Topped with a buttery pecan streusel and a maple vanilla glaze, this vegan pumpkin coffee cake is the ultimate fall dessert! It's moist, easy to make, and pairs perfectly with a hot cup of coffee or tea for breakfast or with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream for dessert!
The moment September hits, my mind immediately shifts to comfort food. I mean come on, is there really anything better than a hearty bowl of chili or fall spiced desserts? This recipe is the best thing ever especially in September/October, Fall and for Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving!
There are 3 main components to this recipe: fluffy pumpkin cake, the cinnamon sugar layer and the pecan streusel/crumb topping (which can be made nut-free if you're allergic). There's an optional, but not so optional, maple vanilla glaze as well!
This pumpkin coffee cake is made without eggs or sour cream, is vegan, dairy-free, and can easily be made nut & gluten-free. Have no fear, nobody will be able to tell since it tastes exactly like a classic coffee cake!
Why you'll love this recipe
- You can eat it for breakfast, dessert OR BOTH! Frankly, I feel like I shouldn't even have to list anything else.
- It's quick & easy to make! It only takes 10 minutes to prep and is ready to devour in under an hour.
- It's the perfect fall baked good. It's comforting, loaded with warm spicer, has a layer of cinnamon sugar and a crunchy, buttery pecan streusel.
Flour: I used all purpose flour for this recipe but 1-to-1 gluten free flour would work perfectly!
Leavening Agents: in order to get that classic cake-like texture, we'll be using both baking powder and baking soda.
Pumpkin Pie Spice: to give this coffee cake all the fall vibes!! A blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves, and all spice is used to create homemade pumpkin pie spice. If you don't have all of those spices or don't want to buy them (spices are expensive, I get it!), feel free to simply use store bought pumpkin pie spice.
Sugars: in order to sweeten up the cake and achieve a light caramel flavor, this recipe calls for both light brown sugar and granulated cane sugar.
Pumpkin Puree: it wouldn't be pumpkin coffee cake without it! Make sure you're NOT using pumpkin pie filling, as it will give you a totally different result.
Coconut Oil: this keeps the cake nice and moist, without making it too dense.
Vegan Buttermilk: because this coffee cake is made without sour cream, we'll be using vegan buttermilk in it's place to achieve that classic tangy flavor. Aside from flavor, the buttermilk will enhance the texture and help make the cake rise. You can use any dairy-free milk you like. I typically use soy milk or oat milk, but almond milk works great too. Just make sure anything you choose is unflavored & unsweetened.
Egg Replacer: for binding and moisture. You can use flax egg or any egg replacement powder you like.
Pecan Streusel: the streusel might just be my favorite part of any crumb or coffee cake. This streusel is the perfect topping made up of brown sugar, flour, melted butter, pumpkin spice and chopped pecans.
Maple Vanilla Glaze: a simple glaze made up of pure maple syrup, confectioner's sugar, non-dairy milk, and vanilla extract.
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F and lining an 8x8" pan with parchment paper or greasing it well with butter, oil, or cooking spray. Prepare your flax eggs by combining flaxseed meal + water, and the vegan buttermilk by combining non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Let both rest for at least 5 minutes.
Make the pecan streusel topping & cinnamon layer
While the replacement eggs and buttermilk are resting, prepare the streusel topping. Mix together the flour, brown sugar, chopped pecans, and melted vegan butter until chunky & crumbly. You can use your hands, a fork or a pastry cutter to do this.
For the cinnamon layer, simply whisk together cinnamon and dark brown or coconut sugar in a medium bowl.
Make the cake batter
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a separate small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg replacers, pumpkin purée, melted coconut, and vegan buttermilk.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. You can use a hand mixer, a stand mixer, or your basic whisk!
Pour half of the pumpkin cake batter into the prepared baking dish, top with half of the streusel, pour the remaining batter over top, then sprinkle with the remaining streusel.
OPTIONAL: While the coffee cake is cooling, make the maple vanilla glaze by whisking together confectioners' sugar, maple syrup, non-dairy milk, and vanilla.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you notice the streusel getting very dark, feel free to tent the coffee cake with aluminum foil. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Slice the coffee cake into 9 pieces, drizzle the maple glaze over top, and serve immediately.
Variations & Substitutions
I love this recipe so much as is, but there are definitely a few tweaks that can be successfully made if need/desired:
Make this gluten-free pumpkin coffee cake by using 1-to-1 gluten-free flour. I recommend King Arthur's or Bob's Red Mill for best results. I would not recommend using oat flour or almond flour, as the ratio would be different.
Turn these into pumpkin coffee cake muffins by dividing the batter across a lined muffin tin, filling each about ⅔ full, then topping with streusel. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes.
Instead of vegan buttermilk, use vegan sour cream or plain dairy free yogurt. Either of these options will add the same moisture and slight tang that is essential in coffee cakes as the vegan buttermilk.
Make this recipe entirely nut-free by simply leaving the pecans out of the streusel or replacing them with pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
Use melted vegan butter, canola oil, or vegetable oil instead of melted coconut oil.
Replace all of the spices with store-bought pumpkin pie spice. It definitely makes it less messy and easier on your wallet.
- I strongly recommend weighing your ingredients for the most success. If you don't have a kitchen scale, always spoon and level your dry ingredients (especially flour), rather than scoop!
- For the most uniform bake, using a metal baking dish. If you're using a glass or ceramic baking dish, add at least an additional 5 minutes to the baking time.
- Do not over mix! I say it in practically every dessert recipe, but it is so important. Over mixing will lead to a tough and dense cake. Stop mixing the second there are no more streaks of flour.
- Keep an eye on the crumb topping! Because the streusel is high in nuts and sugar it may brown quickly, before the inside of the cake fully cooks. If you notice this, simply cover with aluminum foil. This will stop the crumble from browning while trapping the heat to ensure the inside of the cake cooks.
- Get the batter in the oven as soon as possible! We make the streusel first then the coffee cake batter for a reason. Once the wet ingredients interact with the baking soda and baking powder, the chemical reaction starts and the coffee cake should be baked ASAP for optimal texture and rise.
- Make sure all ingredients are room temperature. If the wet ingredients (the buttermilk, pumpkin puree, and egg replacer) are too cold, it will cause the melted coconut oil to harden. If that happens, don't worry! You can put your wet ingredients in the microwave and heat for 10 second increments until the coconut oil has melted again.
- If you can help it, do not open the oven door while the pumpkin cake is baking. This can cause the structure to fall, leaving you with a sunken middle.
- Measure the coconut oil after melting and the pecans after chopping to ensure your have the most accurate measurement. The coconut oil is more than the pecans, as you need the moisture for your cake!
Refrigerator: Store the vegan coffee cake in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can eat them chilled or pop them in the oven to warm them up.
Freezer: This pumpkin coffee cake is freezer-friendly! Allow the cake to cool completely first then freeze them in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw at room temperature before enjoying.
Room temperature: I don't typically recommending storing baked goods at room temperature, but you can successfully store this cake in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Yes, of course! If you double this recipe, use a 9x13" metal baking dish and increase the baking time by 5-10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
In America, coffee cakes typically do not have coffee in them BUT are typically enjoyed with coffee or tea at breakfast, hence the name.
Yes, a bundt pan will work but it will take a bit longer! Start with the original bake time of 35 minutes, then test it with a toothpick, then bake for another 5 minutes, and repeat until the toothpick comes out clean!
Honestly, just the amount of streusel. Crumb cake has much more!
Leftovers can be wrapped and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.