A brown sponge layer coffee cake with light brown frosting topped with walnuts on a green cake stand against a grey background

Gluten-Free Vegan Coffee Cake

This Gluten-Free Vegan Coffee Cake is just as delicious as its traditional counterpart: think moist and fluffy, fragrant coffee-infused sponge, rich and creamy frosting, and earthy walnuts.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, British
Keyword gluten-free coffee cake, vegan birthday cake, vegan coffee cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 437kcal
Author Rhian Williams


For the cake:

  • 60 g (1/4 cup) coconut oil (or sub olive or vegetable oil)
  • 200 ml (4/5 cup) unsweetened almond milk (or any other plant-based milk)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
  • 8 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons chicory powder (or sub equal amount instant coffee)
  • 150 g (1 1/4 cup) ground walnuts * (or sub ground almonds/almond meal)
  • 150 g (1 1/4 cup) gluten-free flour blend (or sub plain flour if not gluten-free)
  • 2 heaped teaspoons baking powder (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

For the frosting:

  • 400 g (14 oz) tin of full-fat coconut milk **
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoons chicory powder (or sub equal amount instant coffee)

To decorate:

  • Walnut halves


For the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Place the coconut oil in a large bowl and melt over a saucepan of boiling water or in the microwave (skip this step if using any other oil)
  • Once melted, add the milk to the same bowl along with the vinegar, maple syrup, vanilla, coffee and ground walnuts
  • Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda
  • Divide mixture between two greased baking tins lined with baking paper (I used two 7inch/18cm baking tins)
  • Bake in oven for around 15 minutes until risen slightly and an inserted skewer comes out clean
  • Once out the oven, transfer cakes from baking tins onto a wired rack to leave them to cool completely before applying the frosting

For the frosting:

  • You’ll need to keep your tin of coconut milk in the fridge overnight for the rich creamy bit to separate from the watery bit at the bottom. Make sure it is full fat coconut milk, otherwise this separation won’t happen and you won’t be able to make this cream!
  • Open the tin upside down – the coconut cream will be at the bottom and you can just pour off the watery liquid (save this for adding to soups or smoothies)
  • Place the thick, creamy part into a bowl
  • Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract and coffee
  • Use an electric whisk (or a manual one and a lot of elbow grease) to whip up the coconut cream until light and fluffy

To frost and decorate the cake:

  • Place one half of the cake onto a plate or cake stand, and spread just less than half of the frosting onto it
  • Place the other half of the cake on top of that and use rest of the frosting to spread on top
  • Decorate with walnut halves if desired
  • Keeps covered in the fridge for up to a few days


*To make ground walnuts, place whole walnuts into a food processor and pulse briefly until you get a fine powder. Make sure not to over-blend as otherwise you'll get nut butter!
Instead of ground almonds/almonds meal, you can alternatively use almond flour
**You can alternatively use 200g (7oz) coconut yogurt


Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Sodium: 77mg | Potassium: 313mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 115mg | Iron: 3mg