Grain-Free Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping Recipe | Pamela Salzman & Recipes Skip to content

Grain-Free Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping Recipe


Photography by Victoria Wall Harris

I am going to come clean right away with respect to this cake.  I taught it in about 16 classes and have made it at my house for friends and family many times and made it twice at my mom’s house this summer and it’s always the biggest hit.  The day I made it for my website, the power went out in my neighborhood while the cake was in the oven.  I didn’t have enough ingredients to make another one.  And we were on a tight schedule with 15 other recipes to make and shoot that day.  I had no idea what to do.

I decided to leave it in the oven with the oven door closed and hope for the best.  The power was out for one hour and when it returned, I turned the heat back on and the left the cake in there until it was cooked through.

So what happened?  The cake actually turned out pretty good on the inside, but burned a little on the bottom and the sides.  Since the batter is mostly nut flour, that didn’t surprise me since nuts burn pretty easily.  But it still tasted it great and looked good enough.  So we photographed it and then we ate it!

I want you to know that your cake will not burn on the sides or the bottom.  It will turn out perfectly if you follow the recipe.  It is a very simple grain-free cake with a delicious streusel-y crumb topping.  I have not made this with other flours and I really don’t recommend swapping grain flours for nut or coconut flours.  The only swap that usually works is tapioca or cassava for arrowroot.  One time I added a pint of blueberries and it didn’t turn out well.  The blueberries made the cake too moist.


Even though I am not gluten-free or grain-free, I do prefer grain-free desserts.  I really feel less of a glycemic impact and I love how the texture and moisture stay perfect for days and days after refrigeration.  I make this cake all year long and it has become a new staple for our Yom Kippur breakfast, which is Monday evening!  Even if you don’t celebrate Jewish holidays, this cake is divine for any occasion.  Please let me know if you make it by tagging me @pamelasalzman #pamelasalzman.  I just love love love seeing all your creations!!

You can shop the tools I used for this recipe by clicking on the images below:


5.0 from 1 reviews
Grain-Free Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping
Serves: 1 cake serving 8-12
  • Crumb Topping
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • ¼ cup maple sugar or unbleached cane sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter or vegan butter, cold, cut into large pieces
  • Cake
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
  • ½ cup arrowroot, cassava or tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup melted unrefined coconut oil or avocado oil + more for greasing the pan
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened, plain whole milk yogurt or non-dairy yogurt (I have made this successfully with cashew yogurt)
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup or honey
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch or 9-inch cake pan, preferably a springform pan, with oil. It's a bit of a tall cake, so if your pan is shallow, the batter may spill over. Line the bottom with a piece of unbleached parchment paper, if desired.
  2. Make the crumb topping: In a bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse together the crumb topping ingredients until moist clumps are formed. Transfer to a bowl and put in the freezer. Wipe out the food processor.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add all cake ingredients. Process until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl once to make sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes.
  5. Crumble the crumb topping on top of the cake and place back in the oven for another 35-40 minutes or until the cake is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Baking time will depend on your oven as well as the size pan you use. Cool for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and transfer onto a cooling rack.
You don't add the crumb topping until the cake has baked for 20 minutes because if you added it at the beginning, it would sink into the cake and disappear.


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  1. I note that this recipe is almost identical to your Meyer Lemon olive oil almond cake in ‘Quicker than Quick’. I made that a day or so ago while the outside couple of inches were delicious, the middle didn’t seem to be cooked enough, although I left it in for the full 40 minutes.

    This cake is recommended to cook for the first 20 minutes, then an additional additional 35 – 40 minutes. Is it possible the Meyer Lemon cake just needed considerably more time?

    Thank you!!

    • Hi! There is no cake I have made more often than the Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake from QTQ! I could not be more confident about the timing of that recipe. The coffee cake takes longer because of the addition of the crumb topping which needs to cook, but also slows down the cake from cooking. If the lemon cake was not cooked properly in the middle, I would make a note in the recipe and just cook it a few minutes longer next time you make it. Could be that your oven is a little slower than mine. If you used a smaller pan, even by 1/2 inch, it will take longer to cook. Keep me posted!

  2. Can we add apples to the cake?

    • Once I added a lot of blueberries and the cake did not cook all the way through. I would worry that that would happen if you added apples. Have you looked at my grain-free apple cake recipe? Different ingredients and a different texture, but a lovely cake!

  3. Could this be made in advance, say the night before? Then brought to room temp or warmed up?

    • You can make it the night before and store it at room temp and serve it at room temp. You can warm it up if you want, but be careful not to dry it out.

  4. I have a nut allergy (along with a gluten allergy). Can I use a gluten free rice flour?

    • Unfortunately, we can’t sub grain flours for nut or coconut flours. Rice flour does not make a great cake unto itself. Sorry!

  5. Hi Pamela-
    Can you use just almond flour and leave out coconut flour in topping?
    Any brand recommendations for a light olive oil to use?
    Thanks again for PB class! Already made the Rightcream!

    • I haven’t tried that, Karen, so I don’t know for sure how it would turn out. Maybe you can swap in some oat flour for the coconut flour, but then it wouldn’t be grain-free. California Olive Ranch just came out with an almond oil-olive oil blend and a vanilla-infused olive oil that I think would be perfect. Otherwise, O organic olive oil would work well.

  6. Can we sub in flax eggs? Or applesauce for the eggs ?

    • I haven’t had success with flax eggs in grain-free baked goods, especially when the recipe calls for more than 2 eggs. You can certainly try 3 flax eggs + some applesauce, but I don’t know how it will turn out.

  7. Pamela – any suggestions for replacing some of the butter/oil for those that adhere to a lower fat plant based way of eating?

    • Since I haven’t tried the recipe with less oil and fat, I have no idea how it would turn out. Maybe skip the crumb topping altogether. The cake only has 4 Tablespoons of oil which is not much at all for a big cake. The almond do have fat, of course.

  8. Can you use organic refined Coconut Oil if you don’t like the taste of coconut?

    • sure! Even a mild olive oil would work.

  9. Pamela, my son Max has a nut allergy. I cannot use almond Nor coconut flour.
    What is the best sub?

    • Unfortunately, you would need a grain-based recipe. You can’t sub non-nut flours for nut flours. 🙁

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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