Panera's Coffee Crumb Cake--Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free--Fully Delicious!

6 years ago

The quaint old notion of friends "dropping in" for a visit seems to have disappeared somewhere around the same time as shoulder pads, Eight Tracks, or Electric Light Orchestra.

When I was a child, my mother and her friends would pop over to each other's homes at a moment's notice, stopping by without any embellishment (never any makeup, and sometimes still in their slippers and "housedresses," which were basically just glorified pyjamas). Because, after all, it was just mom and the kids, and for whom would they need to get all decked out, anyway, if the men weren't around?

In those days, people lived closer together, women were friends with their neighbors, coffee was always on, and there was invariably something home-baked on the counter. Mom's best friend--who also happened to be her cousin--lived only 3 blocks away.  Ms. Cuz could call up at 9:20 AM and be at our house by 9:40.  In the interim, my mother would put up a fresh pot of coffee and get a cake mixed and into the oven. By the time Cuzzy arrived, the cake would be just about ready to come out of the oven; the women would sit down, light up a cig, pour a cup of coffee and catch up on respective kids and husbands--and by then it was time for cake.

Nowadays, it seems, that's all changed. Everything in our lives is faster, everything requires instant gratification and everything is immediate--everything, that is, except human contact. I mean, you know it's gotten bad when couples have to make an appointment just to have a date with each other. Gah!

A while back , I was asked by Marly of Namely Marly to join today's "Our Panera's Gluten Free Dream Day" event, which she co-created with Allyson of Manifest Vegan.  The idea was to create a gluten free (and in my case, sugar free, egg free and dairy free) baked good based on something from the Panera menu.  Well, needless to say, I was totally chuffed and couldn't wait to get started! I took a gander through the online list and immediately hit upon "Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake." 

Why did I choose this particular cake?  Well, it was one of my mom's specialities when I was a kid, and even just thinking about it brought back a flood of memories.  My parents played cards every weekend with a group of friends, and when it was my mom's turn to hostess, she always baked at least two sweet offerings for the socializing portion of the evening, after the game.  Without fail, the table held her "famous" Chiffon Cake, often paired with Farmer's Cheesecake or perhaps fancy cookies, or--this coffee cake.

Well, okay, not exactly "this" coffee cake. My mom's version was made with white (wheat) flour, white sugar, eggs, and Crisco shortening. It became a staple in my own home when I first moved out on my own, because it was cheap to make, tasted good, and could go from "idea-in-your-head" to "slice-on-your-plate" in under 30 minutes.

My modernized, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan, ACD-friendly version is perfectly compatible with today's fast-paced lifestyle, however.  As soon as you hang up from that impromptu invitation you issued to your neighbor, just start on the cake. This one takes a wee bit longer to execute than my mom's--40 minutes versus my mom's 30--but these days, it will take your friend that long to drive from her place over to yours, anyway.

When she arrives, be sure to offer her some cake.

"Mum, you know that Chaser and I could get there much faster than that if you ever invited us over for cake.  And we won't need to put on makeup first, either."

Cinnamon Crumb Cake (Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Anti-Candida, Vegan; can be nut-free)

Suitable for ACD Stage 3 and beyond

This quick and easy cake will impress your guests with its light, delicate crumb and cinnamon-walnut center and topping.  Perfect for impromptu visitors or just an afternoon snack.

For the Topping/Filling:

1/3 cup (80 ml) whole rolled oats (not instant or quick-cook)

1/3 cup (80 ml) coconut sugar

1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut flour

1 Tbsp (15 ml) cinnamon

pinch fine sea salt

1/2 cup (55 g) walnut pieces or coarsely chopped walnuts**

2 Tbsp (30 ml) coconut oil

For the cake:

1/2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened applesauce

1 Tbsp (15 ml) finely ground flax seeds

1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) apple cider vinegar

20-30 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid, to your taste

1/3 cup (80 ml) coconut sugar

1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla soy, almond or rice milk

1/3 cup (80 ml) sunflower or other light-tasting oil, preferably organic

1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract

1 tsp (5 ml) pure lemon extract

2 cups (260 g) Ricki's All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Mix

1-1/2 Tbsp (1 Tbsp plus 1-1/2 tsp, or 22.5 ml) baking powder

1/4 tsp (1 ml) baking soda

1-3/4 tsp (8.5 ml) xanthan gum

1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 350F (180C).  Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with parchment, or spray with nonstick spray.

Make the topping:  In a medium bowl, combine the oats, coconut sugar, coconut flour, cinnamon and salt.  Stir to combine.  Add the coconut oil and pinch the mixture between your thumb and fingers until it's evenly moistened and crumbly. Add the walnuts and toss to combine.  Set aside.

Make the cake: In a small bowl, whisk together the applesauce, flax, vinegar, stevia, coconut sugar, soymilk, oil, vanilla and lemon extract.  Set aside while you measure the dry ingredients, or at least 2 minutes.

In a medium bowl, sift together the all purpose flour, baking powder, soda, xanthan gum and salt.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk just until blended (do not overmix!).

Spread about half the batter in the bottom of the pan (you can measure it, or just estimate).  Sprinkle with about half the topping mixture.  Scooping out heaping tablespoonsful of the remaining batter, dot the top of the cake with the rest of the batter, covering as much as you can.  Use the back of the spoon to carefully spread the top layer of batter evenly over the cake, filling any spaces as best you can.  Sprinkle with the remainder of the topping, covering the batter as evenly as possible (it's okay if there are a few blank spots here and there). Press the topping lightly into the top of the cake.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through, until a tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Cool at least 20 minutes before serving. Makes 9 large or 12 more reasonable servings.  May be frozen.

**Note: I've made the cake nut-free by simply removing the walnuts--it worked beautifully!  It will bake up a little faster, but that's the only difference I noticed.

Here's a list of the entire group of bloggers (and their recipes) who are part of today's Dream Day (recipes will appear during the day):  


Allyson Kramer — Jalapeno Cheddar Bagel


Family Fresh Cooking — Wild Blueberry Muffins
Oh She Glows — Apple Crunch Muffins
Veggie Num Num — Pumpkin Muffin
Multiply Delicious — Chocolate Chunk Muffins


Heather Strang — Orange Scones

Breakfast Sweets

Namely Marly — Caramel Pecan Rolls
Diet Dessert Dogs — Cinnamon Crumb Cake


Clean Green Simple — Spinach & Artichoke Souffle

Also, check out some other great Gluten-Free bloggers offering delicious recipes for café-type bread bar items:

This is an article written by a member of the SheKnows Community. The SheKnows editorial team has not edited, vetted or endorsed the content of this post. Want to join our amazing community and share your own story? Sign up here.

More from food

Food & Recipes
by Justina Huddleston | 2 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Justina Huddleston | 2 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Sarah Brooks | 3 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Carolyn Stalnaker | 3 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Justina Huddleston | 3 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Justina Huddleston | 3 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Amy Brinkley | 3 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Aly Walansky | 4 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Justina Huddleston | 4 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Justina Huddleston | 5 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Justina Huddleston | 5 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Aly Walansky | 5 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Justina Huddleston | 6 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Nancy Foster | 8 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Michele Borboa, MS | 9 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Justina Huddleston | 10 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Justina Huddleston | 11 days ago
Food & Recipes
by Brandy O'Neill | 12 days ago