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 made this cake a couple of days ago and I can’t stay out of it! I froze it so I would have it to share when guests stopped by but I can’t seem to leave it alone! It’s so good! The cake is so soft and tender and the crumb topping is simply to die for! Yum! Thanks for sharing the recipe, Sally!

  2. I made this Embodiment of Fall delight this morning….This is ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!! I usually have to change something after I make a new recipe…there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING I need to change! Unbelievably scrumptious!!! This will never leave my recipe box! This would make the best Thanksgiving/Christmas Morning treat. I’ve already passed the recipe onto two friends

    BRAVO!

  3. Hi Sally,
    I made this recipe today, my family are big apple crisp lovers so I did add more apples and I thought I’d throw in some oatmeal in the topping as well! Wow! And I mean WOW! I ended up having to bake it for 10 minutes longer because it was pretty thick but yyyuuummmyyy!!! Oh my goodness, so moist and not overly sweet. Our work crew is working here tomorrow and I just know they’re going to absolutely love this with their coffee in the morning. Thank you.

  4. I made this two days ago. I followed directions to a “T” but it was not baked in the middle. 45 to 55 minutes is not long enough. Maybe try it at 325 for 1 hour and 10 minutes. I’m 65 years old and have baked for a long time. Sometimes I see recipes on the Internet and sort of wonder if they will turn out right. Anyway…it sure was delicious, so I will try again.

    1. Hi Judy, I have the same problem as well but I found out that my oven was giving the wrong temperature. It helps to have a thermometer to check the accuracy of the oven. Also, making sure it’s preheated before prepping helps too.

  5. I just made your baked apple cider donuts. They are absolutely delicious!!!!!!!
    Already reduced apple cider for the next batch.

  6. Made these for Thanksgiving – came out absolutely perfect! I used vanilla icing and it was incredible! The crumb topping was delicious and the cake was so tender and moist. Will definitely make again!

  7. I made this today and it took more than the allotted time. I baked it for an hour and around 12 minutes before the toothpick came out clean. It looks and smells delicious though. It is cooling right now on a rack on my island counter. Cannot wait to taste it.

  8. Hi Sally, i want to bake this into two 6 inch pans and layer them. How should i go about in decreasing the ingredients?
    Also, i want to put walnuts; should i mix it in crumbs or just sprinkle it on top? Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Mace! Regarding the walnuts– you can just mix them right in with the crumbs. The only ratio of ingredients I’m confident about is what’s listed. Feel free to play around with the recipe to fit your pans. My recommendation is to make the recipe as instructed and use extra batter for muffins.

  9. Do you recommend using Granny Smith apples in this recipe? It doesn’t specify what type of apples, but in the photos, they look like Granny Smith.

  10. I’ve made this twice and love it. My crumbs turn out a bit crunchier than I’d like (I think) – should I be placing foil over top half way through baking? I don’t visually see it getting too brown but the crumbs are hard around the edges. Perhaps that is the style of crumb I’m looking for for this recipe? I love this recipe – I just don’t know what the perfect crumb topping texture should be like!

  11. Made this today with pears. Unreal! Wondering if you can recommend other fruits that won’t make the cake too soggy. Would strawberries or peaches work? I’ll be making it in the spring for a bunch of family coming to town.

  12. This looks fabulous! I just bought some ambrosia apples at the store, so I need to use them! Apple pie, apple muffins…and definitely this crumb cake! I was wondering whether I could make this in two 9-inch cake pans? What would the baking time be for those? Thanks, Sally!

      1. Great, thanks! Maybe I’ll just set the timer for thirty minutes and watch it carefully, and go from there. And wouldn’t this be fabulous drizzled with your salted caramel?! 🙂

  13. Hi Sally,
    I absolutely cannot have too much sugar in my diet. Usually 1/4 whatever a recipe calls for. Can you recommend a good reduction amount for this recipe? My husband loves sweets so I don’t want to rob him of that either. Is there a good compromise of not too much and not too little sugar? Thank you for this amazing recipe!!!

    1. You can certainly try to reduce the sugar. Just keep in mind that sugar is used for more than just taste – it is also important for the proper texture and moisture in a baked good. Let me know if you try it!

  14. I’ve made this recipe twice now. I’m a novice baker and I feel like the recipe is very forgiving as well, and both times came out looking just like the pictures. The batter for the cake has turned out perfectly both times!

    The cake does come out a bit apple light and crumb heavy, which seems like the point, but I still ended up with 3 times as much crumb topping as apple. You might want to make the recipe by instructions first, and then after that, adjust the apple to crumb ratio. The second time, I added extra apple (from 2 to almost 3 Granny Smith apples) and still thought I could use more since they cook down so much. The only other change I did was tenting the cake with foil the last 5 minutes or so to prevent the crumb from browning.

  15. Oh wow Sally I made this a few days ago and it turned out amazing! I followed every ingredient and step exactly except I added an additional 1/2 cup of apples tossed with a squirt of lemon juice and added 1/3 cup of toasted pecans to the top of the crumble. Mine baked for around 42 to 43 minutes and turned out beautiful, delicious, and very moist! The crumble stayed crisp and cake stayed moist even over the next 2 days. Thank you Sally!!

  16. I think I might just have a new favorite cake. This cake is AMAZING. It is honestly one of the best things I have ever made! The cake itself is soft, moist, and delicious, and when paired with the cinnamon-y apples and buttery crumb topping..I could eat this every single day and not tire of it! My family adored it as well, though the apple flavor was more prominent on the second and third days (I made it for Mother’s Day on Sunday). I might add some more apples next time, as they were spread pretty thinly…but it tasted SO good still! I’m now planning to make this with all kinds of other fruits, like peaches and raspberries and pears and blueberries and strawberries…yummmmm! Thank you for this fabulous recipe, Sally! Love love love it 😀

  17. Thanks Sally. This cake is very good but being an old timer my taste buds aren’t what they used to be so had to change a couple of things. First sour cream doesn’t agree with me so I used the yogurt instead good to go. I like apples with lots of taste so used 3 apples. The first I shred and add just before the mixing is complete, the other 2 I used on top of the cake. This gives me the taste I like. Your cake is good but my changes are for me and make it better. Thanks

  18. I made this apple cake with gluten free flour and found it needed much longer to cook. I will be visiting USA in the fall and would like to know what apples to use as you do not have the ones I always use available. Thanks

  19. I always will try a recipe exactly as written the first time, and then modify it if necessary the next time. I made this today and it turned out just like the pictures. We thought that there was waaaay too much of the crumb topping, and it needed more apples, so next time I will cut the topping recipe in half (maybe even reducing the cinnamon to one teaspoon, and double the amount of apples.

    I’ll try to remember to post another comment after I try it with these modifications.

  20. Hi Sally! I was wondering if I could use buttermilk in space of sour cream in this recipe? I noticed that you have a coffee cake recipe that uses buttermilk, but I have made this before and LOVE it. Unfortunately buttermilk is all I have on hand right now.

  21. Sally, you’ve done it again. I really need to review more of your recipes. Just made this for my roommates birthday and brought some to work. Everyone is obsessed. The cake is so light and fluffy. The crumb topping is to die for. I did have to bake it a bit longer but it might just be my oven. I’m purchasing a thermometer today. I think I need to make this again ASAP. Thanks Sally!

  22. I tried this 1/2 of recipe yesterday and came out well. I added crushed walnuts to my crumble topping to add some texture. I reduced the amount of sugar in both the crumble and cake recipe to make room for the caramel (about 2Tbsp )I drizzled on top of the apples before I covered them with the crumble. Mine baked at exactly 45minutes using a 8×8 square pan. Texture was soft and moist while the top was crunchy. I ate one at room temperature and will also try a chilled version for taste and texture comparison.

  23. Now I know I’m going to make this.
    1. Because I love APPLES
    2. I don’t have to go to a store and grave a box.
    3. Who doesn’t like APPLES I mean I doesn’t know no boby that doesn’t like apples.
    4. Sally when I cook you recipes my whole family smiles so big. I only 13 and if you didn’t do what your doing now…. I don’t now what it be like.
    So Thnak you Sally for you recipes.

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