Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake – Low Carb and Gluten-Free


Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake @dreamaboutfood A tender, sweet low carb coffee cake filled with cinnamon and drizzled with cream cheese glaze.

Sometimes I take a bit of one of my creations and I think to myself “I am really good at what I do”. That isn’t quite as self-aggrandizing as it may seem. Really, I am often just somewhat amazed at how I fell into this job, if you can even call it that. More to the point, I am often amazed at what I can create with ingredients I’d never even heard of only a few short years ago. And I seem to have gained an innate sense of the characteristics of my ingredients that allows me to combine them in new and different ways, mostly to great success. Admittedly, occasionally I fail tremendously, but I still learn something from every failure that helps me in future recipes. I don’t feel limited by my dietary restrictions, and in fact I’d say the opposite is true. They have opened up a whole new world of ingredients to me, and I daresay I am a better baker because of it.  I am more creative, more sure of myself…and I clearly have a healthy appreciation for my own work.

Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake @dreamaboutfood

There is true joy in being good at what you do.  I have been pretty good at a number of things in my life, some of which I even got paid to do.  I was a pretty great academic advisor in my day and I enjoyed that most of the time.  And at the time, I thought I’d work in higher education for the rest of my life.   Funny how life lays waste to the best laid, most carefully thought out plans.  In this case, for the better, because as much as I enjoyed dispensing academic advice to unappreciative college kids, it simply doesn’t compare to the enjoyment I derive from this blog.  I mean that with the utmost sincerity.  I love the whole process, from the initial recipe concept to the actual execution in the kitchen.  And then sharing it here with stories and pictures, and seeing what my readers think and if they have good results with it too.

Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake @dreamaboutfood

With that sort of lead in, I am sure you must think I came up with the most astonishing, most amazing low carb, gluten-free recipe ever.  The truth is that this actually yet another variation on my favourite low carb cake recipe.  That cake turned out so well and has come to have a life of its own; it’s spawned so many other recipes and I just keep thinking of more and more things to do with it.  The idea for a coffee cake based on cinnamon rolls popped into my head one day and I knew instantly that my almond crusted butter cake was the perfect base recipe.  It never fails me, that one.  It’s the perfect low carb yellow cake recipe, with a light, tender crumb, that it makes a perfect building block for other recipes.  A little cinnamon “sugar” baked into the middle of the cake, then brushing the hot cake with melted butter and sprinkling more cinnamon “sugar”, then a cream cheese icing drizzle and you have yourself low carb Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake.

And I really did bite into this Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake and think “yeah, I am really good at this”.  Call it egotistical if you will.  I just call it delicious.

Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake @dreamaboutfood

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Yield: 16 servings

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

A tender, sweet low carb coffee cake filled with cinnamon and drizzled with cream cheese glaze. Gluten-free and grain-free.


    Cinnamon Filling:
  • 3 tbsp Swerve Sweetener or granulated erythritol
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Cake:
  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup unflavoured whey protein powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup Swerve Sweetener or granulated erythritol
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 3 tbsp cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp powdered Swerve Sweetener or powdered erythritol
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325F and grease an 8x8 inch baking pan.
  2. For the filling, combine erythritol and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.
  3. For the cake, whisk together almond flour, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth. Add granulated erythritol and beat until lighter and well-combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at time, scraping down beaters and sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in vanilla extract.
  5. Beat in half of the almond flour mixture, then beat in almond milk. Beat in remaining almond flour mixture until well combined.
  6. Spread half of the batter in prepared pan, then sprinkle with about two thirds of the cinnamon filling mixture. Spread the remaining batter over top and smooth with a knife or an offset spatula.
  7. Bake 35 minutes, or until top is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.
  8. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon filling mixture. Let cool in pan.
  9. For the frosting, beat cream cheese, powdered erythritol, cream and vanilla extract together in a small bowl until smooth. Pipe or drizzle over cooled cake.


Serves 16. Each serving has 5.4 g of carbs and 2.2 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3.2 g.

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  1. Katharine says

    YUM!! Love that almond butter cake. I know I’ll love this one too! Our community (those with blood sugar issues or doing low carb for other reasons) needs passionate and intelligent recipe developers and story tellers! thanks, Carolyn, and keep it up!

  2. says

    There really is something so satisfying about finding something that you’re truly good at. Making money while doing it is just a bonus.

    This cake looks wonderful and I’m sure it would be fantastic with a cup of tea.

  3. Lorraine McGill says

    I just received an order of Swerve and have been looking for a great recipe to try it out. This looks perfect and I actually have all of the ingredients!

    In my “conventional” cinnamon roll recipe (which I don’t make any more), it calls for a little cocoa powder in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Gives it a little extra something. So I’ll probably still do that.

    On Step 6, you should start with “Spread half the batter…” or someone might accidentally pour it all in before they read the rest!

    Thanks for taking the time to make these amazing recipes!

      • Lorraine McGill says

        Made the cake and it is amazing! So moist and delicious. It is so nice to finally have a low-carb option for something sweet. I just couldn’t tolerate any other sugar substitutes. I’m so glad I discovered Swerve and, in turn, this recipe!

  4. Kimberly says

    This looks amazing and I want to make it right now. Any substitution suggestion for unflavored whey protein? Or should I just be patient to make this recipe until I get some.

    • Carolyn says

      Do you have any kind of protein powder? Even meringue powder (powdered egg whites) would help. You could use vanilla protein powder but it will taste somewhat different and have a strong vanilla flavour (in which case, skip the vanilla extract). If you don’t put in some extra protein, it won’t rise properly…mind you, it would still taste good!

      • Kimberly says

        Yeah, I have vanilla protein powder. I want this to turn out so I think I’m going to get some unflavored this weekend. Thanks for the reply and recipe!

  5. Diana says

    Hi Carolyn,

    I “discovered” (I know you weren’t lost, but maybe I was) you blog last week, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I believe you may have just changed my life.

    Probably not surprisingly, the first recipe of yours I tried was the crusted almond butter cake (so delicious!!!! THANK YOU!!!) promptly followed by your pumpkin/cardamom creation (it was my first time ever using cardamom, I found some green pods at my neighborhood grocery store that I then managed to peel and grind by hand – I suspect it may have had a stronger flavor than the pre-ground variety, but I still loved the cake). And, even with that small a samlpe size, I can absolutely agree with your assesement that you are very good at what you do, and I can’t wait to try this new recipe.

    You rock, lady!

  6. says

    It is so nice to hear you say that, because I think it about myself all the time. I know I’m a good cook (because of all the reasons you stated) and I know I’m a good writer. And while I dabble in French cooking on my blog, I’m starting to think that writing is going to be the thing that takes over. (I’m publishing my memoir, a chapter at a time on my blog each Monday, and plan to publish it before starting on the next book).

    But I have just as many insecurities as the next person. I think highly enough of myself, but hopefully not too much so. I’m happy to recognize the skills and talents in the person next to me, even when they are better than I am. But oh, when you find that groove and you just fall into it and you think – I could write (cook) forever and never grow tired of it – it is SUCH a great feeling. :-)

    And, by the way, as soon as I saw this recipe (before I even opened the post), I knew it was what I’d be making tonight for my guests. :-) You are skilled, my friend.

    • Carolyn says

      I’d forgotten that you write a blog too, so I just hopped on over. I read the When I Was a Princess post but couldn’t find a way to comment (I am not un-technical but I couldn’t see where to enter one). It’s lovely and YOU are lovely. Your stories are wonderful. I love the writing part too and part of what I love about food blogging is that it serves both loves so well.

      I need to start reading your memoir (memoire). I hope I can find you on Blog Lovin so I can follow at regular intervals.

  7. says

    HA! I had no idea you were an academic advisor. I could totally see that. I’ve always loved a good coffee cake but so rarely make them because E and I will totally devour the whole things ourselves. But the next time I’m going to a brunch, I know what I’m making!

  8. Darlene Sudderth says

    Hello Carolyn!! I baked this cake today and I must say…it was soooo gooood!! I followed your recipe exactly except I added my leftover sugarfree/cinnamon topping that I had (made too much) and mixed it into the cream cheese icing. I piped that on top and this was great. I cut it into small bars…about 15 or so, to keep myself from eating it all. I can stop at 2 or three if I set my mind up to it. Thank you for another great recipe!! WuuuHuuu!!

  9. says

    Hi Carolyn,
    I think it’s pretty obvious that you do a number of things quite well! Besides being a fabulous writer and story teller, you are an incredible cook and recipe developer and we in the blogosphere are only too appreciative for your abilities and creativty! Thanks so much for being a passionate food writer and blogger! Our low carb GAPS diet world is a tastier and better place because of you!

    Thanks for All You Do!

  10. Kimberly says

    Ran out last night just too get some unflavored whey protein. Promptly baked this first thing this morning. Just had to pop back in to tell you how delicious it is. Thanks!

  11. Pansy says

    Made this today, looks so yummy (I say looks because it’s too pretty to cut!) I will be cutting tonight and hubby and I will be having it for dessert! I’m trying to get things baked and put into the freezer for lunches this summer on the few days I have off!

    • Carolyn says

      Not off the top of my head. A quick hand calculation of my ingredients and I think it’s about 8 or 9 g per serving. But I haven’t put them all into a program.

  12. says

    I am so glad to have found your blog. I have just started a gluten-free/sugar-free lifestyle and am very excited about the healthy possibilities for my family! I can’t wait to read through and try some of your recipes and to learn to create my own as I change my baking habits.

  13. Dita says

    There you go again. Another fantastic remake of our favorite taste. I agree with others that you are a wonderful cook and your blogging is very enjoyable. Thanks again.

  14. Pam says

    This is a fabulous recipe Carolyn…thank you once again for your baking talent and expertise, and your generosity in sharing!

  15. Mary in Louisiana says

    Just made this, yummm. I love cinnamon so I will up the cinnamon for my taste. Do use *great cinnamon* from Penzeys or others. They have a blend of 4 that is wonderful. I personally favor the very strong Vietnamese

  16. Marcia says

    Wonderful!!! I took it to the cafe at our church – all rave reviews and multiple people asking for the recipe (directed to your site of course). I had to cook mine longer – might be my oven as I have seen that with other recipes. I LOVE all your creations!!

  17. Beverly says

    Oh my word. I made this for breakfast today and think it’s the best coffee cake I’ve EVER had, not just among the gluten-free, low-carb crowd. I’d never used whey protein in baking before and was a little put off by the expense, but I had faith in your recipe and am SO glad I tried it.

    • Carolyn says

      Thanks, Beverly. The protein powder really does help the consistency and getting a proper rise!

  18. says

    I made this cake over the weekend and I must say…FANTASTIC! Even though I only had vanilla flavored protein powder and somehow I ended up forgetting to put the salt into the batter, the cake turned out SO SO GOOD. My husband even said it was the BEST low carb I’ve ever made. Thank you so much Carolyn, for sharing this recipe. xo

  19. Roberta in Alberta says

    Hi Carolyn,

    This is delicious! I am not a big fan of too much cinnamon and this recipe has just the right amount to compliment the cake, but not overwhelm it.

    I have the most enviable ingredient in my arsenal…powdered vanilla straight out of a friend’s suitcase from his recent trip to Madagascar. The cream cheese frosting proved the perfect partner.


  20. AM says

    Made this and it was sooooo good. Just finished up the last of it. I didn’t have unflavored protein powder, but used egg white powder and worked great. Also, I love cinnamon and used the stronger Vietnamese cinnamon too. Delicious! Thanks for another great recipe!

  21. Carole says

    Lovely work! Would you be happy to link it in to the current Food on Friday which is all about cakes? This is the link . There are lots of great links there already. I do hope to see you there. Cheers

  22. Barb says

    I’ve been following your blog for quite a while now and have made many of your recipes, mostly successful. I made this coffee cake this morning and it was OUTSTANDING! I did make a few changes, just because of the ingredients I had on hand. I used almond meal, not almond flour (I get in in bulk at Sprouts here in San Diego County. This last batch I bought was very light in color–maybe fewer skins?), only had vanilla whey protein powder so used that but left out the vanilla. My husband and I could not believe how good it was, and I didn’t even make the frosting!!! We have a bit left (for tomorrow) so I’m thinking I’ll be making another batch tomorrow. Thank you SO MUCH for all the great recipes–you are an inspiration!!!!

  23. carol says

    Hi Carolyn. I must admit I only scanned the comments so please forgive me if this has already been asked. Do you think this could be made in muffin tins for individual servings?

    • Carolyn says

      Probably, but either grease the muffin tin very well or line it with paper liners to keep it from sticking!

      • Carol says

        Thanks. Can’t wait to try it. We are doing a let Cinco de Mayo (Ocho de Junio) & I wanted something cinnamony.

    • Carolyn says

      I’ve never heard of pea protein. Obviously the strawberry flavoured will make your final result a little strawberry flavoured. Not sure, but you could try either.

  24. shangella says

    This was my first baking recipe from your blog. I loved this cake (considering it’s made with almond flower). I am an atkins adherent and this is perfect for a non-cheat treat! I have a friend allergic to gluten, I can’t wait to make this for her! :)

    Only down side is the cake costs nearly 15$ to make…. everything is more expensive in Canada heh!

  25. Stacy says

    I know you can appreciate this … I loved the texture of this cake, so I modified it to make chocolate donuts. To the cake recipe, I added about a 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, decided it was not enough, then added 1 ounce melted unsweetened chocolate, ramped up the swerve and stevia glycerite, added 1/2 tbsp of psyillium husk, used chocolate almond milk, and chocolate protein powder … and viola … wonderful chocolate donuts. Even my picky daughter who eschews my grain free creations loved it. We topped it off with your peppermint icing for one kid and chocolate glaze for the other two.

  26. Nita says

    Delicious cake! I only had 1 cup of almond flour, so I cut the recipe to a third and baked it in a 7×4 pan. For the sweetner, I used a mix of tagatose (3 tbsp) and erythritol (1 tbsp). I’m not a big fan of the cooling effect of erythritol, and tagatose is slightly sweeter and has absolutely no aftertaste or cooling effect. I’m at high altitude and my cake sank in the middle, but nevertheless, it was delicious and moist. I liked it best at room temperature with a nice layer of the cream cheese frosting. Thanks so much for the recipe :)

  27. says

    I made this last night and really enjoyed it. Mine needed 10 more minutes in the oven. The frosting seemed unnecessary. Reminded me of donuts, somehow, it was just that moist and tender.

  28. Jen says

    This coffee cake is fabulous! I ate the entire pan by myself in six days and even on that sixth day is was still moist. Thanks for a great recipe.

  29. lisa says

    I made this cake and substituted almond flour with coconut flour, used organic cream in place of almond milk and it was amaziiiing.. Yum!!! Thank you for your beautiful recipes

  30. Tammy says

    I just picked up my first bag of Swerve but it’s the powdered type. Is there any reason why the powdered type couldn’t be substituted in the cinnamon filling and the cake part too?
    And if so, would I use the same amount as in the recipe?

  31. says

    I made this cake yesterday for a friend who is recent to gluten free no carb eating. He’s rather depressed about the lack of goodies. He was blown away by how great this cake was. As was I. Moist, delicious and full of yumminess. Thank you!

  32. ilyse says

    YOU ARE GREAT AT WHAT YOU DO! This cake was BY FAR the best low carb baked cake I have ever made! Thank you so much!

  33. Roxanna Stanley says

    I’m glad you are good at what you do. That frees up my time considerably. Lol. Thank goodness for Pinterest. That’s how I found you. Keep it up.

  34. Karen says

    Made this this morning…I just wanted something coffeecakey and this recipe is fantastic!
    I bought the Honeyville almond flour and it does bake up lighter than Bob’s Red Mill. I also love that Swerve didn’t have any chemical aftertaste which Splenda does whenever I’ve baked with it. It tastes more like sugar. I used vanilla protein powder and then substituted
    english toffee sugar free syrup for the vanilla…didn’t even bother with the cream cheese glaze, this cake is so moist. Thank you Carolyn for once again keeping me on low carb track without feeling deprived. This is a keeper!

  35. Linda says

    Thank you for such a delicious low-carb coffee cake, I made it this morning for a special Sunday breakfast. Being diabetic, I have missed baked treats. No more deprivation, :-) Maybe the best part is that my husband liked it; he never likes anything I make with almond flour.

  36. Joey says

    Just made this for my daughter and myself for our Sunday morning brunch. BRAVO! Carolyn it was delicious! My daughter even gave it two thumbs up!

  37. Jenn says

    I am a HUGE coffee cake addict. I have also been living la vida low-carb for over the last year. Every time I have fallen off of my low-carb lifestyle it is due to the sweet, buttery, deliciousness of a coffee cake. Which leads to more coffee cake…and then some more….and then a week (or two) later I wake up from my coffee cake binge questioning why my pants no longer fit.

    I have tried at least 6 different low carb recipes for coffee cake. All of them have left MUCH to be desired. But this! THIS amazing coffee cake has made my dreams come true! I am SO pleased with the result. I made it last night, had a piece for dessert, and another piece for breakfast. I am SO incredibly happy I cannot even fully express my gratitude and joy.

    THANK YOU!!!!!!

    I cannot wait to try more of your delicious recipes!

    • Carolyn says

      Well, I am very, very happy to have helped you back ONTO the wagon and yet fulfill your desire for coffee cake! :)

  38. Katharine says

    Finally made this for Easter breakfast! Even my mom (who often thinks my baked goods taste weird) thought this tasted “totally normal and yummy.” :) I might add a smidge more cinnamon next time bc I adore cinnamon. Great recipe! Thanks!

  39. Sasha says

    This cake is just wonderful! It hasn’t even cooled yet and my fussy husband has already asked for two more tastes. 😀

  40. Jennifer says

    The hubs and I have decided to go low-carb to shed a few pounds and to just eat healthier. Of course we have to have some kind of sweets to satisfy our sweet tooth though! I’ve tried a few other low-carb desserts that were totally gross to us, but oh thank heavens we came across this coffee cake!! IT WAS DELICIOUS!!! So moist, flavorful! It had the perfect texture — just like real cake! Not mushy or spongy at all like some others we’ve tried. Even the kids tried it and they loved it! I’m thinking I’ll have to make this one quite often! Thanks so much for the recipe!!!

  41. Christina Wilson says

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THIS IS LOW CARB? I made this yesterday and I cannot tell you how excited I am that I have a go-to low carb desert now. The texture of the cake was perfect; the icing, perfect; the cinnamon, perfect. I was prepared for a grainy and unpleasantly dry texture, but the moisture and texture were very nice. Thank you so much for this recipe.

  42. SA says

    H i there, it looks delicious! Gonna give it a try tonight. We don’t get Swerve or Erythritol, can I use Xylotol, Agave sugar or Stevia instead (and how much)? I’m new to GF and low carb, and scared of experimenting after a few flops, lol. Thank you! :)

    • Carolyn says

      I think you can use xylitol and in the same amount as I used Swerve but I can’t guarantee it as I have never tried it myself.

  43. tess says

    i’m drooling, just reading the recipe and comments. :-) gotta try to use your crockpot cake technique, so it’ll be fresh-baked when i get up in the morning….

    thanks for all your great ideas!

  44. Amy says

    Seriously…..the BEST coffee cake I’ve made. It was so moist and fluffy unlike most baked goods using these ingredients. Even passed the husband/kids test….they loved it too. Definitely will be my go to coffee cake recipe….thank you!!!

  45. Amy says

    Hi Carolyn! I was so excited to try this recipe, but I wanted to plug in the numbers to find out the calories first, and Livestrong’s MyPlate came up with these nutrient stats:

    This is just for the coffee cake and not the icing.

    This is showing that each square (1/16th of the pan) is 19.9g carbs with 2.4g fiber. How did you arrive at the numbers you posted? (5.4 g of carbs and 2.2 g of fiber)

    With the swerve alone, approximately 45 servings (tsp) would be 225 carbs, or 14g per square. Are you using a brand of swerve that has less than 5g carbs per tsp? If so, let me know! Otherwise, this is a little too carb-heavy for my low-carb diet.


    • Carolyn says

      I do not count the carbs in Swerve, as most low carb dieters do not. Why? Because they don’t affect the blood sugar at all. I have tested this on myself over and over (I am pre-diabetic and have a glucose monitor). But my nutritional software cannot compute “erythritol” out so I have to leave it out altogether. I have stated this in several places on my blog, but each person must decide for themselves. You should check out the Swerve website and also the many studies on erythritol that show that the “carbs” in it are completely non-effective.

      • Amy says

        Thanks for clearing that up, that’s great news! I just found your website and am pretty new to the low-carb world, so I’m thrilled to find that out. With that, I’ll be baking this ASAP! Can’t wait!

        • Carolyn says

          Definitely try it out and see what you think. Other sugar alcohols tend to have some glucose response but for some reason, erythritol just doesn’t. Still, all sweets are meant to be a treat so use sparingly 😉

  46. Stella Laurel says

    i am having trouble with the baking time. I have had it in the I’ve. For 55 minutes and it’s still not done in the middle.

    • Carolyn says

      Strange. Sounds like your oven must run below temperature or some other factor like this. No one else has indicated this problem. I hope it cooked through eventually!

  47. Shannon says

    Is there anything I could sub for the protein powder? Gelatin? We don’t generally consume protein powder due to personal preference but I want to try this recipe!

  48. Alec Akerele says

    This recipe was amazing. I served it at work and people couldn’t keep their hands off it! I only told them after it was gone that it was 3 carbs per serving. #KetoLife

  49. Donna says

    I was disappointed. What did I do wrong? Could it be that I used Almond meal/flour? It was kinda crumbly and not moist at all. I followed the recipe exactly. I’m so missing bakery items. Do you have any suggestions? I did buy some more Almond meal today that looked to me more fine. it has extra fine on the bag.

    • Carolyn says

      Yup, it’s very likely the coarser almond meal. Did you change anything else? What sweetener did you use?

  50. Tatiana says

    I have made this a few times as written and it is perfect!!! I was craving this the other day but didn’t have protein powder so I made up a sub based on what I’ve read in other recipes. Instead of the protein powder I used 1 Tbls coconut flour and 1 tsp xantham gum. It worked great!! I don’t scientifically know if I actually did anything to change the consistency lol but it did turn out great. Sunk a little in the middle but I think that was because I needed to bake it a wee bit longer.

  51. Amanda K says

    I don’t have unflavored whey, would a stevia sweetened vanilla isolate work? If I scaled back the sweetener a bit

  52. Amanda says

    How crumbly is this cake? Would I be able to line the pan with parchment paper and take it out of the pan after baking?

    • Amanda says

      (disregard that comment) I actually ended up making this in a round spring form pan with parchment on the bottom piece. It turned out great! & I am able to serve it looking oh so lovely on a cake stand.
      Thanks for a wonderful recipe Carolyn!

    • Carolyn says

      It’s not any more crumbly than regular cake. Yes, you can do that, just be sure to let it completely cool before trying to lift it or it will bend and break.

  53. Molly says

    Yessss. I am so making this. I will use sunflower flour (allergic to almonds), so it will be kind of green-ish but I don’t care!!!


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