With a buttery streusel topping and sweet cinnamon filling, this classic vegan coffee cake recipe is a wonderful addition to any brunch or breakfast menu!
The best vegan coffee cake
As someone who grew up with traditional New York style coffee cake, I wanted to create a vegan version that would be much more than “good, for a vegan cake.”
It needed to have the same moist vanilla cake and rich cinnamon crumb topping as the original, with each tender bite absolutely melting in your mouth.
And this delicious coffee crumb cake does just that: it melts in your mouth.
With glowing reviews from both vegans and non vegans, the simple dairy free recipe really is just as good as any fancy bakery coffee cake!
Also make this Vegan Chocolate Cake
Dairy free crumb cake flavors
Banana Coffee Cake: Replace the applesauce with ripe mashed banana. Sprinkle on a few tablespoons of finely chopped walnuts when you add the streusel.
Blueberry Coffee Cake: Add a half cup of fresh blueberries on top of the filling before covering with the remaining cake batter. You can use this same method to turn the cake into strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, or cherry versions.
Apple Coffee Cake: Add a half cup of diced apples on top of the filling and a handful of chopped, toasted pecans in either the filling or the topping.
Pumpkin Coffee Cake: Replace the applesauce in the recipe with canned pumpkin puree. Substitute half a teaspoon of the cinnamon in the filling with ground pumpkin pie spice. Enjoy a slice alongside an iced Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Sour Cream Coffee Cake: Swap out half of the applesauce with a equal amount of dairy free sour cream or yogurt. This flavor is great for breakfast or birthday parties.
Peanut Butter Coffee Cake: Instead of the three tablespoons of oil in the recipe below, use a fourth cup of softened peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter.
Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake: Stir a handful of semi sweet or dark mini chocolate chips in with the dry ingredients of either the cake layer or filling. Top with additional chocolate chips right before baking.
Cream Cheese Coffee Cake: Mix eight ounces of cream cheese into the filling before spreading it on top of the bottom cake layer in the baking pan.
Coffee Spice Cake: Replace half a teaspoon of cinnamon in the filling with a fourth teaspoon of ground ginger and a pinch each of nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom.
The recipe was adapted from my Vegan Carrot Cake
Vegan coffee cake recipe video
Above, watch the step by step recipe video
Does coffee cake have coffee?
Traditional coffee cakes are not made with coffee in the ingredients.
It’s true. Even Starbucks cinnamon coffee cake does not contain actual coffee.
Coffee cakes get their name because they are seen as cakes to serve in the morning or afternoon with a cup of coffee.
However, if you wish to add a teaspoon of instant coffee granules to the batter of this coffee cake loaf or use brewed espresso instead of the water, please feel free to do so.
Vegan streusel coffee cake ingredients
Unlike many other popular coffee cake recipes, this one has no eggs, no dairy milk, and no cake mix required.
The recipe calls for applesauce, flour, cinnamon, water, pure vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, salt, white or apple cider vinegar, brown sugar or coconut sugar, plant based butter, and optional oil.
Flour options that work well include spelt flour, white flour, or oat flour. Some all purpose gluten free flours may also work.
We cannot vouch for whole wheat flour and do not recommend almond flour or coconut flour. For those on a low carb diet, you might prefer this Keto Cake.
Be sure to use pure vanilla extract for the best taste, not imitation vanilla flavoring. You may also add a few drops of almond extract.
For an oil free and low fat coffee cake with a dense texture more similar to a coffee cake muffin than cake, applesauce can be subbed for both the oil and nondairy butter. The finished pastry will not be as rich and buttery but are still tasty, especially for those who are used to healthy, fat free baked goods.
While the oven is hot, make Healthy Blueberry Muffins
How to make a vegan coffee cake recipe
Line the bottom of an eight inch square baking pan with parchment paper, or grease the pan very well.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stir the cinnamon filling ingredients in a bowl, then set the coffee cake filling aside.
Whisk the applesauce, water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the remaining coffee cake layer ingredients until just evenly mixed.
Pour about half of the coffee cake batter into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Sprinkle the filling evenly on top, then spread the remaining batter from the large bowl over everything.
Place the pan on the center rack of the oven, and bake for eighteen minutes.
While you wait, stir the remaining flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and plant based butter in a bowl to form the streusel. You can either use melted butter or cut in softened butter with a pastry cutter or wire whisk.
Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. Evenly disperse the streusel crumbles over the half baked coffee cake.
Bake for an additional twenty minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean. Let the pan cool before slicing.
If desired, swirl a basic powdered sugar glaze, melted Coconut Butter, or vanilla frosting or buttercream in a zigzag design on top of the cinnamon sugar coffee cake for presentation.
Note: We have not yet tried baking the coffee cake in a Bundt pan or tube pan. If you experiment, be sure to report back with your results.
The trick to prevent streusel topping from sinking
Streusel topping that sinks is a common problem with coffee crumb cakes.
How many times have you prepared a homemade coffee cake that looks beautiful going into the oven but turns into one giant sunken mess after baking?
My own first two trials while creating this vegan coffee cake recipe resulted in the crunchy streusel topping melting into the sponge cake layer beneath.
I consulted my baking expert mother, who let me in on my grandmother’s easy foolproof secret for fixing a sinking coffee cake streusel.
You simply bake the cake first to let it set. Then remove the pan from the oven halfway through baking to add the streusel.
The show stopping result is a delicious light and delicate crumb cake, reminiscent of those beloved coffee cakes made by Hostess or Entenmann’s.
Vegan Coffee Cake
Coffee Cake Layer
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tbsp oil (or see fat free option above)
- 1 tbsp white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 tsp each: baking powder, salt, and baking soda
- 1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar, packed
- 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp plant based butter
- Flours that work include spelt, white, oat, and some all purpose gluten free brands.To make vegan coffee cake, line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper, or grease well. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Stir the cinnamon filling ingredients together, then set aside. Whisk cake layer ingredients in a large bowl until just evenly mixed. Pour about half the cake batter into the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the filling on top, then spread the remaining cake batter over everything. Bake for 18 minutes, and stir the streusel ingredients together while waiting. Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Evenly disperse the streusel on top of the half baked coffee cake. Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean. Let cool before slicing.View Nutrition Facts
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