This sour cream gluten free coffee cake has that classic rich, tender golden cake, topped with a that classic nubby, sweet streusel crumb topping.

The secrets to the best homemade coffee cake are plenty of sour cream in the batter—and extra crumbles on top!

What makes this gluten free coffee cake the best ever?

The crumb of this delicious cake is dense, but incredibly tender and moist. It’s really a golden cake, instead of a gluten free vanilla cake.

Cakes, like vanilla cake, are typically made with a liquid in the batter like milk. This cake has just 2 tablespoons of milk—and the rest of the moisture comes from sour cream.

If you’re mostly in it for the streusel topping and want to try it mixed into the batter a bit as well, try our gluten free coffee cake muffins. They’re in a class by themselves!

What use is sour cream in gf coffee cake?

The sour cream makes the most tender crumb. It adds a very slight tangy flavor that cuts through the sweetness of baked goods, and tenderizes everything.

Sour cream also adds body and richness, and a makes the crumb of this cake the kind you pick up with the tines of the fork. More cases in point: one bowl gluten free banana bread and one bowl gluten free chocolate cake.

The topping is clearly everyone’s favorite part, too! The tenderness of the cake is the perfect texture contrast to the gluten free streusel topping. There’s also tons of that crisp-tender, nubby crumble topping.

When you slice into this cake, if absolutely nothing falls off the topping, it’s terribly disappointing. Those belong to the baker, no calories at all.

How to store gluten free coffee cake

This lovely gluten free coffee cake will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it as you’ll see below.

Can I freeze this gf coffee cake?

Yes! This coffee cake freezes quite well after baking, once it’s completely cooled to room temperature.

You can cut the cake into squares and serve it when it’s still a bit warm. But to freeze baked goods, they must be completely cool.

If you freeze anything that’s still warm, it will form condensation on the outside that will freeze completely solid. And as the frozen condensation melts out of the freezer, it makes the cake soggy.

I prefer to slice the cooled coffee cake into squares, and then wrap each leftover square tightly in freezer-safe wrap. Then, defrost at 50% power in the microwave or on the kitchen counter.

If you’d like the cake to taste extra fresh, even after being frozen, you can toast it lightly after it’s defrosted. Don’t let it toast long enough to dry out, and gluten free coffee cake will be good as new!

melted butter, brown sugar, white sugar, gf flour, salt ingredients in small bowls

How to make the perfect crumb topping for gf coffee cake

The secret to ensuring a crumble topping that holds its shape and doesn’t simply melt into the cake batter is temperature. It’s made with melted butter to ensure easy blending—and then it must be chilled.

Mixing bowl with white and light brown ingredients, ingredients whisked, with yellow liquid added, and mixed into light brown clumps with fork

First, the gluten free flours, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt are whisked together. Then melted butter is mixed in to create a thick mixture, and the topping is chilled.

The butter in the crumble only has to chill as long as necessary to solidify enough to be broken up into irregular chunks. If the pieces of crumble are too small, like sand, they’ll become a candy-like layer of melted sugar.

There’s enough gluten free flour blend in the topping for the pieces of the crumble to hold their shape during baking. Press them down into the cake layer, and bake them until golden brown and crispy outside. Delicious, crumbly coffee cake goodness!

sour cream, milk, butter, gf flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and sugar in small bowls with words on top

What are the best gluten free flours to use for this coffee cake recipe?

I used Better Batter for this, but any high-quality all-purpose gluten free flour blend will work. Cup4Cup is another good choice, although quite starchy. You can also make your own gluten free all purpose flour blend with my easy Mock Better Batter recipe.

There are plenty of gluten free flours to choose from, but you need a good, balanced mix that’s always consistent. And you can’t use single flour substitutes like almond flour or coconut flour and expect the same results. These flours definitely have their place, but they just don’t behave in the same way as regular flour blends.

We begin by whisking together the dry ingredients in this recipe, including an appropriate all purpose gluten free flour blend, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and setting them aside.

Metal mixing bowl with dry ingredients and mixed with whisk

How to make this gluten free coffee cake recipe

The base of this gf coffee cake is a moist, dense yellow cake layer that can hold all that crumble topping beautifully. Here’s how we do it.

Creating the base cake batter

metal mixing bowl with butter and cream cheese, mixture beaten with handheld mixer, with two eggs added, and then beaten, with dry ingredients on top and then beaten.

First, the room temperature butter, sour cream, milk, and granulated sugar are beaten together until smooth. Be sure that your ingredients are at room temperature, or they’ll cause the fats to clump and not blend properly. You’ll need a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer for this step to get everything smooth.

Next, the eggs are beaten in just until fully blended. We don’t want to overbeat the eggs. Then, the dry ingredients that we assembled before are added and mixed in by hand.

Assembling the cake batter and the crumble topping

raw light yellow batter in square baking pan, with light brown crumble topping, and baked

The yellow cake batter is then transferred to a prepared square metal cake pan and spread into an even layer. The chilled crumble topping is broken into chunks, which are then scattered on top.

Finally, the cake is baked until it no longer jiggles in the center. Allow the cake to cool, then slice and serve!

Is there coffee in gluten free coffee cake?

No! There’s no coffee in coffee cake. It’s made to be enjoyed with a hot cup of coffee.

Over the years, I’ve come to suspect that, in some cultures, what they call a coffee cake actually has coffee baked into the batter. I assume that flavors the cake?

I only bake coffee into a cake when I’m trying to intensify the flavor of chocolate. Our gluten free vegan gluten free chocolate cake is a great example—but you don’t taste the coffee!

Raw coffee cake crumbles in a square metal cake pan

Substitutions for gluten free coffee cake ingredients

My gluten free coffee cake recipe is pretty perfect as-is. However, it’s versatile enough that you can make some tweaks to it when you’re catering to dietary requirements other than gluten free.

Gluten free dairy free coffee cake

There is a lot of butter in this recipe, both in the crumble topping and in the cake itself. The best replacement for the butter in both places is probably Melt or Miyoko’s Kitchen brand vegan butter.

For the crumble topping, if you can’t use vegan butter, try using Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening.

In place of sour cream, try using a good quality nondairy sour cream. You can also use plain Greek-style yogurt in place of sour cream.

And remember, go with Better Batter not Cup4Cup, as Better Batter is dairy free while Cup4Cup is not.

Gluten free egg-free coffee cake

There are two eggs in this coffee cake recipe, and you might be able to replace each of them with one “chia egg” each. For each, place 1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water into a small bowl, mix, and allow to gel.

If you make this recipe both egg-free and dairy-free, it will be a gluten free vegan coffee cake.

About the cornstarch in this gluten free coffee cake

If you can’t have corn, try using arrowroot powder or even potato starch in place of cornstarch. If you can’t have cornstarch, you’ll have to avoid using Cup4Cup at all, since it is made with a lot of cornstarch.

If you can have corn and you’re already using a higher starch all purpose gluten free flour blend, like Cup4Cup, replace the 18 grams of cornstarch in this recipe with an equal amount of that high starch flour blend.


Can I make gluten free coffee cake ahead of time?

Yes, you can make coffee cake ahead of time. Once completely cool, you can freeze it for up to 3 months wrapped tightly in plastic wrap inside a freezer-safe container.

It’ll keep in an airtight container on the counter for 3 days. You can freshen it up by sprinkling it with water and then lightly toasting it before you serve.

How should I serve gluten free coffee cake?

I think the best way to serve coffee cake is warm, with a little pat of butter on top, and a nice hot mug of really good coffee. Such a beautiful treat for a mid-morning or afternoon snack.

Is coffee gluten free?

Yes, coffee is naturally gluten free. As is this coffee cake recipe. However, coffee cake doesn’t actually have any coffee in it.

Unlike British coffee cake that’s flavored with coffee in the batter and frosting, American coffee cake is designed to be served with a cup of coffee, so the cake itself isn’t flavored with any coffee.

Baked sour cream coffee cake on white paper


Easy Gluten Free Coffee Cake Recipe | Extra-moist with sour cream

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Tender and moist golden sour cream gluten free coffee cake topped with a that classic nubby, sweet streusel crumb topping.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword gluten free coffee cake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Chilling time for crumble 30 minutes
Servings 9 servings
Calories 503kcal
Author Nicole Hunn


  • Hand mixer or stand mixer


For the topping

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose gluten free flour blend (I used Better Batter; click for details)
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum omit if your blend already contains it
  • teaspoon kosher salt

For the cake batter

  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose gluten free flour blend (I used Better Batter; click for details)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum omit if your blend already contains it
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon optional
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs at room temperature


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and set it aside.

For the crumble topping

  • The topping must be prepared first, so it can chill.
  • In a medium-size bowl, place all the ingredients in the order listed, mixing to combine after each addition.
  • Cover the bowl that holds the raw topping. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill until firm.

For the cake batter

  • In a medium-size bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and optional cinnamon, and whisk to combine well. Set the bowl aside.
  • In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the butter, sour cream, granulated sugar, milk, and vanilla, and beat well on medium speed until very smooth. Add the eggs, and beat until just combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and mix by hand until just combined. The batter will be very thick, since our liquid is mainly sour cream.

Assemble and bake the cake

  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer with a wet spatula. Press the spatula down in the corners to eliminate any air pockets.
  • Remove the chilled crumble topping from the refrigerator. Uncover the topping, and use the tines of a fork to break up the mixture into irregular pieces.
  • Scatter the crumble pieces evenly on top of the cake batter. Press down gently to help the topping adhere to the batter.
  • Place the cake pan in the center of the preheated oven. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the center does not jiggle in the center when the pan is shaken from side to side gently.
  • A cake tester inserted into the center should come out mostly clean. Do not overbake or the bottom will burn.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cake to cool to warm room temperature in the pan. Slice into 9 equal squares and serve.



Originally published on the blog in 2012. In 2021, recipe tweaked slightly (less sugar, less butter in cake batter), more photos and a video added. In 2023, more step by step photos and text resources added.


Calories: 503kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 323mg | Potassium: 71mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 763IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 0.3mg

The post Easy Gluten Free Coffee Cake Recipe | Extra-moist with sour cream appeared first on Gluten Free on a Shoestring.

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