Gluten Free Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Gluten-free coffee cake

Gluten free coffee cake with a swirl of coffee and cocoa powder.

I think I have made this cake about 4 times since I adapted the old Martha Stewart recipe – that never actually worked properly in the first place. I had cut it from the magazine years ago and I always had to play with it. Half of the reviews on the Martha Stewart website for her recipe are negative.

Dear Martha’s recipe was never a runny batter like it showed in the picture and I followed the recipe the first time I made it. She also had this irritating step where you had to put one third of the batter in the pan, then spread the filling (the instant coffee, sugar and cocoa powder), then another third, etc. That is totally not necessary to get a good swirl in the cake as you can see by the photo here.  I dumped the filling in, turned the  mixer on very slow for 3 or 4 rotations of the paddle. For a little touch up to get the swirl the way I wanted it, I used my good silicone spatula and did one or two folds (like if you were folding in egg whites).

Worst case scenario, you over-mix and end up with a more chocolatey looking cake. It will still taste fine. I know this from experience. I did it on Sunday! I forgot to put the Xanthan Gum* in the batter and I realized this when I had just poured the dry filling into the mixer to do the swirl. Well, I knew the texture wouldn’t be quite right if I didn’t use the Xanthan so I added it and mixed it slowly in. No big deal – just no swirls. I wasn’t going to be cutting it anyway because I used my kitschy little mini-cake maker that makes little cakes like roses and wee bundt cakes.

Another way that I half-ass this recipe that will make real bakers shudder – I don’t bother to let my sour cream come to room temperature or my eggs. If you are really good at planning out your baking, then by all means, let stuff warm up. I usually bake on the spur of the moment so I also put the butter in the microwave for 8 seconds on 60% power to soften it. If it melts a little bit, again, who cares? Trust me the cake works even when using tips on half-ass baking.

Gluten-free cake batter

No need to layer the batter with the dry filling – just pour the filling in the mixer and give it a couple slow stirs.

Mini-bundt cakes

The cutest little mini-cakes with my cake press thingy.






Toddler in apron

Kinda wish he would wear the apron all the time.


Timothy and I made the mini-cakes for Simon for Father’s Day. Tim insisted on saying ‘Happy Birthday’ to Simon which was over the top with adorable. As much I can be a lazy baker, I don’t like an enormous mess. I like efficiency and minimal clean-up. So when baking with Timothy I act like I am prepping for a cooking show. Everything goes into little bowls so that I can just tell him to add it to the big bowl. I control the mixer because little hands on machines with powerful motors make me freak out a little. This way, he gets to stand on his stool and help and Mama doesn’t lose her shit because there is flour and sugar all over the floor.

This cake begged for a little booze added to it so I used coffee liqueur the first couple of time I made it, then I ran out so I used Bailey’s Irish Cream. Both options work well and they play nicely together in the cake too. I have added both (ie. 1/4 cup of liqueur) and it worked great.

*You can get Xanthan Gum a food stores that cater to people with allergies or health food stores. You can use regular flour instead of gluten-free – just omit the Xanthan gum – although if you are using regular flour you probably don’t have that in the house anyway.

Yields 8

Gluten Free Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Gluten-free coffee cake simplified and with a little booze to help it along. Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living magazine - Aunt Patty's Coffee Cake

20 minPrep Time

40 minCook Time

1 hrTotal Time

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  • 2 cups gluten-free all purpose flour (prefer Bob's Red Mill)*
  • 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup organic granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp Bailey's Irish Cream or Kahlua
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp instant coffee (for filling)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder (for filling)
  • 2 tbsp organic granulated sugar (for filling)


  1. Generously butter your bundt pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the instant coffee with the cocoa powder and 2 tbsp of organic granulated sugar.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, Xanthan Gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or other large mixing bowl), mix the butter with the granulated and brown sugar and beat until fluffy with the paddle attachment.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well in between.
  6. Add the liqueur and vanilla extract and mix well.
  7. Alternate adding one third of the flour with one third of the sour cream, mixing well in between each addition until you have it all mixed in.
  8. Pour the dry filling mixture into the bowl. Turn the mixer on very slowly and allow the paddle to go around 3 or 4 times. This should give you some streaks of filling in the batter. When you transfer the batter into the cake pan, the effect will continue.
  9. Transfer batter to the bundt pan and distribute it evenly in the pan.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.


This cake is very forgiving, so if you feel like adding both Bailey's and Kahlua, then go ahead. I have done it and the cake works just fine.



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