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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.

Apple Coffee Cake close up slice on white plate

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
Overhead photo of coffee cake in pan

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.
box of challenge butter on counter

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!

  1. 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.)
  2. Make your cake: Whisk dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
Apple Coffee Cake slice on white plate with butter box behind

Tip From Dorothy

Expert Tips

  • 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!
Apple Coffee Cake slice with bite missing on white plate


Why doesn’t the cake have coffee in it?

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.

What pan can I use to bake coffee cake?

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).

How do you know when coffee cake is done baking?

Use the toothpick test – insert a toothpick in the center of the cake and it should come out without any crumbs stuck to it.

Should you peel apples for apple cake?

You don’t have to but I prefer it.

Apple Coffee Cake close up slice on white plate

Apple Coffee Cake

4.42 from 12 votes
Easy Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake with brown sugar streusel and bites of apple in every bite – the perfect breakfast or brunch all fall long.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield 8 servings
Serving Size 1 serving



  • 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
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  • 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.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • 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.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 439kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 171mg | Potassium: 249mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 54g | Vitamin A: 480IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 2mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American

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!

Favorite Coffee Cake Recipes

Last Updated on December 8, 2023

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Easy recipe but way too sweet. Halving the sugar would allow the apple flavor to come out. Also consider adding a little more cinnamon.

  2. Sounds like a great recipe. I’m just wondering why it’s called an Apple COFFEE Cake if there’s no coffee ingredient listed. Some coffee added would be nice.

  3. I made this coffee cake this morning. I cut the crumb topping in 1/2 and did not put any frosting on it. Everyone loved it. I used fuggi apples and they worked out great as well

  4. It is good and liked idea of cooking apples 1st. But my strusle was not crumbly but mushy. Only thing that cudve caused this was my not packing brown sugar in measuring. Also, most toppings like this use cold butter I believe. Perhaps not melting it next time will help my topping. I had to add extra flour to it but still not right consistency. And yes, as other person’s comment, i too felt it was sweeter than needed to be.
    I did a few changes to batter by adding some nutmeg to it as well as the cinnamon.
    I will make it again bc it was yummy! Thank you for sharing this breakfast treat with us.

  5. I enjoy you recipes but found the Apple Coffee Cake to be much too sweet. I followed your directions exactly. However, after checking recipes on other sites, the amount of sugar was similar to yours. Just something to think about for those that do not like really sweet recipes.
    Thank you!

    1. I apologize you didn’t enjoy it – I think if you wanted to half the crumble topping it would be less sweet. And be sure to use Granny Smith apples which are more tart.