You know when you take a bite of cake and just breathe a sigh of relief and satisfaction? Well, get ready. Because after many tests (we lost count — 6 or 600, maybe?), we’ve cracked the code on the perfect apple coffee cake! It’s balanced, slightly toasty, undeniably comforting, and infused with cinnamon.
Made with wholesome almond flour and nutty coconut sugar, it’s gluten-free and plant-based, yet full of flavor. It’s perfect for afternoon tea, an indulgent breakfast or brunch, or as a snack or dessert. All it takes is simple ingredients and 1 mixing bowl. Let us show you how it’s done!
Origins of Coffee Cake
While the name “coffee cake” might make you think it contains coffee, that’s not usually the case. Instead, coffee cake refers to a sweet cake eaten alongside a cup of coffee. It’s believed that the concept originated in the 17th century in Northern/Central Europe.
Then, immigrants from Germany and Scandinavia brought it to the US. By the late 19th century, some American bakers did add coffee to the cake batter and others modified it to be denser and more cake-like.
The following is a plant-based and gluten-free version infused with apples, cinnamon, and an optional crumb topping.
How to Make Apple Coffee Cake
Almond flour and our DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend combine for a wholesome, crumb-like base that stands up to the richness of vegan butter. The sweetness comes from maple syrup and coconut sugar, while vanilla, cinnamon, and salt infuse the batter with flavor.
Baking powder and baking soda provide leavening, and a small amount of dairy-free milk adds just enough moisture to mix while keeping the batter thick enough to withstand the moisture from the apples.
Chunks of peeled apples infuse the cake with apple flavor in every bite. We tested with both sweet (Honeycrisp) and tart (Granny Smith) apples and much preferred the more prominent apple flavor from the Granny Smith.
After a stint in the oven, the top of the cake becomes golden brown and is ready for the optional (but highly recommended) topping.
The crumb topping is made with a simple mix of organic cane sugar and coconut sugar that’s infused with cinnamon and made into a crumbly texture with the help of vegan butter and more gluten-free flour. Another 5 minutes in the oven gets it golden brown and toasty.
We hope you LOVE this apple coffee cake! It’s:
Easy to prepare
It’s perfect for afternoon tea, an indulgent breakfast or brunch, or as a snack or dessert. Pair it with our Easy Vegan Eggnog, Easy Pumpkin Spice Latte, or Easy Masala Chai for MEGA fall feels!
More Apple Recipes
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Servings 12 (Slices)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened dairy-free milk (we used almond)
- 1/2 cup vegan butter, melted (we like Miyoko’s here)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or sub organic cane sugar)
- 2 ½ cups almond flour
- 1 ½ cups DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see notes for store-bought)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 ½ cups chopped Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
CRUMB TOPPING optional
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or sub brown sugar)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup vegan butter, melted (we like Miyoko’s here)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see notes for store-bought)
Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C) and line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving plenty of paper over the edges so you can easily lift the cake out later. This recipe will also work in a 9-inch round cake pan, or two 6-inch round cake pans.
In a large mixing bowl, combine dairy-free milk, melted butter, maple syrup, and vanilla and mix well. Next, add the coconut sugar, almond flour, gluten-free flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and stir until well combined. The texture will be quite thick and will resemble a cookie dough more than a typical cake batter. Add the cubed apples and mix until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish and spread it evenly. It’s okay if the top has some texture; it will be covered with the crumble topping later!
Put the cake into the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the crumble topping (optional).
To your now-empty mixing bowl, add the cane sugar, coconut sugar, and cinnamon and mix with a fork until evenly combined. Add the vegan butter and mix well. Next, begin adding the flour in 1/4 cup (40 g) increments, mixing well with your fork after each addition. You may need more or less flour depending on the brand of your gluten-free blend. Add flour until the texture appears pale and slightly dry and the mixture clumps together easily when you pinch it.
At the 40-minute mark, remove the cake from the oven and carefully add the crumble topping in an even layer on top of the cake. Return the cake to the oven for 5 minutes until the crumble topping is dry to the touch and just beginning to look toasty.
Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the baking dish. Let cool almost completely before slicing and serving. Keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.
Serving: 1 slice Calories: 323 Carbohydrates: 35.6 g Protein: 5.8 g Fat: 18.9 g Saturated Fat: 6.3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g Monounsaturated Fat: 7.6 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 323 mg Potassium: 245 mg Fiber: 3.5 g Sugar: 14.9 g Vitamin A: 9.8 IU Vitamin C: 0.7 mg Calcium: 130 mg Iron: 1.1 mg