Apple Crumb Cake
A layer of cinnamon-spiced apples makes classic crumb cake even better! This recipe has the perfect proportions of cake, crumb, and apples. It’s simple to make and a treat any time of year!
I’ve been working on my crumb cake recipe for years. Although I love my cinnamon swirl version, apple crumb cake is my new favorite. I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s going to be my new starting place for any similar recipes. I’m already getting lots of ideas for other flavors to try!
Here are a few things to keep in mind when gathering your ingredients for this recipe:
- Sour cream is key in a crumb cake. It keeps the cake nice and moist and adds a little tartness. If you don’t have sour cream in the house, the best substitute is yogurt.
- You can make this recipe with any kind of apples. For the best result, I suggest a mix of tart and sweet apples like Jonathan, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious.
- I use light brown sugar when I make this recipe, but there is no reason you couldn’t use dark brown sugar. The molasses flavor will be a little stronger.
- I top the cake with a glaze of apple cider and powdered sugar. It doesn’t really need it, but it gives the cake a pretty, finished look. Don’t go out and buy cider just to make the glaze; you could substitute milk if you don’t have cider in the house.
- In my post on crumb topping, you’ll see that I often vary the crumb spices, add oats, and sometimes even put in granola. I kept it basic in this recipe, but experiment with whatever sounds good to you.
How It’s Made
First, make the cake by creaming the butter and sugars together until they are light and fluffy. This takes about 3 minutes on high speed in an electric mixer.
Mix in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl and add them a little bit at a time to to the wet ingredients.
Spread the batter in a greased 9″ square pan. It shouldn’t go that far up the pan; it’s not a tall cake and you need room for the apples and crumbs!
Prepare the apples by peeling and roughly chopping them and tossing them in cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice. Then, spread them out over the batter.
Make the crumbs by mixing flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together with your hands until they come together as crumbs. Spread the crumbs over the apples.
Bake at 350 F for about one hour and set on the counter to cool.
Mix apple cider and powdered sugar together until you have a thick glaze that drops slowly off of a spoon. Drizzle over the cake.
Expert Tips and FAQs
It is best eaten within 2 days. Don’t get me wrong – we store it in the fridge and have eaten in for up to a week – but after 2 days, the crumbs absorb too much of the moisture from the apples and get kind of mushy. It’s still delicious, but not quite as satisfying to eat.
Yes! Just double the recipe.
Sure! You can also replace the apples with pears if you prefer.
More Apple Recipes
Apple Crumb Cake
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup full-fat sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Apple Topping Ingredients
- 2 cups peeled and roughly chopped apples about 2 medium apples, use a mix of tart and sweet apples
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons light brown sugar same as 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Apple Cider Glaze Ingredients
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Beat butter, brown sugar, and white sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
- Beat in eggs one at a time.
- Beat in sour cream and vanilla.
- In a separate medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add flour mixture to wet ingredients a little bit at a time until just combined.
- Spread the batter into a greased 9" square cake pan.
Apple Topping Instructions
- Stir apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, and sugar together in a small bowl until the apples are fully coated.
- Spread evenly over the batter.
Crumb and Baking Instructions
- In a small bowl, mix melted butter, flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until large crumbs form.
- Distribute the crumbs evenly over the apples.
- Bake for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Set on the counter to cool.
- Mix powdered sugar and apple cider until you have a thick but still runny glaze. Add more apple cider if needed to get the perfect consistency that slowly drips off of a spoon.
- Drizzle over cooled cake.
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