This Easy and Moist Apple Coffee Cake is topped with crunchy streusel and is the perfect way to celebrate apple season! With a sweet apple flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture, it’s sure to be a hit at your next breakfast or brunch gathering. Plus, it’s so easy to make that you’ll be able to whip it up in no time!
Why are breakfast cakes the best cakes? I mean, you get to eat cake for breakfast and no one can judge you because it has fruit in it!
A coffee cake is a cake that is traditionally served with coffee. It can be either yeast-based or quick bread and is often flavored with cinnamon, nuts, and fruit.
As a trained pastry chef I love to play around with textures and it was important to me that this cake stayed moist and tender with a crumb topping that is sweet and crunchy.
The gala apples add a lovely sweetness and tartness to the cake, while the cinnamon sugar crumb topping takes it over the top. If you want to switch it up you can try my banana coffee cake, my rhubarb coffee cake, a cherry coffee cake or even these mini triple berry coffee cakes!
You can serve this cake warm or at room temperature, and it’s just as delicious either way. It’ll serve around 10-12 people depending on how big you cut the slices. I like to serve it with a dollop of freshly whipped cream or even vanilla ice cream, but it’s also great on its own!
WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE
- A great way to use apples that are in season through the fall.
- This cake is moist, tender, and has the perfect balance of sweetness.
- The crumb topping is both sweet and crunchy with a hint of cinnamon.
- Can be served warm or at room temperature making it great for entertaining at a brunch or holiday.
For the crumb topping:
- All-Purpose Flour – Makes up the base of the crumb topping by adding its dry crumbly texture that’s classic in coffee cake.
- Brown & White Sugar – Gives the topping sweetness, and color, and helps with texture.
- Cinnamon – Adds a light warming flavor that compliments the cake.
- Salt – Balances out the sweetness with contrasting flavor.
- Cold Butter – Used to bind the ingredients together making them crumbly and buttery.
- Gala Apples – This specific type of apple is great for baking because it’s not too sweet and has a firm texture. If you can’t find Gala apples, you can use Granny Smith apples as a substitute.
- Unsalted Butter – Creates a moist cake by adding richness, flavor, and tenderness.
- Granulated Sugar – Sweetens the cake so it’s not too tart from the apples.
- Egg – Binds all of the ingredients together and also adds richness to the batter.
- Vanilla Extract – Adds a complimentary light vanilla flavor throughout the cake.
- Buttermilk – Instead of regular milk, buttermilk adds a subtle tang and tender crumb that works so well with banana cake.
- Baking Soda – Helps the cake to rise and become fluffy while still staying moist.
- All-Purpose Flour – This dry baking ingredient gives the cake its structure.
- Cinnamon – A small amount of cinnamon warms up the natural flavor of the apples and compliments the sweetness.
- Salt – Balances out all of the flavors in the cake.
- Optional Glaze – Make this cake extra sweet by making a simple glaze with confectioners sugar and cream to go on top.
HOW TO MAKE COFFEE CAKE WITH APPLES
- Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 10” springform pan with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
- Prepare the crumb topping: Add the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Then cut the butter in using a pastry cutter or your hands until a damp crumbly texture is formed. Store in the fridge.
- Combine the wet ingredients: To the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the butter and cream for one minute before adding the sugar. Cream for two minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the egg and vanilla extract and combine for an additional minute.
- Combine the dry ingredients: In another bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together including the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- Assemble the cake batter: To the wet ingredients, add the dry mixture 1/3 at a time making sure to alternate with an even amount of buttermilk. Incorporate them into the batter without overmixing.
- Fold in the apples: Add sliced apples and remaining flour into a bowl and toss until the apples are dusted with flour to prevent them from falling. Fold in lightly to combine and evenly distribute.
- Bake and cool: Pour the batter evenly into the prepared springform pan and top with crumb mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes or until the cake is set in the center. Cool completely.
- Glaze and enjoy: When the cake is cooled, mix your glaze together by whisking the cream and sugar together until a thick mixture is formed. Drizzle on top of the cooled cake. Let harden before slicing and serving.
TIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS
- When measuring out your dry ingredients, be precise. I recommend using a kitchen scale for accuracy. This will ensure your cake turns out correctly every time! If you don’t have a kitchen scale, make sure to spoon and level your ingredients when measuring.
- Always start with room temperature ingredients (except the butter in the crumb topping) to ensure they all combine evenly without any lumps.
- Don’t overmix! Mix until just combined making sure there are no lumps of flour in the batter. Overmixing will result in a tough coffee cake.
- Make the recipe in a springform pan for easy release.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
Storing: This coffee cake is best served fresh, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days or in the fridge for up to one week.
Freezing: If you’d like to freeze this cake for later, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to three months. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge before enjoying.
What apples are best for baking?
While you can technically use any type of apple in this cake, I prefer to use a firmer apple like Gala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Braeburn.
Can I make this cake ahead of time?
Yes! This coffee cake can be made up to two days in advance. Simply store it tightly wrapped at room temperature until ready to serve.
Does this cake need a glaze?
No, the cake is delicious without it but if you’d like to add one, simply whisk together some confectioners’ sugar and cream until combined. Drizzle on top of the cooled cake and let harden before slicing.
What pan is best to make this in? I like making coffee cakes in a springform pan but you can make it in a 9″ round cake pan just be sure to heavily spray it with baking spray and/or line it with parchment paper.
MORE Breakfast recipes
Easy and Moist Apple Crumb Cake
For crumb topping:
- 1 cup all purpose flour 120g
- ½ cup brown sugar 107g
- ¼ cup sugar 50g
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ½ cup butter unsalted, cold, diced small.
- ½ cup butter softened 113 g unsalted
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200g
- 1 egg large
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour 240g + 1/2 tbsp
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon or more to taste
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 medium gala apples peeled, cored, and sliced thin
For Optional Glaze:
- ½ cup confectioners sugar 56g
- 1 tbsp cream
- Make the crumb topping. In a small bowl combine the 1 cup flour, 1/2 brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 -1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp salt.
- Use a pastry cutter to cut in the ½ cup butter or pinch the butter into the mixture with your fingers gently until small clumps are formed no larger than the size of a pea.
- Place in the fridge while you make the cake.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for one minute. Scrape down the sides and add the 1 cup sugar. Cream for 2 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Scrape the bowl again and add the egg and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute.
- In a separate bowl combine 2 cups flour, ½ tsp kosher salt ½ tsp cinnamon and ¼ tsp baking soda. Mix lightly with a fork or whisk to combine.
- Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the buttermilk starting and ending with the dry ingredients- ⅓ at a time- mixing in between each addition.
- Take the remaining ½ tbsp flour and dust it over the sliced apples. Mix to combine and add to the batter, mixing lightly.
- Spray a 10” springform pan with baking spray and pour in the batter.
- Top with the crumb topping and bake for 50-55 minutes on until the cake is no longer jiggly.
- When the cake is cooled, mix together the ½ cup confectioners sugar with 1 tbsp cream and drizzle all over the cake.