Deb’s Canadian coffee cake

  • Preparation 15 Minutes
  • Baking Time 40-45 Minutes
  • Serves 16

If I had not met my best friend Debs nearly 6 years ago, or heard of a coffee cake containing no coffee, then I don’t think I would have either attempted to bake this cake let alone  trying to make a vegan and gluten-free version

In the UK we are used to a coffee cake that tastes strongly of coffee and possibly includes walnuts in the mix, often with a coffee icing on top. In Canada, this type of cake is a moist vanilla cake which is topped with a streusel mix, and even maybe some streusel running through the cake.

This was a labor of love. I had often tested many recipes with Debs and her husband. I was quite nervous to hear the result, I wanted a truthful answer. I am pleased to say it was an absolute success and she loved it, phew. It meant a lot to get this right.


  • Moist
  • Crispy
  • Sweet
  • Delicious
  • Moreish

Although in the recipe I have listed using Plain flour, I am gluten-free and got equally good results from using both this and  Bob’s Red Mills 1-1 baking flour, although this can be a little pricey for a small bag. My next choice would be Dove Farms.

*NOTES* if you are making this using gluten-free flour, you will need to add a tsp of xantham gum to the flour if it not included in the list of the flours ingredients.

If you do not have any apple sauce or apples available, you can use the equivalent amount of mashed banana or dairy-free soya milk.


You could also ring the change with the flavour combinations. Pecan nuts crushed add an extra crunch to the topping or by adding a layer of fruit on top on the first cake layer such as cooked apples or rhubarb.


  • 300ml of unsweetened dairy-free milk, I used soya milk
  • 1tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 375g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 112ml of a neutral-tasting oil like rapeseed or sunflower
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 120g unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 vanilla extract


  • 225g butter at room temperature
  • 250g plain flour
  • 170g light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ginger (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 175 C and grease and line with baking parchment a 9 x 13-inch cake pan. Then combine the streusel ingredients by rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. In a jug or bowl, mix together the milk and the vinegar and set aside until needed. This will curdle to make buttermilk.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir well to combine
  4. To these dry ingredients, pour in the milk mix, oil, applesauce, and vanilla extract.
  5. Whisk this thoroughly until it is well combined. Then pour just over half of the cake mix into the prepared tin.
  6. Sprinkle half of the streusel mix onto the cake in the tin. Swirl through the top half of that layer without going to the bottom of the tin or sprinkle over the top covering the cake or just leave sprinkled on top of that layer
  7. Next pour in the rest of the cake mixture on top, spreading it towards the sides. It does not matter if there are gaps.
  8. Finally, sprinkle the remaining streusel over the cake.
  9. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted
  10. Leave in the baking tin for around 20 minutes and then place on a cooling rack. The topping will become crispier as it cools.


My family loves this on its own but also enjoy it with custard as a dessert.


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