This grain-free, refined sugar-free paleo coffee cake is a healthier alternative to classic coffee cake. PLUS it is great for breakfast or brunch.

Paleo Coffee Cake - grain-free and refined sugar-free made with coconut flour, arrowroot flour, and pure maple syrup | #glutenfree #healthy #breakfast #brunch #recipe

Fluffy, nutty, sweet, cinnamon-y coffee cake. Le sigh…nothing compares (<- sang like Sinead O’Connor).

One of my recent freelance projects was a tutorial on how to make classic coffee cake. So buttery, sugary, and gluten-y. Delicious, right?

It’s my favorite breakfast treat next to the cheese danish. Given my undying love for the treat, I decided to whip up this Paleo Coffee Cake for the same great taste, a little less guilt.

Paleo Coffee Cake - grain-free and refined sugar-free made with coconut flour, arrowroot flour, and pure maple syrup | #glutenfree #healthy #breakfast #brunch #recipe

As soon as the classic version left the house, I put my thing down, flipped it and reversed it and made a healthier grain-free, refined sugar-free coffee cake. where has this been all my life?!

Paleo Coffee Cake - grain-free and refined sugar-free made with coconut flour, arrowroot flour, and pure maple syrup | #glutenfree #healthy #breakfast #brunch #recipe

What Does This Coffee Cake Taste Like?:

Is it just like regular coffee cake? Nay. But it’s pretty close! It turns out surprisingly fluffy for being gluten-free, with the nicest nutty cinnamon crunch. I’ve been heating up big hunks for breakfast and drizzling full-fat coconut milk on top to get my sog on.

 Paleo Coffee Cake - grain-free and refined sugar-free made with coconut flour, arrowroot flour, and pure maple syrup | #glutenfree #healthy #breakfast #brunch #recipe

Ingredients for Grain-Free Coffee Cake:

The nutty topping involves nothing more than walnuts, maple syrup, cinnamon, butter and smidge of coconut flour. The base of the cake is made with coconut flour and arrowroot flour (<- very similar to tapioca flour, which I told you about in my Paleo Raspberry Crumble post).

Arrowroot flour may sound like one of those foreign ingredients only used in the the upside down, but it’s actually very commonly used in grain-free baking. In fact, it is an incredible resource for making baked goods airy and fluffy.

Arrowroot flour comes from the arrowroot plant, and can often be used interchangeably with tapioca flour. If you don’t have arrowroot or tapioca flour on-hand, you can replace it with almond flour, but the cake won’t turn out quite as fluffy.

The recipe listed in this post doesn’t turn out super sweet (just the way I like my baked goods), but you can double up on the maple syrup or simply serve the coffee cake with maple syrup or honey.

Paleo Coffee Cake - grain-free and refined sugar-free made with coconut flour, arrowroot flour, and pure maple syrup | #glutenfree #healthy #breakfast #brunch #recipe

More Healthy Coffee Cake Recipes:

Coffee cake, reloaded.

My cookbook, Paleo Power Bowls, is now available! CLICK HERE to check it out. Thank you for your support!

If you make this recipe, please feel free to share a photo and tag @TheRoastedRoot on Instagram!

Paleo Coffee Cake - grain-free and refined sugar-free made with coconut flour, arrowroot flour, and pure maple syrup | #glutenfree #healthy #breakfast #brunch #recipe

Paleo Coffee Cake

4.29 from 28 votes
Recipe adapted from Nourishing Gourmet's Coffee Cake (Grain-Free and Refined Sugar-Free)
Recipe updated 6/27/2015
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings: 1 (8" x 8") coffee cake


For the Cake:

For the Walnut Topping:


Prepare the walnut topping:

  • Combine all of the ingredients for the walnut topping in a small bowl. Stir well to combine and set aside.

Prepare the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly butter or oil a 8" x 8" baking dish.
  • In a mixing bowl, stir together the coconut flour, arrowroot flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, coconut milk, and butter. Pour this wet mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Note: The batter will be thick.
  • Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Spread half of the walnut topping over the batter. Repeat for the remaining cake batter and walnut topping.
  • Bake on the center rack for 28 to 35 minutes or until cake tests clean when poked in the center (Note: mine took 32 minutes).
  • Allow cake to sit 20 minutes before cutting large chunks and serving.


*You can also use tapioca flour or almond flour
**Use up to 2/3 cup pure maple syrup for a sweeter cake


Serving: 1grams
Author: Julia
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free, easy healthy recipes, gluten free recipes, gut healthy recipes, healthy
Did You Make This Recipe?I want to see it! Tag @the.roasted.root on social media!
Julia Mueller
Meet the Author

Julia Mueller

Julia Mueller is a recipe developer, cookbook author, and founder of The Roasted Root. She has authored three bestselling cookbooks, – Paleo Power Powers, Delicious Probiotic Drinks, and The Quintessential Kale Cookbook. Her recipes have been featured in several national publications such as BuzzFeed, Self, Tasty, Country Living,, etc.

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4.29 from 28 votes (28 ratings without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

  1. Hooray for being coffee cake twins today! Except mine is a little more, ahem, sugary. I’ll need a slice of yours after a slice of mine for the balance, fo’ sho’.

    1. Your carrot cake coffee cake was making me suh-woon, sister! Seriously, you’ve got that coffee cake thing down!

  2. I just bought arrowroot flour to use in body butter and was wondering what I could do with the extra 8 cups I accidentally bought but don’t need. THISSSSSS. Because once I see coffee cake, time basically drags on at a snail’s pace until I eat coffee cake. Fact.

  3. Nothing comparesss TO YOUUUU. Singing that song all morning now. This is glorious. I expect nothing less from the breakfast sexpert that is Julia. I just said sexpert instead of expert.

  4. Oh, coffee cake is sooooooooooo good! I miss it, because we can’t do eggs. This version looks so buttery and yummy!

  5. Look at how fluffy!! For reals tho, I would take this over regular coffee cake any damn day. That cinnamony walnut topping…ugh. Want to shove in the face right now.

  6. I love a great coffee cake, and I’m fascinated by the coconut and arrowroot flours, I always reach for oat or almond meal and I need to branch out!

    1. Almond’s a great one too – Next time I bake coffee cake, I’m going to try out the recipe with almond instead of arrowroot…will let ya know how it turns out!

  7. Healthy coffee cake? Did hell just freezer over? We better check. Seriously, this is one sexy looking healthy cake. I love that it’s free of everything bad for our bodies. Please send coffee cake! Pinned.

    1. I know, hard to believe, right?! I was absolutely dumbfounded when the thing came out of the oven all poofy and delicious.

  8. This is awesome, my friend! As usually you post the best recipes! This cake is making my mouth water 😉

  9. You are all about the different flours! I love it. I need to expand my pantry so I can make all of these goodies you are baking up.

  10. Who could even guess this is GF?! NOT I. Seriously, it looks like the best ever coffee cake central around here.

  11. The texture here looks amazing! I bet if I made this, no one would even think it’s paleo.

  12. This is exactly what I need for my pre-wedding breakfasts! ( looks so tasty….my post-wedding breakfasts too!)

  13. This is incredible. My family enjoyed it so much this morning. Thank you for sharing!
    Asheville NC

    1. You’re very welcome, Christine! I’m so happy to hear your family enjoyed the coffee cake! 😀

    2. @Julia, Just made this again and have made it many times! But this time I had to make a substitution, so I wanted to let you and your readers know because it worked so well. I didn’t have coconut flour and also didn’t have the proper amount of almond flour to substitute with (according to suggestions I found somewhere online), but I went ahead and tried it anyway. It was awesome. Online suggestion that I found is 1 cup almond flour for every 1/4 cup coconut flour. However, I used a rounded 2 cups of almond flour and like I said: awesome! I always add a dropper of dark liquid stevia to both the batter and the topping and only use butter, not coconut oil. Thanks again for this easy and delicious recipe!

      1. Yaay! Great success! I’m so happy it worked out with your changes, and that’s super helpful to others! Thanks so much for swinging back around and letting us know!! xo

  14. I tried this recipe today using arrowroot. The topping was chopped fresh strawberries under the streusel, which I made with hazelnut meal because I am out of walnuts. No other changes. Everything looked great, but there is way too much baking soda in this recipe and not enough acidity to neutralize it, so the whole cake tasted bitter from it and was pretty much inedible. Did you mean baking powder by any chance? Next time I’ll try this with either 2 tsp baking powder, or 1/2 tsp soda.

    1. Hi Julie, my sincere apologies for the coffee cake not turning out! The measurement was supposed to be for baking powder, not baking soda. I made the change in the recipe – I’m so sorry again for the error!

      1. No worries. At least my experience will prevent future issues. 🙂 And for the record, using hazelnut meal in the streusel worked out great… it was more wet than crumbly, and I just dolloped it strategically over the strawberries.

  15. Hi, I just made your coffee cake today and it was a treat after a month of nothing at all like this. We threw some raspberries in the batter and that was really good, too. When I make it next time, a little extra sweetner will be nice… maybe some stevia, but not too much.

    Thank you so much for posting this!

    (oh, the instructions still say backing soda instead of powder)

  16. The cake turned out delicious!!! Thank you so much for the recipe! Drizzled with my salted carame itl is perfection ☺️

  17. This looks fantastic. I’ve been looking at a lot of Paleo coffee cake recipes today, trying to decide which one to try. I’m a bit torn on this one. It looks so delicious, but the arrowroot makes me concerned about the glycemic load, especially with the addition of maple syrup. What’s your take on that? By the way, I’m not super low carb, but I do try to be careful to keep insulin from going out of whack.

  18. This is darned good, especially for Paleo cake,mwhich is difficult to do. I live in altitude and made some adjustments, but even hubby liked it! I did end up putting more maple syrup (as per your alternative instructiins above). Also, be careful not to overbake, watch carefully.

  19. I’m confused, is this a coffee cake or walnut cake as I can’t find how much coffee to go in the recipe. Thanks

    1. Hi Ceri. Coffee cake is a type of cake that you enjoy with coffee…there usually isn’t any coffee in the recipe. Let me know if you have any other questions! 😀

  20. Made this tonight, hubby & I totally enjoyed it with a cup of coffee. Used what I had on hand, subsitute coconut oil for butter, xylitol for the syrup & tapioca flour for arrowroot powder and alomonds for walnuts.
    Thank you for a very delish dessert!

    1. I’m so happy to hear it, Karen! I like the idea of using xylitol to make it sugar-free – I’ll have to do so soon!


  22. This turned out yummy with a little change of 1/2 cup ground almonds as I didnt have much arrowroot, a real winner, but am I missing something? I couldn’t find coffee in the recipe so it ended up a walnut cake (scrummy anyway)
    Will try again with coffee in it just to experiment…

    1. Hi Glynnis,

      OH good, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Coffee cake typically doesn’t have coffee in it – it’s named “coffee cake” because it’s a traditional treat to serve with coffee. BUT I bet coffee would taste AMAZING in the cake nonetheless! Let me know if you try it!

  23. This is DELICIOUS! I made a few alterations: I only used 3 eggs, I substituted pecans for walnuts, I used 1/2 maple syrup in the batter and substituted coconut sugar for maple syrup in the topping. I’ve tried several paleo coffee cake recipes and this is, by far, the best! It seriously rivals a sugar-filled coffee cake. This is a keeper! Thank you!

    1. I’m so happy you like the coffee cake, Jessa!! It’s definitely one of my favorite treats 😀 Your alterations sound great! I’ll have to try your version soon! xo

  24. This was a delicious, lightly sweetened coffee cake that was light and fluffy. I will make it with 1/2 c maple syrup next time because I would have preferred it just a little sweeter. It had the perfect amount of sweetness for my husband though. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed the coffee cake! My little secret when I’m in the mood for something sweeter, is I’ll sprinkle the coffee cake with coconut sugar or drizzle with pure maple syrup just before eating it 😉 Kind of defeats the purpose of adding less sugar in the first place, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, you know? 😉 Thanks so much for the feedback! xo

  25. Hi! I tried your coffee cake and my family and I really enjoyed it! The texture kinda amazed me. Do you think I could tweak the recipe a bit and bake in a loaf pan to make bread? I would probably leave off the topping. How long do you think it would bake for?

    Thanks a bunch!

    1. Hi Willow,

      I’m so happy to hear you like the coffee cake! I bet you could bake it in a loaf pan without any issues. My guess is it would take between 45 and 55 minutes to bake all the way through. I would set the timer for 40 and if it looks done, I’d turn the oven off and leave the loaf in the hot oven for another 5 – 10 minutes to be sure it’s baked through. Let me know if you end up trying it!! And thank you kindly for the feedback! xo

  26. Can you swap out coconut flour for fresh ground flax seed? the Paleo wheat bread is arrowroot and flax seed, it is a total ‘bread’ combo, would that be wrong for this type of ‘cake’?

    1. Hi Holly,

      I wouldn’t recommend swapping the coconut flour for anything since it’s such a finicky flour – it absorbs 4 times more liquid than any other flour, so you’d need to play with the measurements quite a bit. Sorry about that!

  27. I made this with almond flour (instead of arrowroot), cut down the butter by 1/2 and added a teaspoon of vanilla to the cake batter. Came out very well, thanks for sharing!

  28. Making for my niece for Christmas, as she can only eat Paleo & this is my first attempt at baking for her. My ? is can you freeze this coffee cake, if so for how long. when it defrost does it still taste the same. As I have never baked with these flours any advice you can give me is greatly appreciated! Many thanks!

    1. Hi Nadine!

      You can definitely freeze the coffee cake, no problem! What I do is allow the cake to cool to room temperature and then wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and seal it in a zip lock bag – this way you avoid freezer burn. It should be fine for up to 1 month in the freezer. Generally, I think baked goods are at their absolute best when fresh, but it will still be nice and fluffy after it has thawed. You can either thaw the whole coffee cake and then reheat it in the oven, or slice off pieces and microwave them for 45 – 60 seconds. Other than that, my only advice would be to pour the coconut flour into the measuring cup versus packing it, as coconut flour is very absorbent. So in essence, it’s a loose measurement rather than a packed measurement if that makes sense 🙂 Let me know if you have any other questions!!

  29. Hi! This is the healthy coffee cake recipe I have been searching for..I love baking with maple syrup in place of sugar too. Thank you for the recipe, can’t wait to try it.

    1. Hi Rukzana,

      Coffee cake is only called coffee cake because it meant to be consumed with coffee 🙂 There is no actual coffee in coffee cake. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      You’ll want the coconut milk to be combined (not separated), so you can shake or stir it if the cream is separated from the water 😀

  30. Thank you the recipe! I made it yesterday, and it was so good! I was particularly impressed by the texture (not eggy and weird like most coconut flour cakes and breads). Definitely a keeper!

    1. Hi Beka,

      I would stick with coconut milk because it provides fat, which is essential for the baking process. If you use almond milk, I worry the coffee cake won’t hold together as well and will potentially lack flavor and moisture. Hope this helps!! xo

  31. I want to make a bigger portion for a party like a 9 x 13 pan. I’m horrible with math, and hoping for you guidance. And also do you thing flax protein milk by good karma would be good instead of coconut milk?

  32. This was actually very delicious! Didn’t taste like coconut either. I liked that it felt like a ‘real’ cake

    1. Hi Jean,

      Coffee cake doesn’t contain coffee. It is called coffee cake because it is traditionally consumed alongside coffee 🙂 Hope you enjoy the recipe! xo

  33. Just wanted to say that this is a foolproof recipe, even with a whole gaggle of substitutions.

    I didn’t have arrowroot flour or tapioca flour, so I used 1 whole cup of coconut flour instead of 3/4, and I used a bit of oat fiber, a bit of psyllium husk and a bit of golden flaxmeal to make up the difference in arrowroot flour. I didn’t have sugar free maple syrup, so I just used 2/3 cup erythritol and liquid sweetener for sweetness, and bumped up the cream to 2/3 cup. Used heavy cream to replace the coconut milk. Added some vanilla extract, and /attempted/ to whip the egg whites, which failed, ended up with egg white foam.

    Folded everything together and hoped for the best. While my “batter” seemed a lot thicker than what I’d like, the end result is absolutely delicious. Moist, flavorful, beautiful texture and golden color. Definitely not as light as your version, but made a delicious pound coffee cake nonetheless.

    1. Ooh la la!! All of that sounds amazing! I’m so happy to hear it turned out well, and thanks so much for letting me know the changes – I’ll have to try your version 😀 xo

  34. Hi Julia, the coffee cake is in the oven now and it smells wonderful. However I have a couple questions. 1)Why do the directions call for sifting the coconut flour which wasn’t lumpy, but not the tapioca flour which is lumpy?
    2)My streusel topping was runny from the liquid of the melted butter and the syrup, so it just sunk into the batter. There is no streusel topping on top. I did use the correct amounts. How do you get yours to stay on top of the batter? Thanks so much. Great site and recipes!

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      You can absolutely sift the tapioca flour too…I just have never experienced lumpy tapioca flour. 😉 I’m not sure what happened with the streusel topping since you didn’t change anything in the recipe. It could be that the batter itself wasn’t thick enough to support the weight of the topping. I’m wondering if elevation or the brand of flours had something to do with it. What brand did you use? Hope the coffee cake turned out alright in spite of the issues!

      1. Hi Julia! I really want to make this cake for my husband as a surprise, it looks AMAZING and right up my alley. I’m wondering about any high altitude modifications. We live in Colorado and sometimes I have a hard time getting things to turn out on the first attempt and I’m reeeeally wanting this to be as wonderful as everyone says!

  35. Okay well I made it today and decided not to make any high altitude adjustments and it’s absolutely perfect!! I’m in love, thank you thank you!! I got some blueberries but chickened out about baking them in but they’re delicious just mixed with the bites I take!

    1. Hi Andrea! In my experience, flax eggs make baked recipes like this very dense. If you’re okay with that, feel free to proceed with flax eggs! As far as other egg alternatives go, I don’t have a huge experience with them, but I have found Bob’s Red Mill’s egg replacer to be pretty useful. Hope that helps!! xoxo

  36. Absolutely loved this – followed the recipe exactly- great texture, cinnamon taste is perfect! You cannot tell this is paleo. Entire family loved it and they are picky! And it’s the perfect level of sweetness in my opinion and perfect with coffee or hot chocolate:)

    1. Wahoo! That’s so great to hear, Vittoria! I’m obsessed with the coffee cake, myself. I just love how moist and cinnamony it is. Thanks for the sweet note! xo