  • 2 cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour , like Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Mix [See Note 1]
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder , be sure to find a GF variety
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar , packed;  [See Note 2]
  • 1 cup Whole milk [See Note 3]
  • 1/2 cup Apple Sauce [See Note 4]
  • 2 Tbsp  Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Tbsp Butter melted
  • 2 Large Eggs

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare the 9-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and optionally a piece of parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, mix crumb topping ingredients together until crumbly; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix cake ingredients until blended. Spread evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with streusel topping. Lightly press topping onto the batter.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. The center of the cake should be set and will not jiggle when lightly shaken and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Notes

  1. If you are using a gluten-free all-purpose flour without xanthan gum already added, add 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum per cup of flour for both the crumb topping and the cake batter. Xanthan gum provides elasticity and stickiness to the batter and gives the cake structure in the place of gluten. Most gluten-free all-purpose flours, like Bob’s Red Mill, already contain xanthan gum, so you may not need to purchase it separately.
  2. Brown Sugar is naturally more moist than white sugar due to the molasses in it. It also creates a softer, more moist cake with a darker finished color.
  3. Milk helps keep the cake moist. Changing to buttermilk, nut milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or water will all work but will change the texture of the cake.
  4. Apple Sauce added to the batter helps the cake retain a little extra moisture. I use unsweetened applesauce.
  5. For standard-sized muffins, line a muffin tin with liners. Scoop batter evenly between the wells and add crumb topping. Bake 17 to 20 min or until the muffins are set. The center of the muffin should not jiggle when lightly shaken and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Yields: about 12 muffins

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 227kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 3gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 183mgPotassium: 127mgFiber: 2gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 287IUVitamin C: 1mgVitamin D: 1µgVitamin E: 1mgVitamin K: 1µgCalcium: 80mgFolate: 4µgIron: 1mgZinc: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

1 thought on “How to Make the Best Gluten-Free Coffee Cake [GF Crumb Cake] in 4 EASY Steps”

  1. I am GF and gave this a try. It was really moist and the crumb topping was amazing. The cake stayed moist for days stilling in the pan covered in tin foil. I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t try it for myself. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe.

    Reply

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