We hosted a Christmas party with friends on Saturday night. As it's the first Christmas in our apartment together we decided it would be appropriate to celebrate the season with good friends and good food.  In typical Emily fashion, I said I would make a dessert to contribute to the potluck and this beautiful masterpiece was born.

Now, I read the recipe and thought I had found a vegan cake (how one confuses gluten-free with vegan is beyond was a long week!) so I bought the few missing ingredients to round out the requirements. Then I realized it called for eggs and it was definitely not vegan, but I made it anyway.

It has applesauce and greek yogurt instead of sugar, so it's missing an element of sweetness that comes with traditional coffee cakes, but if you're on the hunt for a gluten-free alternative or a healthier option, this is your cake. It would also be perfect for Christmas morning!

My favourite part about this dessert is the seasonal fruit on top. It's so damn pretty.

CINNAMON COFFEE CAKE adapted from Family Fresh Cooking

3 cups almond flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
3 large eggs, whisked
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup vanilla greek yogurt (original recipe calls for plain)
few drops of vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the coconut milk whipped cream - 
2 cans of coconut milk (chilled)
drop of vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Lightly grease a springform pan - this is important! Springform will make for super easy removal after the cake has cooled. 

2. In a large bowl mix together dry ingredients (minus walnuts) and set aside.  In a medium size bowl mix together coconut oil, eggs, applesauce, yogurt and vanilla and combine.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the walnuts.

3. Add the cake mix to the pan and if necessary, gently tap on the countertop a few times to even out the batter. Bake for 40 minutes - insert a toothpick and make sure it comes out crumb free after the 40 minutes.

4. For the topping: remove the coconut milk from the fridge but don't shake the can. In the bowl of a standmixer, or a handheld mixer with the whisk attachment, add the thick part of the coconut milk (don't stir the can!) and whisk on high until soft peaks form. Add in vanilla extract to taste. 

And there you have it - another holiday dessert! A few of my favourites from previous years - this peppermint chocolate cake from 2011, and this peppermint chocolate bundt cake from 2013. 10 more days until Christmas Eve! I hope everyone's preparations are coming along nicely!

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Maira Gall