I woke up early this morning and told my husband, “It’s National Coffee Cake Day!” He got a giant grin on his face and said, “Does this mean you’re going to bake coffee cake?!” I said, “No, it means I finally want to post grandma Helen’s sour cream coffee cake recipe on my blog.” He said, “You can’t tell me it’s National Coffee Cake Day and not bake the coffee cake. It’s like telling a kid it’s National Candy Day and giving him carrots.”
Well, it’s lightly snowing outside (a perfect day for baking a coffee cake!); it is National Coffee Cake Day; this recipe is so easy to throw together; and hopefully, I can finish writing this blog post by the time the coffee cake is done. It’s starting to smell so good in here!
Years ago, in my pre-Paleo and pre-Keto days, we visited Joel’s grandparents in Kansas. This was the first and only time I met grandma Helen. She was a mighty fine lady who lived a full, exciting life with Joel’s grandpa, filled with lots of travels and love for each other. Sadly, she developed Alzheimer’s disease by the time I met her, which scientists now call “Type 3 diabetes.”
At some point during our visit, I asked to look at her recipe notebook and jotted down a few recipes I liked. One of them was her sour cream coffee cake recipe. Funny thing is I never baked it before I adopted the Paleo lifestyle. Then I also learned that Joel absolutely loves coffee cake, so one Christmas morning I tried modifying the recipe for the Paleo diet. I must say that it didn’t turn out too well due to the ingredient substitutions that I was playing around with at the time. It was too dry and had the consistency of a brick, but we ate it all anyway because it was a rare treat for us to have a baked good.
So, the recipe went back into a pile of recipes until a couple of months ago. I’ve been following a Keto / low-carb Paleo lifestyle for a year and a half now, and Keto allows the use of dairy and natural low-carb sweeteners that are 1:1 substitution for regular table sugar, so I’ve been baking a lot this past winter 🙂 That’s when I came across grandma Helen’s sour cream coffee cake recipe in my pile of recipes.
You know how they say that timing is everything in life? This was one of those moments. I realized that I only have to substitute 3 ingredients this time around, and one of those ingredients is simply the type of oil to use. I would have to play with the quantity of these ingredients and the baking time and temperature, but that’s the fun part! I replaced flour, sugar, and corn oil with healthier ingredients. Modifying grandma’s coffee cake recipe to be grain-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, lectin-free, low-carb, and Keto-friendly was quite satisfying.
But the best part was people tasting it and asking for the recipe. You know you’re on to something when you bring it to share with others, and people seek you out to ask if you’d be willing to share the recipe. That, plus seeing the kids sneak a piece (or two!) extra. So, after numerous modifications, adjustments, and tests (my husband wasn’t complaining!), grandma Helen’s modified sour cream coffee cake recipe is ready for prime time!
For the dough:
2 eggs, preferably pastured (I use pastured eggs from Vital Farms, which are available at most grocery stores in our area)
1/4 cup avocado oil
1 cup sour cream, preferably pasture-raised
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use Simply Organic® no-sugar-added Madagascar Pure Vanilla Extract)
2 cups blanched almond flour
1/3 cup low-carb sweetener (I use Lakanto® Classic White or Golden Monk Fruit Sweetener, which is available on Amazon.com)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (I use Himalayan pink salt for its mineral content)
For the topping:
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I use Spicely® Organics True Cinnamon)
2 tablespoons low-carb sweetener of your choice (I use Lakanto® Monk Fruit Sweetener, which is available on Amazon.com)
- Preheat the oven to 325° F.
- In a large bowl, mix eggs, avocado oil, sour cream, sweetener, and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Mix in almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until well combined.
- In a small bowl, mix chopped walnuts, cinnamon, and sweetener.
- Grease an 8-inch by 8-inch or similar-sized baking dish with avocado oil. Pour half of the dough mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle half of the topping mixture on top of the dough mixture.
- Pour the second half of the dough mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle the second half of the topping mixture on top of the dough mixture.
- Bake for about 40-42 minutes. If baking at high altitude, bake for about 45-50 minutes. Ovens vary, so start checking for doneness at around 40 minutes (45 minutes at high altitude). Insert a toothpick into the cake — it should come out clean. I also loosely cover the baking dish with aluminum foil in the last 5-10 minutes of baking, so that the nuts and cinnamon on top don’t get too dark, while the batter reaches its doneness on the inside.
I didn’t get a chance to finish writing this post before the coffee cake was done. You want to eat it warm, right? Plus, Joel was giving me a puppy face 🙂 We sat down to have a slice or two for breakfast and talked about grandma Helen’s and grandpa Dena’s life and the love they shared. I am grateful I got a chance to meet her and write down this recipe before she passed away. I am grateful for the knowledge of and access to healthier ingredients that allow us to enjoy her legacy guilt-free.
Try this sour cream coffee cake with some grass-fed butter on top. Let me know how you like grandma Helen’s sour cream coffee cake recipe in the comments below. Enjoy!
If it isn’t sweet enough for you, use 1/2 cup of Lakanto® Monk Fruit Sweetener. If you use a different natural low-carb sweetener, you may need to adjust the quantity depending on your sweetness preference.
Don’t like nuts, or they don’t like you? Omit them!
Looking for more breakfast recipes? Check out my pancakes recipe. We finally figured out the best pancakes that are grain-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, lectin-free, low-carb, Keto, and Paleo!