Vegan coffee cake is a decadent, buttery treat with a cinnamon-infused filling and streusel topping. Coffee cake is perfect for breakfast, especially when paired with a cup of coffee or hot tea.
Vegan Breakfast Cake
My latest breakfast obsession is all things coffee cake. It’s funny because I used to think coffee cake meant cake made with coffee. As a person sensitive to caffeine, it made me wonder, does coffee cake have caffeine?
Once I learned it was so much more than that, I was hooked. Of course, that meant I had to figure out a way to make a coffee cake vegan.
Turns out, that’s pretty darn easy. So, that means this delicious coffee cake recipe is equal parts dairy-free and scrumptious!
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Sugar — You’ll need both brown sugar and granulated sugar for this recipe.
- Ground cinnamon — Both the filling and the crumble topping use ground cinnamon.
- Cocoa powder — I like adding cocoa powder to the filling to give it a darker color. It’s not enough to add flavor, but the drama it adds between layers of coffee cake is fantastic.
- Flour — We’ll use all-purpose flour for the filling, the topping, and the cake.
- Vegan butter — It’s essential to use vegan butter rather than a tub of margarine, which has more water. The higher fat content of vegan butter is critical to getting the right texture.
- Vegan Buttermilk — We’ll make vegan buttermilk by combining plant-based milk (almond milk or soy milk are my go-to favorites, although oat milk is another great option) and apple cider vinegar.
- Vegan yogurt — We’ll use vegan yogurt to substitute the volume created from eggs. I like using plain vegan yogurt like Foragers Cashew Yogurt. You can substitute vegan sour cream.
- Egg Substitute — To substitute the binding power of eggs, we’ll use a combination of cornstarch and ground flaxseed.
- Baking powder — To add lift to the cake, the perfect leavening agent is baking powder.
- Salt — To add complexity of flavor, a bit of salt will be added to the batter.
If you live in Australia or the UK, all-purpose flour may not mean much to you. Learn more about how all-purpose flour and plain flour are the same things.
How to Make Vegan Coffee Cake
- Stir together the crumble topping, cover, and refrigerate.
- Make the filling, cover, and refrigerate.
- Cream vegan butter, add sugar, and beat for 2 minutes.
- Pour in the plant-based buttermilk, ground flax meal, and cornstarch.
- Beat again until just combined.
- Stir together dry ingredients.
- Stir this in with the wet mixture to create the batter.
- Pour half of the batter and use a spatula to spread it evenly across the pan.
- Add the filling and cover with the remaining cake batter.
- Add the topping and use a spatula to gently press it into the batter.
- Bake for about 50 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake, comes out clean.
It’s so easy to make vegan coffee cake without eggs or dairy. Let’s go through this step-by-step.
This recipe is lengthy enough that I thought some detailed instructions would be helpful.
Step One: Make the Streusel Topping
I like to make the streusel topping first because that way once the cake batter is made, we can add the topping immediately and get it into the oven. This helps take advantage of the learners in the batter to get a nice, fluffy cake.
- Make the crumble topping by stirring together brown sugar, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and vegan butter.
- Then stir in the flour, cover, and refrigerate.
Step Two: Make the Cinnamon Filling
- In a small bowl, stir together the filling ingredients.
- Stir to form a soft crumb.
Step Two: Make Coffee Cake Batter
Next, prepare the coffee cake batter. Here are the steps.
- Combine the milk and vinegar to make buttermilk. Set aside.
- Cream vegan butter. Add sugar and beat together for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the buttermilk, ground flax meal, cornstarch, and vegan yogurt.
- Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture.
- Stir until just combined.
Step Three: Assemble the Coffee Cake
- Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking dish.
- Use a spatula to spread the batter across the pan.
- Sprinkle the filling over the top.
- Pour the remaining coffee cake batter on top of the filling.
- Use a spatula to spread the cake batter evenly.
- Distribute the topping evenly over the cake batter and press it in lightly.
Step Four: Bake
- Bake for 50 to 55 minutes until the edges of the cake are golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool before serving.
Cover coffee cake or transfer slices to an airtight container. It will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 7 days. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months.
- Make sure the butter is softened by leaving it out on the counter for about 30 minutes
- You can double the crumble topping if you like more streusel
- Add 1 cup of peeled, sliced apples to the batter to make vegan apple coffee cake
- To make vegan coffee cake muffins, pour the batter into greased or papered muffin tins and then distribute the crumble topping evenly over each muffin before baking.
- Make vegan blueberry coffee cake by adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries on top of the filling.
- Make this into a sugar-free coffee cake by using Swerve sweetener. It bakes 1:1 like sugar.
New to Vegan Baking?
The idea of making cookies, cakes, or muffins without eggs or dairy can seem like a hill too tall to climb. But with the simple tips in my Guide to Vegan Baking, you’ll be baking like a vegan pro in no time!
Vegan Coffee Cake
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup vegan butter , softened
- Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Spray a 9×9 pan with vegetable spray.
For the Crumble Topping:
- Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and vegan butter in a bowl. Stir to combine. Add the flour and stir until combined. Refrigerate (no need to cover it).
For the Filling:
- In a small bowl, stir together the filling ingredients. Stir until a soft crumb forms. Refrigerate (no need to cover it).
For the Coffee Cake:
- Combine the milk and vinegar to make buttermilk. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl use an electric mixer to cream together the vegan butter and sugar. You can use a spoon but stir vigorously until light and fluffy. Beat in the buttermilk, ground flax meal, cornstarch, and vegan yogurt.
- In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture. Stir until just combined.
Coffee Cake Assembly:
- Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the filling over the top. Pour the remaining coffee cake batter on top of the filling. Distribute the topping evenly over the top of the cake batter and press it in lightly.
- Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake, comes out clean. The crumble topping should be golden brown.
- When done, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
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IcingMake it dramatic by adding a drizzle of icing on top. Combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of vanilla-flavored plant-based milk. Stir to combine and drizzle over the top.
Cocoa PowderWe’ll add cocoa powder to the filling to give it a dramatic contrast between the filling and the cake. You can leave it out or substitute a tablespoon of molasses.
Make-AheadYou can make the batter the night before and assemble the cake in the pan, then cover and bake it in the morning. You’ll need to add about 5 minutes of bake time to make up for the chilliness of the dough.
Vegan YogurtYou can substitute vegan sour cream or whipped silken tofu.
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in 2015 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2022.