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Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake [pinit] When it comes to baking, I’m all about the basics. Aren’t you? Every once in a while, I like to get a little crafty, but I always stop at a little. “The more craft, the less eating” I always say (okay, that’s my first time saying that but you get the idea). I don’t make too many cake pops, even though I often think maybe I should. But then I remember my saying, and I stop making tiny things that take that much work for that little eating potential. You want to make a big impression with your baking? Bake something that smells dreamy. Like this gluten free cinnamon coffee cake. True to its name, it is perfection with a cup o’ joe. Plus, the deep cinnamon and brown sugar topping has got you completely covered in the smells-like-a-dream department.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake

I was dying to cover a thick slice of this coffee cake with some homemade applesauce, but … I didn’t have any homemade applesauce. And the store-bought kind is simply an abomination for anything other than baking deep, deep into something.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Once you’ve got the cake batter spread into an even layer in the pan, it’s thick enough that you’ll have no trouble spreading the topping neatly on top. Just stop about 1/4 inch short of the edge of the pan with that topping. That way, the sugar will caramelize nicely with the cinnamon on top, but won’t seep over the edge and burn in the oven.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake

The cake is so moist and smooth, and the topping is deeply satisfying with that cup of coffee. Or just with a cool glass of milk. Try making this first thing on a Sunday morning. Prepare the cake on Saturday, but instead of baking it right away, set it up and refrigerate it. Then, put on a cup of coffee and bake the cake first thing in the morning. Then let the smell of brown sugar and cinnamon do the rest!

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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 9 to 12 servings of cake


2 1/2 cups (350 g) all purpose gluten free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 eggs (120 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups (300 g) sour cream, at room temperature (can substitute an equal amount, by weight, of Greek yogurt)

1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) milk (any kind), at room temperature

1/4 cup (35 g) all purpose gluten free flour (with or without xanthan gum)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar

6 tablespoons (72 g) shortening, melted (I use Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease well a 9-inch square baking pan and set it aside.

  • First, make the cake batter. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter, eggs, vanilla, sour cream and milk, mixing to combine after each addition. The batter will be thick. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan, and spread it into an even layer with a wet spatula. Set the pan aside.

  • Make the topping. In a medium-size bowl, place the flour, cinnamon and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar, and whisk again, working out any lumps in the brown sugar. Add the melted shortening and vanilla, and mix to combine well. The mixture will be relatively thick but soft. Scrape the topping onto the cake batter in the pan. WIth an offset spatula or large spoon, spread the topping into an even layer on top of the cake batter layer, stopping about 1/4 inch short of the edge of the cake batter. This will help prevent the topping from spreading over the edges of the cake during baking, where it may burn.

  • Place the cake in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with no more than a few moist cake crumbs attached (about 45 minutes). The topping will remain slightly wet, especially toward the center, but the cake underneath should not.

  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve. Wrap any leftovers tightly and freeze.



P.S. My publisher promises that Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread will ship the week of Thanksgiving (over a week before the official publication date of December 3)–but only if you pre-order from amazon. Let’s make it happen!

  • Sharon Cottrell Schulze

    Nicole, your timing is perfect! I’ve got my family’s “Ladies’ Weekend” coming up this weekend–I’ve always made my grandmother’s sour cream coffee cake for it, and was just wondering if I should make it this year (since I can’t eat it any longer) . . . you’ve given me an option I (and the 3 other GF ladies who will be there) can enjoy :-). Thank you!
    Btw, we’ll also be having your GF pumpkin rolls (“regular” pumpkin rolls being another of our long-time traditions); I made them last year and they were a huge hit!

  • Kim

    Sounds terrific making it tomorrow ;)

  • Donia Robinson

    What type of cinnamon do you use? I have Saigon Cinnamon from Costco, and if I use too much, it starts tasting like red hots. I was going to purchase some from Penzey’s – something that is milder, but still flavorful.

    • Jennifer Sasse

      I use Penzey’s (and it’s GF!). we love it on everything.

      • Donia Robinson

        Ah, but Penzey’s has all sorts of different varieties. Which one?? ;)

        • Jennifer Sasse

          yes – I know – so many to choose from. We use “Korintje” – nice and mild.

          • Anneke

            I use the same one, Jennifer, and buy it by the bag. In fact, I probably need more!

          • Donia Robinson


  • Mare Masterson

    I bet it smells heavenly! I have recently been searching your recipes for coffee cakes, and here is a new one! I am wondering if you could copycat Entemann’s NY Style Crumb Cake, or is your sour cream crumb already a copycat? I do not know the ingredients for Entemann’s, so I am not sure if it is a copycat. That particular cake one brings back memories of mom. I can no longer get it in Tucson for the people in my house who can eat gluten, and that makes them so sad!

    Stupid question: Is 9 inch square really the USA 8×8 pan? I got the 9 x 13 rectangular last night. I am making apple crack cake for my bosses for bosses day tomorrow. I probably got the wrong pan. I am hoping a double recipe will make the 9 x 13 work.

    • Hi, Mare,
      Is that a trick question? ;) 9 inch square is 9-inches by 9-inches. You can use an 8-inch square pan if you like, but it might come close to overflowing during baking so line the bottom of your oven. If you double the recipe, it will likely make too much for a 9×13-inch pan, but if you’re game to give a shot, go for it. If not, maybe try multiplying everything in the recipe by 1 1/2 instead of 2.
      Entenmann’s NY Style Crumb Cake is an old fave of mine, too! I definitely plan to copycat that – but … it might have to wait until late Winter 2015. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Mare Masterson

        No, not a trick question. The 8 x 8 pan was the only square USA pan that Bed Bath & Beyond had. I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t a typo since 8 and 9 are right next to each other. 2015??? Are you working on another book, and might that be in it?

        • Ah, gotcha. Nope. It’s really 9-inches square. And … yes another book (of course – what else would I do with myself?!). That will be in it. :) I will talk more about the new new book once the new book (Bread) comes out!
          xoxo Nicole

          • Donia Robinson

            True. It keeps you off the streets. ;)

          • L.O.L., Donia (literally). But so true.

          • Mare Masterson

            Awesome!!!!!!!!!! Now that I know that, it is going to take forever for late winter 2015 to arrive!

          • Jennifer Sasse


  • Jennifer Sasse

    I have always wanted a great go-to recipe for coffee cake. thank you so much. I’m hoping this will get the same vote as the blueberry crumble that the kids ask for over and over and over again!

    • I have high hopes, Jennifer! You never can tell what kids will think (at least in my experience), but I like your odds on this one. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Bats in the Belfry

    Wow, this looks heavenly.

  • Krista

    my son &I each made one ……they are in the oven now….. i used butter for my topping and he used shortening…. just want to see and taste the difference…
    He is homeschooling and taking Cooking and learning how to GF cook…..good for him to learn how measuring and weighing are so different
    Looking forward to a piece for dessert tonight!

    • Chris

      Please share how the butter-topped pan turned out! I don’t have shortening…

      • Krista

        it was a bit greaser but crunchier

  • aohtee

    Is the batter thick enough to hold a layer of sliced apples?

  • karen

    My kitchen smells amazing! Thank you for this recipe!

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