Though I love being in the kitchen, let’s face it, December is a wild month for cooking and baking. The multicourse meals, cooking for big crowds, endless potlucks, and don’t forget the bake sales! So to me, December ‘tis the season for….dishes that look fancy enough for a holiday or party, but are secretly super quick and easy. Because we all want to impress our families or friends with special treats, but at such a crowded moment, we need easy-to-execute recipes that are surefire hits. So I humbly present… my Gluten and Grain-Free Cinnamon Swirl Cake.
Combine just eight ingredients (I’ll swear you have them on hand already), a toothpick and a blender, and less than 30 minutes in the oven; and viola, out comes this soft, fluffy, cinnamon swirly cake. Personally, I think it is the perfect Christmas morning breakfast, though you’ll want to make one wayyyy before then 😉
Cake mix coffee cake
My absolute favorite shortcut to cake is using a great grain-free boxed cake mix. Cake mixes are fantastic because they already contain leavening agents (like baking soda) and sweetener in perfect measure.
My favorite grain-free flour mix is available in my Eat Well, Feel Great course, but a great boxed mix option is Simple Mills’ grain-free cake mix which is what I tested this recipe with. When you choose a boxed mix, you want to make sure to check the package to ensure it contains baking soda, baking powder, and sweetener as otherwise you’ll need to add those separately. If you use the course baking mix, it is unsweetened so please see recipe instructions below for quantity to use.
Cinnamon swirl cake
The key to this cinnamon swirl cake? The sugared cinnamon mixture you swirl throughout the cake. And it couldn’t be easier — a little reserved cake mix, a little yogurt, a bit of maple sugar, and cinnamon. After pouring half the batter into your cake pan, drop dollops of this cinnamon mixture and drag a toothpick through to make swirls. Then add the rest of the cake batter over top and repeat the process. This gives you pockets of cinnamony swirl throughout the cake!
Greek yogurt in baking
Greek yogurt is a fantastic ingredient for baking as it adds lots of moisture and creaminess. Since it is a bit tangy, it works similarly to sour cream or buttermilk in baked goods. Plus, its acidity activates the baking soda it mixes with, creating a light and fluffy product.
I tested this recipe with a dairy-free yogurt as well (Cocojune) and it worked, however, it was a bit denser and less light and fluffy than the Greek yogurt version.
Make ahead Christmas breakfast
Remember when I said that this Gluten Free Cinnamon Swirl Cake would make an excellent breakfast for Christmas morning? You could either choose to make it that morning, or if you’re strapped for time, you could bake it the day before and then just warm it in the oven before serving. See? Easy and special.
Gluten-free breakfast options
If you’re looking for more sweet treat, gluten and grain-free breakfast inspo, here are some more recipes to tempt you…
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Cinnamon Swirl Cake (Gluten-Free)
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- 1, 11.5-ounce box grain-free vanilla cake mix (to use my course baking mix, see **notes), ¼ cup reserved for swirl
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup Greek yogurt*
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- ¼ cup cashew milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup reserved cake mix
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt*
- 3 tablespoons maple sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 325° F.
- In a blender, combine the remaining cake mix (minus the reserved ¼ cup), eggs, Greek yogurt, avocado oil, cashew milk, and vanilla extract. Blend until well combined and smooth, 30 to 45 seconds.
- In a separate bowl, prepare the cinnamon swirl mixture by mixing together the reserved cake mix, Greek yogurt, maple sugar, and ground cinnamon. Stir until it forms a thick, smooth paste.
- Grease an 8×8 baking dish lightly with avocado oil and line with parchment paper.
- Pour half of the cake batter into the pan, spreading it evenly.
- Drop spoonfuls of the cinnamon swirl mixture on top of the batter. Use a knife or toothpick to gently swirl the cinnamon mixture into the batter.
- Pour the remaining cake batter over the cinnamon swirl layer, spreading it evenly.
- Add another layer of cinnamon swirl mixture on top and swirl it gently into the batter.
- Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes.
- Carefully remove the coffee cake from the pan and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Slice into squares, serve the cinnamon coffee cake, and enjoy!
- I tested this once with dairy-free plain yogurt by CocoJune and it works, but does make a bit more of a dense cake.
- **To use my Eat Well Feel Great course baking mix, use 7.5-8 oz of course mix and add 4 oz (1/2 cup) of coconut or maple sugar to it. Please note, this recipe hasn’t been tested with this mix and may require some trial and error to find the perfect ratio.