Apple Crumb Cake

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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!

Slice of apple crumb cake with the cake in the background

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!

Ingredients

Overhead shot of apple crumb cake ingredients

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.

Eff dropping into KitchenAid mixing bowl

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.

Adding flour to KitchenAid mixing bowl with wet ingredients inside

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.

Apple being spread over batter with a spoon in a square pan

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.

Mixing crumbs by hand in a glass bowl

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.

Fork lifting off a bite of apple crumb cake

Expert Tips and FAQs

How long can you store this cake?

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.

Can I make this in a 9×16″ pan?

Yes! Just double the recipe.

Can I make this without the apples?

Sure! You can also replace the apples with pears if you prefer.

More Apple Recipes

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Fork lifting off a bite of apple crumb cake
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5 from 1 vote

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!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 357kcal
Author Stefani

Ingredients

Cake Ingredients

  • 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

Crumb Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

Cake Instructions

  • 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.

Glaze Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

You can substitute yogurt (plain or Greek) for the sour cream if that’s what you have on hand. Don’t substitute with milk or other liquids.
The cake is best eaten within 2 days. You can store it in the refrigerator and eat it for up to a week, but the crumbs will absorb too much moisture from the apple layer after 2 days and will get kind of mushy.

Nutrition

Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 171mg | Potassium: 112mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 615IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1mg
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