Apple Crumb Cake

Ultra soft apple crumb cake is loaded with warm cinnamon apples and extra crumb topping. A homemade version of classic New York style crumb cake, this breakfast cake is moist, deliciously spiced, and drizzled with 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. And if warm cinnamon apples make your mouth water, today’s your day. Finally, 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. Like my traditional crumb cake recipe, this is 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 in the creaming process.
  • 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 flavor.
  • Cinnamon: We can’t have crumb cake without cinnamon!
  • Apples: The star of apple crumb cake, of course.

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, and Fuji

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 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.

This crumb cake comes together easily:

  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, then beat until combined. 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 inch 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. Top with icing.

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 like 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.

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 because 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

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

Icing Options

This apple crumb cake truly doesn’t need an accessory on top, but if the opportunity for sweet maple icing presents itself, we’d be fools to say no! Here are some icing options:

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 (affiliate links): 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.

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

215 Comments

  1. How do I freeze this cake? This cake is absolutely delicious!! I need to freeze it or I will eat the whole thing!!!!!!!

      1. Thanks for getting back to me so soon. I wrapped the cake in plastic wrap and foil and put it in a plastic container and put it in the freezer. I usually just wrap the cake with plastic wrap and foil but I was not putting the cake in a plastic container. Hopefully, this will make a difference!

  2. Hi Sally,
    I made this cake today and it is divine! Cake is so tender yet does not fall apart and the crumble is just the right amount.. nice and thick. I doubled the amount of the apples and it came out perfect. I did not use the glaze as I was afraid it would be too sweet. I will be making it again and may try the glaze at that time.

  3. Hi Sally,
    As per my prior comment, I love this cake. The day I baked it, the cake was very tender. After refrigerating the leftovers, the cake seemed to be dense, more like a pound cake. I am not sure why it requires refrigeration but following the directions, I did so. Any insights you can give me as to why it might have become dense after refrigeration ( and I let it come to room temperature after taking it out of the refrigerator) would be greatly appreciated. It still tasted wonderful but was wondering why the change in texture. Thank you.

  4. This apple crumb cake is out of this world! Absolutely delicious!! Beautiful fall day here in Pennsylvania and decided to make this treat for my husband and friends. Almost gone by the time I finish this review. Love all your recipes Had to use yogurt in place of sour cream due to my husband’s allergy. Came out perfecto!!!! Thank you and a happy fall to you and your family. Now on to making more of your fall recipes.

  5. YUM…….. Like apple all I need to do is go to the store and get some apples
    I have some friend who are moving so I can make this for them.
    THANK YOU SALLY

  6. I made this yesterday, using 2 Granny Smith apples. It was absolutely delicious! I followed the recipe exactly and it was amazing. The cake was very moist and that crumb topping heavenly.
    Everyone, make this cake!

  7. This sounds amazing but i would like to know some possible adaptions. Can I reduce the sugar, use almond flour, not peel the apples???
    Really like you sharing insights!!!

    1. Hi Vivian, for best results, I recommend following the recipe. Feel free to slightly reduce the sugar. You can skip peeling the apples if you’d like.

  8. Since there’s only 2 of us, I made a half recipe in and 8×8” pan. (It took longer to bake, so note to self: next time use a 9×9” pan!). Anyway, hubby says it’s the best cake I’ve ever made. I threw a few leftover plums in with the apples, and it was VERRRRY tasty! Thanks for the recipe!

  9. I made it. We loved it. Family wants more. And there is no greater accolades than family requesting it again & again 🙂 A real winner Sally! Thank you for this fabulous recipe.

  10. Hi Sally,
    This recipe looks absolutely yummy. I’m thinking about taking this for Thanksgiving.
    But, I was wondering if this could be made in a bundt pan putting some batter in the
    pan first then the apples and crumbs finishing with the rest of the batter and drizzling
    with maple or caramel icing. And if so, how long should I bake it. Thanks

    1. Hi Debbie, I haven’t tested this exact recipe this way so I can’t say for sure how long it the bake time would be. Let me know if you try it!

  11. If I want a smaller cake, 8 or 9 inch square, could I halve the ingredients? There’s only 2 of us & we never seen to finish a 9×13 cake. I don’t want to go the muffin route, we are not muffin lovers. The cake sounds great.

  12. I made the crumb topping first as instructed but it came out like a paste – definitely not crumbs! Had I made the rest of the recipe, I would have had to use a spatula to smooth out the “crumb topping.” I’ve never added melted butter to a crumb topping – what did I do wrong??

    1. Hi Martha, When you first make it it does kind of resemble a paste! But it cools down as you are making the rest of the recipe by the time you use it it crumbles beautifully with your fingers or a fork!

      1. Definitely resist the urge to add more flour to the crumb mixture, it appears way too wet I initially. Sally, I recommend adding a.note to the recipe to let the crumb mixture set/cool for 5 to 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork to crumbs. Absolutely delicious cake

  13. Made this for my co-workers and they loved it. I mixed up the apple topping and used Granny Smith, Honeycrisp and Fuji. This combination made for a nice mix of tart and sweet. Will definitely make again.

  14. Husband says it’s one of the best things I’ve ever made. Glad I froze half the cake or the whole thing would be gone in 2 days – and there only 3 in the family. And so easy!

  15. Hi Sally! I frequently try your recipes and bring them into work to share. This cake was a winner! Thanks for making me look good! PS your coconut cake is to die for!

  16. Absolutely delicious! I misread the recipe and mixed the apples into the batter. Still fabulous! I’m going to make it for family visiting over thanksgiving. One of the best cakes I’ve ever had!

  17. This is so good! Made it for a youth group s d it was practically gone. My only beef with this recipe….more apples!!! So I’m going to double the chopped apples and put down 1/2 the batter then a layer of apples, then the rest of the batter abs then the last half of the apples THEN the crumble. Thank you!!!

  18. Hi Sally! You are my favorite blogger 🙂 Is it possible to make this the day before and refrigerate as is? I’m hoping to make it the night before and put it in the oven in the morning. Thanks for any tips!

    1. Hi Emily, Do you mean put the raw batter in the refrigerator? I don’t recommend that as the leaveners (baking soda and baking powder) are activated as soon as they are mixed with the wet ingredients and must be baked right away. Bake the cake and then cover the cooled cake tightly and store in the refrigerator overnight. Before serving bring it back to room temperature and top with the icing if desired!

  19. My niece, who doesn’t like chocolate or desserts in general, loved this cake. I’ve been making desserts with your recipes for years now but never stopped to say thank you. THANK YOU for the amazing recipes that require no tweaking.

  20. Hi Sally! I’m making this cake for an upcoming party. One of my guest is lactose intolerant. Do you think I could substitute dairy-free yogurt for the sour cream?

    1. Hi Ashley, I haven’t tested this with a dairy free yogurt but as long as it’s a full fat version it should be ok. Let me know if you try it!

      1. I made this recipe last week using dairy free yogurt (Silk Almond Milk Alternative Yogurt) and it came out delicious! I received so many compliments on it. Your website is always my go to for baking recipes! 🙂

  21. Hi! Was hoping to make a crumb cake of yours this weekend but wanted to make one in a springform. First stumbled across your super crumb cake but then saw this. Any way this would work in a springform?

    1. Hi Riva! If you have a 10-inch springform pan, this cake would definitely fit. The bake time will be about the same or a little longer.

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