This Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy.
This crumb cake becomes a seasonal favorite when apples are tossed into the vanilla cake batter. With this apple crumb cake, a generous amount of crumb topping is baked on top of an apple cake. With brown sugar, cinnamon, and sweet apples you will definitely be eating more than one slice. And don’t forget to drizzle it with a powdered sugar icing over it before serving.
When it comes to Fall, I am obsessed with all desserts involving fresh apples. And what better than spiced apple cake with a generous crumb topping finished with a vanilla glaze?
The ingredients for this cake are adapted from my blueberry crumb cake (that’s adapted from Epicurious’s New York Style crumb cake). But I added in a few different ingredients to make this a festive Fall favorite.
Let me break down this cake for you.
- Sweet apples. Check.
- Warm cinnamon spice. Check.
- Loads of brown sugar crumb topping that I can’t get enough of. Check and double check.
This easy apple crumb cake starts with an easy vanilla cake batter and then fresh, chopped apples and cinnamon are stirred. A buttery, brown sugar crumble is sprinkled on top before baking turning this into a tender and moist apple coffee cake Right before serving, I drizzle on a sweet vanilla icing made from powdered sugar.
Yea this apple crumb cake has got it all to make all your Autumn dreams come true. Someone please get me a fork.
- Skip making a whole pie, and try these quick and easy apple pie gooey bars that taste like a cinnamon apple pie!
- These salted caramel apple bars are made in just one mixing bowl making for an easy Fall dessert.
- Grab a box of puff pastry and bake up these apple turnovers drizzled in an easy vanilla icing.
- These soft and chewy apple cider cookies are studded with apples and frosted with a delicious apple cider icing.
- These apple cider cupcakes with an apple cider buttercream on top is an easy Fall cupcake that would be perfect for your Thanksgiving table.
Why You Will Love This Easy Apple Crumb Cake
- Easy to make crumb topping – The crumb topping is made with melted butter so it’s super quick to mix up.
- Great make ahead dessert – You can bake this apple crumb cake and then store at room temperature. It will keep great for a couple days!
- Lots of fresh apple chunks. There’s two whole apples inside this cake, so that means apple in every bite!
My Recommended Sheet Cake Tools
What is apple cake made of?
- Light brown sugar – You can also use dark brown sugar.
- Granulated white sugar – You will need granulated sugar for the cake and the crumble. This will not only sweeten the cake, but also helps to moisten and tenderize the cake.
- Cinnamon – You can also swap this for apple pie spice.
- Salt – I prefer baking with sea salt as it dissolves into your cake batter, more easily than kosher salt, and provides a more pure salt taste than table salt. But you can any of these salts, and your cake will come out great.
- Unsalted butter – I always bake with unsalted butter vs. salted butter because I can control the amount of salt and it’s fresher. However, you can also use salted butter if that’s what you have on hand. You can just reduce or omit the added salt.
- All purpose flour – All purpose flour has a mid range of protein content, so it’s perfect for baking this apple coffee cake because it can hold up to the crumble, but still produce a tender cake. Be sure to measure your flour correctly by weighing your flour, or spooning into your cup and level it off.
- Baking powder – To help leaven the cake. Make sure your baking powder is fresh, by testing a little bit in a dish of hot water to see if it bubbles.
- Baking soda – To react with the acidic ingredients in your recipe to help create bubbles and makes it rise. Check to see if it’s fresh first by mixing with a little vinegar (or lemon juice) to see if it bubbles first. Don’t mix up with your baking powder! Baking powder and baking soda are not the same thing.
- Eggs – You need two room temperature large eggs. You want them room temperature so they don’t seize up the butter, otherwise your cake might not rise as high. Place your eggs into a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes before using.
- Plain Greek Yogurt – You can also swap out the greek yogurt and use sour cream instead. I recommend full-fat because the extra fat is going to help make for a very tender cake.
- Vanilla Extract – I prefer pure vanilla extract but you can also use imitation vanilla extract.
- Apples – You need 2 large apples, peeled and chopped for this apple crumb cake recipe.
Best Apples For This Crumb Cake
My favorite apples to bake with are apples that can hold up to baking and don’t turn to mush. I also like to use apples that are a little bit sweet and slightly tart.
If you have a favorite apple you bake with then go ahead and use it! However, if you’re unsure of which to grab, here are my go to apples I recommend using.
- Granny Smith – This is the first apple I choose! It’s tart, holds up well during baking, and helps balance out the sweetness of the cake.
- Pink Lady – A little sweeter than Granny Smith, but still crisp and slightly tart.
- Honey Crisp – This might be my new favorite apple. These apples are slightly tart and sweet and hold up well to baking.
Looking for more apple options? Be sure to check out all my favorite apples to bake with!
I don’t recommend baking with a MacIntosh as I find they can turn very mushy when baking. I also don’t prefer a Red Delicious as they don’t provide much apple flavor.
How to make this apple crumb cake – step by step
Make the topping.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt until well combined.
Add the warm melted butter and stir to blend.
Add flour and toss with fork until moist clumps form (topping mixture will look slightly wet). Set aside.
Make the apple cake batter
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt until well combined.
Using electric mixer, beat room-temperature butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Heather’s Baking Tip
Make sure your butter has been softened to room temperature so it can be creamed together with the sugar properly. If the butter is too cold, the sugar and butter won’t mix together well. And the sugar’s job is to punch holes into the butter creating small air pockets.
Once inside the oven, the air pockets will expand and fill with bubbles formed from the leavening agents. So if the butter is too cold, the sugar won’t be able to create those air pockets. In other words, your cake won’t rise as tall!
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Again, make sure your eggs are at room temperature, otherwise, it can cause your butter to seize and mixture to separate. This could result in a flatter, denser cake.
Add greek yogurt, and vanilla extract and beat just until blended.
Add flour mixture in 3 additions, beating just until incorporated after each addition. You want to be sure to not overmix at this point, otherwise it will create a very tough, chewy cake.
Add the apples
With a rubber spatula, gently fold in chopped apples into batter. I like to chop the apples up small, so you get bites of apple in every bite. You could also try shredding the apples if you want but I prefer the texture of the diced apples.
Add the crumb topping
Transfer cake batter to prepared baking dish; spread batter evenly with rubber spatula or offset spatula.
Squeeze small handfuls of topping together to form small clumps. Drop topping clumps evenly over cake batter, covering completely (topping will be thick).
Bake the apple crumb cake
Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and topping is deep golden brown and slightly crisp, about 1 hour. Cool cake in dish on rack at least 30 minutes. Drizzle with icing if using. Cut cake into squares and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
I topped this cake with an easy three ingredient vanilla icing. The vanilla glaze is made from powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Once the cake is cooled, go ahead drizzle the vanilla glaze all over this easy apple cake before serving.
But if you want you can definitely switch things up and try out a new icing!
- Maple icing – Like I drizzled on my maple bacon scones
- Cinnamon icing – You can make a cinnamon glaze like I did for these brown sugar pop-tarts.
- Apple cider icing – Use fresh cider and make this icing like I drizzled over my apple cinnamon rolls and apple scones.
- Measure your flour. Be sure to measure your flour correctly if you are using dry measuring cups or you can use a kitchen scale for best accuracy.
- Soften Your Butter. You want properly softened butter so that you can cream mixture properly. The sugar punches holes into the butter creating air pockets, which helps to aerate and help the cake to rise. Here are 3 quick ways to soften your butter.
- Bring your eggs to room temperature. You don’t want cold eggs being added to your creamed butter mixture. It will seize up the butter. So place your eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes before using them.
This cake will be fine at room temperature, covered with either plastic wrap or aluminum foil, for 2 days. You can also store this cake, covered in the fridge, for up to 5 days. Before serving I like to warm it up back in the oven until heated through or in the microwave for a few seconds. But it’s still delicious at room temperature!
To freeze the cake, you can cut it into slices, and then place in a sealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months. The cake will thaw at room temperature quickly. You can also warm up a slice of this cake in your microwave for a few seconds before enjoying.
More Recipes To Try
Let’s Bake Together
Subscribe to my newsletter to never miss a new recipe or baking challenge! And if you bake one of my recipes be sure to tag me on Instagram. You can also follow along with me on Facebook and You Tube.
Apple Crumb Cake
For the crumb topping
- 1 cup (213 g) packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated white sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 226 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 ½ cups (300 g) cups all purpose flour
For the cake
- 2 1/2 cups (300 g) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (1 1/2 sticks, 170 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated white sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups plain greek yogurt *see note
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 large apples peeled, cored, and diced
For the powdered sugar icing
- 1 cup (114 g) powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Make the topping. Whisk granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl until evenly combined. Add warm melted butter, and with a wooden spoon or spatula, stir to blend. Add flour and toss with fork until moist clumps form (topping mixture will look slightly wet). Set aside.
- Prepare the pan. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F (177°C). Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
- Sift the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together.
- Cream the butter and sugar. Using electric mixer, on medium high speed, beat room-temperature butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add remaining wet ingredients.. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract and beat just until blended.
- Add the flour gradually. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, beating just until incorporated after each addition.
- Fold in chopped apples. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in chopped apples into batter.
- Add crumb topping. Transfer cake batter to prepared baking dish; spread batter evenly with rubber spatula or offset spatula. Squeeze small handfuls of topping together to form small clumps. Drop topping clumps evenly over cake batter, covering completely (topping will be thick).
- Bake the cake. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and topping is deep golden brown and slightly crisp, about 1 hour. Cool cake in dish on rack at least 30 minutes. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
- Make the icing. In a mixing bowl with a whisk, combine the icing ingredients until smooth. If it's too thick add a little more milk. If it's too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar. Drizzle over the cake. Cut cake into squares and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
- Storage: This cake will be fine at room temperature, covered with either plastic wrap or aluminum foil, for 2 days. You can also store this cake, covered in the fridge, for up to 5 days. Before serving I like to warm it up back in the oven until heated through or in the microwave for a few seconds. But it’s still delicious at room temperature!
- Freezing: To freeze the cake, you can cut it into slices, and then place in a sealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months. The cake will thaw at room temperature quickly. You can also warm up a slice of this cake in your microwave for a few seconds before enjoying.
- Apples: I prefer Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, or Pink Lady. I also love combining any of the above apples. Cortland apples are another favorite of mine that I love pairing with a Honey Crisp or Granny Smith.
- Greek yogurt: You can also swap out the greek yogurt and use sour cream instead. I recommend full-fat because the extra fat is going to help make for a very tender cake.
Comments & ReviewsType your question or comment below, and tap "Post Comment". I welcome constructive criticism, but please be respectful. Rude or inappropriate comments will not be published. Thank you!
Baking isn't always easy! So if you had any issues, I'd appreciate the chance to help you troubleshoot before you rate.