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.”

LowSour Cream Coffee Cake

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.

Grain Free Sour Cream Coffee Cake

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)


  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix eggs, avocado oil, sour cream, sweetener, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  3. Mix in almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until well combined.
  4. In a small bowl, mix chopped walnuts, cinnamon, and sweetener.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Sugar Free Sour Cream Coffee Cake

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!


  1. Nan Woodbury Reply

    Totally delicious! This coffee cake delivers on taste, texture, and presentation. Trying to achieve all 3 with grain free baking is hard to do, but Angelika has succeeded with this recipe. I reduced the amount of sweeter and used vegan sour cream with no effect on the outcome. Enjoy!

    • Angelika Ilina Reply

      Thank you, Nan! I bet this recipe would also work well with coconut milk yogurt for those who want to make it dairy-free.

  2. Can’t wait to try this. Just found the avacado oil. What are the serving size and nutrition info?

    • Angelika Ilina Reply

      Thank you, Lynda! The 8-inch by 8-inch pan can serve 9 people (one square per person), and that can vary, of course, depending on how big of a square you cut or how many pieces someone wants to eat. Regarding nutrition info, one serving contains 318 calories. Are you looking for more detailed info?

  3. Yes, my husband is a Type 2 diabetic and on the keto diet. He has to track carbs, sugar, fats, proteins etc. Is that info available. Thanks so much for responding to inquiry! Lynda

    • Angelika Ilina Reply

      Lynda, the nutritional info I calculated online using this Recipe Nutrition Calculator: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076 is as follows:

      Total Fat 29.1g
      Saturated Fat 5.6g

      Total Carbohydrate 17.6g
      Dietary Fiber 3.4g
      Sugar Alcohol 9.7g
      Sugars 1.2g
      Total Net Carbs 4.5g

      Protein 5.5g

      Regarding diabetes, when I was at the Low Carb Breckenridge 2018 conference earlier this year, I gave a sample of this coffee cake to a diabetic woman. She wanted to measure her blood sugar level before and after eating my coffee cake. She was happy to report that her blood sugar level didn’t spike, which I knew would be the case. She sent me this image from her Dexcom glucose monitor:

      Dexcom Glucose Reading

      I hope this helps!

  4. Diana Doner Reply

    My husband and I tasted this delicious coffee cake at a church hospitality after service. My husband said, “You have to get the recipe and make this!”. I have made Grandma Helen’s coffee cake twice and both times it was perfection.

    • Angelika Ilina Reply

      Thank you, Diana! I am so glad that you and your husband like the coffee cake! 😊

  5. Debra Evans Reply

    Oh my goodness!! Made this beautiful cake tonight and it is delicious! Thank you for a wonderful recipe. I love it! It was also a pleasure to meet you this past weekend. I am looking forward to trying all your recipes!

    • Angelika Ilina Reply

      Debra, I’m so glad you love the coffee cake! It was a pleasure meeting you as well 🙂

  6. This is definitely one of the best low carb cake recipes I’ve tried. I used Allulose as the sweetener the first time….It was not quite sweet enough. I did a second batch on Sunday and increased the amount I used and it was absolutely wonderful. I can’t stop eating it. My boys liked it too but I want them to love it. I plan on ordering the monk fruit sweetener that you use. I think that is what is missing. I can’t get over how perfect the texture is. I want to try the same recipe (minus the toppings) but with raspberries or blueberries. I think this would make a great base for cinnamon rolls too. The possibilities are endless. It is amazing how the sour cream cuts the bitter taste of the almond flour and keeps the cake so moist and bread like. Thank you so much!

    • Angelika Ilina Reply

      You’re welcome, Casey! Let me know how it turns out with the monk fruit sweetener and berries 🙂

  7. This looks delicious! One thing I would ask is, is there another oil you suggest? Coconut oil? I am allergic to corn and avocado. Thanks for the recipes!

    • Angelika Ilina Reply

      Thank you, Megan! I think melted coconut oil might work. I wonder if you could also try macadamia nut oil or red palm oil? If you try it, please let me know how it turns out 🙂

  8. I read your husband’s comments to my husband; his response was, “I totally agree – that man is a man among men!”

    I’m looking forward to trying this cake at some point… hubby doesn’t do walnuts, and I don’t do pecans… any substitute suggestions?

    • Angelika Ilina Reply

      Pauline, in grandma Helen’s original recipe it simply says “mixed nuts,” so probably any chopped nuts that you like would work. Almonds are often roasted with cinnamon. Maybe try almonds and let me know how it turns out? 🙂

    • Angelika Ilina Reply

      Pauline, also, someone just made this recipe and sent me a photo. It looks like she used cashews and some other nuts.

    • Angelika Ilina Reply

      Erin, I think melted coconut oil could work. What about macadamia nut oil or red palm oil? If you try it, please let me know how it turns out 🙂

    • Angelika Ilina Reply


      Yes, you can, although I haven’t tried it myself. If you are using pure powdered Erythritol, then I believe it’s 70% as sweet as sugar, so you may want to increase the quantity. You could try 1/2 cup instead of 1/3 cup in the dough. Grandma Helen’s original recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, which is too sweet for my taste. If you try it with erythritol, please let me know how it turns out! 🙂

  9. Earline F Solis Reply

    Hi! I only use Pamela’s Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Almond Meal for baking. I do not use Almond Flour.
    Can I use Pamela’s Almond Meal for this Sour Cream Coffee Cake and your other goodies?
    If so, Do I use All of your ingredients with Almond Meal and is this coffee cake really moist and dry?
    Thank you for your time.

    • Angelika Ilina Reply

      Hi Earline, as far as I can tell, Pamela’s sells Almond Flour, not Almond Meal, which is perfectly fine for this recipe. I don’t see Almond Meal on their website. The coffee cake is really moist. Let me know if you have additional questions and enjoy!

  10. nubia fisher Reply

    This cake is delicious!!. The texture and consistency is perfect for a rainy day. I love it with tea and coffee. My husband loves it with ice cream. I tried the original recipe and on the second time I added raisins to see if it worked. It was a tasty treat.

    • Angelika Ilina Reply

      Thank you, Nubia! I’m glad you and your husband are enjoying it 😊

  11. Cheryl Garcia Reply

    is there a printable copy available? Thank you, I can’t wait to try it!


    • Angelika Ilina Reply

      Hi Cheryl, yes, a printable copy is available at the bottom of the post in the “Share this” section. There is a gray print icon. Please let me know how it turns out!!! 😊

  12. Absolutely delicious! I followed your recipe exactly as it is and every time I make it comes out perfect. Thank you so much for this beautiful cake!

    • Angelika Ilina Reply

      Hello Paola, thank you very much! I am so glad you enjoy it. 😊

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