We recently held a dairy-free sour cream taste test (results coming soon!), and I had quite a bit of sour cream alternative left over. This led to beef stroganoff, mushroom stroganoff, and this delicious dairy-free sour cream coffee cake recipe. It’s a cozy dessert, layered with brown sugar streusel, that begs to be served with a warm mug of tea or coffee. It reminds me of a special coffee shop treat that we enjoyed years ago.
The Perfect Recipe for Dairy-Free Sour Cream Coffee Cake
I’m not a big cake fan, but coffee cake is something special. It’s a single layer cake with a streusel filling and topping. Those sweet layers give it a rustic, comforting look, an indulgent taste, and a range of textures. The cake is light but a little dense (kind of like an Entenmann’s cake), the middle is moist and nutty, and the top has a sweet crisp. And to help ensure the best results, I have tips and suggestions in the following FAQs.
Can I Double this Dairy-Free Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe?
Yes. Double all of the ingredients, but use two 8×8-inch or 9-inch round pans OR use one 9×13-inch baking pan. With the larger pan, you might need to bake the cake for a little longer, but I would still check in starting at 35 minutes.
What Sour Cream Alternatives Do You Recommend?
For this dairy-free sour cream coffee cake, I feel best using a cultured sour cream alternative, like Kite Hill or Forager. Or I use a homemade option, like my Cashew Sour Cream or Tofu Sour Cream. The cultured and homemade options have acid to react properly with the baking soda. But if you have an unwanted dairy-free sour cream to use up, and you aren’t sure if it is cultured or if it doesn’t taste quite tangy, add just a teaspoon of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar with the wet ingredients. This will help to ensure the baking soda reacts properly.
I Don’t Have Any Dairy-Free Sour Cream! What Can I Substitute?
As mentioned, you can make your own with my Cashew Sour Cream or Tofu Sour Cream recipes. But a thick dairy-free yogurt will also work as a substitute. Your batter might be a little thinner, causing more “craters” of streusel, but the taste and rise will be equally wonderful! Or, you can just bake my regular Streusel Coffee Cake instead! It’s a similar recipe, but doesn’t call for any sour cream alternative.
Does it Matter if I use a Metal Pan or Glass Dish for Baking?
It does. The cake will cook faster in a metal baking pan. In a dark metal baking pan, it cooked in about 35 to 40 minutes in a humid environment. In a glass baking dish, it took the full 45 minutes in a humid environment. If baking in a dryer climate, it might bake a little faster.
Does this Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe work at High Altitude?
I haven’t tested it at high altitude, but I do have a lot of experience with high altitude baking. I believe this recipe could work just fine as is, since it isn’t heavy in leavener and is weighted by the streusel. But if baking at over 4000 feet, I might skip the baking powder.
Which Oil do You Recommend?
Your favorite baking oil should work just fine. But if you use coconut oil, make sure your sour cream alternative and egg are at room temperature when combining the ingredients. If anything is cold, the coconut oil will bead up (chunks of solid coconut oil will form). I typically use extra-light olive oil or another medium to high-heat baking oil.
Can I Use Butter Alternative in Place of the Oil?
Yes, that should work fine. In fact, if you are using a thinner yogurt or sour cream alternative, butter alternative would add a little thickness to the batter.
Why Isn’t there any Coffee in this Recipe?
In North America, a coffee cake is a sweet cake that is intended to be eaten with coffee or tea. It isn’t a coffee-flavored cake.
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Sour Cream Coffee Cake
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, optionally nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and vegetarian.
For egg-free and vegan sour cream coffee cake, see my Egg Substitute Guide, or use this Vegan Coffee Cake Recipe.
For gluten-free sour cream coffee cake, I would try your favorite gluten-free flour blend, but if possible, use the egg rather than an egg substitute. I haven’t tested this recipe without gluten, but my friend swears by King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour for most baking needs.
- ⅔ cup chopped pecans (can omit for nut-free)
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup dairy-free sour cream alternative (see post above for options)
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 large egg
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon dairy-free sour cream alternative
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on two sides to lift the cake out.
- To make streusel, whisk together the pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle on the ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and stir to moisten the crumbs.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In a mixing bowl, mix the sour cream alternative, sugar, oil, egg, and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth. Add the flour mixture, and stir to combine.
- Pour roughly half of the batter into your prepared pan and even it out. Sprinkle the batter with half of the streusel. Drizzle or drop the remaining batter in dollops over the streusel and gently even it out over the streusel. Depending on the sour cream alternative that you use, your batter might be a little thinner or thicker, which is why you might need to drizzle or dollop it. Evenly sprinkle on the remaining streusel.
- Bake the coffee cake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes in the pan. Then use the parchment to lift it out to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, sour cream alternative, and vanilla extract.
- Drizzle the glaze on the whole cake or on each slice when serving.