Cinnamon Lover’s Coffee Cake (Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free)

Let me be honest with you. There are few things in the world that I love more than coffee. Not espresso. Not cappuccino. Not lattes or macchiatos. Just regular ol’ drip coffee served in a hefty cup, preferably covered in some sort of cheesy cartoon montage of somewhere I’ve traveled. I battle back and forth with cutting my coffee consumption to a reasonable level because there’s nothing scarier than the realization that caffeine can totally screw you up while in the midst of a withdrawal headache. I’ve settled on a reasonable two-cup a day habit and I ignore any and all research that argues coffee is evil.

With my coffee addiction in check, I’m pretty much cruising through my healthier lifestyle by managing to kick my coffee AND pastry habit from years before. Oh man, the time I’ve clocked at Au Bon Pain, browsing through that long line of delicious, sugary, slices of heaven they have in front of the windows (they totally do that on purpose). I mean, really, how could I get a cup of coffee without picking up a cheese danish? Starbucks was even worse. The coffee cake. It was a given that if I got my fix at Starbucks, I was usually picking up a piece of coffee cake as well. When they came out with the reduced-fat cinnamon swirl cake, it was like my prayers were answered. If it’s reduced-fat, it doesn’t count, right? RIGHT?? Oh, if only I could go back in time….

I’ve come to my senses. Of course it counts. Especially now that they actually post those calories next to the little cakes, I can stop deluding myself. So it’s been a very VERY long time since I’ve scraped up pieces of streusel topping from the bottom of a Starbucks pastry bag after breaking into the crumbley wonder of a coffee cake. Until now.

It recently dawned on me that all of my research into paleo and gluten-free baking recipes could actually help me find a new way to indulge in a coffee cake that won’t make me want to cry for fear of how much sugar and fat I’m eating. Keeping in mind that this was purely educational and that I would not, I repeat WOULD NOT, make this a new morning habit (it’s refined sugar-free, so that’s ok, RIGHT?!), I sought to find the best of both worlds and have a fun, new little treat that I can add to my recipe book. And…I succeeded!

Oh and PS: if you’re not a fan of cinnamon, then this is not for you! But, you can adapt this to include fruits like banana and blueberry, or just nuts for the topping.





  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • ½ cup of coconut flour, sifted
  • ½ tsp of baking soda
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 1 cup and 2tbsps of almond milk
  • ¼ cup of honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Cinnamon Swirl

  • ¼ cup of coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 2 tbsp of ground cinnamon

Streusel Topping

  • 1 cup of pecans, chopped
  • ¼ cup of unsalted butter, softened* (can use coconut oil if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tbsps of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 ½ tbsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tbsp of honey


  • 8×8 inch baking pan
  • Balloon whisk
  • Sifter


1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease an 8×8 inch baking pan with coconut oil. Make sure to coat well otherwise the cake will stick.

2. Pull out 2 mixing bowls, one for dry ingredients and one for wet ingredients. Add the almond flour to the bowl first. Then sift the coconut flour with the baking soda and salt together and add with the almond flour. Whisk all the dry ingredients together and set the bowl aside.


3. Pull out the second bowl and add the eggs, milk, honey, and vanilla. Whisk together well and set aside.


4. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix well with a fork. The batter will be thick and kind of spongy. Once all the dry ingredients have been incorporated, set the bowl aside.

5. Next, it’s swirl time! Add the coconut oil, cinnamon, and honey to a small bowl and mix well with a fork. It should be smooth with a consistency similar to a glaze. Set the bowl aside.


6. Before getting started on the topping, make sure the butter is soft. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to a mixing bowl. Next, add the pecans, honey, coconut flakes, coconut  flour and cinnamon. Cut the butter into the mixture with a fork until it’s incorporated throughout and it’s in small pieces.


7. Now we put it all together. Using a spatula, scoop out the batter and spread across the bottom of the greased pan. Then add the swirl glaze and using a knife, move it through the batter creating a swirley (get it?!) pattern.


Finally, add the streusel topping by using your fingers to spread it all over the top.


8. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

9. Allow the cake to rest for about a half hour. Flip over onto a cooling rack, but make sure you have a mat underneath because some of that crumbly goodness on top is going to fall off before you flip it topside up. Just a tip!


10. And there she is! Cut yourself a slice and serve it up with a cup of coffee in your favorite mug (I ♥ my coffee cup). Indulge and enjoy as a little treat for the weekend. You’ve earned it!

DSCN3161 DSCN3173

Like I said, it’s not going to become a habit. Honey isn’t the solution to everything, but this cake does offer some nutritional merit via the cinnamon and it manages to stay grain-free and refined sugar free. That plus my coffee makes me pretty damn happy. 🙂

Recipe adapted from Esther of Paleo on Main, Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake

12 Replies to “Cinnamon Lover’s Coffee Cake (Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free)”

    1. Oh that’s the worst! I tried making almond flour once when I was in a pinch which was a horrible idea because it was my first time and I overprocessed- ended up with almond butter instead, lol. Definitely give this one a try. 🙂


  1. This is a perfect coffee cake! I love the coconut oil, coconut flakes, and coconut flour in it. I haven’t prepared a coffee cake in a long time. This is bookmarked! Truly delicious 🙂


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