Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Little Debbie Apple Streusel Coffee Cake (The Gluten-Free, Vegan Version)

These little babies went through a number of tests before they made it onto the blog. They started out looking like this:

The original recipe had the texture of a carrot cake and was amazing! But it contained tapioca starch, and I wanted to see if I could make them starch-free.

The next batch looked like this:

Tapioca starch out. Coconut flour in! Tapioca and coconut work completely differently, but I've made a recent discovery that the two can be exchanged in small amounts in some recipes, albeit with completely unique, yet equally delicious results. I'll go into further details on this in my next post!

I loved the flavor of this second batch, but at that point I started to think I could cut down on the sugar even more. You see, I don't bake with sugar very often, but I've been allowing myself to have a little fun with it lately. But since batch one and two both contained raisins in addition to the sugar, the cake was a bit sweet for me. So I decided to try apples instead. That's when I became addicted to these snack cakes. I kept taking another bite, and another, and another... They reminded me of something from my childhood, and I finally realized they tasted like the Little Debbie Coffee Cakes my mom put in my school lunch. Now, these cakes here may have sugar in them, but I googled the Little Debbie Apple Streusel Coffee Cake ingredients, and...oh my! After looking at that list of food combined with chemicals, this recipe looked downright healthy to me!

Which of course gave me all the encouragement I needed to add a teensy bit more sugar in the form of a streusel topping. And believe me, it was worth it.

Apple Streusel Coffee Cake (Gluten-Free, Vegan) (Print-Friendly Option)

1/4 cup organic light brown sugar
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons brown rice flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Coffee Cake:
1 cup diced apples (no need to peel; I liked it best with a Fuji)
1/4 cup canola oil or coconut oil
3/4 cup non-dairy milk

1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1 cup brown rice flour (130 grams)
1/3 cup coconut flour (40 grams)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 inch glass pan. 
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the streusel ingredients until well mixed (brown sugar, coconut oil, brown rice flour, and cinnamon). Set aside. 
  3. In a food processor, quickly mix the apples, oil, and milk (about 5 seconds). 
  4. Mix the sugar, rice flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and sea salt in a medium sized bowl, then pour into the food processor and process until evenly mixed. 
  5. Scoop batter (it will be thick) into the pan and press evenly. Sprinkle the streusel on top and bake for 35 minutes. Allow to cool completely before slicing. 
Makes 16 individual coffee cake bars 

Notes: Feel free to exchange both sugars in the recipe for coconut palm sugar. The flavor and texture will be slightly different, but it will still be delicious! If you prefer to limit the sugar, just keep the streusel topping off and it becomes a snack "bar" instead of coffee cake.

Wondering what other substitutions you can make? On Thursday, I'll be posting the evolution of this recipe as part of my Experiments in Gluten-Free Baking 101 Series. I'll explain the many substitution options you have, as well as posting the recipe for the original carrot cake-like version, which by the way, did not have carrots in it! I'm hoping to find time between now and Thursday to make the original recipe again with carrots so I can tell you exactly how to turn it into a carrot cake.


p.s. In case you haven't seen it, my fellow Jumbo (Tufts alumni), Isabel Foxen Duke, just put out an incredible free video training series for any of you who may be struggling with "feeling crazy around food." You know, like thinking about food and dieting all day long, only to end up with your fingers in a jar of peanut butter later that evening. She's onto something, and one of the few health professionals out there who are really making the connection between poor body image and emotional eating. I am a proud affiliate and big supporter of her work. You can check out her free video training series here.


GF Gidget said...

Oh my! This would go so well with the coffee I am drinking right now! I need to remember to buy coconut flour. I keep forgetting!

Connie said...

Oh my Goodness! This looks fantastic. When I saw the photo, my mouth began to water. And when I read your heading stating gluten AND dairy free ... well, it was love at first sight. Can't wait to bake some up.

Just Kellie said...

I am SO excited to make this! Thank you.

Just Kellie said...

Oh I am SO excited to make this! Thank you.

Cynnara Tregarth said...

I think I love you. I've been wanting a recipe that was GF and would fit into the morning since they're so busy and hard to eat when I'm getting things done before going to work. This is fantastic!

Unknown said...

This coffee cake is one of my favorite things that you have ever made. Muy deliciosa!!

laurelvb said...

My look at all those well deserved kudos. Makes a girl wish she were in the kitchen or rather having been in the kitchen, back in bed with a good book spreading crumbs everywhere. You are either way too good to me or I need a bigger appetite because I just can't keep up. Seriously Iris, you are such a help to so many of us who thought we'd never enjoy anything ever again. Thank you.

Jonathan said...

It's uncanny when I start reading one of your posts and I think, "Gosh, she thinks just like I do when it comes to GF, vegan baking." I sometimes feel like a mad scientist, but that's so much of the fun of allergen-friendly baking! Love the look of this recipe and love your determination to keep the blog up, Iris.

After all, Inspiration is priceless. :)

Ellen (Gluten Free Diva) said...

Your experiments make us very, very happy!!! Especially me!!! Can't wait to try this one! Reminds me, too, of the Hostess (I think) Coffee Crumb Cakes I used to have in elementary school. Yum!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

These look so good, and I don't think I've ever even had a Little Debbie cake like this. The only Little Debbie things I ever ate, I think, were those oatmeal creme pies and the crunchy chocolatey things. In any case, I could fall for this cake! Yum.

Ellen (Gluten Free Diva) said...

I made this recipe this morning. A magnificent winner!!! I brought it to a potluck and everyone loved it. The only thing I did different (which is amazing in and of itself because I never follow a recipe even close to exactly!) is that I used canola oil instead of coconut oil. Otherwise, I followed it to a t. So easy, so quick, and SOOOO yummy! Nice job Iris!!!

Anonymous said...

I love these! Thanks for a wonderful (gluten-free, starch-free) treat. Without an apple in the house, I reconstituted some dried apples from my last years harvest. I will try it again with a fresh apple. Can't wait to try this out on my non-GF friends. Indeed, a wonderful blend of ingredients!

Anonymous said...

This recipe is really good! I' m always looking for ways to use coconut oil. I did make a very small addition. Cinnamon! Coffee cake just HAS to have cinnamon in the recipe somewhere. I just sprinkled it on top before baking. Thanks for the recipe!

Keren Trost said...

I looks amazing! Is there any substitute for the coconut flour? maybe Tapioca flour?

Iris said...

Keren, yes. This post explains all the substitution options: http://www.thedailydietribe.com/2012/04/experiments-in-gluten-free-baking-101.html

Tara said...

I'm making this recipe for the second time and I just wanted to say that it is one of the most delicious things I've ever made. I'm neither gluten-free or vegan, but I needed to bake something for a workshop that anyone could eat and enjoy - and found this recipe after digging through over a dozen similar ones. I'm so glad I chose this, because it's perfectly moist, not too sweet, and has plenty of apple flavor. The streusel is amazing and I'm going to use it in other recipes, too. Thank you, thank you!

Sharon said...

I want to try this recipe on Christmas morning. Could you please tell me how long this would stay fresh?

Iris said...

Hi Sharon - As with most gf recipes, it tends to taste best on the first or second day. If it's for Christmas morning, you could make it Christmas Eve. It might work to make it in advance and freeze it, but I'm not sure.


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