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Viennese Coffee Cake - Gluten Free

(re name change - see comments)

Would you make a cherry pie without cherries?
Oatmeal cookies without oatmeal?
Rice pudding without rice?
Potato salad without potatoes?
Of course not ....
so ... then why do we make coffee cake without coffee?

Funny story ...
We attended my husband's cousin's funeral/memorial this summer. At the reception, her son sat down at our table to chat a bit and of course the conversation centered on his mother. Turning to me, he said he had a story I needed to share on our Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog.
His mother, Katie, came to Canada as a refugee in 1947, and got a job working as a house maid for a Canadian family. One day the lady of the house asked Katie to bake a coffee cake and waved a hand toward  the coffee pot, saying she could use that.  Lacking somewhat in confidence, and never having made a coffee cake before, Katie dumped in the dry ground coffee instead of the left-over brewed coffee. Seeing the cake speckled with dark flecks, the lady soon realized what had happened but she very graciously simply excused Katie by kindly saying, "It's all right, no one will know the difference. It will still taste good!"
We all chuckled but  I realized that while I have made many 'coffee cakes', I didn't remember ever actually having used coffee as an ingredient in my recipes.
When we got home I did a bit of a search and found an old Kraft recipe that did list brewed coffee as an ingredient.
I adapted/adjusted the recipe to be gluten free and was very happy with the results.
The cake has a very fine texture and excellent flavour.
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup strong freshly brewed coffee 
  • 1 1/2 cups Julie's Flour Mix  
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour 
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  1.  In your stand mixer, whip butter with sugar until white and fluffy - takes a few minutes. 
  2. Add eggs separately and beat well after each addition.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients together. 
  4. Add dry ingredients and coffee beating until well mixed and smooth.
  5. Scrape into a parchment lined loaf pan or in a small tube cake pan. 
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour, or until done.
  7. Serve plain, dust with icing sugar, or dress it up with whipped cream and fruit. 


  1. Have you ever used the gluten free flour mix where you don't have to use lots of different ingredients, just subbing 1 cup regular flour for 1 cup of the gluten free mix? I am curious if that works as well or better than having to own lots of different bags of this and that to come up with a gluten free option. This sounds like a lovely flavor, cinnamon and coffee...yum

    1. Yes, you can use a commercial gluten-free flour mix. There are more on the market now than when I came up with my own mix - and are better than they used to be. For me it is mostly about flavor, and I like to get as close to what I remember food made with wheat flour tastes like - which I think my mix does better than some of the commercial mixes. I always have a pre-mixed container of my flour so that I don't have to mix the ingredients every time I want to bake. Mixing my own is also cheaper since I buy my flours in bulk. Whatever works for you is great ! Happy baking!

    2. Thanks for replying. I'm new to trying gluten free recipes and was curious as I see more and more mixes around.

  2. How would I be able to use this recipe without it being gluten free?

    1. Should with with regular flour as long as you don't exceed 2 cups

  3. It's absolutely genius of you to have made this recipe to be gluten free! I loved the story that you shared with us on your blog, I'm sure I would have done the same thing. I hope you have a wonderful and blessed rest of the week!

  4. I think it sounds really good! I do like coffee flavored desserts so why not? Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  5. That sounds delicious. I like the addition of coffee. I'd always thought of coffee cake as the perfect cake to go WITH coffee. But I like this and that it's gluten free! Yea!

  6. Maybe you should call this Viennese Coffee Cake, since it combines coffee and cinnamon. In Vienna they sometimes put cinnamon in their coffee (plus whipped cream).

    1. Hey, great idea !! I have renamed this Viennese Coffee Cake

  7. I am always grateful for gluten-free recipes to give to my youngest daughter. She was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease. It is quite difficult for her because she is a pastry chef, actually a major life changing event. Thank-you so much, I am not using gluten in solidarity with her and I love coffee cake!! Another Ellen

  8. You are amazing Julie - always adapting recipes to be gluten free. This coffee cake sounds delicious and I love the story you shared as well.

  9. Hello again! I was wondering, if using a commercial gluten free flour mix would you still add xanthan gum? I'm new to all of this and must ask silly questions. Thank-you! Another Ellen

  10. I think it sounds really good! I do like coffee flavored desserts so why not? Thanks for sharing your recipe!



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