Apple Crumb Cake

Delicious New York style crumb cake with warm cinnamon apples and DOUBLE the buttery crumb topping! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

If crumb topping is your love language, you’ve come to the right place.

If warm cinnamon apples make your mouth water, today’s your day.

If soft buttery cake is your ideal breakfast indulgence, I’m your gal.

Delicious New York style crumb cake with warm cinnamon apples and DOUBLE the buttery crumb topping! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Because today we’re indulging in APPLE CRUMB CAKE!!!! It’s your morning fall indulgence part 2. The smart answer for breakfast. The destiny for your freshly picked apples. The afternoon snack you’re craving. Your dinner when you just want to sit on the couch, kick up your feet, and watch another episode of Fixer Upper.

So, like, every night?

Hey, I’m not judging.

Apples for apple crumb cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Cinnamon apples for apple crumb cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Today’s recipe = my apple crumb muffins in cake form. They’re definitely one of my favorite muffins to make this time of year, so a cake version is a no-brainer.

I tested this apple crumb cake a few times, changing things ever so slightly to land on the final recipe I’m sharing today. It’s a butter and sour cream based cake AKA the best kind of cake. You’ll cream butter and sugar together, which acts as the base of the cake. Sour cream gives us an extremely moist crumb cake that’s a little denser than, say, a fluffy vanilla cake. Tight crumbs, like pound cake, but with a much softer texture.

I don’t suggest subbing the sour cream with a liquid– plain full-fat yogurt would work though. But don’t remove the fat from this cake by using a lower fat alternative. Fat = flavor! We don’t want to skimp there.

The biggest change I made while testing the recipe involved the apples. At first, I mixed the apples into the cake batter. This was tasty, of course, but the pieces of apples each held a soggy outline inside the baked cake. It just… didn’t look appetizing. I found that layering the apples on top of the cake batter was best. This gives us a soft and buttery cake, topped with soft and sweet cinnamon apples, and a TRUCK LOAD of crumb topping. 3 separate layers to love obsess over.

How to make apple crumb cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

So about that crumb topping…

Remember when Kevin compared the crumble topping on my peach pie recipe to… ground beef? (Omg the appearance of it!! Not the taste!!) My beautiful peach pie… topped with beef. Beef pie, he called it.

I think you know where I’m going with this.

Crumb topping for apple crumb cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Crumb topping for apple crumb cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Can we just forget all about that though? Brown sugar, cinnamon, BUTTER… all good things in life. That, um, belong on top of cake.

Scroll down to the recipe real quick. See all those ingredients in the crumb topping? It seems like a lot. And I’m totally for real. More butter, sugar, and just as much flour as the cake itself. But isn’t the crumb the best part of a CRUMB CAKE? I mean, what do you love if you don’t love a thick crumb topping? Broccoli? Peas? Plain cake?

The crumb layer is literally over half the cake and I see zero problem with this.

Delicious New York style crumb cake with warm cinnamon apples and DOUBLE the buttery crumb topping! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Like the new recipe for apple cinnamon rolls, you’ve got glaze options here.

Icing ideas:

But this apple crumb cake truly doesn’t need an accessory on top. That’s saying something because you know how much I love my glazes / icings / sauces / condiments!! But if the opportunity for sweet maple icing presents itself, we’d be fools to say no.

Delicious New York style crumb cake with warm cinnamon apples and DOUBLE the buttery crumb topping! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

There’s no turning back after this one. All other cakes will seem sub-par.

Apple Crumb Cake

Ingredients:

Crumb Topping

  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (310g) all purpose flour, spoon & leveled

Cake

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (310g) all purpose flour, spoon & leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks; 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (240g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups peeled chopped apples (about 1 and 1/2 medium apples)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • maple icingvanilla icing, or caramel icing

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9x13 baking pan or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Make the crumb topping: Mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted butter using a fork, then add the flour. Mix and crumble with a fork. Set aside.
  3. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
  4. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, sour cream, and the vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. The mixture may look curdled; that's ok. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients until smooth. Do not overmix. The batter will be thick.
  5. Toss the chopped apples and cinnamon together.
  6. Spread the batter evenly into prepared baking pan. Top evenly with cinnamon apples. Top with crumb topping. Using a rubber spatula or the back of a large spoon, press the crumb topping tightly down into the cake so it sticks.
  7. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the top or edges of the cake is/are browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to slightly cool for at least 30-45 minutes before slicing and serving.
  9. Top with icing, if desired. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Make ahead tip: Prepare cake through step 7. Cover the cake tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature, add icing if desired, and serve.

Recipe Notes:

*Sour cream is a key ingredient in this cake. I don't suggest subbing the sour cream with a liquid-- plain full-fat yogurt would work though. But don't remove the fat from this cake by using a lower fat yogurt or sour cream alternative. Fat = flavor! We don't want to skimp there.

Why is everything at room temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information.

Adapted from sour cream coffee cake and loaded with a lot more crumbs!

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Want to make this recipe into muffins? Here is my recipe for apple crumb muffins.

Apple crumb muffins on sallysbakingaddiction.com

SHOP THE RECIPE

Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Apple Peeler | 9×13 Baking Pan | Custom Forks

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.
Apple crumb cake with TWICE the amount of buttery cinnamon crumb topping! Soft, moist, sweet, and the perfect Fall breakfast! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

106 Comments

Comments

  1. Patricia @Sweet and Strong on October 5, 2017 at 7:15 am

    The crumb topping is totally the best part and I have no problem that it take up half of this cake!  Since the temperatures have gotten a bit cooler I’m now craving all things Fall

  2. Lori on October 5, 2017 at 8:33 am

    I made it last night and it was loved by all. Thank you!

  3. Sue Ringsdorf on October 5, 2017 at 8:52 am

    This looks amazing, Sally!!

    I’ve actually been checking your blog daily, anxiously awaiting the announcement of your daughter!! Can’t wait! Seems like just yesterday that my boys were born – now 21 and 18. Watch out cuz time flies!! 

    Congrats to your sweet little family! 🙂

    • Sally on October 5, 2017 at 9:14 am

      Thanks Sue! I’m going to share pictures of our sweet baby girl on my blog next week!

  4. Regina on October 5, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Sally what type of apples are you using in this apple cake?

    • Sally on October 5, 2017 at 11:12 am

      I’ve made the cake with Granny Smith, Fuji, and Pink Lady– any variety you love best is great.

  5. Fatma on October 6, 2017 at 1:11 am

    Hi Sally! Quick question: is the topping more on the chewy side of crunchy side. If it’s on the crunchy side, is there a way to make it more chewy like a crisp topping that has oats?

    • Sally on October 6, 2017 at 7:19 am

      Neither– it’s super soft and crumbly 🙂

  6. Ann on October 7, 2017 at 5:00 am

    Made this yesterday and it was a huge hit. I could not believe how fast it went. The crumbs made the cake and mine turned out to look just like your pictures. Definitely will make again. Thank you for all the effort you put into giving us these recipes.

    • Sally on October 7, 2017 at 7:31 am

      So glad you loved it and thank you for reporting back about it!

  7. Laura on October 7, 2017 at 11:31 am

    I have been craving this cake since our holiday in America in August!!   They served it for breakfast in our hotel …… Came across your recipe and it is now baking in the oven … I am so excited it smells delicious  ❤️❤️

    • Sally on October 7, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      Please let me know how you like it!

  8. A on October 8, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Hi Sally! Just made this last night. I only have a toaster oven so trying out new recipes is a little risky, but this one was well worth it! Turned out absolutely fantastic. I’ll definitely be making this one again! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Sally on October 9, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      I’m so happy you were able to make this work!!

  9. Sara on October 8, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Such a beautiful crumb cake! You always take the most crisp looking pictures.

  10. cheri rausch on October 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Hi Sally,
    I have a question concerning the Apple Crumb Cake recipe.  I make the desserts for all the birthdays at my husband’s business.  I would love to make this cake, but I use a 15x10x2 pan to accommodate the number of employees.  I’m always a little nervous doubling a scratch recipe.  Is it possible with this one?  Or would you have another suggestion?
    Thank you so much!
    Cheri

    • Sally on October 9, 2017 at 7:33 am

      Hi Cheri! I do NOT recommend doubling this recipe. Make the batter/crumb topping twice (separately) then use to fill 2 9×13 pans. Unfortunately, this is an extremely tall cake and the 15x10x2 won’t be tall enough.

  11. SL on October 8, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Love this! ABSOLUTLY ONE OF MY FAVS TO MAKE AFTER WE PICK APPLES AT THE ORCHARD!!

    • Sally on October 9, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      Such a fun way to use your fresh picked apples!

  12. Tessie Rivera on October 9, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Sally, Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl!  I love your recipes, thank you for all your hard work! I’m just wondering about the crumb cake recipe. I have some fruit haters, would the recipe suffer greatly without the apples?  Thanks for your input!

    • Sally on October 9, 2017 at 10:32 am

      It’s delicious even without the apples! We taste-tested it… still wonderful.

  13. Grace on October 10, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Would it be possible to add oats to the crumble topping?

    • Sally on October 10, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      It would be more like a streusel topping that way! Let me know if you try it!

  14. Sally Kay on October 12, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Sally, congratulations to you and Kevin with the birth of your precious little Noelle. What a blessing from God! Take all the time to enjoy your little angel.
    Your apple crumb cake is soooooooo good! I made it for our small group and I got rave reviews! Also have made your pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with rave reviews!
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes with us

    • Sally on October 12, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      Thank you so much, Sally 🙂 I’m so happy to hear that the cake and cookies were both enjoyed!

  15. Allison on October 14, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Sally please please pretty please with sprinkles on top: Can you make a “lightened up apple bar recipe” to rival that of your “lightened up pumpkin spice bar”??? 
    Allison

  16. Mary-Jane on October 14, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    I made this today, and it was so delicious.  I used Golden Delicious apples.  I did not put the icing on it.  Does it still have to be stored in the refrigerator?  I plan to make this cake again for Thanksgiving.

    • Sally on October 15, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Glad you tried and loved it! See step 9 🙂

  17. Laura Davis on October 15, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Sally
    I messaged you last week and having baked
    the cake, I wanted to let you know how delicious it was …..  I am making your 
    chicken Chili tomorrow your recipes 
    are fabulous xxx

  18. Keith on October 16, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    My wife made this for a function at work, just hope there’s some left. She did make a slight modification someone she works with has a cinnamon allergy so she subed all spice and a little ginger. It looked and smelt amazing and was so hard to keep my hands off.

    • Sally on October 17, 2017 at 1:15 pm

      I hope there was enough for you! 🙂

  19. Sandy B on October 18, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Fall temperatures finally arrived and I went to the mountains yesterday to buy big bags of fresh, crisp apples. I made this cake today and it is absolutely amazing! The soft apple layer is such a great addition to the crumbs and gives a lovely texture and flavor addition. A definite winner!

    • Sally on October 19, 2017 at 12:18 pm

      I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to see the cooler fall temperatures!

      • Sandy B on October 19, 2017 at 7:53 pm

        I can only imagine how excited you must be after being so very pregnant all summer!! Beautiful family. 🙂



  20. Liz Tosti on October 19, 2017 at 7:54 pm

     Another great recipe @sallysbakingaddiction. It was a hit at family dinner- my husband ate half of the pan!

    • Sally on October 20, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      YAY! Happy to hear, Liz!

  21. Beth Frantz on October 20, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Could this be made in a cupcake pan also?Love all your recipes.I’ve lost count on how many I have made.Thanks again!

    • Sally on October 20, 2017 at 6:22 pm

      Absolutely! I’m so glad you enjoy my blog and recipes. Thanks Beth!

  22. Dawn on October 21, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Hi Sally! I want to make this tomorrow-would whole
    Milk plain Greek yogurt be an okay substitute for the sour cream?

    • Sally on October 22, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      Yep, whole milk yogurt works!

  23. danielle on November 3, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Hi Sally. Made this cake. OMG it’s so good. We had a piece last night and it was so good!! But, I refrigerated it. but it’s a little hard this morning. It’s covered tightly. Am i doing st wrong? Maybe before serving it.. just leave it out or heat it up? thanks!

    • Sally on November 3, 2017 at 11:29 am

      I would either let it sit at room temperature for awhile before serving or you can heat it up in the microwave or oven.

  24. Cindy King on November 4, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Hi Sally,
    I made this, today and it’s fabulous!!! I used King Arthurs Flour, as you mentioned in your blog, and this recipe is perfection!!!
    Loving all of your delicious recipes!!

  25. Molly-Ann on November 11, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Hi Sally!  Hope you and your family are doing well!  I just had a quick question… All I have on hand is light sour cream, or 2% Greek yogurt. Could I get away with one of those??

    • Sally on November 12, 2017 at 7:18 pm

      Either should be ok 🙂

  26. Melissa on December 3, 2017 at 7:00 am

    Hi Sally, I made this last night and it was delicious! The only thing I would change next time is the amount of apples. I couldn’t personally taste them at all, or see them, so next time I was thinking of doubling them. But I do wonder if that will make the cake below too moist? Any thoughts? Thanks again for the wonderful recipe!

    • Sally on December 3, 2017 at 7:43 am

      Hi Melissa! Go for it. Let me know how it is with more apples and if the cake is too moist/wet.

  27. erika on December 5, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    hello sally I’m not an egg yolk lover so when I bake I usually tried to avoid using the yolk . I was wondering if I can just use the egg whites and ads some Applesauce or I can substitute it with something else?

    • Sally on December 5, 2017 at 6:02 pm

      Hi Erika! I don’t really recommend that because the cake will likely be very dry without the fat. Let me know if you try anything!

  28. Jayne on May 1, 2018 at 8:50 am

    I’ve just pushed the pan into the oven and the house smells great already!

  29. Maile on May 8, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Made this recipe this weekend and loved it! I followed the recipe exactly as written, leaving out the glaze at the end. I think the cake is perfect without it so didn’t end up adding the glaze. Everyone at my house loved the cake. The cake is light, fluffy and perfectly moist and the crumb topping adds just the right amount of sweetness to finish off the top. Will definitely be making this recipe again. Thanks Sally!

    Rating: 5
    • Sally on May 8, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review on the apple crumb cake, Maile!

Reviews

  1. Maile on May 8, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Made this recipe this weekend and loved it! I followed the recipe exactly as written, leaving out the glaze at the end. I think the cake is perfect without it so didn’t end up adding the glaze. Everyone at my house loved the cake. The cake is light, fluffy and perfectly moist and the crumb topping adds just the right amount of sweetness to finish off the top. Will definitely be making this recipe again. Thanks Sally!

    Rating: 5
    • Sally on May 8, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review on the apple crumb cake, Maile!

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