{Gluten-Free} Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Apples & Cranberries

{Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free} Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Apples & Cranberries

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I bought cranberries this weekend with the intention of making some iteration of a cranberry-orange pound cake, but woke up with something different on the brain: apple cake.

Okay, I can just make that Autumn Apple Cake that’s already up on the blog, I reasoned sleepily, shuffling toward the computer in J’s bathrobe. But when I pulled up the recipe, streusel topping came to mind. Karina makes a great pecan streusel topping, maybe I’ll add some of that. And the cranberries, of course. Oh! We don’t have sour cream. But there’s canned pumpkin, maybe that would be a good substitute?

And so, in the slanted sunlight of an autumn morning, the “all the fall things” cake came to be: a gluten-free pumpkin coffee cake with apples, cranberries, and pecan streusel.


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In some alternate universe, the story would have ended with “And it was delicious. Here’s the recipe.”

In reality, I started a new job this week and my brain is clearly elsewhere. Stress over tying up loose ends at the old job and remembering everything for the new one is manifesting itself in absentmindedness. If I could choose a time to regularly space out in the middle of conversations and forget instructions instantly, this certainly wouldn’t be it. J is at least capable of some perspective on the situation: “You’ll be fine. You always are.” As usual, he is probably right.

Nevertheless, my first attempt at what my friend dubbed “Thanksgiving in a cake” was an utter flop. It turns out that fresh cranberries are absurdly sour and leavening is not optional. We ate the evidence, but only because it had brown sugar topping.

Round two went better: Cranberries were tossed in a few tablespoons of sugar before hopping into the batter, a striation of pecan streusel appeared in the middle of the cake as well as on top, and I even remembered the baking powder. Proper preparation prevents poor performance, or something like that.

So, if you have autumn on the brain this week, and can’t decide between a streusel-topped pumpkin coffee cake, an apple cake, or maybe something with cranberries, fret not. If you can remember the baking powder, there can be a gluten- and dairy-free pumpkin coffee cake in your life very shortly.


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{Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free} Apple, Pumpkin, & Cranberry Cake with Pecan Streusel
Serves 10
I prefer my cakes a little under-sweet, so bump the brown sugar up to a full cup if you want something more dessert-like.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
  1. 1/4 cup sugar
  2. 3/4 cup cranberries, roughly chopped
  3. 5.5 ounces (3/4 cup) packed brown sugar
  4. 3.5 ounces (1/2 cup) oil--vegetable or melted coconut
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 4.5 ounces (1/2 cup) pumpkin puree
  8. 4+ ounces (1/2 cup) nondairy milk
  9. 10.5 ounces (2 cups) gluten-free flour blend*
  10. 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  11. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  12. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  13. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  14. 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  15. 1 apple, cored and diced
  1. 1 oz. (1/4 cup) finely chopped pecans
  2. 2.5 ounces (1/3 cup) packed brown sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  4. 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 1 ounce (2.5 Tablespoons) brown rice flour
  7. 1.5 ounces (3 Tablespoons) melted coconut oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and oil a 10" springform pan. Set aside.
  2. Mix cranberries with 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl and set aside to macerate.
  3. Mix all streusel ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Stir together wet ingredients--brown sugar, oil, eggs, pumpkin puree, vanilla, eggs, and nondairy milk--until smooth. Add dry ingredients--flour blend, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice--and mix until combined. Depending on what sort of flour mix you used, you may need to add a few Tablespoons more milk to achieve a fairly thick batterSpeaking of fruit, stir it in gently.
  5. Scoop half of batter into prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth the top. Scatter half of streusel topping over batter, and dollop remaining batter on top and smooth with a spatula. Scatter remaining streusel topping evenly over cake and put in the oven. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges with only a few wet crumbs sticking to it.
  6. Remove cake to a cooling rack and allow to cool 15 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge and loosen ring. Allow to cool to just warm before slicing and eating.
  1. *I used equal parts tapioca starch,millet flour, and brown rice flour. Sorghum and buckwheat flour would also be tasty here.
Adapted from Streusel topping borrowed from Gluten Free Goddess
Wooden Spoon Baking http://www.woodenspoonbaking.com/