Sour Cream Gluten Free Coffee Cake

Sour Cream Gluten Free Coffee Cake

Tender and moist golden sour cream gluten free coffee cake topped with a that classic nubby, sweet streusel crumb topping. So easy!

Fork stuck in square of coffee cake on a white plate

What sort of crumb does a coffee cake have?

A coffee cake is meant to be a tender, but dense cake. Unlike the very best vanilla cake, for this gluten free coffee cake we don’t sift the dry ingredients. It’s a golden cake.

The crumble topping is clearly everyone’s favorite part. When you slice into this cake, if absolutely nothing falls off the topping, it’s terribly disappointing. Those belong to the baker, no calories at all.

I’ve made many coffee cakes over the years, and this sour cream coffee cake is the very best of them all. Don’t be put off by the texture of the raw cake batter.

Because it’s made with sour cream as the liquid, rather than buttermilk or even milk, the batter is very thick. Sour cream lends a very slight tangy flavor that cuts through the sweetness of baked goods.

It also adds body and richness, and a bit of lightness to an otherwise dense dessert like this lovely coffee cake. More cases in point: one bowl gluten free banana bread and one bowl gluten free chocolate cake.

Raw coffee cake crumbles in a square metal cake pan

How to make the proper crumble topping

The secret to ensuring a crumble topping that holds its shape and doesn’t simply melt into the cake batter is temperature. The topping is made with melted butter to ensure easy blending. But then it must be chilled.

The topping batter can easily be made a day or two ahead of time and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. It can even be added to, say, banana bread if you’re feeling fusiony.

Oh, and to ensure there’s no confusion: there is no coffee in the cake. The name “coffee cake” is bestowed upon this delightful creation since it’s meant to be enjoyed with the newspaper and a great big cup of (you guessed it!) … coffee.

This gluten free coffee cake recipe is a lightly sweet, tender and moist golden cinnamon flecked cake topped with streusel crumb topping. So easy!

Ingredients and substitutions


There is a lot of butter in this recipe, both in the crumble topping and in the cake itself. The best replacement for the butter in both places is probably Melt or Miyoko’s Kitchen brand vegan butter.

If you can’t use one of those vegan butters, try using Earth Balance buttery sticks (but cut back on the salt a bit). For the crumble topping, if you can’t use vegan butter, try using Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. You need something that will hold its shape during baking, and Earth Balance won’t do that.

In place of sour cream, try using a good quality nondairy sour cream. You can also use plain Greek-style yogurt in place of sour cream interchangeably.


There are two eggs in this recipe, and you might be able to replace each of them with one “chia egg” each. For each, place 1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water into a small bowl, mix, and allow to gel.


If you can’t have corn, try using arrowroot powder or even potato starch in place of cornstarch. If you’re already using a higher starch all purpose gluten free flour blend, like Cup4Cup, replace the 18 grams of cornstarch in this recipe with an equal amount of that high starch flour blend.


Baked sour cream coffee cake on white paper

Sour Cream Coffee Cake raw in pan and baked with a fork

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 8-inch cake


Crumble topping
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup (73 g) packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar

1 cup (140 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 3/4 cups (245 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

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

2 tablespoons (18 g) cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) milk, at room temperature

1 cup (256 g) sour cream, at room temperature

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and set it aside.

  • First, prepare the topping. In a medium-size bowl, place all of the ingredients in the order listed, mixing to combine after each addition. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill until firm.

  • Make the cake batter. In a medium-size bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, and whisk to combine well. Set the bowl aside. In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the butter, milk and sour cream, and beat on medium speed to combine. Add the eggs and sugar, and beat to combine well. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and mix on medium high speed until well-combined. The batter will be very thick, since our liquid is mainly sour cream.

  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer with a wet spatula. Remove the chilled crumble topping from the refrigerator, fluff it with a fork to break up the mixture into irregular pieces. Scatter the pieces evenly on top of the cake batter and press down gently to help the topping adhere to the batter. Place the cake pan in the center of the preheated oven. Bake until the cake is fragrant and the center does not jiggle in the center when the pan is shaken from side to side gently and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, about 40 minutes. Do not overbake or the bottom will burn.

  • Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before lifting the cake out of the pan with the parchment paper. Slice into squares and serve.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2012. Recipe tweaked slightly (less sugar, less butter in cake batter), photos, video and text all new. 


Comments are closed.

  • Sallie Pritchard
    January 23, 2017 at 3:27 PM

    i made this today and it it is fantastic! Great flavor and so very moist. Again, thank you for sharing your most wonderful recipes.

  • Leah
    January 22, 2017 at 8:31 PM

    Can I use 2% yogurt instead of sour cream?

  • January 19, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Yum! This was delicious – thanks for the recipe!

  • Kristy B.
    January 17, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    I am totally making this for breakfast and surprising the heck out of my kids. Who ever heard of cake for breakfast before school? And I just bought some hazelnut torani syrup for my coffee. Mmmmmmm. You can come over anytime. But I have to warn you, nothing is ever clean. And my dog is going to lick you, a lot.

    • January 18, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      Hi, Kristy,
      The dog part sounds like my house. We’re working on our little white dog with a “NO LICK” admonishment. No real luck so far!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Deanne
    January 17, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    Nicole, I can’t begin to tell you what a BREATH OF FRESH AIR you are!! (Well, I guess I CAN tell you, because I just did!)…I am SO THRILLED to have found you!! As a “neighborhood gourmet” cook, recently diagnosed as gluten-intolerant, I thought my days of eating delicious food were over…gone…kaput…culinary deliciousness vanished into the cosmos! I was sad and deprived and…well…HUNGRY! It seemed as though I couldn’t eat anything other then rabbit food…bird seed…and since I am neither a rabbit, nor a bird, I was a miserable HUMAN BEING! You have inspired me!! Not only will I eat again…I will EAT CAKE!!! Muuuaahhhhhh!!! :)

    • January 17, 2012 at 11:43 AM

      Hi, Deanne,
      I’m so glad you feel a renewed sense of possibility! I love how you called yourself a “neighborhood gourmet”! I think I know precisely what you mean – how perfectly descriptive. Well, it seems you don’t need me to tell you that you can eat well while eating gluten-free. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Peggy
    January 17, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Sorry I’m late for coffee & crumb cake. Had a chance to spend time with my granddaughter today. Sounds like all had a grand time. I know I’ll be making this one soon! Sounds yummy! Could have used the coffee as well! lol

  • Pamela G
    January 16, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    ps: you know…i think you DO look like the cartoon….and who WOULDN’T like you??? We ALREADY love you!!
    XOXOXO- Pam & the gang

    • January 16, 2012 at 5:04 PM

      Pam you really made me giggle. I wish I looked exactly like that cartoon. She’s so jaunty.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Pamela G
    January 16, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    mmmmmm crumb…ummmnummm (in my best Homer Simpson voice) I (heart) crumb….cake is good, too.
    I am SO making this…not that I MIND making it…for Scott…uh-yeah….and Molly…eyeahhhhhhhh..that’s the ticket!

    • January 16, 2012 at 3:01 PM

      Make it for Molly, Pam. She can’t very well make it for herself. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Pamela G
        January 16, 2012 at 4:53 PM

        yeah, you’re right…no thumbs to hold the spoon…Molly it is! ( I can see her tail waggin’ now..)

  • January 16, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    I have warm water with lemon and delicious Pukka tea to follow – would that work ;)

  • January 16, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    I don’t see any coffee cake on my plate…did my favorite coffee make it into your mug? Damn, I gotta work on this teleporting stuff…..

  • JoAnn C
    January 16, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    Coffee is brewing as I type, it smells heavenly. And I’m wearing my new slippers too. Can’t wait for my slice of cake. Thanks for breakfast, “homey”.

    • January 16, 2012 at 9:34 AM

      Well, thank goodness, JoAnn. I knew you wouldn’t disappoint.
      Hey, tell me about your new slippers? I need a new pair. I’m on my feet most of the day, and my dogs are barking by nighttime. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • JoAnn C
        January 16, 2012 at 9:57 AM

        I bought them at Target. Suede top, faux fur inside, and a hardish sole. As the primary caregiver of my elderly parent I too am on my feet all day, (she keeps me hopping), and I’ve found these to be most comfy. After I wore them for about a week my feet sent me a thank you note. ;)


        • January 16, 2012 at 10:08 AM

          I think I need a hardish sole. And perhaps a harder soul.
          You’re a good daughter. :)
          xoxo Nicole

  • Dana Baker Coughlin on Facebook
    January 16, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Got the coffee ready!

  • Dana Coughlin
    January 16, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    This looks so good. I love crumb cakes.

    • January 16, 2012 at 9:28 AM

      Then you’re in for a treat, Dana. This is a the perfect crumb cake. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Lisa Potts Staaf on Facebook
    January 16, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    Fresh coffee here at my house!

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