Soft and moist gluten-free cinnamon coffee cake topped with a crunchy cinnamon streusel topping.
The History of Coffee Cake
When I was researching coffee cakes, it took me by surprise that coffee cakes do not actually contain coffee in the U.S. They are called coffee cakes because they are meant to be eaten while drinking coffee. So, I got curious and decided to do research on how coffee cakes came to be.
It is hard to trace where coffee cakes come from and how they originated to be. However, I found out that coffee cakes were introduced to the U.S through german immigrants. The cakes back then included yeast and dried fruit. In 1870, coffee cakes became popular in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. At that stage, each bakery added its own twist and flavors. Now, most coffee cakes are flavored with fruits or cinnamon. Hence, the gluten-free cinnamon coffee cake I’m sharing with you today!
The Science Behind The Ingredients
Gluten-free Flours: If you are familiar with my recipes, then you know that white rice flour, tapioca flour, brown rice flour, and corn starch are stable in my pantry. These four gluten-free flours provide the best texture and flavor to a lot of baked goods, especially cakes. Therefore, to make this delicious gluten-free cinnamon coffee cake, you will need all four. The use of rice flour does not alter the taste of the cake and creates a soft cake. Meanwhile, tapioca flour provides structure to the cake and behaves similar to gluten. The corn starch works to balance the rice and tapioca flour. It prevents the cake from turning gummy and stretchy.
Flavor: The cinnamon coffee cake consists of three distinct layers, cake, cinnamon filling, and streusel topping. The cake is simple and has a vanilla flavor. A bit of milk flavor is added to the cake through the use of milk. Meanwhile, the cinnamon filling is a combination of brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and almond flour. The use of both brown sugar and white sugar adds depth to the cinnamon filling and a subtle caramel flavor. Finally, the streusel topping is made of brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, butter, and almond flour. It has a cinnamon caramel flavor that compliments the nutty taste of almond flour. All three layers combined create a sensational taste on their own but combined with a cup of coffee, and all layers are elevated to the next level. The sensation of the vanilla cake melting in your mouth and the sweetness of the cinnamon filling complementing the bitterness of coffee is truly an experience.
Texture: Cinnamon coffee cakes are supposed to be moist and dense. The use of milk and an extra egg yolk provides moisture to the gluten-free flour mix and helps achieve a soft and not dry cake. To create a dense cake, the mixing process requires minimum incorporation of air into the batter. Meanwhile, the streusel topping is crunchy and compliments the soft texture of the cake and the cinnamon filling.
Making the Streusel Topping
The streusel topping is the easiest thing to do. However, before attempting to make it make sure that the butter is cold and is sliced into large cubes. This helps to achieve a crunchy streusel topping. To make the topping here is what you need to do:
- In a bowl, add the white sugar, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, almond flour and chunks of unsalted butter.
- Next, using your hand, pastry cutter or even food processor work the butter until you achieve coarse crumbs. Cover, the streusel topping and set it aside as it will be needed for assembling the gluten-free cinnamon coffee cake.
Making The Cake Batter
The cake batter is very simple to make and can be done using a whisk, hand-held mixer, or a stand-alone mixer. I used a hand-held mixer for ease. Here is what you need to do:
- In a bowl, combine the white rice flour, tapioca flour, corn starch, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine.
- In a separate bowl, add the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and beat at medium-high speed until combined. Then lower the speed of the hand-held mixer and slowly add the milk. This will prevent the batter from curdling and allows the ingredients to combine well.
- Next, add the flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture. Combine using a spatula to prevent adding too much air into the batter. This will help in achieving a soft and dense gluten-fee cinnamon coffee cake.
Assembling the Coffee Cake
The best part of this cake is putting it together!
- Grease a square pan, I’m using a 20 x 20 cm ( 8” x 8” inch) pan. Then align the cake pan with parchment paper.
- Next, add half of the cake batter, followed by a layer of the cinnamon filling. Then add the remaining cake batter and finish off with the streusel topping. When adding the streusel topping I recommoned starting at the edges and moving towards the center. This prevents the crumbs from sinking into the cake while baking.
- Bake the gluten-free cinnamon coffee cake at 180°C (356 °F) for 35-38 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.
Desserts that pair well with coffee!
- Gluten-free Cinnamon Bread
- Gluten-free Cinnamon Sugar Cupcakes
- Gluten-Free Lemon Drizzle Cake
- Gluten Free Orange Bundt Cake
- Gluten Free Gingerbread Cake
- Gluten Free Vanilla Bundt Cake
- Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake
- Lazy Cake
Cinnamon coffee cake contains no caffeine. It is called a coffee cake as it is traditionally served with coffee.
Once the cake is baked, it can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to two days. Moreover, it can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. To refresh the cake, heat it in the microwave for 20 seconds before serving.
Gluten-Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake
- 30 grams of Brown Sugar
- 70 grams of Granulated White Sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
- 80 grams of Unsalted Butter cut into Cubes
- 100 grams of Almond Flour
- 60 grams of Granulated White Sugar
- 30 grams of Brown Sugar
- 3 teaspoons of Ground Cinnamon
- 20 grams of Almond Flour
- 175 grams of Granulated White Sugar
- 60 ml of Vegetable Oil
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
- 120 ml of Full Fat Dairy Milk
- 113 grams of White Rice Flour
- 45 grams of Tapioca Flour
- 23 grams of Corn Starch
- 45 grams of Brown Rice Flour
- 1 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum
- 2 ½ teaspoon of Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon of Salt
- In a bowl, add the brown sugar, white sugar, ground cinnamon, unsalted butter cubes, and almond flour. Using a spoon, give the ingredients a gentle mix.
- Then, blend the ingredients until you have coarse crumbs using your hand, fork, or a pastry blender. I used both of my hands to work the butter pieces until coarse crumbs were formed.
- Cover the streusel topping, and set it aside for later.
- In a separate bowl, add the white sugar, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and almond flour. Using a whisk, combine the ingredients and set the cinnamon filling mixture aside for later.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (356 °F)
- In a bowl, add the white sugar, vegetable oil, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Using a stand-alone mixer or a hand-held mixer, at medium-high speed, combine the ingredients for 1-2 minutes until creamy and smooth. Then, slowly add the milk while mixing at a low speed. Adding the milk in intervals prevents the mixture from separating.
- Then, in a separate bowl, add the white rice flour, tapioca flour, corn starch, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. Afterward, whisk the ingredients to combine.
- Now, add the flour mixture to the oil and egg mixture. Using a spatula, gently fold the flour mixture into the oil and egg mixture to combine. Try not to overmix the batter to limit the amount of air that gets incorporated.
- Meanwhile, grease a 20 x 20 cm ( 8” x 8” inch) cake pan, and align it with parchment paper. Then, pour half of the coffee cake batter. Then add the cinnamon filling followed by the remaining cake batter. Finally, add the streusel topping, starting at the edges and moving towards the center.
- Bake, the cinnamon coffee cake for 35-38 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center, comes out clean.
- Diary-Free Option: To make this cinnamon coffee cake dairy-free, substitute the butter with vegan butter. Then, replace the dairy milk with 50% almond milk and 50% coconut milk.
- Storage: The cinnamon coffee cake can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to five days. Before serving, you can heat the coffee cake in the microwave for 20 seconds to refresh it.