This moist Coffee Cake is dotted with tart cranberries and topped with a sweet cinnamon streusel crumb! Grab a slice while it’s still warm and pour yourself a cup of coffee for the the perfect snack.
What is Coffee Cake?
Okay, so here’s the deal: there’s no coffee in this cake. If you’re wondering why it’s called “coffee cake” then you’re not alone. From what I’ve gathered (through a whopping 30 second scan of Google search results), coffee cake can be any cake that is intended to be eaten with a cup of coffee. And in all honesty, this ultra moist yellow cake with the classic cinnamon filling and crumb topping goes wonderfully with a hot coffee.
This cake is the dairy-free version of the coffee cake we all know and love: fluffy and sweet with notes of brown sugar and cinnamon. I added cranberries to help balance the sweetness of all the brown sugar, but you could add cherries or blueberries, or even apples! However you make it, I think you’ll love it – Nathan and I ate nearly all of this cake over the span of a few days. Yeah, it’s really good. Bake it for yourself or bring it to your next small gathering. Whatever you do, serve it with a side of coffee and enjoy.
Some of the ingredients + substitutions:
All-purpose flour + cornstarch = cake flour. So if you’d rather use cake flour (for the cake, not the filling or crumb topping), go ahead and use that in place of the AP flour & cornstarch. I haven’t tried this cake with any other starches. Flour also thickens both the filling and crumb topping, and all-purpose flour is what you’ll want to use.
Plant-based butter adds that familiar, buttery flavor that we all love with our sweet, cinnamon desserts. If you’re not dairy-free, regular butter will work, too.
Sugar is necessary for any good cake. And, for this cake, you can use coconut sugar, raw cane sugar, or white cane sugar. For the filling and crumb topping, I highly recommend sticking to brown sugar – light or dark will work.
Eggs help bind the cake together. If you’re vegan, you can try using flax eggs in place of the eggs, but I haven’t tried this (so I can’t guarantee the results).
Unsweetened applesauce adds moisture to this cake. In its place, you can use a dairy-free yogurt (or regular yogurt if you’re not dairy-free).
Cranberries add a lovely tart bite to this otherwise very sweet cake. I used fresh cranberries in my cake, but frozen will also do – just be sure to thaw them and drain off any excess juice/liquid.
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup unrefined cane sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temp
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 1/4 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen), divided
- 3/4 cup raw cane sugar
- 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 6 Tbsp plant-based butter, cold
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare a 9" springform pan (or 8x8" baking pan) by spraying it with nonstick spray and lining the bottom and side with parchment paper (see Note 1).
- Make the cinnamon filling: in a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour; set aside.
- Make the cake: in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at at time, and then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the applesauce, and then, finally, the dry ingredients. Stir in 2 cups of the cranberries.
- Add 1/2 of the cake batter to your prepared pan, smoothing out the top. Spoon the cinnamon filling over the cake batter. Then spoon the remaining cake batter over the filling and smooth out. Top with the leftover 1/4 cup of cranberries.
- Make the streusel topping: in a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Add the cold butter to the bowl and use your fingers (or a fork) to mash the ingredients together. You should start to see larger crumbs forming. If the streusel seems dry, add another tablespoon of butter.
- Generously sprinkle the streusel topping over the cake batter, allowing some of the cranberries to peek through. Bake the cake at 350°F for 45-60 minutes (mine took 55 minutes). At the 45 minute mark, start checking your cake for doneness every 5 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool in the springform pan for 10 minutes (if you're using a square pan, you can let your cake totally cool in the pan). Release the side of the pan and allow the cake to cool for another 20 minutes before serving warm.
- Store cooled cake in an airtight container at room temperature - this cake keeps moist and stores well for a few days.
- I like to cut a circle of parchment paper for the bottom of the pan, and then I cut one (or two) long, thin strip to line around the inside. A square 8x8" pan doesn't require any parchment paper, unless you'd like to remove the whole cake prior to slicing/serving.