GF/DF Coffee Cake

My gluten-free/ dairy-free (GF/DF) husband, David, wanted something special to eat on Christmas morning. Aside from his usual bacon and eggs, I could not think of something he would like more until I thought about Coffee Cake. After surfing Pinterest for a few minutes, I found our golden ticket. This coffee cake looked superb with its swirl of brown sugar and cinnamon goodness flowing though the sweet cake, and plus the crumble topping. I figured if I used the gluten-free flour and dairy-free butter I had on-hand, and if I whipped up a little bit of home-made dairy-free butter milk, that this would be a “piece of cake,” and it was!

First, I needed to make dairy-free buttermilk. Whaaaat? You can do that??? Yes, and it’s easy! Simply put 2-3 teaspoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in a measuring cup. Then add your dairy-free milk substitute of your choice until you get 1 cup of liquid. I prefer to work with coconut milk. Just let this sit for 10 minutes to allow the milk and acid to coagulate and you’re all set!

Next, I mixed the cake batter using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour with sugar, baking powder and baking soda, salt, vanilla extract, 3 eggs, dairy-free butter, and my dairy-free buttermilk.

Coffee Cake

Dairy Free

Typically, I use Fleischmann’s dairy-free butter, but I noticed last week at the grocery store that Blue Bonnet makes a lactose-free butter, and it was less expensive, so I picked up a couple of boxes. In this cake, next time I will be using Fleischmann’s.
**More on this at the conclusion of my tale.

Next, I made the brown sugar and cinnamon swirl. Once that was prepared, I poured half of my cake batter into my baking dish, then sprinkled all of my brown sugar mixture on top, and then poured the second half of the cake batter. With a butter knife, I made the beautiful swirl, every so slightly combining the cake and the brown sugar.

Coffee Cake Swirl

This would honestly be a fine stopping point with this cake. Seriously, go ahead and bake it. You’ll love it! But if you’re feeling ambitious, you can make the crumble topping. For the topping, I used more Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour, Blue Bonnet Lactose Free Butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and brown sugar. I combined all of my dry ingredients, and then added cold butter and mixed it until the butter was the size of peas. Then I sprinkled all of it on top of my cake.

Coffee Cake Crumble Topping

**Here’s where my issue with Blue Bonnet Lactose Free Butter comes in to play. The topping before baking was a beautiful crumble topping. After the cake was done baking, it looked as though I had never put the crumble topping on. It literally melted away.

Coffee Cake Finished

Do you see a crumbly topping? Me either. I’m sure that if you use regular butter for this recipe, or possibly even Fleischmann’s Dairy Free Butter, the crumble would have worked. Blue Bonnet Lactose Free Butter, however, did not.

Not to fret, the cake was simply wonderful! My husband, daughter, father, stepmom, and my in-laws all loved the cake, and could not tell that any part of it had gone wrong, nor could they tell that there was zero gluten or dairy! So, in my book, this is still a success. Next time, I will try a different butter or simply skip the crumble topping altogether.

GF/DF Coffee Cake

Dairy-free buttermilk:

  • 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup dairy-free milk alternative, like coconut milk


  • 2 and 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted dairy-free butter, softened and cut into pieces (about 1 tablespoon each)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk


  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Crumble Topping:

  • 2 sticks cold, unsalted dairy-free butter
  • 2 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350º F. Prepare a 9 x 13 inch baking dish by spraying it with non-stick spray.

To make the dairy-free buttermilk: Pour lemon juice or apple cider vinegar into a liquid measuring cup, then add enough of your dairy-free milk alternative to make 1 cup of liquid, total. Let sit for 10 minutes and use.

To make the cake: In the bowl for your mixer, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add in butter, a few pieces at the time and mix until you are left with crumbles. Add in eggs, vanilla and buttermilk and beat until the mixture is combined, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

To make the filling: combine 1 cup light brown sugar with 1 and 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. The batter is going to be thick, so it will take a bit of effort to spread it. Sprinkle the filling on top of the batter. Pour remaining batter on top. Use a small knife to make swirls in the cake to give it a marbled look.

To make the topping: (Optional)  Whisk together flour, cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla. Cut in butter using two forks until it’s crumbly (you can also use your mixer to do this). Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the batter.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the cake has set.
Original Recipe Credit

This coffee cake is such a treat, especially for those who have gone so long without indulging in such sweet confections due to their gluten or dairy components. Even though the crumble topping didn’t work for me (and my suspicions of Blue Bonnet Lactose Free Butter being the culprit), it was still thoroughly enjoyed by my entire family!

If I do decide to try this recipe again using Fleischmann’s Dairy Free butter, I’ll let you all know. OR if you decide to do this, please let me know, and also invite me over!

Happy cooking and Happy New Year,



One Comment Add yours

  1. brendamj says:

    Yes, it was yummy!


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