This gluten-free coffee cake is a delicious version of a classic coffee cake recipe, featuring layers of cinnamon crumble. The cake soft and moist, with the perfect tender, buttery crumb.
Looking for more coffee cake recipes? Use gluten-free flour to make this brown butter blueberry coffee cake, raspberry coffee cake, or coffee cake muffins. You'll also love this paleo pumpkin streusel coffee cake.
If you're interested in our favorite gluten-free desserts (most are diary-free too!), these fudgy paleo brownies and flourless monster cookies are a must-try! If it's more cake recipes you're on the hunt for, we have you covered there, too. Need another cake? This rich chocolate cake with potato (you heard that right — potato) is gluten-free and dairy free.
Why this Gluten Free Coffee Cake Recipe Work
- Dynamic texture: the soft yet dense cake just melts in your mouth. And the sweet crumble on top just takes it to the next level!
- Warm taste: the warmth of the cinnamon and brown sugar it a great recipe for an early morning treat — and a cup of coffee!
- Sensitivity-friendly: Not only is this recipe gluten-free, it's easy to make dairy free as well. Use dairy-free butter and sour cream for best results. Our favorite brand is Kite Hill!
- Easy recipe with simple ingredients: this entire recipe uses pantry staples, especially if you are familiar with gluten-free baked goods.
Just like our coffee cake muffins and pumpkin streusel muffins, this gluten-free cinnamon coffee cake is piled high with warming cinnamon streusel and a tender cake. The best crumb cake isn't short on that buttery topping!
How to Make Gluten Free Coffee Cake
The full printable recipe card is below, but let’s walk through the steps with some photos and a video so you have a clear idea of what to expect. This gluten-free coffee cake recipe is really easy and these step-by-step instructions will make sure they turn out every time.
Prepare cinnamon crumble: Whisk together the brown sugar, gluten-free all-purpose flour blend, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut the chilled butter into the mixture until the butter breaks down into pea-sized crumbs. Store in the refrigerator until you’re done making the cake batter.
Wet ingredients: Beat the softened butter and sugar together on high speed with an electric mixer or stand mixer until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until no yellow streaks remain then beat in the sour cream. The mixture will be lumpy but will smooth out as you add the dry ingredients.
Add dry ingredients: Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just combined. Add the milk, being careful not to over-mix.
Layer 1: Pour just over half of the coffee cake batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth it out. Add 1 cup of crumble topping in an even layer over the batter.
Bake and ice: Bake in the preheated oven for 32-37 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Start checking for doneness around the 30-minute mark. While it's baking, whisk together the icing ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle on top of the baked cake right out of the oven or wait until it cools.
Although coffee is in the name, there isn't actual coffee in it. Traditional American coffee cake is a pound cake layered with cinnamon and streusel. They're called coffee cake because they're the perfect complement to a hot cup of coffee or a foamy latte.
Gluten gives wheat-based baked goods their elasticity and structure. When gluten is removed from the equation in gluten-free cakes, it's challenging to replicate the same level of structure, resulting in a denser texture. Incorporating moist ingredients, using the right flour blends, and understanding the roles of leavening agents are all essential in creating a delicious gluten-free cake.
Yes, people with celiac disease can eat gluten-free cakes. In fact, gluten-free cakes are specifically made to be safe for individuals with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. However, if you do have celiac disease, always be sure to read labels, inquire about the preparation process, and buy products from reputable sources to make sure your gluten-free diet is truly gluten-free.
Having the right ratio of wet ingredients to dry ingredients is important in all baking, especially gluten-free baking. A lot of times it's good to add a fruit or extra moisture to help gluten-free cakes. Luckily we're already adding sour cream to this, so it's extra moist!
Without gluten, baked goods can often dry out. If your cake comes out crumbly, you need to add a little moisture to hydrate the flour. This is where full-fat liquids such as whole milk, full-fat sour cream, or coconut milk come in handy.
Expert Tip: Room Temperature Ingredients
If a recipe calls for room-temperature ingredients, you want to follow those instructions for the best results. Here's why it matters:
- During the creaming process, the sugar crystals cut into the room-temperature butter, forming tiny air bubbles. The air trapped inside these bubbles expands during baking, contributing to a well-risen and tender cake.
- The rest of the dairy ingredients will need to emulsify with the butter mixture. You don't want any of those ingredients cooling the butter and solidifying it, ruining the smooth consistency of the batter.
Bring Your Ingredients to Room Temperature
- To soften butter for baking, take it out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours before using it. It should be about 60°F and you should be able to make a slight indent in the butter with your finger and the butter should not be greasy or melted.
- To bring eggs to room temperature, simply take them out of the refrigerator for about 30 to 60 minutes before using them in the recipe. If you forget to do this in advance, you can place the whole eggs in a bowl of lukewarm water for a few minutes to speed up the process.
- Room temperature milk and sour cream: measure them out in a measuring cup then set them at room temp for about an hour.
The exception in this recipe is the butter used for the crumble. You want the butter for the crumble to be cold and cubed. If you were to use softened or melted butter, the crumble would lose its structure and turn into more of a paste.
What to Serve with Gluten-Free Coffee Cake
What's a breakfast cake without coffee to go with it? When faced with the choice of an iced latte vs iced coffee, it all comes down to personal preference. A favorite of ours is this iced caramel latte. Making your own oat milk is actually really simple! Learn how to make this homemade oat milk recipe in just 5 minutes.
If you're looking for something to round out your breakfast, start the day on a filling and healthy note with these gluten-free breakfast recipes. This easy vegetable frittata is one of our most popular breakfast recipes. Or try this asparagus frittata, featuring rich and creamy fontina and ricotta cheese.
Our tropical kale smoothie and mango spinach smoothie are both packed with plenty of good vitamins, fiber, and protein. Protein bowls like this mocha or green smoothie bowl are another perfect way to sneak in your daily values of nutrients.
Freezing and Storing Tips
Cover or store in an airtight container at room temp for 3 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week. Coffee cake freezes well wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge before serving.
More Breakfast Desserts
Try more of our sweet breakfast recipes including gluten-free pumpkin muffins, healthy banana muffins, gluten-free morning glory muffins, and gluten-free pumpkin bread with cinnamon swirl.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
Gluten-Free Coffee Cake
- ⅔ cup (142g) packed light brown sugar
- ¾ cup (111g) gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour (with xanthan gum) spooned and leveled (Note 1)
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (1 stick) (113g) unsalted butter cold and cubed
Gluten-Free Coffee Cake
- 1 ½ cups 222g gluten-free 1 to 1 baking flour (with xanthan gum) spooned and leveled
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) (113g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup (80g) full-fat sour cream room temperature
- 3 Tablespoons (45ml) milk any kind
- 8x8 inch baking pan
- Parchment paper
- Stand Mixer or Electric Mixer
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a square 8x8 inch baking pan with parchment paper so you can easily remove the cake from the pan. Alternatively, directly grease the pan.
- To make the cinnamon crumb, whisk together the brown sugar, gluten-free flour, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut the chilled butter into the mixture until the butter breaks down into pea-sized pieces. Store in the refrigerator until you assemble the cake.
- To make the cake batter, whisk together the gluten-free flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
- In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until no yellow streaks remain and the batter is light and fluffy, another 2 minutes. With the mixture still running, beat in the sour cream. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The mixture will be lumpy but will smooth out as you add the dry ingredients.
- With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just combined then finish by adding the milk. Be careful not to over-mix. The batter will be thick.
- Pour just over half of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it out into an even layer. It doesn't have to be exact. Sprinkle 1 cup of crumb topping evenly over the batter.
- Repeat the steps and spread the remaining batter on top of the crumb. I like to do this by placing dollops of batter evenly over the crumb and using a greased spatula to help spread it. It will be tricky because the thick batter is going on top of an unstable crumb. Do your best! Finish with the remaining crumb topping.
- Bake for 32-37 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Start checking for doneness around 30 minutes and tent with foil if the top is browning too much.
- While it’s baking make the icing. Whisk them together in a small bowl. remove the cake from the oven and drizzle the icing over the warm cake. Cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week. Coffee cake freezes well wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.