Deliciously moist and velvety, my apple coffee cake recipe is brimming with the flavors of cinnamon and tangy-sweet Honeycrisp apples, and is a cozy treat to bake up during apple season. Prepared with rich sour cream, brown sugar and a sweet-crisp, cinnamon streusel topping, there's no better companion to your morning cup of coffee in the fall!
A Coffee Cake Made for Apple Season
Friends, I cannot emphasize enough just how cozy this lovely time of year makes me feel, what with the colorful evening sunsets and the bounty of sweet, juicy apples becoming plentiful in the markets.
Apple season is a favorite time of year in our household, because it means that I'm about to embark on lots of baking, whipping up some of our favorite tried and true apple desserts, and tinkering with brand new ones to add to my repertoire of tasty fall goodies.
After realizing that I hadn't yet shared a coffee cake recipe here on The Cozy Apron, I figured that apple season would be a fitting time to share one that's extra special, extra delicious, and extra cozy!
Allow me to introduce my apple coffee cake...
It has a moist and velvety texture with a soft, tender crumb, and is bursting with the flavors of cinnamon, tangy apples, butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in every bite.
And because my recipe yields a nice, big pan of coffee cake, this makes it a terrific treat to share with friends and family, or even freeze a portion of for a later time to reheat and enjoy whenever the craving for something “apple-y” comes around.
Topped with a crisp and cinnamon-y streusel topping, this coffee cake with a fall twist is sure to be a favorite companion to a hot cup of coffee during apple season!
My Apple Coffee Cake Recipe with Streusel Topping
When it comes to coffee cake, it should have a tender and moist texture with a soft crumb that melts away on the tongue.
For this, I'm opting for cake flour in my recipe here, as it makes a noticeable difference in the texture of this cake since it has less protein than all-purpose flour, and yields a soft, velvety crumb in a baked goods.
To contrast this, coffee cake is typically always topped with a streusel crumble or topping of some sort for a bit of texture and sweet crispiness. I keep mine straightforward by combining brown and granulated sugars with melted butter, flour, and cinnamon.
Coffee cake is famous for its sweet “strip” of cinnamon filling in the middle that gives that nice, spicy flavor to this delicate cake, and my version here has that plus an additional layer of finely diced, Honeycrisp apples which provide that deliciously sweet and tart surprise of spiced apple in every bite!
Sour cream is a main ingredient in the batter, as this helps to create richness and added moisture.
Then, there's also a generous amount of brown sugar (my recipe goes heavier in that direction than most coffee cake recipes, hence its more golden color), a good pour of pure vanilla extract, and of course, a hefty addition of butter.
Hey, we're talking coffee cake here—gotta have lots of butter!
Here's a glance at my apple coffee cake recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I quickly saute my finely diced apples in a bit of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon just until tender, and then allow those to cool.
- Next, I mix up my streusel topping, and keep that in the fridge to chill and keep chunky.
- After the streusel, I mix up the simple cinnamon “filling” layer that gets sprinkled into the middle of the coffee cake, and set that aside.
- Next, I mix up my cake batter ingredients, and spoon half of my batter into my prepared 9 by 13 inch baking dish or pan, and carefully smooth that out. Then, I sprinkle in my cinnamon sugar filling, followed by my cooled, sauteed apples, then dollop over top of these the rest of my cake batter and carefully smooth that out to cover.
- I finish by sprinkling over the chilled streusel topping, then bake my apple coffee cake for about 55 minutes, or until a skewer or cake tester comes out clean.
- The apple coffee cake is cooled in the pan for at least 45 minutes, then I slice and serve the cake right out of the pan.
Apple Coffee Cake
by Ingrid Beer
Deliciously decadent, this apple coffee cake is brimming with the flavors of cinnamon, apples, and brown sugar, topped with sweet streusel!
Yield: Serves 15
Nutrition Info: 508 calories (per serving)
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook time: 55 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Coffee Cake Ingredients:
- 3 medium Honeycrisp apples, peeled and diced into a small, ¼ inch dice (about 3 to 3 ½ cups worth)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 cup unsalted butter (softened to room temp), divided use
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 cup brown sugar, divided use
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 ½ cups cake flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs, room temp
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream (full-fat is best)
- ¾ cup milk (whole milk is best)
Cinnamon Sugar Filling Ingredients:
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Streusel Topping Ingredients:
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup melted unsalted butter, cooled slightly
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- To begin, gather and prep all of your ingredients according to the ingredient lists above to have ready and organized for use.
- Begin by sauteing the apples: to a large non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat, add the 1 tablespoon of butter, and once melted, add the 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Add in the finely diced apples, along with the ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, and saute for a bout 5-7 minutes, just until the apples soften and become golden. Spoon the apples onto a paper towel-lined plate to cool to room temp.
- Next, whisk together the dry ingredients for your coffee cake by whisking the cake flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Set those aside for a moment.
- Prepare your cinnamon sugar filling by combining the ¼ cup brown sugar with the 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and the 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour, and mixing with a fork. Set this aside.
- Prepare your streusel topping by mixing together the ½ cup of brown sugar, ¼ cup of granulated sugar, and the 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Pour in the ½ cup of melted butter, and using a fork, mix to combine and moisten the sugar. Add in the 1 cup of all-purpose flour, and continue to mix this in with the fork until the flour is incorporated, fluffing the mixture gently to create crumbles. Set this aside in the fridge to keep cold.
- Preheat your oven to 350°, and lightly mist a 9 by 13 by 2 inch baking dish or pan with cooking spray.
- To prepare your coffee cake batter, add the 1 cup softened butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, along with the 1 cup brown sugar and 1//2 cup granulated sugar, and mix these together on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the eggs in one at a time, allowing each to incorporate, followed by the vanilla extract.
- Next, whisk the sour cream and milk together, and add this mixture into the batter, mixing it in until incorporated.
- Then, slowly begin adding in the dry ingredients, mixing just until those are incorporated (take care not to over mix).
- Spoon half of your cake batter into the bottom of your prepared pan, and using a small, offset spatula or a rubber spatula, spread it to cover the bottom of the pan evenly. Then, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling over this, followed by the sauteed apples, in an even layer.
- Dollop the remaining half of the cake batter over top of the apples/cinnamon sugar filling, and once again, carefully smooth out the batter (it may be a bit tricky as it tends to stick a bit to the apples and filling) using the offset spatula or rubber spatula, until fairly smooth.
- Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over top, and bake the apple coffee cake for roughly 55 minutes if using an aluminum baking pan, or roughly 1 hour and 10 minutes if using a glass baking dish (turning it halfway through the baking time), or until a skewer or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow the coffee cake to cool in the pan for at least 45 minutes, then slice and serve the cake directly out of the pan.
Tips & Tidbits for my Apple Coffee Cake recipe:
- Honeycrisp apples for sweet-tart flavor: Honeycrisp apples are terrific for use in baked items, as they have a distinct apple-y flavor, with sweet-tart notes. Other good apples for this coffee cake are Granny Smith, Jonagold, or Gala. And when prepping them, be sure to dice them finely, about ¼ inch size dice.
- Cake flour for a tight, tender crumb: Using cake flour for a coffee cake preparation is terrific, because it yields light, fluffy, yet moist texture for the cake. Cake flour has less protein, which makes cake tender with a velvety crumb, giving this cake an irresistible texture.
- Substituting all-purpose flour in a pinch: If you prefer to use all-purpose flour, you can substitute 3 cups of all-purpose flour in place of the cake flour, and reduce the amount of milk to ½ cup.
- Reheat for warm coffee cake: If you'd like to enjoy your coffee cake warm with your coffee, you can either pop it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, or place it into your toaster oven on 300° and gently heat for a few minutes.