This apple coffee cake is moist and tender with the perfect flavors for fall. The cake is warm and buttery. Then there’s a layer of sweet, cinnamon apples and crunchy streusel topping.
**This recipe was originally posted in October 2015 and updated in September 2021 with new photos and recipe tips**
If you love a moist and buttery coffee cake or New York crumb cake – then you’ll love this apple cinnamon coffee cake. It starts with a layer of moist, slightly dense vanilla cake that’s slightly springy and not too sweet. Then there’s a layer of cinnamon apples for the perfect fall flavor. The streusel topping is filled with brown sugar and even more cinnamon for a delicious crunch.
I love having coffee cake for breakfast. But this recipe is equally delicious for dessert. If you want to take it up a notch, you can add a drizzle of salted caramel to each piece or serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
Making Apple Coffee Cake
There’s 3 parts to this recipe:
- Coffee cake batter
- Cinnamon apples
- Streusel topping
I always make the cinnamon apples and streusel first so that they’re ready to go after I’ve made the cake batter.
The apple layer is made with apple pealed, thin apple slices tossed in brown sugar and cinnamon. I recommend choosing a crisp, flavorful apple. If you like something a bit sweeter, Gala, Envy or Honey Crisp work well. For something more tart, Granny Smith is your best bet. The apples will sweeten and soften as they bake.
The streusel topping is made by simply stirring together flour, brown sugar and cinnamon with melted butter. It will form crumbles and clumps and feel like damp sand, which is what you want.
I love the cake batter for this recipe because its extremely moist and tender with a delicious buttery flavor. We’re using real butter for that delicious flavor. Then sour cream and milk give the cake a deliciously moist texture. A little brown sugar in the cake batter really gives it more flavor too.
To assemble the cake, you’ll spread the vanilla cake batter into your prepared pan. Then arrange the cinnamon apples on top . I typically create a double layer of apples, ensuring that the overlap so that no cake is showing through. Then sprinkle the streusel on top. You want to ensure that it’s evenly covered and that there are no gaps.
As the cake bakes, your kitchen will have the most delicious cinnamon flavor wafting through.
- This recipe is made in a 9-inch springform pan. I always wrap the outside of a springform with tin foil, just in case the seal isn’t tight.
- Make sure that the butter, eggs, sour cream and milk are all room temperature before getting started. This ensures that they mix together evenly.
- The cake batter is thick. If you over mix the batter, it will get tough. I always do a few strokes by hand when adding in the dry ingredients, sour cream and milk to avoid over mixing.
- I typically use Granny Smith, Honey Crisp or Fuji apples for this recipe. I do not recommend Red Delicious or McIntosh for baking as they are not crisp enough.
- A drizzle of salted caramel definitely isn’t necessary – but it is delicious. You could also add a drizzle of vanilla glaze instead (I’ve included it in the recipe notes below).
Love cinnamon apples? Then be sure to try:
Apple Coffee Cake
- 9-inch springform pan
- 2-3 medium apples see notes for recommendations
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup flour (63 grams)
- ½ cup light brown sugar (100 grams) or ¼ cup dark brown sugar and ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 and ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter (56 grams) melted
Coffee Cake Batter
- 2 cups all purpose flour (250 grams) spooned and levelled
- ¾ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter (112 grams) softened to room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (150 grams)
- ¼ cup brown sugar (50 grams)
- 2 large eggs temperature
- 1 and ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup sour cream (120 ml) room temperature
- ¼ cup milk (60 ml) I recommend 2%
- ½ cup salted caramel sauce for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C or 160C fan-forced) degrees.
- Grease and lightly flour a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan. I recommend wrapping the outside in tin foil in case the seal of the pan isn't tight.
- Peal the apples and slice into thin slices.
- Toss the apples with the brown sugar and cinnamon until they're evenly covered. Place in the fridge until you're ready to use them.
- Stir together the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Stir in the melted butter until the mixture forms crumbles. Set aside.
Coffee Cake Batter
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, beat together the butter, granulated sugar and brown until fluffy (about 2-4 minutes).
- Add in the vanilla and beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- With the mixer on a low speed, beat in about ½ of the flour mixture, followed by the sour cream. Then mix in the rest of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. I typically do a few stirs after each addition by hand. Stop mixing as soon as the ingredients are combined.
Assembling & Baking
- Pour/spoon the batter into your prepared pan. Place the apple slices on top of the batter. You want an even layer of apples with no cake showing through. If there's juice/liquid in the bottom of the bowl - do not pour it on top of the cake
- Sprinkle the crumb topping on top of the apple layer so that it's completely covered. You do not want apples or cake batter showing through.
- Bake in your preheated oven for 50-60 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Mine took exactly 55 minutes.
- Allow the cake to cool for about 20-30 minutes in its pan. Trace around the edge of the pan with a thin, sharp knife. Then unclamp the outer ring of the springform pan.
- Optionally, drizzle the cake with salted caramel slice.
- Pan Options: If you don't have a springform pan, this recipe can be made in a 9-inch pan with high sides (about 2 - 2.5 inches).
- Apples: The apples will sweeten and soften as they bake. I therefore recommend choosing a very crispy and flavorful apple. Granny Smith works very well, or for a sweeter option, something like Gala or Honey Crisp.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: For the cake batter, the butter, eggs, sour cream and milk should be room temperature before getting started. This helps everything mix together evenly.
- Sour Cream: I highly recommend using full-fat sour cream, something around 14% MF.
- Caramel Sauce: This is my favorite recipe.
- Nutrition: Details are an estimate only and based on 1 slice without salted caramel, assuming that the cake is sliced into 10 equal pieces.
- Storage: This recipe is best if eaten the same day that it's baked. Store for up to 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.