Coffee Cake (Grain-free and refined sugar-free)

Coffee cake and boiled eggs were common brunch foods for me growing up. Since I’ve gone grain-free, I’ve really missed it! While my family visited over the holidays, I decided to take my mom’s recipe and try to make it grain and refined sugar-free. My family approved of the end result so now I would like to share it with you! Enjoy!

Coffee Cake

Cake Ingredients:

    2/3 cup honey (UPDATE: You can vary this depending on your tastes–I’ve been told 1/4 cup works just as well!)
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    4 eggs
    1/2 cup almond milk
    3/4 cup arrowroot or almond flour
    3/4 cup sifted coconut flour
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt

Cake Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or butter an 8×8 baking pan.

2. Combine honey, butter, eggs and almond milk in a bowl until well combined.

3. Combine arrowroot or almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.

4. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Stir well.

5. Pour HALF of the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and spread out evenly.

6. Prepare streusel.

Streusel Ingredients:

    1 cup chopped pecans
    2 Tbsp. honey
    1/4 cup butter
    1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. coconut flour

Streusel Directions:

1. Combine all the streusel ingredients in a bowl.

2. Distribute half of the streusel over the batter in the pan.

3. Pour the rest of the cake batter on streusel and top with remaining streusel.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 28-35 minutes. Remove from oven when a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

5. Serve as is or slather in butter!

Jennifer Maltby is a food blogger for The Unrefined Kitchen. She has been happily married to her husband for almost 6 years and they have one two-year old daughter. Jennifer loves being in the kitchen and especially loves baking. Due to multiple health issues, she changed her diet in April 2011 and saw significant, positive changes. Parting from the average American diet was a bit of a challenge, but Jennifer found that using some creativity could turn this diet into something that could be very tasty. She started the website The Unrefined Kitchen to be a tool and resource for others trying to change their diet in a similar way. The Unrefined Kitchen is grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and dairy-free.

The following two tabs change content below.


    • KimiHarris says

      Thanks Anne Marie, for pointing that out! I didn’t read through the ingredient list carefully enough. For those who are wondering, I don’t think it says that it in the post anywhere, I just said it was “GAPS friendly” on facebook.

    • e says

      Ya….you aren’t really dairy free if you “slather” things in butter…which, by the way is probably more unhealthy than eating gluten or yogurt.
      A little butter is ok but slathering things already baked with butter in more butter is awful. Coconut oil for baking is much healthier.

      • Jade says

        Um there is nothing wrong with butter. It is healthy and definitely not more unhealthy then eating gluten. Way more people have problems with gluten then they do with butter. I eat butter all the time and I’m one of the healthiest people I know!

        • Laura says

          When I cut out all margarine, canola oil, and other hydrogenated products from my diet, and replaced them with full fat items, especially butter, I lost another stubborn 3 pounds! I love butter and people are very uneducated on the benefits of healthy fats. I say slather away!!

      • Verda says

        Butter isn’t bad for you – just make sure you use butter from grass-fed cows. Kerry Gold is my favorite!

      • T says

        Educate yourself about butter. I recommend reading Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price.

        The recipe looks great! I’m going to make some to take backpacking this weekend. Thanks!

    • Kitsa says

      The first edition of the GAPS book did not allow bicarbonate of soda but Dr Natasha has allowed it in the second edition with the proviso that it has to be pure bicarbonate of soda and not baking powder as well as being aluminium free. Those with low stomach acid (which is most GAPS clients) are advised to avoid it in the early stages of the diet as it lowers stomach acid however once you are eating sauerkraut regularly this will help regulate the production of stomach acid. Once you are at this stage you can then safely use it in baking, in the bath for alkalizing or in their toothpaste with olive oil. Most helpful is the Apple app designed by Hannah at Gapalicious as it lists all allowable foods in the context of all the stages of Intro as well as Full Gaps.

  1. Joelle says

    What about baking powder that does not have cornstarch? Also, arrowroot and tapioca are not made from grains…does that count? This looks fabulous and I want to try it out, but we are trying to avoid eggs right now, I think my little guy reacts besides they are mucous forming. Has anyone ever tried to substitute 4 eggs with anything else??!

  2. says

    Is this recipe an exception to your blog’s recipes? This post said that your blog is dairy-free, but this recipe has butter in it. For those who have immunological allergies to dairy, butter doesn’t work. Do you not consider butter as dairy?

    • says

      Hi Archer, thank you for your comment. I believe that coconut oil would work just as well as a replacement for the butter in this recipe. On my blog I say “dairy-free…almost” because we like butter and haven’t found that it bothers us. I am sorry for the confusion. I would suggest trying coconut oil. Since being pregnant, I haven’t been able to cook with coconut oil as much because it just doesn’t sound as good to me, hence why I’ve been using even more butter. Hope it works for you!

      • says

        Hi Jennifer! After I left my comment, I went to your blog and saw your little thing on the right… that said the “dairy-free…almost”! Sorry I missed that. 🙂 This looks good though, butter or no butter!

        • Tessa says

          Archer, I am on the Paleo Diet and we use butter (some don’t) because it is looked at more as an animal fat than dairy. Not sure what diet you are on, or if you are allergic to dairy (in which cause butter probably wouldn’t be good). But if you were just going dairy free like me as a choice butter could be an option to cook with. Of course I buy grass fed butter 🙂

          • Debbie says

            I can’t have any dairy and we use Smart Balance lite, it’s vegan and tastes just like butter. I use it for everything. 🙂 Thank goodness, because this looks delicious! Now just to figure out the correct egg replacer! 🙂

  3. says

    This looks really great Kimi – I’ve always wanted to do a good version of coffee cake but have never gotten around to it since I would have to edit so many things. This will help 🙂

  4. says

    i’m not grain free, but i love recipes like this because there is no souring/soaking time! i will put this in my repertoire for breakfast recipes. yum! thanks!

  5. Danielle says

    How sweet did this turn out to be? We are trying to cut back on sugary type stuff as much as possible. Can I reduce the amount of honey in the cake part without ruining it?

    • says

      It is fairly sweet. I think it would be fine to reduce the honey and still have a good result. If you don’t mind tasting the batter before baking it, that would be a good test as far as flavor. If you try it, let me know what you reduced it to! I’d be interested to hear!

      • Danielle says

        We reduced the honey to just over 1/4 cup. Instead of the streusel in the middle, we opted for frozen blueberries. The family loved it! It had just enough sweet without overpowering any other favors.

  6. Tara says

    Can you suggest any substitutes for the arrowroot/almond flour? I avoid arrowroot to comply with GAPS and am currently avoiding almonds due to allergy. Would another nut work, or something else? The almond milk could be easily substituted with coconut milk, I would think; but I’m not sure what to try for the flour. Also, if decreasing the honey, should the milk be increased to compensate for the liquid? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Tara-
      I haven’t used other nut flours, but if they are out there, one of them should work. You could do all coconut flour, but you would need to add another 3 eggs probably and if you are cooking with all coconut flour and less honey, you may need to increase the milk as well. I haven’t tried those variables so let me know if you do and how it turns out! The texture will be a bit different if using all coconut flour. Hope that is somewhat helpful.

  7. Joelle says

    I was checking out the tightwad gazette thing; it seems to have something to do with soy flour, and I don’t do soy. Are the eggs used for binding, leavening and moisture? I am just wondering if trying to use two egg substitutes for binding and two for leavening if it works that way or not when substituting??? = ) ugh. I am going to try the coconut oil though. I go back and forth on butter; it does not bother me, but when I am on an absolutely NO DAIRY kick, I avoid it.

  8. Joelle says

    I went ahead and made this with egg-replacer and flax eggs. Although I would like to still do an alternative to the egg-replacer. My batter wasn’t really batter, but more of a really soft cookie dough so I kind of had to spread it; it was still pretty soft when I decided to be done cooking it. It was really tasty and tasted like coffee cake! Thank You!

  9. karla diaz says

    Hi. I made this recipe today with a few changes. I used a mixture of all three of the flours listed, I added 1 small apple finely chopped, I used coco milk instead of almond milk, and used agave instead of honey. It was AWESOME!!!! Thanks for the recipe! The texture was the most wonderful aspect. Keep up the good work!! :):)

  10. Kim says

    This was delicious, however, much to sweet for my taste. I saw the above comments to reduce the honey to 1/4 cup and I will do that next time. So much honey as the recipe is that it didn’t leave my mouth for a couple hours after eating it. In every other way, a great recipe for a Sunday morning breakfast!

  11. Lisa says

    Hi! We’re on GAPS and these are the changes I made:
    1/2 c homemade kefir instead of almond milk (although homemade almond milk is legal, just didn’t have any)
    Used the almond flour instead of arrowroot
    1/2 tsp baking soda instead of 2 tsp baking powder. It is cooling right now and smells heavenly! For those who asked why arrowroot and baking powder are illegal on GAPS, it has to do with the kinds of carbohydrates and the mechanism needed fit digestion. Most starches are not allowed. Commercial baking powder has either churn corn starch or potato starch plus cream of tartar, all three of those are illegal.

  12. Paige says

    Is there an acceptable substitute for the coconut flour? I am allergic to coconut but really would like to try this recipe. Thanks!

  13. Melanie says

    I am confused. Almond flour and arrowroot flour are completely different. Have you used both? How did it turn out?

  14. Lindsay says

    I made this for my family recently and we really enjoyed it! I used 1/3 cup of honey and thought it was just the right amount of sweetness…and I also doubled the streusel ingredients and did a full recipe in the middle and a full one on top. I definitely recommend this! Next time I’m going to put blueberries in the center as well and see how that goes!

  15. Matilde says

    In order to make it suitable for dairy-allergies but still wanting the buttery richness: you could use Ghee, clarified butter which can easily be made at home. After having removed the milk solids from the butter you are left with butter oil which is very nutritious. If its made from the right butter that is (grass-fed or even raw,)
    And no…butter is not that bad for you at all! Coconut oil is yum but doesn’t have that rich flavour in baked goods. I usually do 50-50.

  16. Marnie says

    I just finished making this, followed recipe exactly, the batter did not pour. 1/2 the batter barely covered the bottom of my 8×8 pan. I’m very worried about it baking for so Lon seeing as it is a very thin layer of cake even with the streusel in it.

  17. Laura says

    I wish you had put the comment about spreading instead of pouring in the original recipe. I was too worried I didn’t have enough liquid, so I added some more. Now I have a mess in the oven that won’t finish baking 🙁

  18. Cindy says

    My 16 year old daughter just made this for my birthday this morning. It was a wonderful treat! She said she only used 1/4 tsp. stevia (I don’t know if different brands of stevia have different strenghts, but ours seems quite strong). I slathered it with butter ~ awesome! Thank you!

  19. Jennifer Rose says

    Just made this recipe this morning…YUM. Make a few alterations. Used coconut oil instead of butter. Added 1 T cinnamon and 1 t cloves to the batter b/c I like spices. Used 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup maple infused agave in place of the 2/3 C honey. Sprinkled some ground flaxseed on top. I had to use almost a cup of almond milk b/c it was really dry (my current almond flour is pretty thick so that might have been why). lastly, I did use a little butter (like a pad) on top. I melted a pad of butter with honey and cinnamon and then brushed it on top b/c I was afraid of it burning (my oven is propane and runs hot). Thanks for the recipe! I’m new to G. Free cooking and I was excited to find it!

  20. says

    Made it this morning with 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Really good! We like cinnamon so I may increase the streusel next time. Thanks for the recipe! Will definitely make again!

  21. Heidi says

    I just made this and it was very dry. I could not pour it. Is there suppose to be more milk than 1/2 cup?

  22. Heidi says

    I just made this and it was very dry. I could not pour it. Is there suppose to be more milk than 1/2 cup?

  23. Rhonda says

    I made this as our “sweet” for our Father’s Day brunch! It passed the kids’ taste test! Very good!

  24. Lisa says

    Thank you so much for this recipe. My entire picky family LOVE it (including my husband, who has not yet come over from the processed food dark side lol). We make it a few times a month, and its so nice to have a grain free baked good that doesn’t have a weird texture! One thing I was wondering, now that pumpkin season is here… do you think this could be made somehow into a pumpkin coffee cake?! That sounds so great, but I don’t think you can just add pumpkin without taking some liquid out or something? And ideas?

  25. Jeann fries says

    Does gaps consider gmo corn , soy, canola, wheat okay. Can’t imagine cornstarch okay in anything! Gmo is far worse ,with pesticides in , than anything you could eat. Genetically modified anything has been created with pesticides in so if anything tries to eat in fields the insect dies! Corn soybeans wheat and canola are the predominant foods in our country today. Most European countries and many other countries have banned them. China just refused a large ship full of corn from entering their country! No gmo’s!

  26. Alexis says

    I’m eating this, fresh and warm from the oven, and I just had to say THANK YOU!!! Thank you for giving me back my beloved coffee cake.

  27. says

    I made this for breakfast yesterday and was a bit disappointed. The texture was off, the taste wasn’t sweet enough…overall, it was just OK. BUT!! I reheated a piece for breakfast this morning and was pleasantly surprised! By letting this sit out overnight and then reheating the next morning, the texture significantly improved, as well as the flavor. I do think it would stand up next to any grain-based coffee cake. This recipe just got moved to my Favorites Board! Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Shellie! I haven’t tried this recipe as we no longer can have eggs, but I definitely have noted that some gluten-free/grain free recipes taste better, and the texture is better once cool.

  28. LouLou says

    Great recipe! Thank you so much! I enjoyed a piece with my butter coffee, saved a couple pieces, then put remainin pieces in freezer. I’m eating grain free (not paleo since I still incorporate dairy into my diet) so having more baking recipes in my back pocket is crucial! I usually have one “bake day” every couple of weeks where I freeze the majority of whatever I’m making so I can easily grab a piece out of the freezer to enjoy on demand-key when trying to stick to being grain free. Instead of 3/4C arrowroot, I did 1/2C arrowroot and 1/4C almond flour and thought it was great! I also made a small bowl of melted grassfed butter and tons of cinnamon to drizzle on top.

  29. Lisa says

    Hi there, I am from Wales in the UK. So do not really understand where the coffee is in this recipe. I love coffee cake and I am looking for alternatives to grain. However where does the coffee flavour come from, or am I missing something? Thank you.

    • Stephanie says

      Coffee cake is called such because it is traditionally served WITH coffee; it has no coffee flavor. Think “teacake”.

  30. Gina says

    I’ve just made this and got it in the oven- let’s see how it turns out!
    Can I suggest you adjust the word ‘pour’ to spread- When my batter was un-pourable I thought I’d gone all wrong and added lots more stuff it probably didn’t need! Then saw a couple of comments saying the same and thought phew haha.
    I also thought this was a coffee flavour cake, so I just added some coffee and granules to give it that flavour 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *