This Vegan Maple Pecan Coffee Cake is truly the best coffee cake I have ever tried! With a soft and buttery maple cake batter, a thick layer of cinnamon sugar, and a maple pecan streusel- it's the perfect eggless & dairy-free coffee cake!
One thing to know about me is that I am not usually a fan of nuts in desserts, UNLESS its pecans. I'm not sure what it is about their nutty & buttery flavor, but I wholeheartedly think that pecans make any dessert better.
Streusel & cinnamon swirl ingredients:
Maple Cake Ingredients:
- Maple Extract: This really enhances the maple flavor in the cake since we are only using ¼ cup of maple syrup in the batter. If you're okay with a less strong maple flavor, you can substitute maple extract for vanilla bean paste or extract in the batter and streusel topping.
- Maple Syrup: I only ever use real maple syrup for baking. My favorite brands to use are Thrive Market, Runamook, and Coombs Family Farms. They all are super high quality and have a great flavor!
- Pastry flour: To give this cake a light and airy texture, we are using pastry flour. It's important to note that pastry flour has less protein in it and actually weighs less per cup than all-purpose flour (120 grams vs. 125 grams).
- If substituting for all-purpose flour, you can replace 1 Tablespoon of flour with 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch for every cup of flour for a similar texture.
- Pecans: I prefer to use pecan halves and break them apart as I go, but you can also buy pecan pieces to make this easier.
- Applesauce: This acts as our vegan egg substitute and it also lends a subtle sweetness to this eggless coffee cake so we can use less sugar in the batter.
- Vegan butter: While I don't make many cake recipes with vegan butter, I chose to use it for this recipe to make the maple cake dense and taste almost like a pound cake.
- You can substitute the butter for any neutral oil or olive oil. It will slightly change the texture of the cake (it will be a bit lighter and less dense) but it's just as delicious!
How to make maple pecan coffee cake
Step 1: prep the pan & preheat the oven
Before starting, preheat the oven to 350F and prep your 8*8 baking pan. If using a non-stick pan, you can just line the pan with parchment paper which makes it easier to remove the cake once baked.
However, if your pan is not non-stick, I recommend greasing the sides of the pan with vegan butter or coconut oil in addition to using parchment paper.
Step 2: Make the cinnamon sugar swirl mixture
Since there are a few layers to this cake, it's best to assemble them before making the actual cake batter.
The first step is to make the cinnamon sugar swirl mixture by whisking together the brown sugar, cane sugar, pecan pieces, pastry flour, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
Step 3: Make the maple pecan streusel
Next, make the maple pecan streusel. First, whisk together the brown sugar, pastry flour, and cinnamon. Then, pour in the melted vegan butter and maple extract and whisk together.
Finally, add in the chopped pecan pieces and mix them into the streusel. Set this bowl aside as well.
Step 4: Make the maple cake batter
To make the vegan maple cake batter, start by making vegan buttermilk. Add the plant-based milk (I used soy milk) and apple cider vinegar to a bowl, whisk, and let sit for 1-2 minutes.
This allows the milk to curdle and resemble buttermilk. The apple cider vinegar is also crucial to interact with the baking soda and helps the cake rise while baking!
Then, add in the remaining wet ingredients including the melted vegan butter, applesauce, sugar, maple syrup, and maple extract. Whisk together until smooth.
Lastly, add the dry ingredients to the bowl. Add the pastry flour first and then add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt on top. Gently mix the batter until all streaks of flour are gone.
P.S.- it's totally okay to have a lumpy batter! This batter will be pretty thick and you don't want to overmix it or too much gluten may form and you risk ending up with a super dense cake.
Step 5: Assemble the layer & bake
To assemble the cake, add ⅔ of the maple cake batter to the parchment-lined pan. I prefer to use a large cookie scoop to add the batter and then a spatula to spread it evenly within the pan.
Then, top with the cinnamon sugar swirl. Make sure to add enough of this mixture to the edges of the cake so it doesn't all pool in the center.
Then, add the remaining ½ of the maple cake batter on top of the cinnamon sugar layer. Use a spatula to spread it out as evenly as possible.
The final layer is the maple pecan streusel. Sprinkle this over the second layer of maple cake batter.
Then, add the maple streusel coffee cake to the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes until cooked through.
You can stick a toothpick in the center of the cake to check if it's done, but mine is pretty much always ready right at the 40-minute mark.
Let cool & top with icing
Let the coffee cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then, move it to a wire rack to continue cooling. You don't want to cool it fully in the pan or the bottom of the cake can get soggy from the moisture.
I chose to top this cake with a tiny bit of vanilla icing. However, that is really more for "looks" as this vegan coffee cake is plenty sweet without it!
FAQ & Tips:
Can I make this pecan coffee cake gluten-free?
I personally haven't tried it, however, it should work. If making this cake gluten-free, you'll need to use a gluten-free 1:1 all-purpose flour like this mix from Bob's Red Mill.
Please note- using flour alternatives like almond flour or coconut flour will not work as it's not a 1:1 substitution.
How do I store maple pecan coffee cake?
Once completely cooled, this cake can be sliced and stored in a closed container at room temperature for about 48 hours.
It can also be stored in a closed container in the fridge for 2-3 days, but this tends to dry out the cake, so I don't recommend it.
My preferred method of storing it in the freezer. It can be sliced and stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. Just let it defrost at room temperature for about 1 hour before enjoying!
I can't wait for you to try this incredible Vegan Maple Pecan Coffee Cake! With a buttery maple cake base and swirls of cinnamon sugar and pecans throughout, it doesn't get much more delicious than this vegan breakfast cake!
More vegan dessert recipes you will love:
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Vegan Maple Pecan Coffee Cake
Cinnamon Sugar Swirl:
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup chopped pecan halves
- 2 Tablespoons pastry flour
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
Maple Pecan Streusel:
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup pastry flour
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 3 Tablespoons melted vegan butter
- ¼ teaspoon maple extract
- ½ cup chopped pecan halves
- Preheat your oven to 350F and line an 8*8 inch baking pan with parchment paper. You can also lightly grease the sides of the pan with coconut oil or vegan butter.
- Next, make the cinnamon sugar swirl layer. Add the brown sugar, white sugar, chopped pecans, pastry flour, and cinnamon to a bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, make the maple pecan streusel. Add the brown sugar, pastry flour, and cinnamon to the bowl and whisk together. Then, pour in the melted vegan butter, maple extract, and pecans. Mix together until you have a thick but crumbly mixture. Set aside.
- In a third mixing bowl, make the maple cake batter. Start by adding the plant-based milk and apple cider vinegar to the bowl. Whisk together and let sit about 2 minutes until the milk curdles to create a vegan buttermilk.
- Then, add in the remaining wet ingredients including the melted vegan butter, unsweetened applesauce, white sugar, maple syrup, and maple extract. Whisk together until smooth.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl starting with the pastry flour and pouring the baking powder, baking soda, and salt on top. Gently whisk into the wet ingredients until you have a thick batter. Make sure not to overmix and just mix until all streaks of flour are gone. A lumpy batter is totally okay!
- Add ⅔ of the maple cake batter to the parchment-lined pan & use a spatula to spread it out evenly. Then, top with the cinnamon sugar swirl.
- Add the remaining ⅓ of the batter on top of the cinnamon sugar swirl and gently spread it out using a spatula. Finally, sprinkle the maple pecan streusel on top.
- Add the coffee cake to the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes until cooked through. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Once cooled, top the maple pecan coffee cake with optional icing or enjoy as is!
- Please see the blog post for baking tips & substitution ideas.
- Coffee cake can be sliced and stored in a closed container at room temperature for 48 hours, in the fridge for 2-3 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- To make a simple icing whisk together ½ cup of powdered sugar with ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract or maple extract and 1 Tablespoon of plant-based milk or water until smooth. Then, drizzle over the cake once cooled.