Cinnamon Walnut Un-Coffeecake

Cinnamon Walnut Un-Coffeecake
Cinnamon Walnut Un-Coffeecake

Today is National Coffee Cake Day, so I’m sharing the award-winning recipe, Cinnamon Walnut Un-Coffee Cake from my book More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally. As a coffee drinker I don’t know why the Un.. but the cake won me a job as a pastry chef at New York’s famed Angelica Kitchen. It won another vegan a blue ribbon/first prize in coffeecake category at a fair in “cowboy’ country” (her label).  Smartly, the baker did not label the cake vegan. The judges flipped out, and I was told, they ate the crumbs on the plate.  While the cake stays fresh tasting for up to three days, you just try to keep it around that long. The recipe makes a big cake bakers have have shared with me photos of the individual ones they serve for holiday brunches. Pictured here are cakes by Danette in LA.


Photo from Kate Lewis from my book Vegan Chocolate
Photo from Kate Lewis from my book Vegan Chocolate

Another delicious choice for National Coffee Cake day is the Chocolate Pecan Cranberry Coffee Cake from my more recent book Vegan Chocolate.


Cinnamon Walnut Un-Coffeecake
Cinnamon Walnut Un-Coffeecake


Cinnamon Walnut Un-Coffeecake

Yield: one large 9-inch cake (12 or more servings)


  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted (see page 23), cooled, and chopped
  • 1/4 cup organic granulated sugar,  maple sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic dark whole cane sugar (Such as Sucant)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons mild tasting extra virgin olive oil or another neutral oil


  • 1 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup organic all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons organic granulated sugar
  • 11⁄2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon fine seasalt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄4 cup mild tasting extra virgin olive oil or another neutral oil
  • 3⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, dark grade
  • 3⁄4 cup any nondairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


  1. To make the filling, mix the walnuts, granulated sugar, dark whole cane sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir in 21⁄2 tablespoons of the oil. The nuts should be damp, but not wet. Add the remaining oil, if necessary.
  2. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Oil a 9 x 3-inch-deep springform pan, and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit.
  3. To make the cake, place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the pastry flour, white flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg to the strainer. Whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. Stir with a wire whisk to distribute the ingredients.
  4. Combine the oil, maple syrup, nondairy milk, vanilla and almond extracts, and vinegar in a separate medium bowl, and whisk until well blended. Pour into the dry mixture and stir with a whisk until the batter is smooth.
  5. Pour half the batter into the prepared cake pan and sprinkle with half the sweet nuts. Pour the remaining batter over the nuts, using a small spatula or thin knife to spread, if necessary. Sprinkle the batter evenly with the remaining nuts.
  6. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or longer, until the cake is golden and firm at the center when touched gently, and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs.
  7. Place the pan on a wire rack and run a thin knife around the inside of the pan to release the cake. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove the outside ring of the pan. Cool completely on the rack before cutting.


Recipe from More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally, by Fran Costigan (Book Publishing Company, 2006)

  • I made this delightful cake today, following the recipe almost to the t (modifications were using 1/2 coconut oil 1/2 olive oil, and adding 2 T cocoa powder to walnut mixture. The cake smelled fantastic in the oven, tasted even more fantastic; my non-vegan coworkers all truly enjoyed what I shared with them! Edges were almost caramelized while center was soft, fragrant, nutty and just sweet enough. Thanks for the precise and delicious recipe, Fran. Rock on.

    • Hi Susan,
      Most definitely you can replace the whole cane sugar (Sucanat) with brown sugar. Coconut sugar works well too.
      Get your mis en place ready, your oven preheated and you’ll have this cake soon!! Love to see some photos!

  • Hi Fran,

    Greetings from the UK. I have only just discovered your amazing blog! I am in the transitional stage of becoming vegan and on the look out for recipe ideas to help with my conversion.

    I would love to try and make this cake. Quick Question – Do you roast the walnuts in a dry pan or oven? Can you advise me please.

    It is so refreshing that the recipe does not contain coconut oil. I have to avoid all coconut products, every cookbook you seem to look at these days contains it!

    I am going to take a look at your books next! Do your books contain a lot if any coconut products? If so do you give suggested substitutions that have been tested?


    • Hi Nima,
      Thanks for writing.
      I use very little coconut oil. When I transitioned from the traditional pastry kitchen to the vegan pastry kitchen over 25 years ago, coconut oil was not a thing. I used and still do, primarily mild tasting extra virgin oil oil, grapeseed and sunflower oils.
      As to roasting nuts, I do small qunatities in a dry pan, but more often I roast them in the oven. I do quantity, cool and store in a tightly closed container in the freezer. I go over all of this in my books and in my Essential Vegan Desserts Course online at Rouxbe.
      I hope this helps!
      All best

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