Don’t Be Sour, Pucker Up And I’ll Cake You To Coffee Town

July 24 , 2016 by: Amber Trudeau Cake

I know I’ve a had few times on this blog where I’ve mentioned that I’m not always the biggest cake fan (although that is more because most cakes have one (or more) of the following issues in my personal opinion. 1. Too dry, 2. Too dense (but not in a good, fudgey brownie way, more in a brick way), 3. Too sweet (although this is usually an icing issue), 4. I’m forced to consume it in a room full of screaming tiny humans (mmm…my taste and auditory senses are both being assaulted at once! I’m living the dream), or, the ultimate in cake crimes in my opinion 5. You can taste the leavener (aka baking soda or powder) in it – blend people! It’s not rocket science! ….It’s food science 😉 ). What I’m probably really saying here is that I don’t often like cakes that are not made by me because I’m very particular about how I think cakes and cupcakes should be/ taste. Call me crazy, but cakes should be moist and delicious. Apparently that’ asking too much. My name is Amber and I’m a cake snob. I sneer with the utmost disdain at the vast, vast quantities of inferior cake “food” (and that’s how you make use of the quotation marks people – because most cake would better serve as homing insulation or siding spackle). Besides, if I make it myself then I know it’s vegan, so there’s that too of course 🙂 .

A notable exception however though is the coffee cake. It’s a kind of cake that I almost always forget about, but then whenever I’m reminded of it (either visually or gustatorially), I think to myself “mmmm….cinnamon, sugar, streusel, why don’t I have this more?”. I think it’s really the streusel that saves the day here. I’ve always absolutely loved pies and crumbles, and I also often love hybrid desserts. Coffee cake is like having crumble in cake form.


In order to step outside of the (cake)box as it were, I wanted to upsize the moistness content on these. I started thinking about what (used to be) my favourite Timbit/ doughnut flavour – sour cream – and wondered if adding some vegan sour cream to the dough would create the perfect morsel of melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness that I was going for. After a short Google search, I quickly realized that I’m not the only one who’s thought of doing this before (I know, surprise, surprise 😉 . The very existence of sour cream doughnuts should’ve been my first clue that that’s not exactly an innovative idea).

Essentially what we have here at the end of the day is a pretty classic and not-at-all novel dessert. Sometimes, the classics don’t need tampering with though. For instance, it just seems wrong to say “I love the painting Whistler’s Mother and all, but, you know, it’s kind of a downer with all the black, sooooo depressing. I think if we just switched out her black dress for say, a clown costume, it would really liven this up.” Although that being said, I can’t resist at least a modicum of tampering where desserts are concerned. But it’s definitely quite minimal in this case.


The streusel on this is very much “go big or go home”.  I loved how it turned out, kind of crunchy with the perfect amount of sweetness. It was incredibly difficult to resist picking off bits of topping after it came out of the oven (full disclosure: by “incredibly difficult” I actually mean “completely impossible”. I most definitely picked off bits of streusel topping. I’m calling it my reward for being the baker of this awesomeness. Deal with it 😉 ). To mitigate the sweetness a bit though, and to add a bit more complexity to the flavour, I layered into the center of this coffee cake a sauce/ filling made of coffee and orange flavours which I personally felt added a certain “I don’t know what” (as Kevin would say 😉 ). If you don’t have the ingredients for the filling (or just don’t feel like making it), you can definitely omit it and just make the straight up coffee cake. It’s still completely delicious as is.

Add some fruit on the side and drink it with your morning coffee and now you can super hybridize this dessert by having it for breakfast! (Bre-ssert? Deck-fast? Whatever you want to call it, you’re mouth will just call it delicious 😉 ).

“Sour Cream” Coffee Cake



  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (plus extra for topping if desired)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter (melted)
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • 1/3 cup vegan sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans

Brown Sugar Orange Coffee Filling

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • pinch of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8×8 baking dish.
  2. Sift together flour, brown sugar, spices and salt into a large bowl. Add in coconut oil, olive oil and vegan butter and mix until all the liquids are fully absorbed.
  3. Remove 1 cup of mixture and set aside.
  4. In a separate small bowl, whisk together almond milk, sour cream, vinegar, vanilla, baking powder and baking soda. Add to the flour mixture and mix well. Set aside.
  5. Now you’ll make your brown sugar filling. In a small bowl, mix together all the filling ingredients and stir until fully mixed together.
  6. Pour half of your cake mixture into your prepared baking dish. Blob as best you can all of your brown sugar filling on top. Swirl through slightly with a knife. Pour other half of cake mixture on top.
  7. Add pecans to your 1 cup of set aside cake mixture and mix in fully.
  8. Sprinkle crumble topping over the batter and shake on a bit of extra cinnamon if desired.
  9. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


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About Amber

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Hi, I'm Amber Trudeau.  I bake.... a lot.

I'm also vegan, and found that whenever I went out to a restaurant my dessert choices were limited to sorbet, sorbet, and sorbet.  So I started making my own desserts. I wanted them to taste good though - so my ultimatum was to make delicious desserts that also happen to be dairy-free and egg-free. Every week or so, I challenge myself to try something new.  To recreate some kind of traditional dessert that tastes amazing without using animal products.

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