Tips to Make Easy Apple Coffee Cake

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You know when you take a bite of cake and just breathe a sigh of relief and satisfaction? Well, get ready. Because after many tests (we lost count – 6 or 600, maybe?), we cracked the code for the perfect apple coffee cake! It is balanced, slightly roasted, undeniably soothing, and enriched with cinnamon.

Made with healthy almond flour and nutty coconut sugar, it’s gluten-free and plant-based but full of flavor. It’s perfect for afternoon tea, an indulgent breakfast or brunch, or as a snack or dessert. All you need are simple ingredients and 1 mixing bowl. Let us show you how!

Origins of the coffee cake

The name “coffee cake” might make you think it contains coffee, it usually doesn’t. Instead, coffee cake refers to a sweet cake eaten alongside a cup of coffee. The concept is believed to have originated in Northern/Central Europe in the 17th century.

Then immigrants from Germany and Scandinavia brought it to the United States. In the XIX century, some American bakers added coffee to the cake dough, and others modified it to be more dense and cake-like.

The following is a plant-based and gluten-free version with apples, cinnamon, and an optional crumb topping.

How to make apple coffee cake

Almond flour and our DIY gluten-free flour blend create a healthy, crumbly base that can withhold the richness of vegan butter. The sweetness comes from maple syrup and coconut sugar, while vanilla, cinnamon, and salt fill the dough with flavor.

Baking soda and baking powder provide leaven, and a small amount of dairy-free milk adds just enough moisture to mix, while the dough remains thick enough to withhold the moisture of the apples.

Pieces of peeled apples give the cake an apple flavor with every bite. We tested with both sweet (Honeycrisp) and tart (Granny Smith) apples and preferred the more prominent apple flavor of Granny Smith.

The top of the cake turns golden brown and is ready for the optional (but highly recommended) topping.

The crumb Topping consists of a simple mix of organic cane sugar and coconut sugar, which is added with cinnamon and processed into a crumbly texture with the help of vegan butter and gluten-free flour. Another 5 minutes in the oven it gets golden brown and roasted.

We hope you love this apple coffee cake! It is:

  • Sweet
  • Nutty
  • Toasty
  • Comforting
  • Easy to prepare
  • And oh-so-snackable!

It’s perfect for afternoon tea, an indulgent breakfast or brunch, or as a snack or dessert. Pair it with our easy vegan eggnog, Easy Pumpkin Spice Latte or Easy Masala Chai for MEGA fall feelings!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Simple Apple Coffee Cake (GF, Vegan)

Perfectly balanced, lightly toasted, classic apple coffee cake that is also gluten-free and plant-based. Perfect for afternoon tea or as a snack or dessert! Simple ingredients and only 1 bowl needed!

Ingredient

US Common – Metric

APPLE PIE

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dairy-free milk (we used almonds)
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, melted (we like Miyokos here)
  • 1/4 Cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or inorganic cane sugar)
  • 2 ½ Cups almond flour
  • 1 ½ Cups DIY Gluten-Free Flour Mix (see notes for Store-bought)
  • 1 ½ TSP baking powder
  • 1 ½ TSP baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 TSP sea salt
  • 1 ½ Cups chopped Granny Smith Apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • TOPPING optional
  • 1/4 Cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or sub-brown sugar)
  • 1/2 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, melted (we like Miyokos here)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 Cup DIY Gluten-free Flour Mix (see notes for store-bought)

Instruction

Preheat the oven to 190°C and line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving plenty of paper over the edges so you can easily lift the cake out after. This recipe also works in a 9-inch round cake pan or two 6-inch round cake pans.
In a large mixing bowl, combine dairy-free milk, melted butter, maple syrup and vanilla and mix well. Next, add the coconut sugar, almond flour, gluten-free flour mixture, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and stir until well combined. The texture is quite thick and looks like a cookie dough more than a typical cake dough. Add the diced apples and mix until evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Scrape the dough into the prepared baking dish and distribute it evenly. It’s okay if the top has some texture; it will be covered with the crumble topping after!

Put the cake in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the crumble topping (optional).
In your now empty mixing bowl, add the cane sugar, coconut sugar, and cinnamon and mix with a fork until even blended. Add the vegan butter and mix well. Next, add the flour in 1/4 cup (40 g) increments and mix well with your fork after each addition. Depending on the brand of your gluten-free mix, you may need more or less flour. Add flour until the texture appears pale and slightly dry, and the mixture will clump slightly when pinched.

At the 40-minute mark, remove the cake from the oven and carefully place the crumble topping on the cake in an even layer. Return the cake to the oven for 5 minutes until the crumble topping feels dry and just starts to look toasty.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the baking dish. Cool almost completely before cutting and serving. Store up to 3 days at room temperature or up to 1 month in the freezer.