Vegan Hazelnut Espresso Coffee Cake Muffins

Most so-called coffee cakes are meant to be eaten with coffee, but they don’t contain any. But this one is an exception, because it actually has coffee in the batter. Plus, technically it’s not a cake, it’s muffins. And it’s vegan. So it’s definitely not your typical coffee cake. But if you closed your eyes and tasted a bite, I bet you would have no idea about either of those things.

Hazelnut espresso coffee cake muffins. So good you'd never guess that they're vegan!

This is one of my first experiments in fully veganizing a baking recipe, and it was a wild success. And it wasn’t difficult, although I did have to do a little research on substitutions. If you’re not a vegan baker, you can find the original recipe here.

Hazelnut espresso coffee cake muffins. So good you'd never guess that they're vegan!

It wasn’t enough for me to do one set of conversions, I also converted the original recipe from a coffee cake into muffins. Partly because muffins sound healthier, because they don’t usually have the word “cake” in them (although these still do), but also because I didn’t have the tube pan that the coffee cake recipe called for. Also, if I’m eating cake, I can just eat “one more more teeny slice,” but a muffin is pre-portioned. Who am I kidding, that hasn’t stopped me from eating way more than my fair share of these coffee cake muffins since I baked them, though.

Hazelnut espresso coffee cake muffins. So good you'd never guess that they're vegan!

Do you know the best thing about vegan baking? You can eat as much of the batter as you want, without worrying about raw eggs.

Hazelnut espresso coffee cake muffins. So good you'd never guess that they're vegan!

Hazelnut Espresso Coffee Cake Muffins

Makes 16 to 18 muffins.

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread)
1/2 cup coconut oil
3 egg substitutes – I used one flax egg*, and two eggs-worth of Bob’s Red Mill vegan egg replacer
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup almond milk, or other vegan milk substitute
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice
1 cup vegan yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup strong coffee (or use a double shot of espresso)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup whole, unroasted hazelnuts

Combine almond milk and vinegar or lemon juice, and set aside to allow milk to slightly curdle. Prepare strong coffee or espresso, and any egg replacements you may be using.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease or spray muffin tins.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, cream vegan butter, coconut oil, and sugar at medium-high speed just until combined, about 1–2 minutes. Add egg-substitutes and vanilla, and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides, about 60–90 seconds.

Remove bowl from mixer, and fold in the rest of the dry ingredients using a spatula. Fold in curdled almond milk and vegan yogurt. Using the mixer again, pulse on low speed 3 or 4 times, or until there’s no visible flour remaining. If using a stand mixer, remove bowl. Make a well in the center of the batter, pour in coffee, and stir in with a few swirls.

Spoon batter into muffin tins so that they’re 2/3 to 3/4 full. Leave 1-2 tsp of batter in the mixing bowl you just used to mix the batter. Pour nuts and brown sugar in the bowl, and mix with the batter-covered paddle or beaters on low speed for a few seconds, or until the nuts are broken up and well-coated. Distribute evenly over the muffins. Bake for 10 minutes, then, without opening the oven, lower the temperature to 375. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until the topping is browned and a skewer inserted in the middle of the muffins comes out clean.

*Ground flaxseed is commonly used as an egg substitute in vegan baking. For one eggs-worth, whisk together 1 Tbsp ground golden flaxseed with 3 Tbsp of water. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to allow it to thicken. It can alter the flavor of a recipe slightly, which is why I only used it for 1 egg replacement in this recipe.

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