Originally published June 21, 2020. Updated April 2, 2022.
If you love the flavors of carrot cake, you will love this easy coffee cake recipe. No layers, no frosting, just pure carrot cake deliciousness covered in an amazing cinnamon streusel and an optional but highly recommended drizzle of dairy free cream cheese icing. It’s perfect for dessert, but totally legal to eat for breakfast too since it has coffee right in the name!
Why You Will Love This Coffee Cake Recipe
- It’s filled with all the carrot and spice flavors normally found in carrot cake.
- It’s so moist!
- It doesn’t require any cake decorating skills.
- It’s gluten free and dairy free, plus easily made nut free.
- Gluten Free Flour – I use Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 for my recipes. You can use the flour blend of your choice, but results may vary. For best outcome, use a blend containing xanthan gum and weigh your flour.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda – We need a little of both leavening agents to keep this cake from being too dense.
- Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Ginger – These are the flavors that make it a carrot cake.
- Oil – I use olive oil, but you can substitute with any light flavored cooking oil or melted coconut oil. I do not recommend melted butter, as the oil makes for a more moist cake.
- Light Brown Sugar
- Eggs – This is what provides structure for the cake. I haven’t tried this recipe with any egg replacements. If you do, let me know how it turns out in the comments.
- Unsweetened Applesauce – This helps to keep the cake moist and pairs perfectly with the carrot and spices.
- Carrots – Can’t have carrot cake without carrots. You can shred or chop the carrots. I personally like to stick mine in the food processor because I hate grating carrots.
How to Make an Easy Crumb Topping for Coffee Cake
- Combine flour, sugar, chopped nuts, cinnamon, and melted butter together in a medium sized bowl.
- Use a spatula to fold ingredients until they are evenly coated.
- Place the mixed crumb topping in the refrigerator until ready to use.
How to Make a Carrot Cake Coffee Cake
Step 1 – Combine the oil and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.
Step 2 – Add the vanilla and eggs, beating for 1 minute after each addition.
Step 3 – Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Stir well.
Add half of the flour mixture to the beaten eggs. Followed by half of the applesauce.
Repeat with the remaining flour and applesauce.
Step 4 – Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the carrots. Use a spatula to fold in by hand.
Step 5 – Pour the batter into prepared cake pan.
Step 6 – Sprinkle the crumb topping over the cake batter and bake.
Frequently Asked Questions
Coffee cake doesn’t usually contain any coffee. It gets it’s name from the fact that it’s normally served with coffee.
Both coffee cake and crumb cake share the characteristics of being a frosting free cake that usually has a swirl or streusel topping. Crumb cake has a larger amount of crumb topping that coffee cake.
One of the most important ingredients to make a moist cake is oil. Oil allows the batter to hold more liquid by creating an emulsion. While butter cakes may have a superior flavor, if you want a nice moist cake you must use oil.
This cake is certainly lower in calories than a traditional carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. However, it still contains a good amount of sugar.
If you’re looking to cut out calories, I would suggest eliminating the crumb topping and the icing drizzle. The cake tastes very good on it’s own.
If you love carrot cake, check out these other great recipes!
Gluten Free Carrot Cake Coffee Cake
- 3 Tbsp Vegan Butter melted
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- ½ C Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend I use Bob’s Red Mill
- ½ C Light Brown Sugar
- ½ C Pecans roughly chopped
- 2 C Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend (296 grams) I use Bob's Red Mill
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Ginger
- ¼ tsp Nutmeg
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ C Olive Oil
- 1 C Light Brown Sugar packed
- 3 Eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- ½ C Unsweetened Applesauce room temperature
- 2 C Carrots shredded, 2-3 large carrots
- 2 oz Vegan Cream Cheese
- ¾ C Powdered Sugar sifted
- 2 tsp Non Dairy Milk
- ½ tsp Vanilla
For the streusel topping
- In a small bowl, combine all of the topping ingredients. Mix well. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.3 Tbsp Vegan Butter, 1/2 tsp Cinnamon, 1/2 C Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend, 1/2 C Light Brown Sugar, 1/2 C Pecans
For the cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” Springform pan with parchment paper on the bottom.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Stir well and set aside.2 C Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend, 2 tsp Baking Powder, 1/2 tsp Baking Soda, 1 tsp Cinnamon, 1/2 tsp Ginger, 1/4 tsp Nutmeg, 1/2 tsp Salt
- Place the oil and brown sugar in a stand mixer and beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.1/2 C Olive Oil, 1 C Light Brown Sugar
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing about 60 seconds between each addition. Add the vanilla, mix for another 60 seconds. Scrape down the bowl.3 Eggs, 1 tsp Vanilla
- Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and slowly add half of the flour mixture followed by half of the applesauce. Repeat with the remaining flour and applesauce. Do not over mix - stop the mixer when there are still streaks of flour showing.1/2 C Unsweetened Applesauce
- Remove the bowl from the stand. Add in the carrots and fold together until incorporated.2 C Carrots
- Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Top with crumbles of the streusel topping.
- Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, until the top springs back when gently poked.
- Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then remove from the pan and continue to cool on wire rack. Wait until it’s completely cooled, around 1 hour, before adding the glaze.
For the glaze
- combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Using a fork to combine the two until they reach a thick paste consistency.2 oz Vegan Cream Cheese, 3/4 C Powdered Sugar
- Add the milk and the vanilla and stir well until smooth.2 tsp Non Dairy Milk, 1/2 tsp Vanilla
- Drizzle over the cooled cake.