Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

Have you ever had an an American style coffee cake? Not a coffee flavoured cake which were so popular in the U.K. in the 80s but a spiced cake made to be eaten with coffee?

A few years back I worked on a project in the US Virgin Isles (beautiful Caribbean waters), and we ate an American style diet and as we were very busy, convenience was the key. I have to say the catering, which we took turns to help with, was not always very inspiring, however, crumbly topped spiced coffee cake was one flavour which stayed with me. If I remember correctly, it was a boxed cake mix we used, but certainly not a familiar style of cake in the UK.


I’ve tried to recreate my memory with little success over the years, but now I think I’ve cracked it. The sponge is moist and spiced and the topping is sweet, crunchy and crumbly – and indeed does go rather well with a coffee. Handily enough it also makes a great pudding when served with custard. Double bonus to have a recipe with multiple uses up your sleeve.


Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 cup Bird’s custard powder or corn flour
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free margarine, such as Pure
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup soya yogurt, preferably vanilla flavour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup oat milk

For the filling:

  • 1/4 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the streusel topping:

  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup dairy-free margarine, such as Pure
  1. Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling and set aside.
  2. In a bowl stir together the flour, sugar and cinnamon for the streusel topping. Rub in the margarine with your fingertips to make a crumble like consistency. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/gas mark 4. Grease and line a spring-form cake tin
  4. Sift together the flour, custard powder or corn flour and bicarbonate and set aside
  5. Mix together the yogurt, oat milk and vanilla and set aside
  6. Cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy
  7.  Alternately add the flour and yogurt mix (about 1/3rd of the mix each time) and whisk well between each addition.
  8. Pour 1/2 of the mix into the cake tin and level off.
  9. Sprinkle over the cinnamon/sugar mix on top, then pour the rest of the cake mix over the top.
  10. Scatter over the streusel mixture and then bake for 35-40 minutes, until a knife cones out clean
  11. Cool briefly in the tin before unmoulding.


Plum Streusel Cake

Oh the folly of it! The ripe, reduced plums in the supermarket looked so tempting – it was only when I got them home that it became clear why they were on special offer – over-ripe is somewhat an understatement! They needed to be used immediately or it would be a fruit bowl filled with plum soup (nice!?).

I was lucky enough to work on a few sea turtle conservation projects and we often ate ‘apple coffee cake’ – I remember it coming from a pre-bought mix, but nonetheless there was something delicious about the cinnamon crumbly topping mixed with the light sponge and juicy apples – an ideal snack after a long night patrolling beaches favoured by nesting turtles. I’ve never come across ‘coffee cake’ that isn’t just a coffee flavoured sponge in the UK – I’m not sure if it’s American (we were in the USVI) or Aussie (the project leaders were from Oz), maybe someone can enlighten me?

It seemed to me that plum crumble cake would be the perfect way to use up my sticky over-ripe plums, and it proved to be a complete success (although I have to admit that mine sunk in the middle when I opened the oven too soon!). The girls were not too sure of the addition of plums, but I thought it tasted utterly delicious and transported me back to the beaches of the US Virgin Islands 🙂

This recipe is adapted from one I found on The Tolerant Vegan – a true treasure trove of wonderful vegan recipes

Plum Streusel Cake (dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 1 cake

Crumble Topping

  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp soya yogurt
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 2/3rds tsp cinnamon

Cake Mixture

  • 1/2 cup dairy-free spread, melted
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil or applesauce
  • 1/4 cup soya yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 3 very ripe plums, sliced

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 4

– Grease and line a cake tin

– With your fingertips rub in the spread and yogurt into the dry crumble ingredients. Set aside.

– In a separate bowl vigorously mix together the melted spread, oil/applesauce, sugar, yogurt and vanilla

-Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt.

– Gently mix to form a very soft dough.

– Squeeze over the lemon juice and mix to combine.

– Pour into the cake tin.

– Place the plum slices on top and then spread the crumble topping over the plums.

– Bake for 45-55 minutes, until golden on top and a knife comes out clean.

– Cool in the tin for about 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.