This deliciously dense coffee loaf cake is naturally sweetened with coconut sugar and features a super cinnamony streusel topping! Perfect for pairing with an espresso or latte, this easy-to-make coffee cake is made in a loaf pan to produce just 6 slices of cake.
A refined sugar free cinnamon streusel coffee loaf cake recipe
I’m so excited to be sharing this recipe with you today, because who doesn’t love a cinnamon laced coffee loaf cake?!
Coffee cakes are one of my favourite cakes to bake. (Not just because they have a butt-load of cinnamon!) They’re soft and dense and I love the crunch of the cinnamon streusel topping. The textures are just fantastic.
This small-batch recipe makes just 6 slices of cake, perfect for a smaller family to share with an afternoon or mid-morning coffee. The sweetness of the loaf cake pairs perfectly with a bitter espresso!
What makes a cake a coffee cake?
This might be a wee bit out-of-the-box to my UK readers, but funnily enough, this Coffee Loaf Cake doesn’t actually contain any coffee. I know, but stay with me!
In North America, a coffee cake is simply a cake that you have with your coffee. They’re usually on the denser side and have a large helping of cinnamon streusel running throughout and on top. Sometimes they also contain fruit – apples, plums, pears, etc. – but are always buttery, sweet, and delicious.
I’ve come to discover that this isn’t the case in the UK. Here, a coffee cake is a cake flavoured with coffee or espresso. Usually, there are walnuts involved as well. I’ve made a version of a UK coffee cake in the past, but today, we’re diving straight into the North American version!
Is crumb cake the same as coffee cake?
No. They’re very similar though! A crumb cake contains a much thicker layer of crumble on top of the cake, whereas with a coffee cake the streusel is streaked throughout as well as on top.
Both cakes are usually quite dense, butter-based, and flavoured with cinnamon.
Ingredients in coffee cake loaf
This Coffee Loaf Cake is one of my favourite cakes to make because it’s heavily laced with cinnamon. But you also only need a few more simple, pantry-staple ingredients to bake this recipe, making it super accessible:
- Plain flour: Flour gives our cake structure as well as helps to create our cinnamon crumbles.
- Coconut sugar: We’re using coconut sugar to naturally sweeten both the cake and the cinnamon streusel topping. Not only does using a solid sweetener create a fluffier cake, the caramelly “brown sugar” notes of the coconut sugar mimic that of a classic cinnamon streusel.
- Ground cinnamon: TONS of cinnamon help give this cake lots of warm flavour.
- Unsalted butter: Melted butter helps pull our streusel topping together into crumbles, and cold butter gives our cake a lighter texture.
- Baking powder & soda: Both leaveners are used to help give rise to this coffee loaf cake.
- Sour cream: I love the flavour and lightness of sour cream in this cake, but you could also use plain yoghurt if you don’t have sour cream.
- Vanilla extract: For a dash of extra flavour in the cake.
- Egg: Eggs give richness to the cake and create a soft texture as well as help bind everything together.
What makes a loaf cake moist?
In a word, FAT makes a loaf cake moist.
You want to make sure you’re using the right ingredients to achieve a moist loaf cake. That means using full-fat dairy (and/or oil) and large eggs (so you get right amount of yolk).
It’s also important to follow the directions listed in the recipe. For example, you want to measure ingredients accurately, use the right size of loaf pan, avoid over baking, let the cake cool correctly, and avoid over-mixing the batter. These mistakes can often cause a dense or dry loaf cake.
How to make coffee loaf cake
This Coffee Loaf Cake is extremely easy to make, despite having a few extra steps. Trust me, the effort is totally worth the delicious result! Here’s how to make it:
Make the cinnamon streusel
Mix together the dry streusel ingredients, then pour over the melted butter. Stir everything together until it begins to clump.
Make the batter
Whisk together the dry ingredients and then rub the butter in to create a dry sand texture. Mix together the wet ingredients and then pour them into the dry. Whisk everything together well.
Layer the cake
Put a layer of batter in the bottom of a greased loaf pan. Sprinkle over half of the streusel mixture. Repeat with a second layer of batter and the second portion of streusel. Then bake it up!
Full details are in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Why is my coffee cake so dense?
Coffee cakes should be on the denser side – it’s part of their charm! But if your coffee cake comes out of the oven dry and crumbly, chances are you made one of these mistakes:
- You didn’t measure the ingredients accurately. I highly recommend using a set of kitchen scales to measure ingredients – they’re incredibly accurate and produce much better results than cup measures.
- You mixed the batter too much (or for too long). Only mix batters until they come together and are smooth. The more you mix the batter, the more the gluten can develop and produce a tough cake.
- You over-baked the cake. Ovens are all different and yours might run hotter or colder than the recipe writers’ oven and oven gauges are rarely accurate. I would recommend getting an oven thermometer and always check the cake at the minimum time listed to see if it’s done.
- You didn’t cool it correctly. I know it’s tempting to slice straight into a coffee loaf cake when it’s warm from the oven, but it’s best to let it cool. Always remove the cake from the pan when listed in the recipe to minimise a soggy bottom and let it cool completely so that it has time to set inside. You can always zap it in the microwave later if you want it warm!
Why didn’t my coffee cake rise?
Most likely, your leavening is out of date. Check the labels and you can always perform a test if you’re unsure.
Tips for making this recipe perfectly
- Grease the corners of your tin well to prevent sticking. I had one test batch stick in the corners because I didn’t grease it well enough. Give those corners a little extra love!
- Make sure all your wet ingredients are at room temperature. This will help the batter emulsify better and create a more even texture.
- Use larger clumps of streusel on top of the cake and smaller ones in the middle. I found when I used the larger clumps inside the cake, the bottom layer of the cake didn’t rise as much. So save those for the crispy outer topping!
Looking for more refined sugar free loaf cake recipes?
If you make this recipe, let me know by snapping a picture and tagging me on Instagram @naturallysweet_kitchen. I love seeing your creations and sharing them in my Stories. Or let me know you love this Coffee Loaf Cake by leaving a comment and rating below!
Coffee Loaf Cake Recipe
This moist, dense coffee loaf cake is naturally sweetened with coconut sugar and features a delicious cinnamon streusel topping.
- 50 g plain flour
- 35 g coconut sugar
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp fine sea salt
- 40 g unsalted butter, melted
- 80 g plain flour
- 75 g coconut sugar
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ⅛ tsp baking soda
- 45 g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 80 g sour cream, room temperature
- ¾ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 tbsp milk, room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and grease and line a 450g (1 lb) loaf tin with non-stick parchment paper, leaving a couple inches of paper overhanging for easy removal. Set aside.
- Make the streusel by whisking together the flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Drizzle over the melted butter and bring it together gently with a fork. All the dry ingredients should be coated in the butter and there should be some smaller and some larger clumps. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the cake.
- Make the cake by tipping the flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and baking soda into a large bowl. Whisk together to combine. Rub the cold butter into the flour mixture with your hands until it’s well-dispersed and the texture resembles sand. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, vanilla, egg, and milk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together until smooth.
- Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin and level the top, making sure to get the batter to the edges of the pan. Evenly sprinkle over ½ of the streusel mixture. Repeat with the remaining batter and streusel.
- Bake the cake for 27–31 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the centre comes out clean. Place the tin on a wire rack and allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, then carefully lift the cake from the tin using the paper tabs and set it on the wire rack to finish cooling completely. Slice into 6 triangles and serve with coffee or tea.
- The sour cream in this recipe can be substituted for plain yoghurt.
- This cake will keep for up to 2 days sealed in an airtight container at room temperature.