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Healthy Almond Flour Lemon Coffee Cake (Paleo)

The marriage of citrus and cinnamon in this Almond Flour Lemon Coffee Cake recipe is a delicious adventure for the taste buds! Made grain-free, refined sugar-free and paleo friendly, this healthier coffee cake recipe is wholesome enough to enjoy with breakfast!

Slice of lemon coffee cake on a plate with slices of coffee cake in the background.

Each year when the weather starts to warm up, Spring brunch recipes are some of my favorite recipes to make, and coffee cake always fits into that niche famously. 

Looking for something special for Easter brunch or for celebrating life in general? This lemon coffee cake is here to serve!

Prior to making this lemon coffee cake recipe, I questioned whether or not lemon and cinnamon would pair well together.

I did some googling and also reflected back on the Almond Flour Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake recipe I made during the holidays and learned that citrus and cinnamon is a match made in heaven!

Fluffy lemon cake infused with citrusy goodness and a genius vein of nutty cinnamon streusel is just a marvelous marriage of flavors and textures to delight the taste buds.

I was surprised not only by how well the lemon and cinnamon flavors meshed, but also the fact that I actually prefer this lemon rendition more than classic coffee cake!

Each time I post a coffee cake recipe, I am told the coffee is missing from the recipe. I know the title “coffee cake” can be deceiving, but there isn’t actually any coffee in traditional coffee cake.

It was simply engineered to be a lovely treat to enjoy alongside your morning cup of morning coffee.

So don’t be alarmed when you don’t see coffee as an ingredient in the ingredients list!

If you enjoy coffee cake recipes, also try my Paleo Blueberry Coffee Cake!

In addition, if you enjoy lemon desserts, give my Almond Flour Lemon Cake or my Keto Lemon Bars a whirl.

Hunk of coffee cake on a white plate.

Let’s discuss the simple ingredients for almond flour lemon coffee cake. 

Ingredients for Lemon Coffee Cake:

Almond Flour and Tapioca Flour: Taking the place of regular all-purpose flour, we need a combination of almond flour and tapioca flour.

The combination of these two grain-free flours generates a light and fluffy texture that is just so pleasing on the palate!

I also love that the two flours come with a host of health benefits. I recommend using finely ground almond flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill Super Fine Almond flour instead of almond meal for the best texture.

Large Eggs: To ensure the cake rises to the perfect fluff, we need a few eggs. I haven’t tested this recipe with an egg replacer like flax eggs because in my limited experience with grain-free vegan baking, almond flour recipes don’t fare well without eggs.

For this reason, I don’t recommend replacing the eggs with any kind of egg replacer. Take the eggs out of the refrigerator 10 minutes before starting the recipe to bring them to room temperature.

Avocado Oil: Used to promote a tender crumb, we need some form of fat. I like using avocado oil because it has a neutral flavor and is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. 

Pure Maple Syrup and Coconut Sugar or Brown Sugar: Pure maple syrup is used to sweeten the cake and coconut sugar goes into the cinnamon streusel mixture.

I prefer using these two sweeteners over cane sugar to keep the recipe refined sugar-free. Nevertheless, both can be replaced with brown sugar if you prefer.

Vanilla Extract: A splash of pure vanilla extract brings warm flavor to the lemon coffee cake, making it taste so inviting.

Ground Cinnamon: The all star ingredient in coffee cake recipes, we need a generous amount of cinnamon. This is what gives coffee cake its unmistakable warmly-spiced flavor.

Baking Powder: The leavening agent here, we need baking powder to help the cake rise and bake evenly.

Pecans: Chopped pecans or walnuts get mixed into the crumble topping mixture for nutty flavor and a lovely crunch.

Lemon Zest: The true MVP here! Fresh lemon zest brings the perfect amount of lemon flavor to this lemon dessert. Be sure to only zest the outside rind of the lemon, stopping before the rind grinds down to the white part.

This ensures you get the best fresh lemon flavor without any bitterness. I recommend using regular lemons over of meyer lemons for the best flavor. There’s no need to add fresh lemon juice. 

Sea Salt: A pinch of salt is a major flavor enhancer! It makes the cake taste sweeter and brings out the lemon and cinnamon flavors. 

Recipe Adaptations:

  • Replace the avocado oil with melted unsalted butter or melted coconut oil. I don’t recommend using olive oil because you will be able to taste olive flavor.
  • Use brown sugar instead of coconut sugar in the streusel topping mixture. Similarly, you can replace the pure maple syrup in the cake with brown sugar or white sugar.
  • Use walnuts or chopped almonds instead of pecans in the crumb topping. Or omit them altogether.
  • If you aren’t grain-free and would rather use gluten-free all-purpose flour, make The Best Gluten-Free Coffee Cake. You can add 1 tablespoon of lemon zest to make it a lemon rendition.
  • If you enjoy the flavor of almond extract and have it on hand, you can add 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon to the cake batter.
  • ​Tapioca flour can be replaced in a 1:1 ratio with arrowroot flour.
  • I don’t recommend replacing the almond flour with any other flour, as it functions uniquely in recipes. Coconut flour absorbs 4x the amount of liquid as almond flour so it isn’t a suitable replacement without making several other changes to the recipe.
  • Mix 1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries into the cake batter for a lemon blueberry coffee cake recipe.
  • Replace the pure maple syrup and the coconut sugar with your favorite sugar-free granulated sweetener for a low carb version.

Now that we’ve covered the basic ingredients list, let’s make Almond Flour Lemon Coffee Cake!

How to Make Lemon Coffee Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 8” x 8” square pan with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, stir together all of the ingredients for the pecan streusel until combined. The mixture will look a little crumbly. This is normal. Set the streusel topping aside until ready to use.

Pecan streusel topping in a mixing bowl.

Mix the eggs, avocado oil, pure maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until the wet ingredients are well combined. Note: if you enjoy preparing cake batter in a blender, food processor, or an electric mixer rather than using mixing bowls, feel free to do so. 

In a separate bowl, stir together the almond flour, tapioca flour, ground cinnamon, baking powder, and sea salt (dry ingredients) until combined.

Pour the flour mixture into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix until a smooth batter forms. Stir in the lemon zest.

Lemon coffee cake batter in a mixing bowl.

Pour half of the lemon coffee cake batter into the prepared pan and spread it into an even layer using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon streusel pecan topping over the layer of batter.

Baking dish with lemon coffee cake ingredients inside, ready to go into the oven.

Repeat for the rest of the cake batter and the remaining topping.

Almond flour lemon coffee cake in a baking dish fresh out of the oven.

Cover the cake pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the cake tests clean.

Baked goods have the best texture once they reach an internal temperature of 190 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Insert a digital thermometer into the center of the cake to check the internal temperature for doneness.

I recommend taking the time to do this for the best results, as the texture is divine when baked to perfection. The exact baking time can vary based on elevation, which is another reason the thermometer method is handy.

Allow the coffee cake to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. If you cut the cake when it is still too warm, the slices won’t come out as clean.

Serve coffee cake with fresh berries and some lemon curd or a lemon glaze on top of the lemon crumb cake.

Almond Flour Lemon Coffee Cake in a square pan, fresh out of the oven with lemons to the side.

To store leftovers, wrap the baking dish in plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or store in an airtight container.

You can also transfer leftover coffee cake to a large zip lock bag and freeze it for up to 3 months.

Big slice of lemon coffee cake on a white plate with a gold fork and the rest of the coffee cake in the background.

The next time you’re craving comforting coffee cake, whip up this lemon version!

More Coffee Cake Recipes:

Where lemon and cinnamon go to thrive!

Slice of lemon coffee cake on a plate with slices of coffee cake in the background.

Almond Flour Lemon Coffee Cake

Grain-free Almond Flour Lemon Coffee Cake with light and fluffy texture and delicious cinnamon and citrus flavors! A true delight for the taste buds! Serve it for brunch or dessert!
12 Servings

Equipment

Ingredients

Grain-Free Coffee Cake:

Cinnamon Streusel Topping:

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 8” x 8” square pan with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl, stir together all of the ingredients for the pecan streusel until combined. The mixture will look a little crumbly. This is normal. Set the streusel topping aside until ready to use.
  • Mix the eggs, avocado oil, pure maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until the wet ingredients are well combined. Note: if you enjoy preparing cake batter in a blender, food processor, or an electric mixer rather than using mixing bowls, feel free to do so.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the almond flour, tapioca flour, ground cinnamon, baking powder, and sea salt (dry ingredients) until combined.
  • Pour the flour mixture into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix until a smooth batter forms. Stir in the lemon zest.
  • Pour half of the lemon coffee cake batter into the prepared pan and spread it into an even layer using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon streusel pecan topping over the layer of batter.
  • Repeat for the rest of the cake batter and the remaining topping.
  • Cover the cake pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the cake tests clean.
  • Baked goods have the best texture once they reach an internal temperature of 190 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Insert a digital thermometer into the center of the cake to check the internal temperature for doneness. I recommend taking the time to do this for the best results, as the texture is divine when baked to perfection. The exact baking time can vary based on elevation, which is another reason the thermometer method is handy.
  • Allow the coffee cake to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. If you cut the cake when it is still too warm, the slices won’t come out as clean.

Notes

*You can use melted butter or coconut oil instead of avocado oil.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice (of 12)Calories: 413kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 6gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 194mgFiber: 3gSugar: 23g
Course: Breakfast, Cakes & Cupcakes, Desserts & Treats
Cuisine: American
Keyword: almond flour coffee cake, almond flour recipes, gluten free cake recipe, grain free recipes, healthy dessert recipes, lemon coffee cake
Servings: 12 Servings
Calories: 413kcal
Author: Julia

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