Easiest Gluten Free Coffee Cake Ever!

12 servings
45 min

Easiest Gluten Free Coffee Cake Ever! The crumb topping is made from the batter, use any combination of flours, replace egg and liquids with your choice, you seriously cannot mess up this cake! Make egg free, dairy free and gluten free.

Why Doesn’t Coffee Cake Have Coffee In It?

A common misconception is that all coffee cakes have coffee in them. American coffee cakes do not typically have any coffee in them or in the icings.

Instead coffee cake is a generic term for any cake eaten with our coffee.

I understand in Australia and the UK this is not the case, a coffee cake truly does have coffee in the recipe and in the icing! 

Can I Add Coffee to Coffee Cake?

Absolutely! This is such a versatile recipe! Here are some ideas:

  • Stir in 1 teaspoon of coffee or espresso powder to the milk
  • Exchange some of the liquid (milk, buttermilk, etc) for dark coffee, cooled
  • Add ½ – 1 teaspoon of espresso powder to the icing

While I am not gluten free, probably like you, I have many friends and family who are, so I love having recipes like this to whip up that taste delicious!

This Simply Crumbly Coffee Cake has always been my favorite and I still love it, it’s super easy to make, but this one; mmm, mm, good.

Or my Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars if you are looking for something with a little fruit.

I’m not gluten free, but I make this coffee cake regularly and when I bring places people go nuts over it! Being gluten free is a bonus! 

How to Make the Moistest Coffee Cake

My friend Emily, the delightful originator of this recipe, brought this coffee cake to a retreat a few months back and it’s a WINNER! I used 3 different gluten free flours to add a little bit of depth to the cake, but feel free to change it up to your favorites as well, try different amounts and mixes.

If making Gluten Free try Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1, I’m a big fan of oat flour, it lends wonderful oat-y moisture to baked goods. Combine your flours, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, mix until combined.

Add the oil and mix well, but don’t over mix.

Once mixture resembles crumbs, remove ¾ to 1 cup of mixture and set aside.. I like more crumbs on top, so I do closer to a cup.

Next add 1 cup buttermilk*, baking soda and egg, mix until combined and smooth.

*NO BUTTERMILK? Simply add 1 tablespoon of regular white vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk, stir and allow to sit for 5-7 minutes and voila you’ll have buttermilk!

Spread into greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Sometimes depending on how much crumb you take it’s more liquid than other times, don’t worry it all bakes up into the same delicious, moist cake!

Toss 2 teaspoons cinnamon and ½ cup chopped pecans (optional) and mix in reserved crumb mixture.

Unless you are like me and do things too fast without reading well, then you’ve already crumbled your topping over the top, so then just sprinkle your cinnamon and pecans (optional) over the top. I did half and half as one of my boys has a tree nut allergy.

Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes, until it’s no longer jiggly in the middle, you want this baby moist, don’t overbake.

Ugly Glaze for the Ugly Cake

While baking, mix together glaze ingredients for the Gluten Free Coffee Cake. Use a little more or less water to make smooth and pourable. Whisk well until smooth, set aside until ready to use.

Pull the cake from the oven and drizzle the icing evenly over the top of the warm cake. Let cool slightly before slicing, delicious warm or cold, truly a moist and flavorful cake.

If you like this recipe, check out my Gluten Free (or easily adapted to be Gluten Free) recipe archive.


  • Try different flours — just replace with total flour amount.
  • Replace the egg with 1 small-medium mashed banana
  • Replace buttermilk with your favorite plant based milk or even try orange juice!

Get the whole recipe and more info at www.thefreshcooky.com

Easiest Gluten Free Coffee Cake Ever!
Recipe details
  • 12  servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 45 min
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  • 1 ½ cups gluten free All-Purpose Flour (or cup for cup)
  • ½ cup oat flour (be sure gluten free)
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • May replace above flours with regular all purpose flour (2 ½ cups) if desired.
  • ¾ cup sugar (I like all-natural cane sugar)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil (I like Grapeseed or Avocado oil)
  • Reserve 1 cup of batter for crumb topping
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg (or substitute with one banana)
Crumb Topping
  • 1 cup reserved batter
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup pecans (chopped or whole, optional)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 Tablespoons water

Mix flours, sugars, spices and salt, mix until combined. Add oil and mix until resembles crumbs. Reserve 3/4 - 1 cup of crumb mixture, set aside.
Add buttermilk, baking soda and egg to remaining dough, mix thoroughly. Spread or pour into greased 9x13 pan. Depending on how much crumb topping you take will make the batter thicker or thinner.
Take reserved crumb mixture and using a fork, mix in cinnamon and optional nuts, crumble on top of the dough.
Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes, until center doesn't jiggle. While baking, prepare icing. Mix powdered sugar, vanilla and water until smooth and pourable (add more water if needed). Drizzle over hot cake once finished baking.
Cool a bit serve warm or cooled, delicious either way.
  • *NO BUTTERMILK? Simply add 1 tablespoon of regular white vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk, stir and allow to sit for 5-7 minutes and voila you'll have buttermilk!
  • SUBSTITUTIONS | use regular flour, or different gluten free flours; use milk, your favorite plant based milk, buttermilk or even orange juice, it's hard to mess this coffee cake up. I've also replaced the egg with a mashed banana. Making it egg free, dairy free and gluten free!
  • I have made this cake a hundred times I bet, each time it comes out slightly different, it could be how firmly you pack the cup of dry ingredients used to make the crumb topping or the flour used.
  • RUNNY BATTER | If your batter is really runny, you can try adding an additional ¼ – ⅓ cup flour (gluten free).
  • GF FLOURS | all purpose gluten free flours are all slightly different and without the gluten as a binding agent, they can respond differently when adding liquids.
  • BAKING TIME | Watch and know your oven, does it run cool, then increase the heat by 25 degrees, or reduce by 25 if it runs hot. This cake should not be runny as it comes out of the oven, if needed keep in oven checking every 5 minutes for doneness. Sides should pull away slightly from sides of pan and the center will look soft, but shouldn’t be jiggly.
Kathleen | The Fresh Cooky
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  • Mary Mary on Feb 17, 2021

    Is there no coffee in it?

    • See 6 previous
    • Terry Unruh Terry Unruh on Feb 17, 2022

      You CAN put coffee in it if you want. But coffee cakes were developed for "coffee clutches" to be eaten with coffee

  • Teddy Teddy on Feb 17, 2021

    I haven't tried it but I will because it looks so great! I don't like that the other person gave you 2 stars for some reason, so I'm going to counteract it with 5+ stars!

    Honestly, I thought every person knew coffee cake didn't have coffee in it!

    • See 2 previous
    • Mary Mary on Feb 19, 2024

      Everyone that I know thinks that coffee cake is coffee flavoured, just like carrot cake has carrots and strawberry cake is strawberry flavoured, cherry cake, orange cake etc!! All of my UK. Australian, New Zealand, German, French friends etc. use coffee for coffee cakes. I think that you maybe live in America?