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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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Terry Duncan

    OH– sounds so yummy – How do you ever have time to do these things? Can’t wait for your cookbook!!! Get me some coffee — I’m on the trail!!

    • tteamotter

      i have questions concerning xylitol and the other sugar alcohols. where have these been all my life? what are they? how are they made? why don’t they evaporate when cooked if they are “alcohols”? where can they be purchased? how do we know they are “safe”?

  2. Sure does Terry!!!

    I had bought a VitaMix earlier this year.. brought it with us on our trip (we make green shakes) and last night I was on Amazon checking out getting the “dry” container for it.. for making my own flours etc.
    Don’t know what I’d do without my VitaMix.. it’s just amazing for throwing all kinds of goodies in it and “wham”.. a drink!!!
    Looking forward to digging into the recipes.. and REALLY looking forward to your cookbook Dr. D. !!

  3. CJ

    Sounds yummy. By the way, I made trail bars again last weekend and used half figs/half dates, very good. I quadruple the recipe and have amounts listed in gram weight for this (also have carb. content per bar is there somewhere I can post). I have found lining an 8″ x 8″ pan with plastic wrap, then spreading the mixture out evenly and flipping onto parchment covered sheet for baking then cutting into 8ths, is easy and gives me consistent sized bars!


    ps glad you got some more National exposure, tough to get out enough information in such a short segment. If you need a media/communications coach, I volunteer! (57, have lost >35#, and helping my post heart attack husband, who has lost 70# we actually started before WB w/TYP)

  4. Buckeye Peach

    Sounds wonderful, I LOVE pecan rolls!!! Can you substitute coconut flour for the garbanzo flour, and if so, how much should you use?

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, but you might get a bit denser end product.

      I haven’t tested it, but you might try something like 2-3 tablespoons.

  5. Robynn

    I also had a question about substituting for the garbanzo flour. I figured if I use coconut flour I should add extra eggs and/or liquid…but what about using chestnut flour? Might that not be a tasty substitute, as well (particularly since I have some in my pantry and not any garbanzo flour)? Or is there something about the garbanzo flour that is necessary for the recipe to work?

    • Dr. Davis

      Chestnut is okay, but tends to provide a potential carbohydrate over-exposure. So I would not use it as a primary flour, but a minor component, kind of like the garbanzo.

  6. Jeanie Cutts

    Sounds delicious, but I just want to remind people how deadly xylitol is to dogs. I have 2 dogs, and won’t even have it in the house, you just never know when they might accidently consume something you made with xylitol, and they can die from a very small amount. I use erythitrol, which is also granular.

    • CJ

      It’s Dr. D’s recipe, just search this site: trail bars. Recipe is for two bars (I make 8 @ a time). I have messed around adding different fruits, seeds, and less sweetener (xylitol). We really like the addition of figs (of course we both grew-up when Fig Newtons were the cookie to have in your lunch & Ohio natives – birthplace of the original Fig cookie. Newton named for a town in Mass. not the scientist).

  7. MissyMonyPenny

    Sounds yummy, can’t wait to try it! I soo miss
    coffee cake when Fall & Winter are here.
    Holding still at 28 lbs this year, hoping to get
    to 50 by end of year but I hit plateaus often
    keeping to 50 carbs per day.
    Going back to no meat for a few weeks to see if I can
    start losing past this latest set point. It worked
    early this year for me. I may be dairy sensitive
    & I do eat cheese but not in excess everyday
    all day so I’m not sure what is stalling me. Also
    getting plenty of CO & other good fats. Any thgts?
    I’m open to suggestions, tests say Thyroid is fine.

    • tteamotter

      i have questions concerning xylitol and the other sugar alcohols. where have these been all my life? what are they? how are they made? why don’t they evaporate when cooked if they are “alcohols”? where can they be purchased? how do we know they are “safe”?

      • Buckeye Peach

        You can get good quality xylitol from They also sell very good almond meal, sunflower seeds, and coconut flour, as well as lots of other items. They also have flat rate shipping of $4.49.

      • CJ

        (my kids are Motters) I use xylitol, although sparingly trying not to stimulate my sweet tooth. I have done some reading on “safety” so far for most people it has tested ok but who knows what the future may hold? I buy from Xylitolusa and Xylipro (natures provision) both seem to have competitive pricing. The first is US made from Birch the second (not sure of country of origin) from corn. I have read Birch xylitol tastes better, I find I prefer the Xylipro (I just have some fear it may be of China origin, thus I switch them up). Everything I have purchased has been in granulated form which I have sometimes blended fine for a powdered consistency.
        I use for nuts, seeds, grain meal & flours, dried fruit, cacao nibs/powder & bulk spices; Penzey’s for Vietnamese cinnamon & speciality smaller quantity spices.
        Buckeye Peach, are you an Ohioan living in Georgia??

    • Dr. Davis

      Are you truly sure they are “fine,” Missy?

      Feel free to post here and we can see! More often than not, they are NOT!

  8. Robert Gagnon

    I have 3 questions for Dr.Davis,

    1-As most people know, the french people (in France) consume a great quantity of bread an other wheat derivatives like croissants, pastry etc.
    They always have a baguette under the arm.
    Yet they are not affected by the wheat belly syndrome like most of the north american people.
    How do you explain this situation, is it a question metabolism,genes or else.

    2- In one your recipies, you mention the use of Splenda as a sweetener.
    To my knowledge, Splenda is like aspartane, not a recommendable chemial additive in food processing.
    3-My wife as arythmy and takes regularly blood thinners.
    In changing diet and switching to wheat free environment, is there a chance that her arythmy problem can be resolved.

    • Dr. Davis

      This question about the French and Italians comes up just about every day, Robert, so I will address in an upcoming FAQ.

      Splenda is my last choice of sweetener. I try to write recipes that most people can follow, and this includes people in rural Canada, Wyoming, and New Zealand, for instance, who often do not have access to the variety of sweeteners that many of us have, such as stevia.

      Yes, some people experience improvement of their atrial fibrillation, premature atrial contractions, and premature ventricular contractions, though it is somewhat unpredictable.

  9. Anne

    Could you please give us the equivalent to stovetop cooking where a microwave is used. I do not own a microwave. Thanks. I really want to try this Coffeecake.

    • Dr. Davis

      Just bake another 5-10 minutes, Anne, until the toothpick withdraws dry.

      The microwave just increases rise, but you can do without it.

  10. Ed

    Any suggestions for alternatives to almond flour? Seems that most low carb baked goodies feature almond flour. I am severely allergic to almond.

    I have made one “cookie” recipe by grinding up pecans in a food processor, with some success, but the granularity is the same as commercially ground almond flour.


    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, ground pecans work, as do walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, coconut flour, and garbanzo bean flour.

    • Deb

      A friend just made me a wonderful low carb cake using toasted and then ground pecans. So try toasting them in the oven first then grinding and using. The cake did not taste granular like almond flour can do. She also ground them up in a coffee grinder so maybe that gets a finer grind.
      I have yet to try it myself so that is all I can tell you.

  11. Katie

    This sounds great, can’t wait to try it. The recipe says to use a bread pan but your photo looks like a pie wedge. Did you use a pie pan or can it be made in one?

  12. Maggie

    Kay, I was wondering the same thing. Coffee Cake has coffee in it – same for chocolate cake, lemon cake, etc. I thought the coffee had been missed out of the recipe. In the past I have made Coffee and Walnut Cake and I thought this would be a good substitute. Shame it’s not Coffee Cake.

  13. JSD

    Thanks Dr. I’m hesitant to use my microwave after reading Dr. Emoto’s book, “The Secret Life of Water.” I appreciate the oven baking only option posted in the comments below.
    p.s. If you post a recipe for TEAcakes, make sure you mention that tea is not an ingredient in teacakes.

  14. Sean

    I apologize if you have gotten this question before, but I can’t seem to find a definite answer. There are some Celiac websites that tell people to avoid Wheat, Barley, Rye and Oats. On the Wheat Belly “diet,” we should clearly stop eating all wheat. Should we also stop eating all forms of Barley Rye and Oats?

    • Dr. Davis

      Wheat Belly is not primarily aimed at the celiac nor gluten-sensitive community, though they clearly overlap.

      Barley, oats, and rye at primarily gluten issues. But they also represent excessive carbohydrate loads. So most of us avoid them for the carbohydrate issue, not the gluten issue. A bit confusing, I know.

  15. Sara

    I’ve been wheat free for about a week now. I feel great. I have so much energy and I am not eating as much as I usually do. I’ve been satisfied with eating around 1600 calories a day! You’re totally right- that’s about 400 calories less than I usually ate. The only problem is: I’ve been experiencing constipation! What is up with that?

    • Dr. Davis

      You may be experiencing a delay in converting to healthy bowel flora after decades of disrupted flora from consumption of wheat.

      The quickest remedy for most people: a high-potency probiotic, e.g., 50 billion CFUs per day, for several weeks. It accelerates the transition to healthy bowel flora.

  16. Dev

    I don’t find getting off wheat difficult. For me sugar is the drug so id rather get off sugar than wheat. Confused I guess. For me it makes more sense to follow Atkins style because it’s more of a no sugar program.

  17. 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

      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!

  18. Neicee

    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.

  19. Nancy McGowan

    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

      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!

  20. Cathy M.

    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

      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.

  21. TJ

    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

      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.

  22. Mary

    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 .

  23. Cammie

    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

      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.

  24. Debbie

    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

      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.

  25. Darcy

    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

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

  26. Bernadette

    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

      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.

  27. Valerie

    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

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

  28. Kim

    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!