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. 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! 🙂

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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  ❤️❤️

  5. 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!

  6. 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

    1. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

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

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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!!

  17. 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??

  18. 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!

  19. 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?

    1. 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!

  20. 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!

  21. I made this this week – I had to add 1/4 extra butter to the topping but I think it might just be really dry where I live? Everything turned out perfectly and tasted great. I used lactose free milk, butter and sour cream and it was great! Thank you so much for the recipe!

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