Apple Crumb Cake

Ultra soft and mega delicious apple crumb cake is loaded with warm cinnamon apples and topped with double the buttery crumb topping. A homemade version of classic New York style crumb cake, it’s moist and perfectly spiced with three layers to love, drizzled with a sweet maple icing.

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.

Because today we’re indulging in APPLE CRUMB CAKE!! It’s your morning fall indulgence and the smart answer for breakfast, but also very acceptable for lunch, dinner, or dessert. You’re probably familiar with a similar recipe– today’s homemade apple crumb cake is my apple crumb muffins in cake form. They’re definitely one of my favorite seasonal muffins to make (along with pumpkin crumb cake muffins), so a cake version is a no-brainer.

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

Apple Crumb Cake Ingredients

I tested this apple crumb cake a few times, changing things ever so slightly to land on this final recipe. It’s a butter and sour cream based cake AKA the best kind of cake and here’s what you need to make it:

  • Flour: All-purpose flour is the structure of this cake– it’s sturdy enough to support the thick batter and multiple layers of this crumb cake.
  • Baking Soda + Baking Powder: Baking soda and baking powder help the cake rise.
  • Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar sweetens the cake.
  • Butter: Butter adds flavor and provides structure when creamed with the sugar.
  • Sour Cream: 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. Don’t remove the fat from this cake by using a lower fat alternative. Fat = flavor! We don’t want to skimp there.
  • Eggs: Three eggs add moisture and bind the cake together.
  • Salt + Vanilla Extract: Use both for added flavor.
  • Cinnamon: Apple’s favorite spice.
  • Apples: The star of apple crumb cake!

Apples for apple crumb cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Best Apples for Apple Crumb Cake

Use any variety of apples you enjoy! You need about 1 and 1/2 medium apples for this recipe. Personally, I love tart Granny Smith apples paired with the sweet crumb cake.

  • Tart apples I love: Granny Smith, Braeburn, Jonathan, and Pacific Rose
  • Sweet apples I love: Jazz, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Gala, Fuji, and Cortland

Cinnamon apples for apple crumb cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to Make Apple Crumb Cake

When I first tested this recipe, I mixed the apples into the cake batter (just like we do in my glazed apple crumb muffins recipe). 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 obsess over.

This crumb cake comes together easily– quick prep and simple ingredients. Let’s do this:

  1. Make the crumb topping.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients except cinnamon together.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla– beat until combined. You might notice the mixture may look curdled– that is OK.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  5. Toss apples and cinnamon together.
  6. Pour batter into pan. A 9×13 pan works perfectly for this volume of batter.
  7. Top with apples and crumb topping. Press the crumb topping tightly down into the cake so it sticks.
  8. Bake. If you find the top and/or edges of the cake are browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
  9. Make icing.
  10. Drizzle + serve.

How to make apple crumb cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Crumb Cake with Extra Crumbs

You’ll notice A LOT of ingredients in the crumb topping. Not in the number of ingredients, but in terms of the volume of ingredients. More butter, sugar, and just as much flour as in the cake itself. Why? The crumb topping is the best part of a CRUMB CAKE. I mean, what do you love if you don’t love a thick crumb topping? Plain cake.

You’re using the same ingredients in the crumb topping as you are in the cake, so it’s an extremely convenient recipe. The gang’s all here– granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, melted butter, and flour, plus brown sugar because it’s not crumb topping without brown sugar. Make sure some crumbs stay in larger chunks– those are the best bites.

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

Crumb topping for apple crumb cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Crumb topping for apple crumb cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Icing Options

This apple crumb cake truly doesn’t need an accessory on top– and 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.

You’ve got a few glaze options here:

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

More Apple Breakfast Recipes

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

Bring it on, extra crumbs!

Print

Apple Crumb Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
  • Yield: serves 12
  • Category: Crumb Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Delicious New York style crumb cake with warm cinnamon apples and DOUBLE the buttery crumb topping!


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 flourspoon & leveled

Cake

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (310g) all purpose flourspoon & 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9×13 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.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: 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.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Hand Mixer, Glass Mixing Bowls, Apple Peeler, and 9×13 Baking Pan
  3. Sour Cream: 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.
  4. Room Temperature: All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information.
  5. Adapted from sour cream coffee cake and loaded with a lot more crumbs!

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

Apple crumb muffins on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Apple crumb cake with TWICE the amount of buttery cinnamon crumb topping! Soft, moist, sweet, and the perfect Fall breakfast! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

183 Comments

  1. I use the same crumble topping for apple crisp. Which has been requested again this week! First things first Apple crumb cake! Can’t wait to try it!

  2. I have never seen that clip of Friends and I couldn’t keep from Lol!! I now keep sour cream and buttermilk in my fridge for such so occasions as this crumb cake. Great recipe. Hope you are recuperating well and resting. Can’t wait to meet your little princess

    1. When I’m in full blown bake mode, I always keep a large jar of sour cream and a quart or 2 of buttermilk in the fridge. Sour cream is a MUST in this apple crumb cake. I know you’ll love it!

  3. It’s Thanksgiving weekend up here in Canada, and I cannot WAIT to bake all the goodies I’ve bookmarked these past weeks! This cake is a great option for morning after breakfast 😉

  4. Um, yeah! Definitely making this. I live in Upstate NY and we’re in full swing of apple season and I have no idea what I’m going to do with all of them (besides make amazing homemade applesauce!)

  5. Looks so yummy! Might make a good Thanksgiving dessert this weekend! I’m already planning what to inaugurate my new oven with when we go buy one – this is in consideration (as is half of your cookie book I haven’t gotten to try yet!)

    I knew where you were going with that as soon as you said beef!

    Speaking of silly quotes, I sang “The Farmer in the Dell” to my baby today and thought of you always writing “the cheese stands alone!”

  6. HI Sally! This looks great! Do you ever pre-cook your apples to insure that they are not hard after the cake bakes? I always worry that the cake will cook before the apples. It has happened in apple pie and now I pre-cook them in apple cider or just with butter and cinnamon. What do you think?

    1. Hey Karen! This cake bakes for such a long time that the apples will definitely be soft. I’ve made it a handful of times– testing it, changing it, testing again– and they’ve always been soft as is. Though feel free to pre-cook if you want!

  7. Can we just talk about how this past week I’ve been craving and looking for a recipe for an Apple Torte/Cake (wouldn’t know the difference) with a crumble topping and I found nothing!!! Deep inside I was wishing you would come up with a recipe EXACTLY like this one! I’ll make it asap <3 

  8. I was looking for an apple crumb cake recipe to make for Rosh Hashana a few weeks ago when I came across your apple bundt cake and decided to make that instead. It was phenomenal but now I need to try this too! I also made your salted caramel apple pie bars which disappeared almost immediately after being served. A particularly critical family member told me they were the best thing she’s ever eaten. Since there were more people than apple pie bars, people were literally bargaining with each other to split their pieces into halves and thirds. You have a real knack for apple desserts (and all others)!!!! Can’t wait to try this one! 

  9. I just happen to have some freshly picked apples that I was trying to think of what to make with them. This sounds like the winner! I finally got a message from Amazon that your cookbook I pre-ordered has been shipped! Can’t wait!

  10. I just made your apple and pumpkin muffins this past weekend. This cake looks to die for! Bummed I have to wait until tomorrow to make it. Could you one day make a bread pudding? Pleeease!!!! The closest thing to that for me is your blueberry french toast casserole. Congrats on your newest addition to your family!

  11. Ahhh I love crumb cake! They’re one of my absolute favourite desserts/snacks/breakfasts. I love your banana chocolate chip and cinnamon streusel one. Can’t wait to try this one for fall 🙂

  12. Hi Sally!
    I am absolutely in love with all the apple cinnamon goodness on here lately!! I NEED this crumb cake in my life!! 
    The new cookie book is SO beautiful!! I am very excited to start baking from it.  Congratulations to you for the book & also your newest little family member! Cannot wait to ‘meet’ her! 🙂

  13. Sounds delish! Your recipe says ‘chopped’ apples, but your photos look more like “sliced’ apples. Or maybe my idea of chopped is a bit different from yours. I think of chopped as being quite small pieces.

  14. I would like to make this crumb cake for a co-worker birthday, but the problem is she’s vegan.  What can I use instead of the eggs? Thanks for the great recipes. 

    1. Hi Claudette! I’m unsure– this recipe is formulated for the use of 3 of them. I am highly inexperienced with egg-free baking and I wish I could help. Sorry!

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