Mini Gluten Free Almond Coffee Cake

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A small batch recipe for gluten free coffee cake with almond as the star flavor!  An almond flour blend and sucanat sugar make the cake gluten and refined sugar free, while layers of moist sour cream cake hold a cinnamon sugar filling and almond flavored streusel topping.  Finish with an almond glaze and you have a heavenly breakfast treat!

Small Batch Gluten Free Almond Coffee Cake Recipe

Move over almond croissants – coffee has a new almond partner in town!  Well, maybe not.  Croissants are pretty divine.  However, this coffee cake is a delicious alternative to buttery pastries – especially if you are looking for something a little sweet!

The 6-inch cake isn’t the first mini coffee cake recipe on the blog.  After the success of the cherry coffee cake, I want to make sure the breakfast collection is stocked with a variety of recipes.  

Here’s what this new coffee cake recipe brings to the party:

  • Gluten Free – The cake is made with a Paleo flour blend of almond flour, arrowroot flour, coconut flour, and tapioca flour.  This blend makes an extremely tender and flavorful cake.
  • Refined Sugar Free – I introduce a new sweetener with this recipe – sucanat.  Keep reading to find out more about sucanat!  
  • Almond, Almond, and a little more Almond – I love almond flavor – and yes, even almond extract.  Much like the Bakewell crumb cake recipe, this coffee cake has an abundance of almond flavor. 
  • Moist Sour Cream Cake – The cake gets its moisture from – you guessed it – sour cream.  Which happens to be a pretty standard ingredient in any classic coffee cake recipe.
  • Dunk ‘able Texture – If we are going to eat this with coffee, it needs to stand up to being dunked!  While moist, the cake does have a tighter texture that is a feature characteristic of coffee cake. 
  • Streusel Topping AND Cinnamon Sugar Filling – If you are going to call it a coffee cake, it must have these two components!
6-inch gluten free almond coffee cake on a wire rack and cut into squares.

Why do you call it Coffee Cake If There is no Coffee In It?

First things first – if you are looking for a coffee cake that actually has coffee as an ingredient – I have that for you!  The mini mocha coffee cake features coffee in the filling, streusel, and whipped dalgona top!

Back to your question – my short answer is that coffee cake is intended to be served with coffee.  Even at it origins, the cake was paired with coffee.  However, some may have included coffee in the cake as a way to use up leftovers, but I think you’ll find most recipes suggest enjoying the cake with the coffee.

But rather than give an extended explanation to this baffling wording mystery, I’d rather just talk about how delicious it is and how easy it is to make!

Refined Sugar Free Coffee CAke

As I test gluten free bakes, I also like to experiment with refined sugar free sweeteners.  Talk about tricky!  Maple syrup can lead to an unpleasant dense cake.  Honey has a mind of its own and likes to be baked at precise temperatures.  And coconut sugar needs other ingredients to complement its flavor.

But, you can get it right.  Maple syrup works wonders in the gluten free maple cinnamon bread.  Honey produces light as air honey orange bundt cakes.  And coconut sugar adds the perfect sweetness to gluten free chocolate cupcakes.

What Is Sucanat Sugar

With this recipe, I introduce a new natural sweetener – sucanat.  I first learned about sucanat in my copy of America’s Test Kitchen Naturally Sweet cookbook.  In the simplest terms, sucanat is an unrefined sugar made from pure dried sugar cane juice.  

And the name is actually just an abbreviation for sucre de canne naturel – or natural cane sugar.  

Because sucanat does not go through the same processing as granulated white sugar, it retains a lot of its natural color and flavor.  Which, as you can see in the photos above, it is much darker than table sugar, and has a rich, caramel-y flavor.

Additionally, the sugar granules are larger.  Which is why I recommend grinding the sugar into a powder.  Actually, America’s Test Kitchen advised of that, so I’m passing that along!  Otherwise, the sugar granules are unlikely to dissolve in the batter.  And we want the sugar to permeate our cake! 

Everything You Need To Make The Almond Coffee Cake

Ingredients

  • Almond Flour – The almond flour provides texture, moisture, and protein to the cake.
  • Arrowroot Flour – Arrowroot flour also provides structure and makes the cake tender.
  • Coconut Flour – Coconut flour is absorbent and a good balance to the moisture of the almond flour.
  • Tapioca Flour – Tapioca helps with the chew that we are missing with gluten.
  • Baking Powder and Soda – We use both to get texture and rise in the cake.
  • Salt – Salt balances all the flavors!
  • Sucanat – You can find this at most health grocers (i.e. Whole Foods).  
  • Unsalted Butter – I like to use unsalted so I can control the salt content.
  • Sour Cream – Full fat sour cream is best to give the cake the delectable texture.
  • Egg – We only need 1 egg.
  • Almond Extract – Of course!
  • Cinnamon – For the filling and streusel topping.
  • Powdered Sugar and Milk – For the glaze.

Baking Equipment

  • Mixing Bowls
  • 6-Inch Square Cake Pan
  • Handheld Mixer – I did provide notes in the recipe about how to use your stand mixer instead!
A stack of gluten free almond coffee cake squares on a white plate.

Tips For A Successful gluten free sour cream coffee Cake

  • Grind the sucanat into a powder before using – Otherwise you may end up with a speckled cake and dusty streusel.
  • Make the filling and streusel first – I say this from experience. There is nothing more frustrating than pouring the batter into the pan and realizing I haven’t made the streusel yet!
  • Use full fat sour cream – The fat content is what helps give this cake texture, flavor, and moisture.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients together first – Before adding the butter.  I just like the reassurance that all of the dry ingredients are fully combined and I won’t be left with lumps of leavener.
  • Use room temperature ingredients – With the exception of the butter in the streusel.  When ingredients all start out at the same temperature, they mix and bake more evenly.
  • Add some mix-ins – The cake would be lovely with some chopped nuts or dried fruit in the streusel!
  • Cool the cake completely before serving – As with most all of my gluten free recipes, I recommend allowing the bake to cool completely because I find they taste better when they’ve had time to rest.
Slices of gluten free almond coffee cake stacked on a wire cooling rack.

FAQ’s For How To Make Gluten Free Coffee Cake

Can this recipe be doubled to make a larger coffee cake?

I have not tested it, but a larger 8×8 pan would be needed. If you do, let me know how it turns out!

Will a 1:1 gluten free flour work instead of your paleo blend?

Probably not. Gluten free flours all behave differently. And I find the 1:1 blends are much drier so ratios of ingredients would probably need to change.

What can I swap the sucanat with?

I have provided instructions on how to swap in granulated white sugar. I can’t speak to any other sweeteners as I have not tested them.

Why do you mix the butter with the flour first? Instead of mixing the butter and sugar together first?

This is called the reverse creaming method. The result is a tighter crumb which is traditional for coffee cake.

Can I use vanilla extract instead of almond extract?

You sure can!

How do I store leftover cake?

The cake can be stored covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. Beyond that, and it may start to dry out.

Close up of a slice of gluten free almond coffee cake with almond glaze drip.

Gluten Free Almond Coffee Cake

Yield: 1 6-Inch Cake
A small batch recipe for gluten free coffee cake with almond as the star flavor!  An almond flour blend and sucanat sugar make the cake gluten and refined sugar free, while layers of moist sour cream cake hold a cinnamon sugar filling and almond flavored streusel topping.  Finish with an almond glaze and you have a heavenly breakfast treat!
Prep20 mins
Cook35 mins
Total55 mins

Ingredients

Cake Filling

  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons succanat sugar - or 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Streusel Topping

  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sucanat sugar - or 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Almond Coffee Cake

  • 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch/flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch/flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sucanat sugar - or 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Almond Glaze

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons milk or water
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract - optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Lightly grease a 6-inch square cake pan, then line it with a strip of parchment paper long enough to hang over the sides of the pan.
  • How to use the sucanat sugar – The sugar is very coarse, and in order for it to bake well into the cake, we must grind it first (see photos in post). I use a small Nutri-Bullet blender to grind the sugar. A coffee/spice grinder will also work.

Cake Filling

  • Grind the sucanat into a powder. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Streusel Topping

  • Grind the sucanat into a powder. In a small bowl, stir together the almond flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the butter cubes and mix into the flour – using your fingertips or two forks – until the flour is moistened and crumbly. Sprinkle the almond extract over the top and give a little stir to incorporate.

Almond Coffee Cake

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg, and almond extract until thoroughly combined.
  • Grind the sucanat into a powder. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and sugar. Add the butter cubes. Using a hand held mixer, mix on medium speed until the butter starts to moisten the dough and it resembles coarse sand. Note – See the notes section below for details on using a stand mixer.
  • Add the sour cream mixture to the flour mixture and continue to mix on medium speed until you get a smooth batter. A few lumps are ok.
  • Pour half of the batter into the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling over the batter, then dollop the remaining cake batter on top. Gently smooth the batter to the edges of the pan with an offset spatula.
  • Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the streusel starts to brown too quickly, place a piece of foil loosely over the top of the cake.
  • Cool the cake in the pan set on a wire cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Gently lift the cake out of the pan using the parchment overhang, and cool on the rack completely.

Almond Glaze

  • When ready to serve, make the glaze – In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons of milk. For a thinner consistency, add 1 more teaspoon of milk. Stir in the almond extract, if using. Note – You may find there is enough almond flavor in the cake to omit it in the glaze.
  • Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake, slice, and Enjoy!
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Notes

  • Serving Size – This recipe makes a 6-inch cake that can serve 2 to 4 people – or more – depending on how large you cut your slices.
  • Sucanat Sugar – Sucanat is unrefined pure dried sugar cane juice.  From the bag, the sugar is very coarse and doesn’t always dissolve well into batters and doughs.   Therefore, it needs to be ground into a powder first.  I use a small blender or spice grinder.
  • Alternative to Sucanat – I have provided conversions in the recipe card if you prefer to use granulated white sugar instead.
  • Almond Extract – I love almond extract, but some people find it very assertive.  You can always omit the almond extract in the glaze and streusel topping.
  • Reverse Creaming – We use the reverse creaming method – adding the butter to the dry ingredients first – to produce a tight crumb.  Which is characteristic of a coffee cake.
  • Stand Mixer – Kitchen Aid offers a small 3-quart mixing bowl that works on the standard tilt-head stand mixer and attachments.  I find this a must-have for small batch baking!
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich

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