A super moist coffee cake with the softest crumb. Filled with apples & cinnamon, then drizzled with caramel sauce – this caramel apple cinnamon coffee cake is perfect for fall!
Sometimes the stars align and the baking gods smile down at me. That’s how I felt on Sunday after making this Caramel Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake. I had just bought a springform pan on sale, there was delicious caramel sauce in my fridge, and everything fell into place to make the most delicious fall dessert.
This perfect dessert was a super moist coffee cake. A coffee cake filled with delicious fall flavors, that has that perfectly dense coffee cake texture, the softest crumb, a crunchy streusel topping and a drizzle of delicious caramel sauce. A coffee cake that feels rustic & homey for fall – but can compete with even the fanciest layer cakes. Perfect for breakfast, afternoon coffee or a dessert – this coffee cake has it all.Let’s talk about these delicious flavors. First – the apples. Apples are meant for fall baking. Using a crisp, sour apple like Granny Smith is perfect since the sourness mellows as the cake bakes and goes so well with the cinnamon. There’s cinnamon in the cake batter and in the streusel for extra fall happiness. And then brown sugar for a deep caramel taste that pairs so well with the cinnamon & apples.
Then finally – caramel sauce to top it all off. Remember that delicious salted caramel sauce from a few weeks back??? Well, when you’re ready to serve the cake drizzle each piece with caramel. The cake is completely and totally delicious without the sauce – but I do highly recommend it. Is it 100% necessary??? Well – it probably isn’t necessary for me to watch 4 hours of Netflix, but I do it anyways. So yes, it’s 100% optional and 100% necessary.
Ok, onto the baking.
First you’ll make the streusel by combining some flour, sugars & cinnamon in a bowl and cutting in some cold butter with either a pastry cutter or by crumbling with your fingers. Cold butter is key here for making your streusel crumbly and buttery.
Then the cake batter uses the straight-forward cake baking method of creaming the butter & sugars, then adding in the eggs and vanilla. Then adding in the dry ingredients slowly while alternating with the buttermilk. In this recipe, I can’t stress enough the importance of the buttermilk. In lots of recipes using a buttermilk substitute works quite nicely. But I really don’t recommend using a substitute for this recipe, since the soft crumb created by the buttermilk is so key here.
Finally, you’ll pour the thick cake batter into your springform pan, add a layer of chopped apples & sprinkle with streusel.
While the cake is baking your kitchen will smell amazing! It’s like a cinnamon fall party of deliciousness….
Then caramel drizzle for the grand finale??? It’s completely amazing.
After having a few pieces, we ended up giving the rest of this cake away (since a whole cake between 2 people is maybe a bit much). Let’s just say – you’re going to be popular when sharing this recipe!
Caramel Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake
For the Streusel
- ¼ cup unsalted butter - cold
- ½ cup flour
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 and ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the Coffee Cake
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar , packed
- 1 large egg , room temperature
- 1 and ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 and ½ cups all purpose flour ,spooned and levelled
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup buttermilk , room temperature
- 2-3 medium to medium-large sized apples , pealed, cored and sliced to equal about 1 and ¼ cups
- ½ cup salted caramel sauce for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter a 9 inch spring-form pan and sprinkle the bottom with flour. Set aside.
- For the streusel toss together the flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt for the streusel in a medium sized bowl. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter or crumbling in the butter with your fingers. The mixture should be sandy.
- In a large bowl with a stand or hand-held electric mixer. beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add in the vanilla and egg and continue beating until combined (about 30 seconds).
- In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & cinnamon for the coffee cake. Slowly add the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating with additions of the buttermilk while beating on low speed until combined. The batter will be very thick.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pour/spoon the batter into your prepared pan. Place the apple slices on top of the batter, followed by the streusel.
- 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 minutes in its pan. Then circle the edge of the springform pan with a thin knife, release the edges & continue cooling on a wire rack until completely cool.
- Serve the cake with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce.