Vegan Coffee Cake

By Alexandra Caspero on October 17, 2023

Incredibly moist and a thick layer of cinnamon crumble, this is the best vegan coffee cake! Easy to make and perfect for holiday celebrations, gifting, dessert and brunch.

This vegan coffee cake was made for company! ‘Tis the season for entertaining, which means I’m constantly serving up my pear muffins, chocolate olive oil cake or french toast casserole for when friends and family roll into town.

That’s one thing my mom instilled in me- always having something freshly baked for company. She always baked a pie or made cupcakes or a coffee cake like this one when she entertained, and I always loved the gesture.

So, vegan coffee cake it is! For serving alongside coffee for a casual visit with friends or part of a larger brunch spread.

This one is vegan, using dairy-free subs like vegan yogurt or vegan sour cream along with non-dairy milk and vegan butter. Even though I consider myself predominantly plant-based, I like to bake (and cook) vegan most of the time, and I think it’s a fun challenge to create favorite recipes that happen to be vegan.

That said, if you aren’t vegan, know that this recipe will work with regular yogurt, sour cream, milk, and butter, too.

Read on for everything you need to make this vegan coffee cake or scroll all the way to the bottom for the full recipe.

coffee with cake
vegan coffee cake backlit

Why we love this recipe

Who doesn’t love a coffee cake recipe? It’s the perfect treat to have with coffee, yes, but also to bring as a hostess gift or for more relaxed weekend breakfasts.

When setting out to make this, I knew I wanted to make a vegan version. While I don’t consider myself vegan, I do try to eat as plant-based as possible, and though there are plenty of good coffee cake recipes out there, I couldn’t find a knock-your-socks-off vegan coffee cake.

Thankfully, I have pastry chef extraordinaire Melanie Barsuk on my team, and when she presented me with this recipe–I knew we had a winner.

The secret is the vegan yogurt or sour cream. I tested it using both Forager plant-based yogurt, and Kite Hill sour cream, and both versions came out incredibly moist and slightly tangy. That’s really the secret to good coffee cake: it should have a hint of tang, and the yogurt or sour cream provides that. Well, that, along with the DIY buttermilk. Both of those ingredients create an incredibly tender crumb and texture.

We give you a hefty dose of the cinnamon crumble, which makes the recipe! Don’t skip it. Yes, I know it’s a lot of butter, and yes, I know that I’m a registered dietitian, but it’s coffee cake. It’s supposed to have sugar and butter and all-purpose flour. As I say to my clients all the time, healthy diets can include desserts.

vegan coffee cake with a latte on a plate

Vegan Coffee Cake Ingredients

You are making three different things for this coffee cake–first, the cinnamon crumble layer. Next, the batter, and then finally, the glaze. The glaze is totally optional and makes for a sweeter and prettier cake. I recommend it, but if you want a less sweet coffee cake, then omit it.

Make sure to scroll down to the full recipe card to see specific amounts and directions.

For the cinnamon crumble, you’ll need brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, and vegan butter.

For the batter, you’ll need unsweetened non-dairy milk, apple cider vinegar, vegan butter, sugar, vegan yogurt or sour cream, vanilla extract, flour, baking powder and soda, and salt

If you plan on making the glaze, you’ll also need powdered sugar, unsweetened non-dairy milk, vanilla extract, and maple syrup.

cinnamon coffee cake recipe with coffee

How to Make

  1. Make the buttermilk

    Start by making the buttermilk, as it will take about 10 minutes to curdle. Mix together the unsweetened dairy-free milk of choice along with the vinegar. buttermilk

  2. Make the cinnamon crumble

    In a mini food processor or regular food processor, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, and butter. A food processor makes this easy, but you can also do this by hand by grating the butter into the ingredients and mixing until just combined. cinnamon streusel topping

  3. Make the batter

    Cream together the butter and sugar until pale yellow, then add in the yogurt or sour cream. Add in the dry ingredients and mix by hand. creamed butter with vegan yogurt

  4. Layer the cinnamon and batter

    Spread half of batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of crumble. Dollop remaining batter and using an offset spatula, spread layer of batter over crumble gently. Top with remaining crumble.cinnamon layer for coffee cake

  5. Bake and add glaze

    Bake until tender and set, or until a toothpick comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Whisk together all the ingredients for the glaze. Let the coffee cake cool completely, then drizzle with the glaze. Serve and enjoy! This one is so good with a cup of coffee. You are going to love it!vegan coffee cake

Substitution Notes

This recipe is written as vegan, but you can also use regular buttermilk, butter, and yogurt or sour cream if desired.

I prefer to use oat milk in making the vegan buttermilk when I bake as its high carbohydrate content makes it easier to brown. Almond milk and soy milk usually also work well when baking. I don’t recommend coconut milk as it usually makes for a very pale cake and has a strong coconut flavor.

Gluten-free will likely also work, but I haven’t tried it to confirm. Whenever I bake gluten-free, I prefer to use a 1:1 flour mix for best results.

I tested this recipe using cane sugar and brown sugar and don’t recommend using alternatives as they haven’t been tested. However, coconut sugar or maple sugar typically works in a coffee cake recipe like this.

I know some people like to use coconut oil instead of vegan butter when baking, but I don’t think it works the same way and don’t recommend it.

vegan coffee cake close up

Tips for Success

A mini food processor (or regular food processor) makes for easy prep, especially in making the streusel topping. If you don’t want to use a food processor, then I recommend grating the cold butter into the cinnamon crumble topping and then mixing until just combined.

Make sure to let the coffee cake cool completely before slicing.

coffee cake on a plate for holidays

More Vegan Cakes

If you make this vegan coffee cake recipe, make sure to come back to leave a rating and a comment. Your feedback helps other readers and seeing you make my recipes makes my day!

coffee cake with coffee

Vegan Coffee Cake

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 slices 1x
  • Category: breakfast, quick bread, coffee cake, dessert, snack
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: American, Vegan
  • Diet: Vegan


This is the best vegan coffee cake, incredibly moist with a thick cinnamon crumble layer! Easy to make and perfect for holiday celebrations, gifting, dessert, and brunch.

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 slices 1x
  • Category: breakfast, quick bread, coffee cake, dessert, snack
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: American, Vegan
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 slices 1x
  • Category: breakfast, quick bread, coffee cake, dessert, snack
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: American, Vegan
  • Diet: Vegan


Cinnamon Crumble Layer:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 5 tablespoons cold vegan butter, cut into small pieces

Coffee Cake Batter:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 8 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegan yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Glaze (optional) 

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8×8 baking dish, then line it with parchment paper for easier removal. Spray with cooking spray or oil and set aside. 
  2. Make buttermilk by combining the 1/2 cup milk with vinegar and set aside for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Make the cinnamon crumble by combining all ingredients in a food processor. Place in refrigerator until read to use. If you don’t have a food processor and want to make this by hand, then grate the butter first before mixing together. 
  4. Make the batter. Cream butter with sugar in an electric mixer or stand mixer until pale yellow. Add yogurt or sour cream and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and soda and salt) along with the buttermilk. Fold batter by hand until combined. Batter will look airy and shaggy.
  5. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon crumble. Dollop the remaining batter on top, and using an offset spatula, spread the layer of batter over the crumble gently. Top with remaining cinnamon crumble.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until center springs back to touch. Allow to cool completely before adding the glaze or cutting. 
  7. For the glaze, combine all of the ingredients and drizzle onto the cooled cake. 


Make sure to make the buttermilk first as it needs to rest. 

For the cinnamon crumble, using a mini food processor is fast and easy. If you do it by hand, I recommend grating the butter so it comes together faster.

The glaze is totally optional. I really liked it without the glaze as it is not a super sweet cake, so perfect with your morning coffee. The glaze makes the cake look pretty and adds sweetness, but can be omitted if preferred. 

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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