Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake (Gluten-Free)

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This gluten-free cinnamon coffee cake is quite possibly the best coffee cake ever! With moist, tender cake, a swirl of cinnamon sugar in the middle, a perfect crumb topping, and a simple drizzle of icing, this is the perfect thing to serve when you want to impress brunch guests.

This cinnamon coffee cake is truly the coffee cake of my dreams. I've tested it off and on for the past year, trying to land on just the right recipe – and this one was a winner! As soon as I tasted it, I knew we needed to turn it into a cinnamon roll version to publish for the holidays. Growing up, my mom always made us something special for Christmas morning, and this cinnamon coffee cake absolutely fits the bill for an extra-special breakfast treat.

What is a coffee cake?

Coffee cake is a breakfast cake that gets its name because it is normally served alongside coffee – not because it has coffee in it. It is very similar in texture to a muffin but is baked into a cake instead of individual servings. It is also usually topped with some type of crumb topping, like the cinnamon streusel topping you see here! Crumb cake is also very similar to coffee cake but has a solid layer of crumb on top rather than crumbly streusel.

What makes this gluten-free coffee cake recipe the best-ever?

There are a few things that set this coffee cake apart from others, gluten-free or not! Let's talk about it:

  • The Cake: First things first, the cake base of this recipe is moist, tender, and not too sweet. This lets the other components of the cake really shine! Many times, gluten-free baked goods can be dry, crumbly, and gritty – that's not the case here!
  • The Cinnamon Sugar Swirl: In the middle of the cake is a simple layer of cinnamon sugar, this ensures that you never get a bite of coffee cake that's lacking in cinnamony goodness.
  • The Streusel: This was probably the hardest part of the coffee cake to perfect, but it was well worth it! This cinnamon streusel is buttery, perfectly-textured, and will have you going back for “just one more bite” again and again.
  • The Cinnamon Roll Icing: If you want to take this cinnamon coffee cake to the next level, this icing is the perfect way to finish it off! It gives this coffee cake all the flavor of a cinnamon roll without the work.

cinnamon roll coffee cake with icing on top cut into squares and placed on a marble surface

What is the best flour to use for gluten-free coffee cake?

We used King Arthur Measure for Measure for this recipe! This is the flour we use to develop about 95% of our gluten-free baked goods because it is easy to find, affordable, doesn't have a gritty texture, and, of course, makes a delicious end product. If you can't find this flour, though, we've also had great results with Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1. Just be sure that your blend contains xanthan gum, otherwise you'll need to add in a teaspoon.

How to Make Gluten-Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake

This coffee cake has a few different components, but don't be intimidated – the process is easier than you think! Plus, if you want to cut out a few steps you can leave off the icing and the cinnamon sugar layer in the middle.

Step 1: Make the Batter

First, you'll make the cake batter. To keep things simple, we've adjusted this recipe so that you can make the batter in one bowl and you don't even have to use an electric mixer for it! You'll add all the dry ingredients to a bowl, whisk them together, then add in the wet ingredients and stir them until fully combined. The batter will have a thick texture but still be pour easily – which is exactly what we're looking for!

Step 2: Make the Cinnamon Streusel

Again, we're keeping things simple here by using melted butter instead of softened, so you don't have to spend time working butter into the mixture with your hands. Instead, you'll add all the dry ingredients for the crumble to another bowl, give it a quick whisk, then stir in the butter until it has a crumbly texture. If you find that your mixture is more mushy (say, you can flatten it into the palm of your hand and it sticks together), add more flour 1 teaspoon at a time, until it easily crumbles into a sand-like texture, but still remains some larger clumps.

Step 3: Assemble the Coffee Cake

Next, you'll grease a 9×9 pan, or line it with parchment paper, then pour in half the cake batter in and spread it evenly. To get the cinnamon sugar swirl, you'll simply sprinkle sugar over top the batter, then sprinkle cinnamon on top of the sugar as evenly as possible. Next, pour the remaining cake batter into the pan and spread it evenly over top. Finally, sprinkle the cinnamon crumble on top of the cake in an even layer.

Step 4: Bake the Cake

Bake the cake in a 350 F oven for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 5: Make the Icing

Once the coffee cake is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool for at least 30 minutes. Then, simply whisk together the icing ingredients then drizzle it over top. If you find the icing to be too runny, add a bit of extra powdered sugar. If it is too thick, you can easily thin it with a bit more cream!

cinnamon coffee cake with icing drizzled on top on a glass plate with a fork sitting beside it on a marble surface

Cinnamon Coffee Cake FAQs

Can I make this coffee cake dairy-free?

Yes! With a few simple swaps, you can easily make this coffee cake dairy-free. For the batter, you can use a neutral oil like coconut oil or avocado oil in place of the butter. For the crumble, you can use your favorite vegan butter substitute or coconut oil. These substitutes may change the crumble a bit. You are looking for a mixture that easily crumbles when you mix it together, but still has some large clumps.

Can I make it ahead of time?

Yes! This coffee cake can be made ahead of time. I'd recommend making it one day in advance and then storing it in the refrigerator. When you are ready to eat it, you can warm it up in a 350 F oven for 5-10 minutes, or microwave an individual piece for about 20 seconds.

Can I make coffee cake muffins instead?

If you're short on time, you can easily turn this cake into coffee cake muffins. It'll make about 18 muffins total, and you'll need to bake them for about 25 minutes in a 350 F oven.

Can you freeze coffee cake?

Coffee cake freezes great! You can individually wrap each piece in parchment paper, then place the pieces in a Ziplock bag, label them, and store for up to 4 months in the freezer. You can then reheat it by microwaving an individual piece for about 1 minute or baking in a 350 F oven for 15 minutes.

Print

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake (Gluten-Free)

cinnamon coffee cake with icing drizzled on top on a glass plate with a fork sitting beside it on a marble surface

This coffee cake has all the flavor of cinnamon rolls without the work!

  • Author: Amber Goulden
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 16
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

For the Cake
For the crumble
For the icing (optional)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream (may substitute full-fat coconut milk)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease an 9×9 pan or line with parchment paper.
  2. To make the cake, place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Then, add the butter, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, and milk, and whisk until fully incorporated.
  3. Pour half of the cake batter into the bottom of an 8×8 pan, then sprinkle the 1/3 cup sugar over top, as evenly as possible, followed by the teaspoon of cinnamon. Pour the remaining cake batter over top and spread evenly.
  4. To make the crumble, add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and chopped pecans to a bowl and whisk to combine. Then, stir in the butter until a crumbly mixture forms.
  5. Sprinkle the cinnamon crumble on top of the coffee cake batter, then bake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  6. While the cake is cooling, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cream for the icing, then drizzle over top and serve!

Notes

For a blueberry lemon version: omit the cinnamon sugar layer from the recipe and stir in 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, and 1 1/4 cups of blueberries to the batter. For the icing, replace the heavy cream with lemon juice.

Keywords: gluten free, cinnamon, cinnamon roll, streusel, crumb cake

Comments

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  1. L says:

    Just important to note that ghee is Not dairy free. Ghee is clarified butter which still contains milk.

  2. Barbara LaRose says:

    Can I make this egg free? And what would be the best substitute-Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer/flax egg/applesauce?

  3. Andrea says:

    Hi, just read through and printed instructions and realized are not listed in the instructions portion with the other wet ingredients. Looks delicious though. I am going to make it.

    1. Andrea says:

      THE EGGS…were not in the instructions with the wet ingredients. Even I left the eggs out! LOL!!! Sorry!

  4. Kim says:

    Not sure where I went wrong…
    The batter is so thick that I could barely spread it. Used an 8×8 pan and this rose so much that it was double the height of the pan! Also it was nowhere near done at the 40 minute mark. Help

  5. Ileana says:

    The ingredients for the cake say 1/3 cup of sugar but the Instructions say 1/2. Can you clarify? Thanks

  6. Suzette C says:

    This was a hit in our house Christmas morning. Even my daughter, who swears I can’t bake, loved it. My mom, the master baker, even asked for the recipe.

    5.0 rating

  7. Andrea says:

    I made this for Christmas brunch using Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Flour Blend. The batter was thick to spread (could not pour), but it baked up beautifully!! My non-gluten and gluten eaters both LOVED IT!! The cake was not grainy, gritty, nor dry. It was still moist and delicious the second day!!

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

    5.0 rating

  8. Jackie says:

    I don’t have gluten free flour but I have almond flour. Would that work?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      We don’t recommend using almond flour in this recipe, but we do have a few other coffee cakes that work really well with almond flour! Our Chocolate Chai Swirl Coffee Cake and Pumpkin Spice Coffee Bundt Cake both call for almond flour, and you can swap the hazelnut flour for almond flour in our Hazelnut Coffee Cake. I hope that helps, Jackie!

  9. Beverly says:

    I think you forgot to say ADD THE PECANS TO CRUMBLE

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Whoops, sorry, Beverly! It’s in there now. Thanks for letting us know!

  10. Faye says:

    Would all purpose flour work here? We do not have any gluten issues in our house so I don’t have the GF flour handy.

    5.0 rating

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      All purpose will work great, Faye! Enjoy!

  11. Nicole says:

    When you say add butter do you use salted or unsalted? Or margarine? I never know what would be best for baking.

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      We typically use salted but either will work just fine!

  12. Stephanie says:

    Hello can I use coconut flour for the gluten free flour?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Coconut flour won’t work in place of gluten free. Sorry about that!! You can use regular all purpose flour if you have that!

  13. Amy says:

    Love this! I did not do the optional icing… too impatient, hahaha! My oven is sometimes a bit temperamental so I had to bump up the heat and go a full 60 minutes. I used the recommended flour and I’m so impressed by how light and fluffy the cake is! Thanks for a great breakfast treat. 🙂

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Yay! That’s so great, Amy! We’re so glad you love it…thank you for sharing this with us!

  14. Allison says:

    Hello! I have the King Arthur flour that does not have the Xantham Gum, do you have a recommendation on how much to add?
    Thank you!

  15. Courtney says:

    This coffee cake is delicious! So easy and my entire family loves it, I make it all the time!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      That’s so great to hear, Courtney!! We’re so glad you love it!

    2. Brandi Schilhab says:

      That’s so great to hear, Courtney!! We’re so glad you love it!

  16. Brandie says:

    Can I omit the nuts or should I sub them for something else?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      You can omit them!

    2. Brandi Schilhab says:

      You can omit them!

  17. Daniela says:

    Oat flour could work for this?

  18. Kathleen Finneke says:

    Make this regularly as lemon-blueberry version, and today for Father’s Day, Lemon strawberry! turns out perfect every time! And I’ve baked it in a cast iron skillet each time….picture perfect!! Looks impressive but so easy!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Both variations sound amazing…I need to try them! Thank you so much for sharing, Kathleen!

  19. Emily says:

    I made this for my dad for a Father’s Day brunch. No one could tell that it was gluten free or refined sugar free. This recipe is soo so sooo good! So easy to throw together and a crowd pleaser!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Score!! So glad you guys loved this, Emily!

  20. Sarah says:

    I don’t have maple syrup handy, can I sub regular sugar?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Regular sugar should work, Sarah! You may need to had a few tablespoons of milk (dairy or non-dairy) to thin the batter out if it seems too thick though!

  21. Erin says:

    This is so GOOD! It is better than the gf coffee cake I get from a very good gf local bakery! I am curious about making the lemon blueberry version and whether you only omit the middle part with cinnamon, but you still do the top crumble, correct? Thank you so much! This will be added to most of my holidays baking!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      YAY! So glad you loved it, Erin! That’s correct – keep the crumble on top!