Paleo-ified Starbucks Coffee (Birthday) Cake

Due to autoimmune diseases that run in my family, I started eating gluten-free about three and a half years ago.  I’d noticed an improvement in my health (and a severe reaction upon the reintroduction of gluten), and this led me to doing more research about diet and autoimmune diseases, and I found myself eating according to the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) last year.  Essentially AIP is a diet that removes probable food allergens and cross-reactors from the diet, and emphasizes eating nutrient dense foods that will help the body calm the immune system and begin to heal itself.

Although I’ve been doing well on this diet for a few years now, it was only earlier this year that I convinced my sister to jump on board.  She suffers from different autoimmune conditions than I do, but has had a significant improvement to certain aspects of her health eating this way as well.  It has been a bit more of a struggle for her to adapt to this new way of eating, and she still misses foods from before changing her diet.  Last year I made her the chocolate cake from the Real Life Paleo cookbook, and was planning on doing so again until she mentioned that the one thing she has been really missing is the coffee crumble cake from Starbucks.  She even sent me a recipe for something she thought would be good.  Unfortunately, the recipe uses several (and by several I mean nearly all) ingredients that would not be workable for either of us, so I had to get creative.  The one thing that really saved this recipe for me was the discovery of Otto’s Cassava Flour – it is amazing!  So here is what I came up with:



YIELD 1 9×13 baking dish



  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Make topping by combining 1 cup flour with coconut sugar, a half cup of melted coconut oil and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl. Mixture should have the consistency of moist sand. Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans.
  • In a large bowl, cream together 1 cup non-melted coconut oil and 1 1/4 cup coconut sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add this dry mixture to the moist ingredients a little bit at a time. Add coconut milk and mix well.
  • Spoon the batter into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan that has been oiled and dusted with a light coating of flour.
  • Sprinkle the crumb topping over the batter. Be sure the topping completely covers the batter.
  • Bake cake for 45 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn light brown. Cool and slice into 8 pieces.
  • Serves 8.
               Cake batter before going in the oven. Fairly thick and dense.
                                                               Crumble topping.
                                                  Cake, just out of the oven.
              Starbucks inspired birthday coffee crumble cake, paleo-style.

A few notes:

  1. I’m lazy so I just added all the batter ingredients into the same bowl and mixed them with a spoon.  This seemed to work fine.
  2. I used duck eggs because I’ve noticed that I tend to have an aggressively severe reaction to chicken eggs the last few times I’ve eaten them.  I was going to try to figure out an egg substitute, but I’d recently listened to a podcast where one of the speakers mentioned that vaccines are commonly grown on egg albumin, which may account for the high egg intolerance in modern society.  I had an ah-ha moment and thought duck eggs might be a workaround to my issues.  Luckily, I didn’t die after eating a piece of cake.  I think I may still be having a slight reaction to the duck eggs, but nothing nearly as severe as with the chicken eggs, so these may be a work around for future baking endeavors.
  3. My mother thought that it was a bit dry, but I think I just used a bit too much of the crumble topping, so my advice is to use enough to cover the top of the cake, but not so much that there is a thick layer of it.

Considering that this was the first time I’ve used cassava flour, and this entire recipe was me figuring out substitute ingredients on the fly, I’m really pleased with how well this turned out.  I’m excited about the potential cooking experiments that cassava flour has opened, but the best part is my sister loved it!  Happy birthday!

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