Looking for a deliciously nostalgic dessert that's vegan-friendly? Look no further than this old-fashioned cinnamon streusel coffee cake! Adapted from Betty Crocker's classic 1970s recipe, this cake is packed with the oh-so-moreish flavors of cinnamon buns and topped with a crunchy streusel topping.
But what exactly is an American coffee cake? Despite its name, it's not actually flavored with coffee – rather, it's a type of cake that's traditionally served alongside a cup of coffee. And with its irresistible cinnamon flavor and easy-to-make recipe, this cake is sure to become a family favorite for any occasion, from lazy Sunday mornings to holiday brunches, especially great on Mother's Day!
Origins of American streusel or crumb coffee cake
In Britain a coffee cake is actually flavoured with coffee but over in the US an American coffee cake is less likely to contain actual coffee or coffee essence.
Rather an American style coffee cake is actually a cake that is intended to be eaten along with a cup of coffee!
Cinnamon is a popular flavour for coffee cake and it is frequently used to flavour the streusel or crumb topping that is scattered over the unbaked cake.
American coffee cakes are said to have German origins. Early German immigrants to the American colonies brought over recipes for streusel and crumb cakes.
As a result of the American revolt over the British tea taxes that resulted in the Boston Tea Party protest of 1773, coffee began to be a popular drink within the colonies as tea was rejected.
A slice of coffee streusel cake was the perfect accompaniment to the new hot drink of choice.
What is a streusel topping?
The term streusel is a German word translating to mean scatter, strewn, sprinkle, thrown or granules.
The streusel topping is most commonly prepared with a mix of flour, sugar, fat and cinnamon powder, and is strewn over the cake batter before baking.
Vegan streusel coffee cake
This vegan recipe for coffee cake has been adapted from the American Betty Crocker recipe for Favourite Coffee Cake from the Betty Crocker Cookbook (1972).
Betty Crocker's recipe contains egg and shortening whilst this recipe omits the egg and uses vegetable oil instead of shortening.
The result is an amazingly light, fluffy and perfectly moist sponge.
The flavours are similar to cinnamon rolls or buns and the streusel topping is nicely crunchy, crisp and chewy in places.
The original recipe instructs that the cake is baked at a higher temperature of 375F or 190C and for a shorter time of 25-30 minutes.
However for this vegan recipe we reduced the temperature to 350F/180C which increased the cooking time to 40-45 minutes for an electric oven and this worked beautifully.
This coffee cake is perfect for baking for loved ones on Mother's Day. Especially good for kids to have a go at baking with adult supervision.
Why not surprise your mum, grandmother or special someone with a delicious Mother's Day breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea?
How To Prepare Vegan Old-Fashioned Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake
First prepare the cinnamon streusel topping:
Pop the flour, margarine, brown sugar and cinnamon into a small bowl.
Using your fingertips rub the margarine into the rest of the ingredients until it resembles clumpy crumbs.
Next prepare the coffee cake:
Add the flour, baking powder, plant milk, vegetable oil, and sugar into a mixing bowl.
Using an electric hand whisk or stand whisk blend until everything is combined.
Alternatively whisk with a mixing spoon.
Scoop the cake batter into a cake pan.
Sprinkle the cinnamon streusel mixture over the cake.
Bake for 40-45 minutes.
Cool in the cake pan for 15-20 minutes before carefully removing.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Store the coffee cake within a cake tin or similar.
If storing the cake within a plastic container then wrap the cake with kitchen foil as this will help keep the topping crisp.
Store for 4-5 days, possibly a few days longer.
Older slices of cake can be refreshed by placing in a hot oven for a few minutes.
Yes streusel cake can be frozen.
Wrap well to avoid freezer burn and freeze for 3-4 months.
Unwrap the cake before defrosting to room temperature. If preferred pop the cake or slices of cake into a hot oven to re-freshen.
More Tasty Vegan Traditional Bakes
Chocolate, Cranberry and Cherry Refrigerator Bake
Old-Fashioned Weetabix Loaf Cake
Old-Fashioned Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake
- cake pan/tin 8-9 inch diameter lined with greaseproof/baking paper or cake paper insert if necessary
- electric hand whisk or stand whisk, or a mixing spoon
- Mixing bowls
- 235 grams plain flour all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 140 grams granulated sugar or caster sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 150 mililitres plant milk
- 70 grams vegetable oil such as sunflower or rapeseed
Streusel cake topping:
- 70 grams dark brown sugar or light (soft) brown sugar
- 45 grams plain flour all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons vegan margarine or vegan butter
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- Preheat the oven to 160 Fan / 180 C / 350 Fahrenheit / Gas 4.
- Prepare the cake pan by greasing with a little margarine and lining with greaseproof/baking paper. Or pop in a paper cake insert.
Prepare the streusel cake topping:
- Add all the streusel ingredients to a bowl and rub the margarine into the rest of the ingredients until the mixture resembles clumpy crumbs.70 grams vegetable oil, 45 grams plain flour, 3 tablespoons vegan margarine, ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
Prepare the cake batter:
- Pop all the cake ingredients into a mixing bowl and use either an electric hand whisk or a stand whisk to beat all the ingredients together. Just mix until everything is combined.Alternatively whisk with a mixing spoon.235 grams plain flour, 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder, 140 grams granulated sugar, ¾ teaspoon salt, 150 mililitres plant milk, 70 grams dark brown sugar
- Scoop the cake batter into the cake pan and level out the top so that it is evenly spread out.
- Sprinkle over the streusel crumb topping.
- Bake on the middle oven shelf for 35-45 minutes. Fan ovens will likely be quicker than other oven types. My electric oven took 45 minutes to bake the streusel cake. The cake is ready when the dark golden top is firm and a skewer popped into the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for 15-20 minutes within the cake pan before carefully removing to cool on a wire rack or similar.
- The streusel topping will become crunchier as it cools.
- Enjoy the coffee cake warm or at room temperature.
- Store coffee cake within a cake tin or similar container for 4-5 days, possibly a few days longer.
- If storing the cake within a plastic container it is advisable to wrap the cake in kitchen foil as this can help to retain the streusel crunchy topping.
- Streusel cake can be frozen, wrapped in food wrap and kitchen foil, for up to 3-4 months.
- Remove the food wrappings before defrosting to room temperature.
- To refresh slices of coffee cake pop into a hot oven for a few minutes.
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