If you're as in love with fall as I am, this easy apple cake is the perfect dessert with chopped apples, soft buttery cake, and crunchy crumble topping. Pour over the apple cider glaze and you have the perfect coffee cake for your autumn mornings.
I have been making this cake for a decade now, wow! A decade ago, I was 19 and my husband and I had moved from hot San Antonio, Texas to Bethesda, Maryland on Navy orders.
I remember seeing fall colors for the first time since I was a child (florida does not have fall and Texas did not have foliage, y'all. I was deprived of my #christiangirlautumns drinking PSLs in 85 degree weather in November for so long!), and the first thing I wanted to do was go apple picking since I had never gone before.
I plucked so many apple trees damn near bald and got to work on all my favorite things for fall: apple pie, homemade apple butter, and this family-favorite soft apple crumb cake.
It has a seriously moist apple cake interior with a butter brown sugar swirl, then topped with the most amazing crunchy cinnamon crumble...okay, and for extra decadence we have an apple cider glaze that is legitimately autumn on a plate.
Serve your slice of autumn with a hot cup of coffee, or eat after a cozy dinner with a scoop of ice cream on a cool evening.
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9-by-13 inch baking pan - you could use a 9 inch cake pan as well.
Fresh Apples- Use your favorite baking apple...what's a baking apple? It's an apple that holds its shape and flavor under heat. That's usually tart apples like granny smith, and certain sweet apple varieties like Honeycrisp, Empire, Pink Lady's, and Rome Beauty's.
Sour Cream - Sour cream adds richness, fat, and moisture for a seriously moist cake! It's ridiculously moist, y'all.
Melted unsalted butter - using melted butter in the recipe makes this go by so fast. No creaming the butter and sugar or needing a pastry cutter to blend it into the streusel topping. With adding a pinch of salt, you won't need to use salted butter at all.
Instructions for this easy Apple Crumb Cake
Full ingredients, measurements, and printable instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Whisk together all the dry ingredients.
Fold your apples into the thick cake batter.
Make your crumb topping in a separate bowl.
Mix the wet ingredients until almost fully incorporated.
Pour the cake batter into your pan, then mix in the brown sugar swirl.
Cover the cake batter with the crumble topping.
Now bake for 40-45 minutes, and easily whisk together the ingredients for your glaze.
Once the cinnamon apple crumb cake is cool, glaze it and serve!
Pro tips for the best Apple Crumble Cake recipe
Make in a 9-by-13 inch baking dish for easy apple crumble bars or in a 9 inch cake pan for nice cake slices.
Grease your baking pan with baking spray, butter, or my magic cake goop recipe (I swear by this stuff!). Your cake will slide right out with no stickage.
Make sure all the refrigerated ingredients are room temperature. Everything will bake up evenly and consistently every time.
When mixing your cake, stir until the dry ingredients are just combined into the batter. You don't want to overwork the flour and activate the gluten because that'll lead to a dense, bread-like batter instead of a soft, moist cake!
Storage and Freezing
This apple crumble cake stays in your fridge wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 4 days...if it doesn't get devoured first. It's a great make-ahead dessert for fall parties and Thanksgiving. Just bring to room temperature for a couple of hours and serve!
This cake is also very easy to freeze. After baking, let the cake cool to room temperature and wrap it tightly with a few layers of plastic wrap. Freeze the cake for up to 3 months. Make the glaze the day of or day before.
To thaw, place the cake in the refrigerator overnight or place it a room temperature for a few hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
You want to use apples that'll keep their shape, texture, and flavor when baking. My top choices are tart Granny Smith and Braeburn apples, and sweet Pink Lady's or Empire apples.
If you can't find sour cream, equal parts buttermilk will work or whole milk that has been soured with a good squeeze of lemon juice.
More Apple Recipes
- Caramel Apple Sangria - this white wine sangria tastes just like caramel apples in a glass!
- Homemade Apple Pie Filling - perfect for filling deep dish apple pies or apple pie cinnamon rolls.
- Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake - super moist cake with caramel and apple slices on top, all made easily in a skillet. It's the beginner cook's best dessert friend this fall!
- Cast Iron Apple Crisp - another easy beginner winner! All done in a cast iron skillet, just throw in apple slices, spices, and spiced oats, flour, and butter. Bake and boom!
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Apple Crumble Cake
Apple Cake Batter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup 8 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 large eggs beaten
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 baking apples peeled and diced into ¼ inch pieces
Brown Sugar Swirl
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup 8 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted,
Crumble Streusel Topping
- ¼ cup 4 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
Apple Cider Vanilla Glaze
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup apple cider
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with butter or baking spray.
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and both sugars in a large bowl.
- Stir in melted butter, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Fold apples in, then pour into prepared pan.
- In a medium bowl, stir together all the brown sugar swirl ingredients together well. Pour over batter, then swirl into it using a knife or spoon.
- In another medium bowl, put all the crumble topping ingredients and use a fork to blend ingredients until you have large crumbles. Sprinkle over the cake batter evenly and generously.
- Put pan in oven and bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before removing from pan.
- In a small bowl, combine all glaze ingredients using a whisk.
- Wait until the apple crumb cake is completely cool to glaze and eat.