Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake

This is about as decadent as it gets around here!

Here’s a re-creation of an old-fashioned coffee cake, a version with a delicious chewy-crunchy streusel topping.

I’ve specified xylitol as the sweetener in the topping, as it is the most compatible sweetener for the streusel “crumb” effect and browning.

Variations are easy. For example, for an apple pecan coffee cake, add a layer of finely-chopped or sliced apples to the cake batter and topping.

Additional potential carbohydrate exposure comes from the garbanzo bean flour and molasses. However, distributed into 10 slices, each slice provides 7.2 grams “net” carbs (total carbs minus fiber), a perfectly tolerable amount. Be careful not to exceed two slices!

Yield 10 slices

2½ cups almond flour
½ cup garbanzo bean flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
Sweetener equivalent to ¾ cup sugar
Dash sea salt

3 eggs separated
3/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 ounces butter, melted
Juice of ½ lemon

½ cup almond flour
¼ cup pecans, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ cup xylitol
1 tablespoon molasses
6 ounces butter, cut into ½-inch widths, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 325º F. Grease bread pan.

In bowl, combine almond flour, garbanzo flour, cinnamon, baking soda, sweetener, salt, and mix.

In small bowl, whip egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. At low speed, blend in egg yolks, vanilla, melted butter, and lemon juice.

Pour liquid mixture into almond mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour into microwave-safe bread pan and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.

To make topping, combine almond flour, pecans, cinnamon, xylitol, and molasses in small bowl and mix. Mix in butter

Spread topping on cake. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick withdraws dry.

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63 Responses to Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake

  1. True coffee aficionados know a lot about coffee. They know the raw, unpicked beans are called “cherries” because of the sweet coating and red skin that protects them and builds their sweetness. They know that acidity in coffee is a good thing. And they know that dark roast really applies to the roasting—not to the depth or flavor of the bean itself.

    • CJ says:

      OMG a WBer and a coffee snob! We roast our own but couldn’t bring any green beans back from Kona due to the beetle issue, so we settle for Bay View!

  2. Neicee says:

    Hi Dev, I cut most of the wheat out before going cold turkey with no sugar New Year’s Day. Didn’t touch a sweet anything, including stevia, until June 1st. After the first day, and pounding down lots of sunflower seeds and regular nuts I was over it. Knowing my craving for sugars of all varieties I was afraid of reigniting those and slipping back into old habits.

  3. Nancy McGowan says:

    Once again, thank you Dr. D. This Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake was a “home run, hit out of the park!” All Wheat-Belliers at work are so thrilled about this recipe. We shared it at lunch today and everyone was amazed at the texture, the flavor, the totally satisfying experience; even the non-WBs were impressed. Maybe they will join us! We have lost weight, lost acne, lost high blood sugar and high blood pressure; lost loose stools and constipation; lost sinus infections, lost colds and bronchitis; lost acid relux, lost fatigue, lost depression and anxiety. We have gained HEALTH in all formsand we’re having fun at work again! Thank you again and will give the cookbook as gifts to all!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Well that made my day, Nancy!

      I am no chef, nor cook, nor gourmet. But I am thrilled at how satisfying it is to create a recipe from scratch that works out wonderfully in the ktichens of other people!

  4. Cathy M. says:

    My husband and I are almost one week wheat free and I have a question about almond and flaxseed fours. My husband was diagnosed with diverticulitis about a year ago and was told not to eat nuts or seeds (which is terrible for him because he loves them). He is concerned that the main flours in all of these recipes are ground almond and flaxseed. Do you think this will be a potential problem for him and do you have any experience with wheat perhaps indeed causing diverticulitis symptoms?
    Thanks for your help!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      If your husband’s gastroenterologist has been advocating cutting nuts and seeds, well, he is woefully out of date.

      This fits with cutting your fats, Chubby Checkers, and dancing the Lindy: WAY out of date, more recently debunked. Problem: Much medical “education” is not via the scientific literature, but via the sexy sales rep in the waiting room.

      Nuts and seeds are good for everybody. While it may indeed provoke a flareup in the short-run, it benefits in the long run.

  5. TJ says:

    Any connection to PCOS? I have poly-cystic ovaries. I had headaches, ran 12 miles four days a week, lifted weights, and was getting fatter and fatter, had breast tumors… got on metformin and menstrual cycles returned, acne cleared up, got off the medication for migraines and dropped weight. But, when I lived in Japan, where wheat intake dropped (?) I dropped more than 10 lbs! I was able to cut back my metformin to half the dose. However, I WAS still eating bread. Is the wheat different in Asia? Is it due to lower utilization in other foodstuffs generally?

    The last two years back in USA my weight is up 11lbs with terrible bloating and occasional pain. I had fatigue that I thought was situation depression, had terrible burning pain in lower Left Quadrant that has continued un-diagnosed… I’m feeling that the metformin is now contributing to my carbohydrate (wheat) sensitivity….


    • Dr. Davis says:

      Losing the wheat is indeed very helpful for PCOS, especially in reducing weight to help restore sensitivity to insulin.

      The wheat is different everywhere, but is nearly all some strain of semi-dwarf. Wheat is consumed in much smaller portions in Japan, as you know. However, as time goes on, even foods like soba noodles are increasingly wheat-based.

  6. Mary says:

    Can I just use 3 cups of almond flour because I do not have ½ cup garbanzo bean flour ? We are dying to try this recipe ,I have all other ingredients .

  7. Cammie says:

    This is a terrific recipe! I found it quite tasty and filling as well. My hubby really liked it too. Always nice to make something we both like. Someone asked about bread pan vs pie pan, as the recipe states bread paid but the photo looks like a pie pan was used. I suspect this was basically an editing error. I used a pie pan and found it the perfect depth and cooked all the way through in the middle. Also I discovered I didn’t have enough butter so I used coconut oil in the batter and butter for the streusel. I think it added to the flavor. Dr. D, would you say that coconut oil and butter are interchangeable in this recipe?

    Thanks again for such a stellar recipe. It’s nice to get back in the kitchen and bake up a tasty and fragrant treat on a rainy afternoon!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yes, I used a pie pan the three times I tested the recipe. Did I say “bread” pan? Ooops!

      Yes, butter and coconut oil are virtually interchangeable on a tablespoon-for-tablespoon basis in my experience.

  8. Debbie says:

    Hello Dr Davis,
    Just made this recipe and have found that the base is just a loose crumbly mess. Any suggestions? The taste is grand however, just very dry and loose and the topping is just a very thin layer on a 2″ thick base.
    Thanks and it’s been fun trying your recipes.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Don’t know, Debbie, except that it makes me wonder whether you left something out–eggs, butter?

      If this recurs, consider adding another egg, some more butter/coconut oil, i.e., liquid to make a thicker, more cohesive batter.

  9. Darcy says:

    I got the second book and the chocolate bars seem to be missing a liquid ingredient – eggs or something? It was just all dry ingredients nothing to make bar consistency.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      What “second book” are you referring to, Darcy? The real “second book,” the Wheat Belly Cookbook, has not yet been released.

  10. Bernadette says:

    So I’d like to make this for Christmas morning, but I’m confused about the amount of xylitol. I have the small packets and I can’t imagine how many it would take to measure 1/2 cup! Should this be xylitol equivalent to 1/2 cup sugar or do I really need that much xylitol?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      I wouldn’t use the packets, Bernadette. Instead, buy by the pound bag.

      Also, most sweeteners in packets are mostly filler, usually maltodextrin, which is sugar in a form that is often responsible for rises in blood sugar, tooth decay, as well as cramps and diarrhea.

  11. Valerie says:

    Love your book and would like to try the recipes except one small thing. I don’t have a microwave, I think they are about as welcome in my life as wheat. Could you also include options for stovetop or oven baking in addition to the microwave directions, please? Thank you!

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Nearly all recipes can be adapted to the oven, Valerie, but may need to be tested for cooking time and temperature.

  12. Kim says:

    My friend and I made this recipe last week! It really does taste super good, but the ‘woody’ aftertaste and the runs from the Xylitol were a huge disappointment. But, we kept eating it! LOL. Will try to substitute Stevia or Truvia, or maybe no sugar substitute, and see if it helps!