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Apple Coffee Cake is an easy breakfast cake or dessert with a soft and moist cake, streusel crumble topping and lots of apples! This is my go-to brunch recipe and I constantly get asked for the recipe.
Table of Contents
Why you will LOVE this Apple Coffee Cake
I’m not kidding when I say you’ll love this recipe. I’ve been making variations of it since I was a child – it’s my mom’s base coffee cake recipe! Adding apples is one of my favorite ways to make it. It’s one of the best breakfasts you’ll ever eat alongside a hot cup of coffee. This Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake is the best because:
- It’s easy to make – no mixer needed!
- The cake is soft and buttery – like apple pie for breakfast all year long!
- There is a crumble topping!
- The apples are perfectly cooked
Ingredients in Apple Crumb Cake
- Challenge Unsalted Butter: Melted butter goes into all 3 of the components of this recipe. I’ve been using Challenge Butter my entire life – it’s the only brand my parents buy.
- Apples: I used Granny Smith apples for this recipe but you can definitely make it with Fuji or Gala, Golden Delicious or Honeycrisp apples, but I wouldn’t use straight red apples.
- Sugar: You’ll need granulated sugar for the apples and cake and light brown sugar for the crumble.
- Milk: You can use regular, nonfat or even nondairy milk in this recipe. This is not a sour cream coffee cake; I prefer using milk.
- Salt: You need salt for the cake, you can lower it to 1/4 teaspoon if you’re using Salted Challenge Butter.
- Cinnamon: Required! Cinnamon is needed for every coffee cake recipe I make. It adds so much flavor.
How to Make Apple Coffee Cake
There are three parts to making this recipe: the apples, the cake, and the crumb. The steps are worth it!
- First, prepare your apples: Coring, slice and dice them small. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, until the apple just starts to turn opaque, but is still white. Remove from heat to cool. (If you want you can peel your apples: My favorite way is to use a peeler/spiralizer tool. This is my favorite apple peeler.)
- Make your cake: Whisk dry ingredients in a small bowl.
- Make the streusel topping: Simply stir the melted butter with brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. I like to use a fork so the streusel stays crumbly.
- Make the cake batter: Stir together melted butter with sugar and egg. Stir in milk. Mix in flour mixture until a thick cake batter forms. You can stir by hand or use a hand mixer.
- Assemble your cake: Simply add your cake batter to a pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Add apples, then top with streusel and bake until a toothpick comes out clean. You can also bake it in a springform pan or a square baking pan.
Tip From Dorothy
- Be sure to use the right size pan: either a 9 or 10-inch round cake pan or 10-inch or deep dish pie plate, or a 9-inch square pan or springform pan.
- Use a fork to mix the crumble so it doesn’t compact, and use your hands to sprinkle it over the top of the cake evenly.
- Bake the cake on a cookie sheet in case it bubbles over.
- If you use salted butter, reduce salt by 1/4 teaspoon.
- If you like crunch you can add 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts to the crumble.
- Feel free to add a simple icing glaze on top – just drizzle it over the cooled cake. I’d make that with some powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract.
- Store cake in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature or place wrapped cake in the freezer for up to a month.
- If you want to serve this for dessert add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or caramel sauce!
The cake isn’t a coffee flavored cake, it’s a cake meant to be eaten with coffee. Coffee cake is a breakfast or brunch cake, hence the name.
For this recipe, use a 9-10-inch round cake pan (with at least 2-inch sides), a deep dish or 10-inch pie plate or a 9-inch square pan (with at least 2-inch sides).
Use the toothpick test – insert a toothpick in the center of the cake and it should come out without any crumbs stuck to it.
You don’t have to but I prefer it.
Apple Coffee Cake
- 1 tablespoon Challenge Unsalted Butter (14g)
- 2 Granny Smith Apples (200g when cut, about 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup Challenge Unsalted Butter (57g), melted
- ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup (119ml) milk
- 1 ½ cups (186g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup Challenge Unsalted Butter (57g), melted
- 1 cup (200g) packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons (16g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9- or 10-inch round cake pan or 10-inch round pie plate, or 9-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Peel, core, and slice apples into bite sized pieces.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, until the apple just starts to turn opaque, but is still white. Remove from heat to cool.
- Whisk flower, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Stir ¼ cup melted butter with granulated sugar and egg in a large bowl. Stir in milk. Stir dry ingredients into wet and stir until just combined. Pour into prepared pan.
- Sprinkled cooled apples evenly over the top of the cake batter.
- Make the crumb topping: stir together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and melted butter. Sprinkle over apples.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to a month.
- Be sure to dice the apples small so you get apples in every bite.
- Use a fork to stir the crumble so it doesn’t compact.
- Bake on a cookie sheet in case it bubbles over.
Best Butter For Baking
If I haven’t convinced you yet how good Challenge Butter is, you must give it a try. My parents have converted their neighbors and friends – it’s funny listening to the stories of how people give it a go and then fall in love because we’ve always known it’s the best butter.
Challenge is made by happy cows at over 400 family-owned dairies and is farm-to-fridge in just 2 days with no added hormones or fillers. I always love using the best ingredients to make my recipes (best ingredients = best taste) and Challenge is the one I always use.
This post was sponsored by Challenge Dairy in 2021, but all opinions are my own – I’ve been using Challenge Butter my whole life to make this coffee cake recipe!
Last Updated on December 8, 2023