Ease into fall with this buttery apple crumb cake studded with apples and finished with a crunchy cinnamon crumb topping.
This morning when I walked out the door the air felt…different. I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt and while I wasn’t uncomfortably cold, something made me run back inside and grab a sweatshirt. Slipping into a fleecy hooded sweatshirt just felt right.
It’s that time, friends. And I think I’m finally ready.
I Crumble For Autumn Apple Cake
As proof, I broke out the first apple baked goods of the season. While the September days are still rather hot around these parts, the mornings are cool and crisp. It’s the kind of weather that begs for something a little cozier than a bowl of cereal, something like this Apple Crumb Cake.
Warm, sweet, and gently spiced this is just the thing to ease you into Fall. It’s not super in-your-face with the Autumn-ness. There’s no brazen pumpkin spice, no overpowering scent of cloves, and definitely no hint at Halloween or Thanksgiving. Instead there’s the subtle scent of cinnamon, a hint of nutmeg, and the just-barely-there crunch of apples. It’s Autumn goodness, but in a super chill, non-confrontational way, that could easily feel right-at-home in any other season of the year.
Apple Coffee Cake: Dessert With A Good Excuse
I’m going to cut to the chase here. This Apple Crumb Cake is an excuse to eat dessert for breakfast. This is nothing new, of course. We’ve been coming up with ways to eat cake for breakfast for centuries. Pancakes, waffles, muffins. They’re all cake, people.
But of all the cake-for-breakfast incarnations out there, the coffee cake did the worst job at hiding it’s dessert-ness. I can just imagine the recipe development meeting now.
Guy #1: Hmmmmm….pancakes seem to be a hit and we managed to slip muffins through, but we really need another way to eat cake for breakfast.
Guy #2: I know! Let’s see…What if we made a cake, topped it with a buttery crumble and then drizzled it with sugar syrup! That totally makes it breakfast, right?
Guy #1: By golly, I think you’re on to something. Sounds like the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee. In fact, I think we’ll call it Coffee Cake!
And that’s how we’ve been enjoying apple crumb cake for breakfast all these years.
Buttery Apple Crumb Cake
I’m not even going to try to convince you that this is healthy. It’s not. It’s buttery cake topped with buttery crumble topped with apple cider-spiked glaze… with a little bit of fruit in the middle. In other words, it’s darn delicious.
So trade in your swimsuit for some stretchy pants, grab a blanket, and cozy up with a cup of your morning joe, and a slice of this Apple Crumb Cake. It’s fall, and it’s totally allowed. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to get to work on my sweater body.
And just in case you are in central Ohio and you’re looking for some apples to pick, or more family focused fall festivities (like slides, pond fishing, corn pit, bouncers, tractor rides, farm markets, and apple cider, etc) then check out all the great things to do in my old hometown in this awesome post from my pal Julie.
For the crumb:
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 large (or 3 small) tart apples (such as honeycrisp, granny smith, or pink lady), peeled and chopped
For the cake:
- 8 Tablespoons butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tablespoons apple cider
- 1-2 Tablespoons milk
- Pinch salt
For the crumb:
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together 3 cups flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the melted butter and vanilla extracts and stir until the mixture is evenly moist. Set aside.
For the batter:
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and sour cream. Meanwhile, in another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Add this to the butter mixture, stirring until the ingredients are just combined.
- Spread half the batter into a thin layer at the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the apple chunks evenly over the batter. Top with about 1 cup of the crumble mixture. Spread the remaining batter over top followed by the rest of the crumble.
- Bake the mixture for 35-40 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. If the top gets too brown, cover with foil for the last 10-15 minutes.
- While the coffee cake bakes, whisk together the powdered sugar, cider, milk, and salt. Serve the cake warm with the cider drizzle. This recipe can be made up to two days in advance. Store in an airtight container or in the pan with saran wrap on top.
The batter is quite thick and will have to be spread thin to fit the 9 x 13 inch pan. It will rise in the oven.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion