This is the bouldered and dramatic intersection of two of my favorite things: cinnamon baked apples and a thick crumb cake. I don’t know how they make crumb cake where you are, but here in New York, and where I grew up in New Jersey, crumb cake isn’t a genteel cinnamon-ribboned or finely streusel-ed coffee cake, but a hefty square that’s 50% crumb topping and 50% a golden, sour cream-enriched cake and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Thanks to brown sugar and cinnamon, the crumb topping is always a dark stripe, and a snow-cap of powdered sugar isn’t optional. Fruit is, but this is too good with fresh apples to skip them.
For such a loud and attention-demanding cake (I’m still talking about cake, I think?), no delicate slice or dice of apples will do so I use here a full pound of thick wedges snugged so tightly they barely fit in their confines, an all-too-accurate New York real estate story. Squeezing your crumbs in small handfuls before breaking them over the apples created more boulder-like pieces. Baking this cake for almost an hour at a slightly lower temperature gives the apples enough time to get tender, their juices bubbling. Your kitchen will smell, at minimum, like a blissful epiphany of apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and at peak melodrama, the absolutely best decision we’ve made yet in October.
I’m back! I’ve missed you. I never intended to take such a long break, or any at all, but I was pulled under by a vacation (too short), a manuscript deadline for my next book (too quick), and then the two-week photoshoot for it (100 recipes in 10 days, oh and btw, I’m the photographer) and when I emerged, because I only like sparkly new things, I didn’t want to share any of the recipes I already readied but new ones that had piqued my interest while I was buried. One of the things that’s different about SK, sometimes for the better but occasionally for the worse, is that there’s no editorial or recipe development staff and just one me, and life gets busy. But my central dedication to this space — which turns 15 this fall! — remains unchanged. Good luck ever getting rid of me for good. ;)
6 months ago: Lemon Potatoes and Sheet Pan Chow Mein
1 year ago: Whole Wheat Chocolate Oat Cookies and Simple Cauliflower Tacos
2 years ago: Chickpea and Kale Shakshuka
3 years ago: Crispy Spinach Pizza
4 years ago: Pizza Beans and Chocolate Tahini Challah Buns
5 years ago: Homemade Merguez with Herby Yogurt and Magic Apple Plum Cobbler
6 years ago: The Perfect Manhattan, Broccoli Cheddar Soup and S’more Cupcakes
7 years ago: Latke Waffles and The Crispy Egg
8 years ago: Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
9 years ago: Crackly Banana Bread and Spaghetti with Broccoli Cream Pesto
10 years ago: Apple Pie Cookies
11 years ago: Single-Crust Apple and Plum Pie
12 years ago: Date Spice Loaf and Lebanese-Style Stuffed Eggplant
13 years ago: Summer’s Last Hurrah Panzanella, Sweet and Sour Glazed Cippoline, Majestic and Moist Honey Cake, and Best Challah (Egg Bread)
14 years ago: Red Velvet Cake, Noodle Kugel, Spaghetti Fideos with Chorizo and Almonds and Couscous and Feta-Stuffed Peppers
[Omg!] 15 years ago: Acorn Squash with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette
Big Apple Crumb Cake
- 1 pound apples (3 medium or 2 large), peeled if you wish, cored, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup (65 grams) light or dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/3 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup (80 grams) sour cream
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
- 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
Prepare apples: Toss apples with lemon juice, then cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
Make crumbs: Whisk butter, sugars, cinnamon, and salt together until evenly mixed. Add flour and mix until it disappears. It’s going to be very thick; set it it aside.
Make cake: Beat butter with sugar until lightened and fluffy. Add egg, sour cream, and vanilla and beat until combined. Sprinkle surface of batter with with baking powder and salt, and beat well to combine. Add flour and mix only until it disappears.
Assemble: Scrape batter into prepared cake pan and smooth it flat. Arrange apples on cake, slightly overlapped. I usually fit all but 2 wedges; those are cook’s snacks. Pour any cinnamon-apple juices in bottom of bowl over apples. Sprinkle crumbs over apple slices. For bigger crumbs, squeeze the crumbs into small fistfuls and break these up into a couple bigger chunks over the cake.
Bake: Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the apples doesn’t hit any crisp spots and if you look closely, you’ll see juices bubbling around some apples, about 50 to 55 minutes.
Cool to room temperature, if you can bear it, before cutting into squares or wedges. Dust generously with powdered sugar.
Cake keeps at room temperature loosely covered (in an airtight container, the crumbs eventually soften) for 3 days or in the fridge, well-wrapped, for 6 days.
449 comments on big apple crumb cake
Do tell us what apple varieties are pictured? So pretty. Also, do the skins break down significantly? I once sampled an apple cobbler with a texture that was quite marred – unapeeling if you will – by the presence of skins but would love to skip the peeling step if they don’t stick around like that all the time.
I’m sorry, I always vow to remember what varieties I grab and then I just throw two of every kind in a big and remember nothing, lol. But ripe, juicy apples are fine here. No need to follow the pie rules of apples that lean sour and hold their shape.
I don’t notice the skins here, but like the color they add. It might be more noticeable with heavily waxed apples or without a crumb topping.
Well I guess I know what I’m making this weekend! In case the chocolate chip sour cream coffee cake wasn’t enough to have in my repertoire…thanks Deb!!
Apple desserts are one of my fall favorites! Sounds lovely, can’t wait to try it.
These look delicious and I am moved to make one,as though I love baking.
Made it for put today (Sun) after a long walk with the dog came back and dished it up
It was lush
Does it freeze ok as to big for 2 and I will be tempted to eat the lot
I used Gala apples. It turned out lovely! I think honeycrisp would work really well, too.
So glad you’re back! Have missed you
Missed you too!!!
Yes! Glad you’re back — and [drool!] with a fab treat for all of us! You were most definitely missed!
Amazing! So easy and so good! I almost wish that I didn’t know that there was almost 2 sticks of butter in it because I would make this every fall weekend! 😁 Already on 2nd one this week! And the crumb is just like my family’s favorite NJ bagel shops coffee cake crumb! Thanks for saving me a 4 hour drive when the Goldberg’s cravings hit!
I have some very tart Granny Smiths–do you think they’d work?
Yes, if they’re very firm and tart you’ll probably need the full baking time if not 5 minutes more.
Could I double this in a 9×13, do you think? Or would there be too much liquid from the apples?
The second I saw a new recipe on Smitten Kitchen I was excited. The next second, when I realized I had all the ingredients, I was ecstatic. I immediately ran to my kitchen and started warming up a stick of butter.
This. Is. Fantastic. I used Jonathan apples I had picked from down the road and their tartness worked perfectly with the sweet crumbs. I dialed back the sugar and upped the salt and vanilla to my tastes, and I can’t stop eating it. Thank you !!
In the “Make crumbs” section it says add sugar and mix until flour disappears. It seems like the sugar is already mixed in in the previous sentence. Sounds amazing!
Will fix, thanks!
Would it be possible to substitute pears for the apples?
I made this with half apples, half pears and used lemon zest and vanilla bean instead of cinnamon… jury sided 100% with the pears
Made this yesterday, had our first bites with coffee this morning- delicious!! I was going to share the rest with our neighbors, but kind of want to keep it for ourselves… Do you think this will freeze well? Thanks!!
What can i substitute the egg for? Not eating eggs at all. Tnx in advance 🙏
When we’re making the crumbs, where it says to whisk the butter, sugars, cinnamon, and salt together, and then to add the sugar and mix until the flour disappears…which sugars are we adding when, please?! If it makes much of a difference! Thanks 😁
Hi Deb, I made this yesterday and it was delicious! But the base was a little dry even though I did everything as written, did I overmix it or could I put a bit of extra sour cream to add moisture?
I have an oven finally so am baking up a storm (previously lived in a minescule studio apartment and used an airfryer as an oven! Wasn’t great for baking although made your banana breads a few times!!)
I’m looking forward to making this and sharing it. Even the pictures looks delicious.
Give a try on day two! As I mention in the headnote, cakes with fresh fruit are always better on the second day and after, when the ingredients have a chance to settle.
this looks delicious! am v likely to make it this weekend.
i just wanted to ask you why the page about your iceland vacation has no tags or comment availability? there’s no way to find it without a specific link. idk if that’s by design or not, so i thought i’d ask.
Re, tags and comments — I have some static pages throughout the site without comments or tags, including all of the travel pages. I know I will not be able to answer all (or truly any) of the vacation questions that come in; it’s just not my focus here.
Re, findings these pages — An issue that’s been flagged. On desktop, the MORE menu item has > Travel > A list of vacations I’ve written up places. It’s not working right on mobile but will be fixed very soon.
Welcome back! You were missed. This looks delicious! Would it work for pears?
I didn’t test it with pears but I’d think so!
Another excellent Smitten Kitchen recipe! Came out perfectly when made exactly as written.
Welcome back! Excited for the new book next year :-)
Question–I’m dealing with a new dairy allergy and have found a good butter substitute (earth balance), but do you have any suggestions for swapping out the sour cream for something non-dairy?
I have several years of experience with dairy-free baking , so I’ve tried a few sour cream substitutes. If you’re dead set on a non-dairy sour cream I would recommend Daiya brand, but in my own kitchen I’ve had more success substituting any coconut, soy, or oat-based yoghurt. Hope this helps!
Morgan and Marie, like you we have dairy allergies (and a few assorted others like gluten and some nuts and peanuts) and use the same substitutes: Earth Balance without soy for non-dairy butter; non-dairy yogurt to sub for sour cream (we have found aftertastes sometimes with the direct vegan sour cream substitutes), and even use the yogurt instead of ricotta for some Italian fruit cake recipes and tarts, specifically So Delicious unsweetened coconut yogurt; and in general to sub for cow’s milk or heavy cream we use coconut milk or cream from a can or a high fat oak milk. Happy subbing!
I am newly dairy-free and made this delicious cake today with Tofutti sour cream. Came out great!
I made this late last night and sliced this up for breakfast this morning. It was phenomenal! Definitely saving this one too make again. I have tried various apple cake recipes and never found one I loved enough to make twice until now. Thank you!
The Kite Hill sour cream works fabulously. I have made Deb’s sour cream coffee cake with it and you can’t even tell it’s not dairy.
Can you double this in a 13×9 pan? Or bake two 8×8 cakes at the same time? I need a treat for a goodbye party tomorrow at the office :)
Yes, absolutely to both.
This is delish! I doubled the recipe and baked in a 9×13 glass pan. Was a little worried about doubling so I bumped the temp to 330° and baked for 50 minutes. Perfect! Used Macintosh apples, didn’t finish with the powdered sugar and it was just right
I always love to look back at your previously published recipe links! So many delicious recipes!
100% making tmrw!
This looks amazing! So glad you’re back!
Think I could swap plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream?
I did this for mine and it worked great!
Wondering what to do with all your leftover apple peels? Make homemade apple cider, it’s really easy and costs pennies compared to store bought. Below is a link explaining the process, but there are lots of other tutorials online
I don’t believe this recipe calls for peeling the apples.
Deb, please do not disappear again. My family has not eaten since August. Welcome back!!! Xo
Looks amazing! How does it compare to your Mom’s apple cake? Debating on which to serve at a tea next week.
Same. Made the apple cake for Rosh Hashana — how imperative that I rethink my whole baking spree?
Totally different cakes, but I love them both. My mother’s will always be the ultimate, but if you love a crumb cake-style, you should make this one.
Why not both? ;-) I LOVE Mom’s apple cake!
Fantastic recipe as always, and well worth the wait! I had to put mine back in for another 10 minutes or so to cook it through (probably just my oven) but in the end it tasted incredible. Looking forward to the next cookbook as well!
Mine also took 10 more minutes to finish cooking! Super tasty.
Well I know what I’m making Saturday for our bonfire/family kinda football get-together!
All ingredients on board!!
Glad you’re back! My son has an egg allergy. What would you replace it with?
Aquafaba (the brine from a can of chickpeas or white beans, or really any beans) works great in cakes and cookies. 3 Tbsp subs 1 egg.
I’ve actually made this now, twice with aquafaba, and once with egg, and my family actually preferred the texture with the aquafaba! Fantastic recipe.
1 egg = 1 T ground flax seed + 3 T water, stir and let rest 5 minutes until it turns into a slurry. This is my go-to egg substitute for most baking.
The egg substitute I use is: dissolve 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch in 3 tablespoons of water, whisk in 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil.
(sometimes I skip the dissolve step, put the oil & water in when the recipe calls for egg, and then put the cornstarch in with the flour. Works fine for cookies and quick breads)
Welcome back! I’m now headed off to add sour cream and butter to the list: our here in the hinterlands, there are literally fantastic apples falling off a number of trees in our neighborhood.
Welcome back! This looks amazing.
Any ideas about whether this might work with gluten-free flour?
I didn’t test it with gluten-free but I suspect a good cup-4-cup style blend will work fine here.
Thank you! My gluten-free neighbors are in for a treat. As am I!
I made this with KAF measure-for-measure GF flour and some almond flour. I used 1c M4M and 1/3c almond flour in the crumbs and 2/3c M4M and 1/3c almond flour for the cake base. Worked wonderfully! I’ll probably do the blends by weight rather than volume next time, just to see how that will turn out. Thanks for another wonderful recipe, Deb!
Can you freeze it?
missed you! I probably use your recipes 3x per week, thanks for being so reliable and funny!
Looks amazing. I’m wondering how critical the lemon juice is. I’m on a low acid diet and I can eat everything else in this recipe. Thanks.
The lemon juice is just to keep the apples from browning too quickly once they’re cut.
You can skip it.
I was really ready for this,as,alas, there are no more peaches.
But … It’s an apple cake?
@Marcia, totally with you—mourning the end of peaches (until next year!) and, at the same time, being really ready to celebrate apple season with this most excellent cake!
I made it today and it was amazing and everyone loved it. Thank you!
You made and photographed 100 recipes in just 10 days…!! Bow down to you, that is damned impressive!!
Would love to add chopped walnuts or walnut meal to the crumble. Do you think replacing 1/3-1/2 C of the flour with nut meal could work?
Much of the food I place on our table gets announced as Smitten Kitchen. Tomorrow it is going to be this and potato tortilla too. Thanks! And, I’m anxiously awaiting your new book! Any idea when we can preorder it?
Thank you! It probably will not be preorder-able until early next year but I will definitely let you know. :)
Sounds and looks delicious, wondering why you don’t peel the apples? Though they soften, I would think the peels lend an undesirable texture to this luscious dessert, or morning cup of coffee cake!
I was curious to see what would happen and don’t notice the texture and I liked the color it added. I might in another cake but not here, with the long baking time and crunchy topping. You can absolutely peel them if you wish.
I’m from Jersey originally but in MA for 40 years. New England does a lot of things right except pizza, subs and crumb cake. I’m excited to add apples!!! Thanks!!
That seems unnecessarily judgemental. You might want to have a doctor take a look at that chip on your shoulder…
Or perhaps you just need to reread the comment with the humor with which it was surely intended?
Honey i think you’re the one who missed the meaning here…
Having lived in NY for a long time and now a MA resident (for over 20 years) , I feel this was said with humor. Although pizza is getting a lot better!! But very true for crumb cake.
Welcome back–you were missed here! Perfect timing as we just picked apples this week!
Can this be made without the apples just the crump cake and what would the makeup be, thank you
I haven’t tested this without apples in a while, but I usually bump up the sour cream — 1/2 cup. It needs less baking time.
Could I use light sour cream in this recipe?
I want to make it today and I have light sour cream in the fridge.
Yes, it should be fine.
We’ve missed you too!
If I want to try a new recipe, I always check SK first, my favourite food bloog on the Internet.
Wonderful timing — I have a bunch of farmer’s market apples and was at a loss as to what non-pie dessert to make with them, and this looks absolutely perfect!! Do you think I could sub buttermilk for sour cream or would the texture be too off?
It will make the batter thinner and the apples might sink through, but I’m not sure without trying it.
Thanks! I’ll play it safe and procure the sour cream just in case, then. :)
Deb- I just made this yesterday, and it might be one of my all time favorites. It IS even better on day two! I used honey crisp and peeled the apples. Already planning the next batch. Thank you!
My God Deb, how do you cook 100 recipes in a week! I’m writing a cookbook too and that is such a mystery to me (I have few months before the photo shoot). Send tips or alcohol 😂 So I glad you’re back 💓 Natalie
Can you sub sour cream for nonfat Greek yogurt?
My son’s birthday is a month’s time. I’ll try prepare him this.
It is impossible to overstate how much you were missed! I am like the rat in the intermittent reinforcement experiment who keeps pressing the food lever in hopes of a pellet. I kept checking your site in hopes of a new column – the receipes are always perfect, but it’s your writing about food that I missed the most. Thank you for this one!
Ha ha ha ha ha – saaaame. At least there’s always something good in the archives, even if there isn’t anything new :)
So glad you’re back, Deb – can’t wait for the new book – and can’t wait to try this cake!!
Hi Deb, so glad you’re back! Was worried about you. Loving the look of this recipe and will be trying out soon. :)
I made this pretty much as written, but did sub Greek yogurt for the sour cream, and doubled the recipe. You’re not kidding about it being half crumbs! So delicious. The only challenge I had was getting the batter to spread because it was so thick-this was easily solved by wetting my hands and just pressing it down that way. In a 9×13 pan, there wasn’t enough surface area to use all of the apples I had prepped, so if I doubled it again, I would use two smaller pans. I would also sub some whole wheat flour for some of the white, both for flavour and to feel better about having this for breakfast. Thanks for a great way to use up some of the glut of apples in my kitchen!
I was having trouble spreading the cake and remembered reading this comment. Wet my hands and it was so easy! Great tip, thanks for sharing!!
I also needed to sub Greek yogurt for the sour cream, and it turned out great. (There was a nice tang to the cake.)
Thanks for the tip regarding the surface area! I was going to make it in a 9 by 13 and then read your comment. You’re right… the area of a 9 by 13 (117) vs two 9 by 9’s (162) is significant! Not that I was doing math over here…
I had the same issue. But since the apples were already prepped – I made Mom’s Apple Cake too! Eek. One can never have too many apple treats right?
I think when Deb said “8-inch square or 9-inch cake pan” she meant a 9-inch round!
2 8-inch square pans = 128 inches squared
2 9-inch round pans = 127 inches squared
1 9×13 pan = 117
Not perfectly equal but close…
Thanks for this comment! I was getting confused!
Made this with 2 large galas wedged in tightly, thick yogurt (6%) instead of sour cream, corn starch egg a commenter suggested (1 T corn starch + 3 T water + 1 T oil), and half the crumbs (personal preference; the crumbs were enough to coat the apples). Delicious cake. Not excessively sweet.
I have emperor plums that are neither too juicy nor too dry…
I am thinking this is the sub. No matter what I use them for it will get soggy after a day or two…
If anyone has thoughts, would love to hear!!
I had some leftover pumpkin purée and wondered if I made your pumpkin bread recipe for the cake portion and put the apple crumbly goodness on top. Turns out it’s really, really delicious and beautiful. Thank you!
I’ve never cooked with apples before, but plan to rectify that this weekend! I have Ambrosia apples, which are sweet. I’m planning to use those, unless someone here says that is a bad idea? (and if so, what varieties do you recommend??)
Personally Angela, I prefer a tart apple for baking, my favorite being Granny Smith. I also prefer peeling the apples. However, if you use your Ambrosia apples, I would cut back on the white sugar in the crumb topping. I’m sure it will be delicious!
Thank you! Maybe I’ll get a Granny Smith apple and mix in with the Ambrosias.
I made this with sweet Galas and half the crumb topping and didn’t find it overly sweet. You’ll definitely want to dial the sugar back if you’re going to use the full amount of crumbs.
Good to know…thank you!
Hi Deb, greetings from Germany! I am definitely making this cake this weekend. I so much appreciate how often you add the metric measurements and weights and since you did again in this recipe I just wanted to give a heads up, that in the crumble topping you only added the amount of butter and left out the weight. This is probably an annoying comment – but it makes things so much easier if I don’t have to figure out how many grams equal one teaspoon. Thank you for your great recipes! Best wishes, Dorothee
Thank you — will fix!
I love your apple pie recipe – and will never bake another again! The macerating of the apples is such a great technique. Wondering why you didn’t employ it here? To pre-soften the fruit, so more fits on the cake?
You could, but I don’t find it necessary. There, it allows you to pile more in the dish and have less gapping between the top crust and the apples once they collapse. This isn’t a concern here.
Hi! Love this recipe. Want to make a slightly smaller one in a loaf pan; should I halve the recipe?
So excited to try this recipe. Thank you!
I NEED this is my life. Desperately.
Sadly I’m temporarily on the outs with dairy because of breastfeeding!
Are there any dairy subs you think might work? Otherwise I’ll have to keep this recipe in my “make ASAP when done breastfeeding” category.
With that name, I want to put in whole cored apples, rather than sliced. How do you think that would work?
You’ll need to precook at least halfway them because the baking time won’t do it in full.
If I wanted to halve the recipe, what size of pan would work best? Or would this recipe work okay in a muffin pan?
I haven’t tested it in a muffin pan but suspect the amount of time needed to bake the apples will overbake the muffins. You could probably halve it in a loaf pan (it won’t fill it).
I could not wait so I made 1/4 of the recipe in a mini loaf pan! Was the perfect size and probably overbaked it at 50 minutes. Super cute! Lining it with parchment first would have been a good idea. Just going to have to cut it in the pan :)
I am in such a depression because I haven’t seen new YouTube video uploaded. Glad you are back from your vacation! I NEED MORE DEB BAKING COOKIES (in a cookie monster voice)
Going to start filming another season for YouTube soon — first video should be ready in early November. :)
Thank you for the great report on Iceland. Now I am looking at airfares!
The apple cake is outstanding! Used greek yogurt instead of sour cream (saved a trip to the market) and it was perfect.
Also used Greek yogurt – the batter didn’t come together as smoothly as I think it would have with sour cream. But the cake turned out great and was SO delicious…wow. I think the tanginess of the sour cream would have been really nice here so I am going to make the recipe without subs next time. I had to bake for an extra 15 minutes but I think that’s an issue with my oven, not the recipe! Thanks, Deb – another hit!!
Glad you’re back! :D
My paternal grandmother was from Hackensack NJ and any visit there required a trip to B & W Bakery. On the rare occasions that I get there now, a stop at B & W is still required, many crumb cakes are bought and so.e even get shipped to Colorado. I cannot wait to try this recipe! Thank you so mich!
Bob – I live 5 minutes walk away from that bakery and I know the very crumb cake you’re talking about. This version by Deb is amazing because it has apples in it and really add amazing depth to it. My husband who swears by that B&W crumb cake is a convert, he said that the apple really makes it 10 times more interesting. He also said that we should eat it with ice cream!
I am so glad you are back. I am glad nothing horrible was going on, other than extreme business. Welcome, I missed you.
While I have so missed your recipes these last weeks and this one is an awesome welcome back, I have to say your absence has”forced” me to forage through your treasure trove of amazing recipes over the seasons – thank you
I must be following you forever Deb. I remember making your Big Crumb Rhubarb Coffee Cake till I put on 5 lbs and had to stop!
I’ll be making thus coffee cake thus week but will be stopping at 1.
I made this cake, doubled it, in a 9×13 pan . its wonderful!!! Thanks
I did miss you, but figured it was the book. Can’t wait for it! Thanks for posting.
This was so, so good! I didn’t have sour cream so I used whole milk yogurt. I halved the recipe and baked in a pyrex loaf pan for about 45 minutes.
This looks and sounds amazing! Do you think swapping the butter in the cake for applesauce would make the cake too moist given the recipe already calls for sour cream? Just trying to save a few calories since there’s also butter in the crumbs :)
What can i substitute for the sour cream?
You can use plain yogurt.
This cake looks absolutely delicious!!! I’m going to make it today and can’t wait to taste it!! I live in Washington state so I am going to go to my local fruit stand and get a variety of our delicious apples and get started Baking!! This is my first time on your website I’m so excited to be here!!
Absolutely delicious with two notes – yes, cook longer, about 10 minutes seems right. Also, lower the salt in both the topping and the cake – it didn’t seem like much but I can taste it. Still so yummy!
Agreed on the salt. I can taste it too. I used Morton Kosher which I know tends to be saltier. I may try table salt next time.
table salt will likely be even saltier than morton’s. i would recommend using crystal diamond brand kosher salt, or sea salt.
If you only have table salt, I’d use 1 teaspoon here.
This was so amazing that even my tendency to confuse ounces and tablespoons didn’t ruin it. I realized I’d used four tablespoons of butter in the topping, not 4 ounces, only after it was in the oven, and then poured melted butter on top partway through cooking. Not ruined, still delicious! But maybe Deb will take note and standardize measurements for ridiculously bad readers like me! (To be fair, my 14 year old was telling me all about a dream and it was hard to concentrate. :)
Oh no! I’m just reading this as mine is in the oven after 45 minutes and looks weird… I used 4 tablespoons of butter instead of ounces for the topping. I wish I had read these comments first because I could have also used the tip about I wet hands to spread the batter.
This is exactly the mistake I made and it explains why the topping never seems right. Thank you for the validating comment!
I LOVE that this site is just you, without all the adds and craziness of the internet. Thank you. I would much rather a long break when you’re busy, than filling the pages with tons of subpar content. THANK YOU for being one of the very few bloggers out there doing things more simply and with great quality. We’re so grateful you exist!
Wholeheartedly seconding Katy’s comment! I’m so very grateful for Deb & SmittenKitchen!
Welcome back. I missed this blog.
I made this! With many substitutions! Realized I was out of flour…. So I used cake flour by weight. Also subbed Greek yogurt for the sour cream. Doubled for a 9”x13” and had WAY too many apples… I used a small variety but also weighed them so who knows! Still delicious even with all those changes. Yum!
So glad you are back! I understood the absence – SO MUCH GOING ON!! And I kept check my feed reader to make sure it wasn’t broken!
Perfect. I love the crumb boulders.
Made this last night for my dad’s birthday. It was a hit!! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe- it’s been added to our “permanent collection” :)
I only made one substitution- since my dad is very sensitive to gluten, I subbed the AP flour in the crumb topping and cake batter for equal weights of Bob’s Redmill 1-to-1 baking flour. I used one gala apple and one Fuji apple- my apples weren’t tender at the 55 minute mark, and I ended up extending the cooking time to 1 hr 15 mins. Even then, I think the apples could have used another five mins.
We ate this warm (cooled for 45 mins in the pan). Next time i might serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
This looks AMAZING!
This was delicious! I peeled half the apples and left half with skin on.
This was delicious! I peeled half the apples and left half with skin on.
My son asked me to make it as his birthday cake!!
Just made this last night/ate it this morning – cake for breakfast! Delicious! The whole family loved it! I used Pink Lady apples and peeled them. Their texture and flavor works really well in this.
I made this exactly as written, using the listed weights. It was quite good, but I thought it could use a bit more apple. Next time I might increase that by about 25% or even more and maybe saute the apples slightly to make sure that much apple would be done same time as the cake. I did bake it ahead for the next day, and now we’re day three with a bit left, and I feel like it’s even better today. As mentioned in the recipe, I didn’t cover it tightly in order to keep the crumbs from getting too soft. It spent the first night in the empty microwave and the 2nd night on the counter with some plastic wrap just shoved up against the open face where it had been cut to keep the cake from drying out, but didn’t cover the top.
Deb, this looks amazing! I just made my first batch of homemade applesauce and discovered that I still HATE apple corers. This last one came highly recommended by a national recipe and equipment ratings website. Feh! Do you have one you like?
I thought I was the only person who didn’t like those apple peeler/corers. Bought one years ago and gave it away — it kept missing spots and leaving parts of the core in; if I still need to do knife work, doesn’t feel like it saves time for the space it takes up. I don’t have another that I use, though. I just use a melon baller for the core and a knife for the stem now.
Exactly—I was struggling to insert the corer, remove the core from the device, and clean the apple of the leftover core, that it seemed at least twice as much work. I saw your photo with the melon baller—will try that.
You taught me the melon baller trick, and now it’s the only way I ever “core” apples. It is efficient, and the end product looks so much more pleasing than jabbing an apple corer blindly through an apple and hoping to hit the core all the way through. Thanks for sharing this tip.
A few changes I made that turned out great:
-Browning the butter for the crumb
-Substituting 1/3 cup buckwheat for 1/3 cup of the flour in the crumb
-Lime juice instead of lemon for the apples
-A bit of nutmeg on top of the cinnamon
-Kite hill plant-based sour cream in 1-to-1 volume substitution
Very good, thank you! Will make again. I used King David apples and they hit the spot for sweet/tangy and just-right juicy.
I am contemplating increasing the cinnamon – would it be better to increase it in the apples, crumbs, or both? What do you think of adding some cloves? And perhaps cardamom?
I definitely think you could increase the cinnamon in the crumb; I often see 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons in this amount of crumb. You could increase the other spices with the apple, either with a pumpkin or apple pie spice blend, or with the other spices you suggest.
Welcome back! We’ve missed you but it sounds like you have, indeed, been BUSY!
I’m hosting our annual “cider dinner” in two weeks and was still figuring out the dessert piece, and I think this just might be it! Our quince tree is overflowing with fragrant fruit right now, so I’ll likely sub half of the apples for quince, which should prove to be delicious as well. As a New Englander turned Californian, this mash-up seems 100% appropriate.
Thanks for the inspiration!
Amazing! Just baked this for our Thanksgiving dinner (we’re in Canada). I’ve been a huge fan of yours for so long, your recipes have never let me down so far. Thanks for sharing your recipes with the world.
This was fabulous!!! Followed recipe exactly (did not peel apples). Baked 325 convection for 55 minutes. Super easy to make and simply fabulous
Since I was making this cake only for me, I quartered the recipe! A mini loaf pan was the perfect size! Half a medium-sized honeycrisp apple was the perfect fit. To get 1/4 of an egg, I decided to try using one quail egg instead if weighing one chicken egg. I should have baked it for less time. The cake ended up being a little try. If I make this again, I’ll make less crumb (just personal preference. I didn’t need a layer of crumb as thick as the cake 😂) I’d also try leaving the peel on. I thought with honeycrisp, the skin would be on thick side Mom’s Apple Cake is stlll my fave!
I made this today, so delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe. I used 2 large Granny Smith apples we picked at a local orchard over the weekend. Now scouring different recipes to see what we can use the apples with!
I saw this recipe and knew I had to make it. OH MY. This will be made often. I am a decent baker and have a lot of “favorites,” and you have never failed me. Thanks so much for my new favorite cake.
Excellent with Honeycrisps! Swapped some questionable Greek yogurt from the far depths of the fridge for the sour cream – still good!!!! Baked 70 minutes. Nice to have you back, Deb.
This cake is perfection! I made it as written except I medium diced the apples and cooked 5 min longer. Really moist and good blend of tart and sweet.
Welcome back, Deb! I missed you!
Thank yo for this recipe. I live in Finland and we do not have crumb cakes. I lived in Florida for few years and got to know crumb cake, which I find brilliant. With the apples it must be even better. Have to try this!
Delicious. Doubled the crumb, made in an 8×3 round cake pan — otherwise made it exactly as is. Tbh next time I’ll double the cake too. Used honey crisp apples, and they’re perfect. Like others, needed an extra ten mins on the cook time. Really fun to make and turned out excellent.
So glad to see a new post on SK!!! Your increased presence on IG is welcome, too, but reading even a few words from DP is my favorite part of SK.
hmmmm, found this to be disappointing.
The cake section had a fine crumb like a birthday cake but it got almost “gushy” once I added apples and their juices and baked. I baked it for 65 minutes until no crisp spots in the apples. The top seemed like just hard (though, tasty) lumps so not that interesting.
So I turned around and baked a second cake.
Made the cake much more like a coffee cake (so not as fine a crumb) and reworked the topping with oatmeal so more like a streusel. All much better now and I will make it again.
Thanks for the ideas!
What adjustments would need to be made for high altitude?
Made this with honeycrisp apples and it was great! I used my apple corer/slicer, which cuts each apple into 8 pieces, and then I halved each of those, so I think my slices were a bit thinner & I ended up with my cook’s snacks! But didn’t seem to affect the baking times. I also have had leftovers stored in an airtight container in the fridge and the crumble has stayed pretty crisp! Super delicious :D
I made this over the weekend, and it’s amazing! I used peeled Honeycrisps on hand, but I think I’ll use a slightly tarter apple next time. Mine needed extra time in the oven until the apples tested right, but no big deal. The cake is moist and dense, apples semi-soft, perfect amount of cinnamon, and there’s ample buttery crumble. I’m totally making this again!
I found this recipe I really liked so I made it today. The cake was light and flufy, the crumbles crunchy and we liked it very much. Surely I will make it again. This is real comfort cake for me.
Thank you once again for a wonderfully delicious recipe. As a New Jersey native far away from home, I will always appreciate a good crumb cake. Man! This recipe is good! Deb, you are the ultimate baking queen!
Deb, the fact that you are the photographer, and editor, and recipe development staff is what makes this website so extraordinary. Thanks for all of it.
Delicious! I doubled the recipe in a 9×13 metal pan, added some cardamon and diced up preserved lemon to the cake batter, used a mix of apples (peeled some but won’t bother next time as I could hardly distinguish between the peeled and unpeeled) and baked for additional 10 minutes. Baked on Friday and served for football watch party brunch on Saturday. Perfect for that type of entertaining.
Ohhhhh boy, Deb, do I love you even more right now…
I grew up on the Jersey shore, and crumbcake was a weekly treat. I have never attempted to make it. And I’ve been gone, to the West coast, for a long long time, having never even tried, although I missed it so! I’m making it TOMORROW. I don’t know if I can wait til the second day. Will do my best, I make no promises!
Thank you so very very much, muAHHHH!
(that’s a big kiss)
Many of my favorite recipes come from Smitten Kitchen, and this one will join the list! Thank you! Made it today and only half remains. Spouse loves it too. Made it with Fujis and did not peel them, and it was terrific.
Just made this per the recipe with 2 apples. Baked for a full 60 minutes to get it fully cooked, and it’s delicious!
We love apples in our home. Apple care is favourite to us. But…..this is great to try❤
This was a big hit. I made it healthier by using a mixture of 2 parts whole wheat pastry flour and 1 part almond meal for the topping.
Tasting when warm I felt the cake bottom should be replaced by something more substantial like shortbread. However in the frig overnight, the texture changed and was perfect. A guest took one bite and wait it was the best thing he’d ever eaten.
It’s not shortbread, it’s coffee cake. The bottom layer should be soft, but dense cake. I think you’re thinking of a different kind of dessert.
Delicious! Added some dusted powdered sugar on top :)
I’m planning to make this and wondered if there is a printable version? I didn’t see a link.
There is a print icon that leads to a print template at the bottom of each recipe, where it says “DO MORE:” You can also click CTRL or ⌘ + P [on desktop] from any recipe post and it will take you to a streamlined print template.
Other ways to print:
File > Print on a Mac
From the share button (the one that looks like an up-arrow coming out of a box) at the bottom of the Safari browser on an iPhone
We will definitely make the button easier to find when we next redesign.
Loved this cake! Perfect balance of tender apple, rich cake and big crumbs. Your recipes don’t disappoint and are easy to boot! Thank you, Deb!!
Wonderful! Doubled it and baked it in a 9 x 13 pan for the residents in my first-year dorm–will be quadrupling it for the next time I make it. Huge hit!
Thank you, Deb. I know it’s the conventional wisdom to NEVER try out a recipe for the first time when you’re serving to others, but with your recipes I am always confident they will turn out delicious. Because they always do!
I just had to say how freaking fantastic this cake is! It is worth the three bowls and a mixer, especially if you save the dishes by weighing rather than measuring your ingredients. I had a few stragglers left after canning applesauce and a family dinner to attend, so the stars aligned on this one! For the “which apples did you use?” crew, mine were three teeny tiny Fujis, and I left the skin on. There were eight of us, and another dessert on offer, but very little of this came home with me!
Though you don’t specify what type of apple to use, we recently picked a ton of Romes. I’ve read they’re really only suited to applesauce. Your thoughts?
I don’t know Rome apples, so I cannot say for sure. Almost any baking or eating apple will work here, but it if truly says “only applesauce” I might caution against it. I tend to avoid getting hyper-specific with apple varieties because it only sometimes matches what people can get at their local stores or markets, and I think it’s best to use what you can get or is grown locally.
Late to the party, but Rome apples are wonderful for baking! Very apple-y flavor that doesn’t get lost against the cinnamon. They’re my favorite for the Whole Wheat Apple Muffin recipe.
This is the best apple dessert that I have ever made. Thank you for another amazing recipe!
This is lovely! I found myself wondering what it would be like if there were a thin layer of applesauce over the top of the batter before nestling the apple slices in… and also I found myself remembering how Stella Parks talks about using powdered dehydrated apples as a thickener in her apple pie pockets… I wonder how either of those ideas might amplify the apple component. Wish I had scrolled through the comments to see the recommendations about using some cardamom, too – that sounds divine!
I love your ideas on powdered dehydrated apples and cardamom, Lisa! On amplifying the apple flavor, concentrated apple cider comes to mind. (By that, I’m referring to unfermented, unfiltered juice pressed from apples, boiled down to half or one-third of its original volume. Deb uses this technique for apple cider doughnuts and apple cider caramels, for example.) The problem is I’m not sure exactly how to work it into this crumb cake. Seems possible to use it in place of the vanilla, for instance, and I might also add a small amount to the apples and to the crumb mix (and then I would absolutely not cut into the cake for 24 hours to give the extra moisture time to settle).
Either way, it’s fun to speculate!
I “needed” to make this but didn’t have apples. I did have a bunch of unsweetened homemade applesauce in the freezer, so I thawed it, and used about a cup and a half in place of the apples and it was wonderful. Also subbed oil for butter in the cake part, bc I was running low on butter. I used half canola/half coconut oil and it was plush and omg so good. I imagine adding apples – dehydrated or fresh – as Lisa recommends would be even better. My other option was to use frozen raspberries which I think would be great too.
This is an excellent cake. I cut my apples in a fairly small dice to be sure they cooked through and added some dollops of apple butter on top of the apples and before the crumble and it upped the flavor in a nice way. I also subbed 1/3 of the butter in the crumble mix with vegetable shortening and it made the crumbs softer than using all butter. My only complaint about the big crumb coffee cake on this site and many others is that the crumbs are too hard for my liking, and I find the shortening helps to make them a little softer. All in all, I know I will make this cake again!
Made this today and was beyond pleased with how it turned out! The crunchy crumb is incredible and the apples are just right. The cake is also light and flavorful, providing a great base to soak up the flavors of the apple and cinnamon.
For any high altitude bakers out there, this was easy on the tweaking front. I loosely followed the King Arthur Flour high altitude baking by bumping up my oven to 330 degrees F, left the crumb and apple sections as written but added 1 TBSP flour to the cake, reduced the sugar by 1/2 TBSP, and cut the baking powder to a heaping 1/2 tsp. The bake time needed closer to an hour and 10 minutes, but my oven runs cool. I live at 6,500 feet for reference. Happy baking!
I also added one extra egg white!
Thank you so much for these high altitude adjustments! As an East Coast girl living in Colorado, this is much appreciated and worked well at 5400 feet.
This cake was total perfection. Could be served with brunch, lunch or after dinner….Easy and so yummy.
Commenting to share how pleased I am at the validation of the ‘cook’s snacks’ acknowledgement actually written into this recipe. I feel seen, as the kids say.
Can I use pastry and cake flour instead of all purpose? If yes are the measurements the same?
Thank you in advance
Yes. I’d swap by weight to be safe.
This was AMAZING! Had to leave in the oven a bit longer like others already mentioned – additional 10-15 min. Perfect! I’ve made multiple apple recipes this fall to use up my apple-picking haul (traditional apple crumble, apple tart, galette), and this was hands down the BEST!
We took our 3 year old daughter apple picking… and came home with way too many apples! A delicious problem. We don’t sweets very often but will make a batch of cookies or cupcakes to freeze and thaw out for surprise snacks.
I’d like to make this cake, but was wondering how well it might freeze?
I think it would freeze well!
Can I bake this recipe in a convection oven? If so, at what temperature and baking time do I use?
For convection with fan, I often do 15 to 25 degrees less.
Comparison between this and Mom’s Apple Cake (which I made two successive Sundays in a row, no one’s sad.) I’ve been eating it for breakfast with a dollop of yogurt and thinking that I don’t ever need other apple cakes in my life again. But maybe I do???
I made this cake yesterday. I used Granny Smith apples to counter the sweetness of the cake and crumb topping. I upped the temp to 350 after 55 minutes because the cake still wasn’t done. 10 extra minutes and it was done. So yummy. I’d love to try it with peaches when they’re in season., pears too.
I made this after apple picking and it is AMAZING. I peeled the apples and used more than the recipe called for (~1.5 lbs after peeling and cutting) and piled them up. I’ve been eating it for breakfast.
I think I mostly used Spartan and McIntosh but there was also Lobo, Empire, and Cortlandt the bag, plus a mystery variety from my neighbor.
Absolutely perfect. I used cake flour and subbed 1/4 cup applesauce for the egg to accommodate an allergy. I wanted to eat the whole thing myself.
Thank you a bushel! I made this for a staff meeting today and it went down a treat! Made me the star! I gave credit to you- and everyone wanted the recipe!!
Delicious. The cake layer is plush and soft, just perfect. I sliced my (peeled) apples into 16ths, making them more like 1/4″ wide. Some of them were still slightly crisp; next time I will do them even thinner and overlap them a little more. Also, I made half the crumb topping, and though I know it’s a “big” crumb cake, I found half to be just right.
Making this tomorrow for my mom, who I am getting to see for the first time in three years, but more importantly, welcome back!
I made this right away, using bobs red mill 1-to-1 gluten free flour, and reduced the sugar by half in the crumb and the cake. It barely made it to day 2 to test the better-tge-second-day theory. Oh well! Delicious!
So yeah, I made this last night. And uh, I can say that if your ADHD and exhaustion have a party in your brain and you forget to soak the apples first?
It’s still really good. Yes, it’d be better if I hadn’t forgotten. But just take heart that it’s not ruined if you happen to have your own version of an “Oh s#!t” moment.
This is just an awesome cake. I made it with three large apples. It was gobbled to the last crumb at our Canadian Thanksgiving!
Do you have the nutritional info fr this recipe?
I made this today in a rush before a zoom meeting started, less than half an hour from walking into the kitchen to sticking it in the oven. Followed the recipe with exception of using a 12” skillet instead of a 9” pan. Cake was a little thin/short as a result but this came out fantastic, will make again.
Easy to follow. I doubled up for 5 people. Came out great. Its a winner.
What a great recipe! My son and I enjoyed making this together. He liked the assembly of course – squishing the crumb topping. :) He has eaten at least one piece (usually more) every day since (breakfast, and dinner dessert). I’ve shared it with multiple people.
Came out great
I made this within days of discovering! So easy as I had everything on hand. Delicious and a perfect balance of a thin pound cake with the baked apple and perfect crumble topping! I might throw some oats into the topping mix next time just to boost the fiber but if not it’s perfect as is! Thank you!! Big hit with family and my daughter’s sleep over guests!
I made this and everyone loves it, although it took me a while to figure out why mine looked different from yours. Then I realized that although you say a dusting of powdered sugar is “not optional,” it’s not actually one of the steps in the recipe. :)
Oh no! I’ll fix that.
This is the BEST apple cake….OMG! Every time my family walks into the kitchen past the counter, they cut a piece off. I will definitely make this again.
This was delicious! Especially with a few salted caramel chips from Trader Joe’s sprinkled on top too 😌. I would decrease the amount of crumble by about 1/3 next time.
What kind of apples did you use?
I have mine in the oven right now – I used creme fraiche because I had it in the fridge, and swapped two tbsp of the butter in the crumb for two tbsp of vegetable shortening based on someone else’s comment about the crumb being too hard. It smells amazing and no one in my home is going to let me hold it back until tomorrow.
This was amazing, and I just ate A LOT of it… Explains why I usually only bake if I know I can share with a bunch of people.
Made exactly as written, cooked for 55 mins with 3 skin-on mystery apples (I forgot to weigh these and had 5-6 slices left over). Was a bit worried about the cake being too thin when it was in the pan, but was perfect in the end.
Thanks for another great one.
What adjustments would need to be made if I swapped the apples with peaches? Would fresh or canned work best? Thank you! Loved this cake with apples and want to try peaches!
I’d use fresh and swap it 1:1 by weight.
This cake is absolutely delicious and easy to make! Will be making it for many years to come.
Delicious! Used granny smiths and thought the sugar, salt, cinnamon and lemon amounts were spot on. It cooked through perfectly at 325 degrees with convection for 50 minutes in my Wolf.
I thought I had sour cream in the fridge when I started to make this… but I didn’t! I did have buttermilk, though, and I figured I could just reduce it to 1/4 cup and it did work perfectly! Thank you so much for helping me use some of the apple farm apples.
Oh my goodness Deb. This apple crumb cake is everything. I followed the recipe as written and even with an overmixed dough it still came out tender and delicious. Thank you!
Absolutely delicious! As Deb suggested, we waited until the 2nd day to eat it. Very moist- and great flavor, I even reduced the sugar a by 1/3. Easy to make since the ingredients are usually on hand. Batter layer was quite thin, but I think my pan was 9” square, so might be better in an 8” pan. Thank you!
Beautiful, chunky cake is in oven baking as I write this. Realized too late that I didn’t have sour cream. Subbed in mayo + some white vinegar. Your thoughts for when you don’t have Greek yogurt or buttermilk as sour cream substitution? We’ll see soon!
Love the mayo idea! I bet it’s delicious.
Can I bake this in a spring foam pan?
Yes. 9-inch round.
Deb, I had a weird experience and hoping you can shed light. I made a quadruple recipe of this for my daughter’s Mindfullness club and it was a total success–the crumbs were gorgeous, the taste was divine, the kids LOVED it! I had made the crumbs in advance, when I was prepping everything for my baking day. Ok, I’ll be honest, we ate almost an entire cake after I baked it bc that first taste was so good…so I had to bake another one. That time I did everything at once. The crumbs on the second one were not nearly as attractive–they looked sort of greasy and weren’t big and plump like the first ones. It tasted as delicious, but just didn’t have the beauty of the first ones.
Have you encountered this? Is it about letting the crumb mixture sit over night? Could it be the butter was different? Maybe I just messed up the measurements… Any thoughts would be great, thank you.
This cake is out of this world, just like everything you do–I am so impressed by you, you are this generation’s Ina, in my opinion!!!
Thank you so much,
I’m so glad it was a hit! Re, the crumbs, I haven’t had this experience, I wonder if a measurement was off, but now I’m also thinking I haven’t made the crumbs that far in advance in a while and not while testing this cake so I’ll have to see when I try it.
Hi. I made this again this weekend, this time in muffin form- could not resist trying. I ended up with extra crumb topping and apples- made a mini crisp with that! The recipe made 7 muffins- they were fabulous. Baked for about 30 minutes- cut apples into thirds after doing the wedge. Simply love this recipe in any form.
This cake was absolutely delicious! I added a little more apple. Yum and thanks!
15 amazing years! I love your dedication to SK. Yours is my go-to page (and cookbook) for new recipes. Thank you for sharing them!
This was such an easy recipe and tasted so good. I whipped it up after dinner and we had it for breakfasts over the following several days.
Deb, My greengrocer guy at PCC, Greenlake Seattle, introduced me to the BEST most extravagant apple I’ve ever tasted! It’s name: SMITTEN! I wouldn’t use it for this cake as it’s just such a perfect chomping apple but… SMITTEN! :)
I definitely need one of these apples!
I had a couple of the Smitten apples and one honeycrisp that I put in this and it turned out perfect—they have a lovely subtle flavor that I was afraid would be overpowered by the cinnamon but it comes through beautifully.
I was drawn to your site to make the squash spinach pasta bake and then you had to link to this scrumptious cake in the intro comments?!?! I had to make it— took me about 10 minutes and was so amazing. I LOVE the boulder crumbs and will add another apple next time— the fruit layer really baked down in the oven. Another winning recipe!
It’s even better the second day!
This is ridiculously good. Thank you.
This cake is absolutely wonderful. I made it for some company and received many compliments. The taste of the apples really shines though ad the cake and crumb topping are spectacular. Thank you for this recipe!
This was so good! I used 2 Granny Smith and 1 honey crisp, both unpeeled and served with vanilla bean ice cream. Perfect fall dessert!
Delicious! I struggled to get the baking time right. It needed a lot more than 55 mins for me. Next time I’ll try the suggestion in the comments of upping to 350 for an additional 10 mins, and see if that works. Truly yummy cake!
Another delicious recipe from Deb! I made this also and was very pleased with how flavorful it was. It was not heavy or rich, but just the perfect combination of apples, cake and crumble. I would probably cut my apples to a quarter of an inch as my cake also took ten extra minutes to finish cooking. Thank you!
This cake is amazing. I followed the recipe exactly using a variety of apples called Sweet Tango. As someone else commented. The only thing I will change next time is that I will use table salt as opposed to the Morton Kosher I usually use. It was a touch too salty.
This is great as a coffee cake for breakfast. I ate a piece this morning.
This cake had good flavor and I liked the moisture. I would have liked double the amount of apples though. That part was disappointing. I also could have done with about half amount of crumb topping. Full disclosure I’m not from or on the east coast so Deb does mention that this cake is the style of the area.
I did two layers of apple and it was not too much!
Hello, I’m wondering how sweet this is. I’d like to have the crumble to cut the sugar content but would like your perspective before trying it.
Gorgeous cake. Perfectly sweet and salty with a flavorful crumb. I didn’t peel the apples, and it came out tender and easy to cut through. I’m bookmarking this recipe!
I’ve made this twice in one week and we can’t stop eating it and you have ruined us but I forgive you because… apple cake.
BTW, for all you apple fanatics (I didn’t say snobs, did I? ;-) ), for the first cake we used a combination of Gravensteins, Cox’s Orange Pippin and Smokehouse. The second time all Wolf River. All were delicious! As long as you use a baking variety of any kind you won’t go wrong, we’re just lucky to live near Scott Farm Orchard in VT, which has a crazy selection. https://www.scottfarmvermont.com/heirloom-apples
Vanilla cake + crumb topping + apples = fabulous! I peeled the apples and baked for 70 minutes (per other comments). Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly and it was great. This cake does taste better after a few hours of baking. Good luck making it that long though!
Just made this for a brunch and it was amazing and very easy to make. I imagine it would be equally delicious with most fruits. I misread the recipe and put 1/2 c butter in both cake and crumb but absolutely did not hurt the cake – just cooked a bit longer. You totally don’t notice the peels on the apple!
Another absolutely delicious recipe from Smitten Kitchen! Made it yesterday for an Oktoberfest birthday celebration and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Thanks!
I made this tonight – SO good. I added a sprinkle of cardamom to the batter and it was perfect!
Big fight in my family now over whether this or your Strawberry Summer Sheet Pan Cake are our “absolute favorites.” Thanks for recipes that keep ages 6 to 76 happy!
I made this today with pears, peeled and cut in large chunks. I added a touch of ground ginger to them, along with cinnamon and nutmeg. Fab. U. Lous.
Deb, I can’t wait to make this Wednesday for my mahjong girls coming on Thursday. I’ll be making it in a 9” square pan. This recipe reminds me of an apple cake my mom would make when I was a kid. Xoxo
I subbed quince for about 2/3 of the apples, and it came out great! I peeled both.
This was my first trial of a baking recipe from SK. It looked just like the photo, it tasted wonderful and the crumb layer was crunchy and thick, just what I’d hoped. The recipe itself was well-organized and easy to understand and follow, so I didn’t make any changes in ingredients or method. I’m impressed with the outcome and that it was such low effort – I had it completed and in the oven in 20 minutes. More apple crumb cake looms in my future!
This cake was sheer perfection and made the house smell wonderfully like Autumn on a chilly October weekend. My roommate said he could eat this all day every day.
This cake is wonderful! I subbed some of the flour by adding almond powder and used all the warm spices I had: nutmeg, allspice, cloves, vanilla and cinnamon. I also didn’t use sugar, but chopped dates for the cake. Definitely going to make this again!
Will Greek yogurt work as a substitute for sour cream in this recipe?
Absolutely delish! I had many apple slices leftover, but ended up baking them for a bit and eating them with the leftover Greek yogurt I had, which I used instead of sour cream. I’ll be making this a few more times before winter hits!
So. So Good!! I’ve made this with apples and again with peaches! This recipe is a keeper!
Made this for my husband’s birthday brunch. So good! Everyone raved about the crumb topping. For me, I wanted a little thicker cake layer so next time I might double cake part or at least 1.5x it. Nutmeg and/or lemon zest would be good too. Or ginger? So many options! I’ll definitely be making this with other fruits in other seasons too.
I made this recipe….FABULOUS. I made it with apples and plums, because I had them. Highly recommend the plums. Will make this again and again!
I found the batter insanely hard to spread (thanks for the tips about wetting my hands other commenters, now I know for next time). I’m not sure if its our altitude difference, but I’m going to try it again but with only 120 g of flour, not the 130 g, and see if that helps. Looking forward to trying it when it gets out of the oven!
Heeeyyy… it’s a fruit based coffee cake that doesn’t get gummy and/or soggy the following day! It made it 48 hours – just barely, because AWESOME.
So, I got a little *too into the Autumn spirit this year and may have accidentally bought more apples than I knew what to do with. Thankfully this recipe came along in the nick of time, and I put those apples to use. I was hesitant about every step – the apples seemed to big, the batter seemed too thin, the topping seemed….too much. But holy cow was I wrong! It all came together perfectly and might be my new favorite fall bake! I served it for brunch, and cannot wait to have more tonight with my tea. If you have apples ( and 3 medium was MORE than enough), make this post-haste!
This was absolutely perfect. Thanks for continuing to make apples season delicious!
So good! I’m at high altitude and it worked beautifully. I cut the baking powder to 1 tsp and baked about 10 extra minutes. For a recipe with 3 layers, it came together surprisingly fast. Thanks, Deb!
One of the great recipes I’ve ever made! I would have paid good money for a (heavy) slice of this cake at a New York bakery.
I made this exactly as written and it was so so delicious. Ate it warm for dessert with extra sour cream, cold for breakfast with yogurt on the side. Just delicious. I think next time I would try adding some lemon zest to the cake batter to just give it an extra zing.
Could you use Allulose or monk fruit sugar and brown sugar sugar free substitutes in this recipe?
I haven’t tested it with any of the above but perhaps someone else will weigh in.
How does this compare to the beloved Big Crumb Coffee Cake? I’m tempted to try it since it is definitely easier (only one leavener, no extra egg yolk, and a simplified method…) but the cake layer in the photos looks spongier and not as moist :( Wondering if I should just stick to the cake recipe from the Big Crumb.
For me, it’s the improved version. The crumbs are less crunchy and the cake can handle the fruit. If you’re making this without fruit, I’d bump up the sour cream a little.
Does this cake freeze well?
Excellent apple cake! Loved the ratios in this cake, and the sturdiness of the cake bottom. I did have to bake it 10 min longer, like many other reviewers. Will surely make again.
Wondering if I can double this to make a 9 x 13 pan? It is so delicious sounding that an 8×8 or 9×9 definitely won’t be enough of this cake to satisfy.
Fantastic recipe! I made it for a friend who’s recently gone gluten free, with Bob’s RedMill One for One flour. Baked in a 9×9 with Gala apples, and it was completely done after 52 minutes.The only difference I could perceive from the GF flour was a slight graininess in the crumb.
Was thinking of making this as a post-Thanksgiving “take-home” treat. Any ideas on making it in a mini loaf pan or as individual muffins? Would I have to pre-cook/sauté the apples because of the shortened cooking time in a smaller serving size? Would appreciate any feedback!
I know you love all your children (recipes and others) but I fell there is something deep in your affection for this particular cake!
Could I double this and bake it in a 9×13? If so how would that effect Bake time?
I doubled it and baked in a glass 9×13″ pan and needed WAY more baking time. I think it ended up being an extra 30-40 minutes. I may have cut the apples too thick because it sounds like other commenters who doubled didn’t need quite so long. In any case, it was delicious and not dried out on the edges so it all worked out.
Perfection. I used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and it worked well. Next I’m going to try with rhubarb replacing the apple.
Long time reader here (since 2010!), but this is my very first comment – this cake is incredible. I made 2 small changes to the crumb, and I was so happy with both that I thought I’d share. I was out of all-purpose flour, so I ground up rolled oats in my coffee grinder to make oat flour and used that instead, and I swapped the cinnamon in the crumb with a teaspoon of garam masala. Soooo yummy, and just a little unexpected spice profile! The oats gave the crumb a little more substance, too, which we loved. Such a lovely way to showcase fresh autumn apples. Thank you, Deb!
Just remembered I also swapped low fat plain yogurt for the sour cream and subbed the buttermilk with with skim milk and vinegar in the cake, and it was absolutely delicious – I couldn’t tell it was slightly lower fat.
This was delicious! To lighten it up a tad, made half the amount of crumb topping and it was sufficient.
Hi Deb. I made this last night for consumption this morning. After putting on powdered sugar, I zapped each piece in the microwave for a mere 15 seconds before serving it and it enhanced the delicious smell and just ever so slightly softened up the apples and the cake. Thanks for a wonderful rainy Sunday morning treat!
I made the larger apple crumb cake and it was absolutely delicious. My husband loved it so much he put it on Facebook. Got many reviews even wanting the recipe. I am just going to give them the site
I signed up for your site because it has so many delicious recipes
Made the recipe as directed in a 9-inch square pan and it turned out scrumptiously. I’m not really a cake person but could eat this whole pan. The only change I made was to sub a little whole wheat pastry flour in both the crumb and the cake (about 1/3 in each). This cake is buttery, sweet but not tooth-achingly so, and tart (I used a mix of tart Pink Lady apples and Honeycrisp. I think tart apples work really well here.) Like others have noted, I did bake it for an extra 10-12 minutes.
This cake is fantastic! I made it gluten-free with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gf flour and it was so delicious. As suggested, it took 10 minutes longer at 350 degrees to soften the apples. It is even better the next day. This is definitely going into my fall rotation.
I did a bad job following your directions yet again and it still came out great. (Didnt bring the sour cream and egg to room temp, didn’t premix sugar and cinnamon with apple, just dumped apple in a big mess of apples not put in, in one layer) Thanks for the fool proof recipes!
Easy recipe – the cake bakes up beautifully, and I added approx. 15 to the bake time. I used honeycrisps. Textures are wonderful, and it’s not too sweet. But the apple is very subtle. It’s mostly coffee cake, with a little apple accent. If you’re looking for a very apple-y, fall-forward treat, this might be too subtle. But it’s perfect if someone in your household doesn’t love fruit.
I’ve made this three times in ten days and I have 0 regrets.
With 3 apples I had a little leftover apple. It took 55-60 min to bake in my oven but otherwise was spot on.
Deb, I mistakenly thought my dinner plans were tonight, but turns out they are NEXT week… but I already made this cake to bring. Can I freeze it? Any tips for freezing and thawing? Thanks!!
I think it will freeze fine. I’d leave it out to defrost, shouldn’t be an issue.
Made this tonight. SO GOOD. My husband doesn’t like apple desserts so too bad, more for me!
Didn’t peel the apples and it doesn’t bother me, but makes it a little extra messy to eat. I also didn’t have powdered sugar, but IMO it doesn’t need it. This cake is less sweet than I was expecting considering all the sugar in it, but I appreciate the balance. I used Cortland apples.
Made this for a Shabbat dinner and it was a huge hit! I left it in for between 50-55 min and actually the very top of the cake part was a little undercooked (but still VERY delicious!!). I was afraid of overcooking it but next time I’ll know I don’t have to be as worried about it, and will leave it in a bit longer. Will definitely make again!
This is the best fall dessert i’ve ever had! It knocked everyone’s socks off and has become our go-to dessert to bring when invited for dinner.
Thank you Deb!
I made this recipe vegan by swapping the egg for a flax egg and swapping the sour cream for oat yogurt. For butter, I used earth balance. It was a great success!
Would this be best baked in a metal pan, or would glass do?
I’ve been trying to get through a 5 lb bag of gala apples and this was the perfect recipe for the last few apples! All the other apple crumb cake recipes I found were for a 13×9 pan and I like that this recipe is just for a 9×9 pan. Overall, this cake is a lovely textural combo of crunch, softness, and fluffy. It’s not very sweet so it’d go perfectly with tea or coffee. I bet if you use punchier apples like honeycrisp or pink lady you’d get more of that tart taste. Thanks for sharing this is definitely a favorite of mine!
This is insanely good! I used mixed berry Greek yogurt in place of sour cream and added a few blueberries. Used Honeycrisp apples. FYI better on day 2!
Make this now! Straightforward and easy to make with such an elegant and scrumptious result! Making this makes me feel like a bake off star baker!
One word – delicious!
I used Macintosh and Cortland apples, fully knowing that they would turn into apple sauce, but that is how I like it. The crumb topping is awesome and kept its crunch for three days. Will definitely make again!
I’ve got an abundance of full fat siggi’s yogurt. Have you ever used yogurt in place of sour cream in cakes?
It will work just fine here.
I’ve made this twice now: once for first responders as a token of appreciation and again as dessert for a small family dinner party. It is so delicious and easy! The second time I made it with three different apples, and I especially loved that! I peeled the apples both times due to baking for other people but would have left the skins on if just for myself.
Thank you for another delicious, fool-proof recipe!
I made this with GF flour and subbed out half a cup of the flour for the topping with almond meal. Used full fat Greek yogurt. Family all raved about it – will definitely be making this for fall holidays routinely! So good
This cake is AMAZING! After the first bite I started planning when I would make the next one. That’s the sign of a good recipe. Made it exactly as written and it was perfection. ( I peeled my apples and used super yummy Macintosh)
Thanks Deb! I’ve always been a huge fan and now even more so! I tell anyone who will listen, all about your excellent recipes. Thank goodness for you. Your sense of humor keeps me laughing out loud while cooking XOXO Can’t wait for the next book!
Just wanted to send out a rave review for this cake.
The crumb topping is AMAZING!
Will agree that improves on the 2nd day
I am not a big fan of apple cake but I will try any recipe of yours. OMG this is delicious! Definitely going to make this on a regular basis!!
I made this after apple picking late in the season. I am a particular baker and always want to ensure the recipes I invest in (time + ingredients + calories) are good enough to share … this recipe is one to bake, bake again, and share with the whole neighborhood. Sweet, but not too sweet. Seasonal and comforting – I will make this again and again. Bravo SK!
This cake is SO DELICIOUS!!! I’ve made it twice so far! The second time I added 1 tsp ground cardamom and freshly grated nutmeg along with the cinnamon to the apple mix. Baked mine in parchment in 8” square pan for 1 hour in my electric Wolf oven on regular bake and came out perfect! This recipe should be a contender for your new upcoming cookbook! Thanks Deb for another great recipe!
I used local MN Haralson apples.
This was AMAZING! This and your mom’s apple cake are the two of the best apple desserts I’ve ever had. I’m having this for breakfast tomorrow, too.
Diced the apples and because of the high fat and sugar content went virtuous and used 1 & 3/4 cup oats instead of flour for the topping . Added the butter and about 1/3 cup of cider to the oats. It tastes like a cross between a crisp and an apple pie.. amazing! Need to give away to stop eating the wonderful thing.
I am gf/df/egg free so I subbed Bobs 1-1 gf flour, 1 bobs egg replacer, and used earth balance vegan butter. I also cooked it for an extra 5 min since the egg replacer seems to add to baking time. It came out really good! A little crumbly (as many gf things are), but I was really happy with it!
Loved it the first time, for the second time made some changes. I usually hate when commenters tell all the things they changed, so again: this recipe is wonderful as-is. And if you want to try something additional…
1) I doubled everything – literally everything. Crumbs, apples, cake. And put it in an 8×3 Fat Daddio’s pan with a removable bottom. A must for all kitchens.
2) I added an extra 1/4t of baking soda to get a little more rise. (First time around I found that the apples and the crumb were so heavy the cake didn’t rise much). Worked wonderfully with no adverse taste.
3) It was caramel week on GBBO, so I made a caramel sauce and drizzled over the apples. Divine.
I was wondering if you’ve made this as a larger batch? Would love to do a 9 by 13 pan. Do you think just doubling the recipe would work?
This probably the best thing I’ve ever baked! It was amazingly simple and turned out perfect. It will definitely become a fall staple in my house!
Deb, do you ever look at Frankie Celenza’s Struggle Meals (on the Tastemade channel and YouTube)? Having watched his show for a few months now, I think there’s a certain pragmatic, thoughtful, and playful approach to cooking and food that you and Frankie share, but maybe that’s just me. Anyhow, I like his approach to simplifying the kitchen tools we consider necessary, and because my stand mixer is too big for the amount of batter here (and I also don’t own an electric hand mixer), and because I also made your extra-billowy Dutch baby (with the lovely bowl-and-whisk-only method) this morning, I took an unusual-for-me approach here and mixed up the cake batter in a large bowl with a large metal spoon. It’s been much too long since I approached batter that way (it is how I learned to make batters and doughs a million years ago as a 4-H kid under Mom’s and Grandma’s tutelage, after all), and it worked. And, because I have a kitchen scale, it meant that I could make this whole thing using a chef’s knife; a cutting board; one bowl each for the apples, crumbs, and batter; two metal spoons; a butter knife; and a set of measuring spoons. Holy cow, was this process gratifying, and am I happy to skip washing measuring cups and a stand mixer bowl and paddle! Other details: I’ve now almost completed polished off the peck of apples we picked in late August; used a mix of those orchard apples and store-bought Granny Smiths; added a pinch of ground cloves to the crumbs because it adds a certain mouthwatering-ness to such things; used full-fat plain yogurt instead of sour cream; everything fit just fine in a nine-inch straight-sided round cake pan; and if fellow SK cooks want to be sure to come back and make something they see here, they need only leave a comment on the recipe and opt in to receive follow-up comments via email. I have been receiving those reminding emails a few times a day and my tastebuds were finally like LET’S DO IT ON SUNDAY MORNING WHEN THE TIME CHANGE MAKES THINGS EXCITING!! Anyhow, tomorrow we’ll eat the cake with happy dancing, I’m sure. Thank you, Deb and fellow SK cooks!
I’ll check it out! Thank you.
Made the topping with oats instead of flour trying to make orca tad healthier and mistakenly cubed the apples ; it was absolutely incredible. Had to give half away so as not to eat it all.
Thought the oats would make it healthier but now I want a scoop of vanilla on a warmed up piece .
I made this and am eating it right now, it’s spectacular. Only change I will make next time is to cut the apples into smaller chunks instead of cut into wedges.
Just made this and was so excited for the craggy crumbles but mine came out more like crumbly crumbles— I thought I followed the measurements exactly but my crumble seemed too dry and grainy after I mixed it up. Cake is still excellent, but I want to try again for those crumbles! Any suggestions on what might have gone wrong? Do I just need to add more butter if crumbles are too dry? Not an expert baker but trying to make some tasty treats!
Very tasty! I used either gala or honey crisp apples (can’t remember which I bought) and had to bake for an extra 15 minutes to get them soft. The cake turned out a bit dry, even on the second day, possibly due to the extra time in the oven. Next time, I think I’ll roughly chopping the apples – hoping to reduce the baking time and make it slightly easier to eat l.
This is so damn good! I made it using three rows of thinly sliced Granny Smith apples that overlapped slightly. They almost melted into the cake but you still get that nice tang in every bite. I plan to bring this to Thanksgiving for my Staten Island born and bred Father who LOVES a good crumb cake. Thanks so much!
I can’t wait to make this, Deb! If I double and put in 9 X 13 baking pan, how long should I bake for? Should i keep temp at 325?
Not sure of the baking time because I didn’t test it doubled but yes to the same temp and pan size. I’d check in about 5 minutes after the regular time and every 5 from there.
Did you try doubling it how did it go?
Wow, this was great! Everyone knows the crumb is the best part, which is a fact and not an opinion ;). This cake had what I consider the correct ratio of crumb to cake, and the layer of apples helped (albeit ever so slightly) knock away at the absurd number of apples my CSA gives us weekly. My crumb layer looked a bit more like river rocks or smooth boulders, likely because I squeezed handfuls of crumb into a clump, broke it off into pieces, then strategically placed the boulders all over the cake. I can’t tolerate milk products, so I used vegan butter and Kite Hill sour cream (almond based) with no trouble at all. This recipe is a keeper!
Deb. do you use Morton or Diamond kosher salt (or some other)? I hear there’s a big difference in salty-ness. Thanks
I think I remember seeing Deb prefer (when it comes to flaky salt) Diamond over Morton for Diamond’s less-concentrated salt flavor. It means a cook has a greater margin of error when salting to taste or to measure, for one thing.
By the way, I made this cake again for turkey day, but this time, I scattered small bits of SK apple cider caramels over the apples and under the crumb. This was an excellent idea.
Do you think I could sub pears? Would sugar or water content be an issue?
I just made this and the cake part wasn’t great. It’s a bit stiff and dry. I wonder if it’s because I’m mixing by hand? The butter/sugar mixture never got really fluffy. I also used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream but I don’t think that should affect things. Baked in 8×8 pyrex pan. I’m rather new to baking so would appreciate any advice.
Can I double and make this in a 9×13?
My cousin, the Sprinkle Fairy, shared this recipe with me. Turned out great! So much so that my wife said this one is better than the one I made yesterday. The difference… 200g of butter! Thanks for the recipe!
Two changes — one intentional, one forced. I added chopped pecans to the crumble to delicious effect. I also used cake flour having run out of all purpose flour. I just finished the last piece from the cake made 3 nights ago and the tender crumb with the cake flour made me think I might always use it
Help! I’m not sure what I’m doing incorrectly. I’ve made this cake twice and it’s absolutely delicious, but both times I’ve had to bake it significantly longer than the recipe calls for. The second time I tried an 8×11 pan, thinking surely a thinner cake would bake in the recommended time. I still had to go an additional 20 minutes. I’m nervous to turn up the heat for fear of overcooking the crumb.
I haven’t noticed other things taking longer than expected to bake in my oven, so I suspect the issue is baker-related and not equipment. Any ideas what I might be doing wrong?
If you have an oven thermometer, that might help clear things up. But apples can also range in juiciness too so there’s always more variability in baking times with fresh fruit.
This recipe is a must make. It is easy, delicious, and looks so pretty. Thanks!
I made this before thanksgiving and even though I underbaked it a little (better than overbaking, in my book!) it was excellent. I also used more apples than the recipe calls for, so that may have made it a little wetter/underdone, too.
And really easy! I’ve got some extra apples so I may make it again for Xmas (or if I’m lazy, just an apple crisp, which is basically this recipe but you omit the cake layer and add some oats to the brown sugar crumble part)
I made this gluten free (my daughter has celiac disease). Stuck to the recipe except I used bobs red mill all purpose flour because it does not use rice flour (arsenic! mercury!) and xanthan gum. This is one of those rare recipes that really does not taste gluten free, it came out so good 😊
I made this cake for nye – when the cake had been in the oven for about 25 minutes I unexpectedly had to dash out of the house. I turned off the oven and came back about an hour later. I turned the oven back on, expecting a complete disaster but thought I might as well try, and … a perfectly delicious cake emerged! We then forgot to pack it away before we went to bed and left it sitting out amidst a jumble of dirty glasses – still delicious the next morning. Just to say, this is an exceptionally robust cake that stood up admirably to all the unconventional treatment it was subjected to. Also, I didn’t have soured cream and swapped in greek yoghurt, worked fine. Thank you Deb and happy New Year!
This was good. Like, seriously good. My dad commented that it tasted like apple crisp, but somehow even better. My guess is the extra butter.
So….I made the apple cider caramel recipe recently and didn’t quite nail it. I know exactly what I did wrong – I didn’t have a thermometer and didn’t hit the goal temp – so what I have instead is a really gorgeous semi-solid caramel sauce. I had the thought that it would be incredible as a topping on an apple cinnamon coffee cake, and here we are. As much as I also love crumb, I thought it might be too sweet with the full amount + caramel, so I halved it….and did a drizzle all over between the cake and apples pre-bake, and a drizzle over top post-bake. UNREAL. EXTREMELY DELICIOUS. A++ would recommend!!
Made this twice in the last week and probably about 5 times since it was published. Its now a staple in our house. Couple of things I’ve done with it – I’ve frozen it a couple times, pre-sliced, separated by parchment paper, and it freezes perfectly. I’ve never had the patience to wait for a slice to thaw, so I nuke them on 50% for a bit and they end up slightly warm and the crumble doesn’t go soggy (my main worry). Also, I’m very lazy, so I skip the apple prep and just lay the sliced apple directly onto the batter after slicing them, then sprinkle with cinnamon. No lemon juice or sugar. Then I rinse out the bowl I used for the batter and just make the crumbs in that, so I don’t have to use more than one bowl.
I’ve also scaled it up to a 13×9, but although I doubled the cake batter (eggs, innit), I only did 1.5x the crumbs and it was plenty.
So delicious! The texture is perfect. I was worried the cake would be soggy due to the moisture from the apples, but it is absolutely perfectly spongey cake. I used Greek yogurt because I didn’t have sour cream, no issues. I also added oats to the crumble. I ate a slice and froze the rest.
Deb, I find parchment paper to be the most unruly baking tool ever! It’s not user friendly from getting it out of the box to staying in place in a greased pan (as in this recipe). Surely there’s something better out there.
Just seeing this now as I finally am making this soon. I also find parchment annoying. Here’s a trick I was taught in a baking group I’m in and now do it always. Cut enough parchment that it reaches the top of pan edge. Take 4 binder clips and clip paper to the pan. After you fill the pan, remember to remove clips before baking (I forgot once)! But once pan is filled that paper cannot squirm around any more. Hope this helps!
Did the extra 10 minutes of baking many suggested to get the apples to cook, but they weren’t cooked enough for my people. I diced the apples, still not cooked enough. Now I simmer the diced apples in a splash of apple juice while I make the other parts and plop them on. The people are happy and I am happy. We love this cake.
I was looking for a comment like this. I love fruit in dessert, but have a weird texture thing with large pieces of fruit. I was wondering if I could cube and cook the apples down a little bit on the stove before putting in the batter/cooking in the oven? You said it worked for you? Any tips?
New York Times a few weeks ago had a Caramelized pineapple crumb cake. I was thinking it would be fabulous with apples. I may have to try this one for brekkie tomorrow.
Thanks for an 8×8!!
Made this in an 8″ square pan with 2 medium apples. I misread the butter in the crumb as 4 tbsp but caught my mistake when reading other’s comments so I dribbled 4 more tablespoons of butter over the cake, 15 min after I’d put it in the oven. I also diced the apples instead of left them as wedges, and just piled them on the batter. After 65 min (last 10 at 350) the apples were cooked and the cake and crumb weren’t over done.
It turned out delicious! Thanks for a great recipe.
I made this as soon as I saw it in IG. It’s delicious!!! I waited until the morning to eat it- was it worth it? Yes prob it was so freaking good I had 3 slices. My only sub was half oats/half flour in the crumble, I just love oats in most baked goods. I will make again many times. Kids loved it too.
We love a good crumb cake in this house and this was another example of a perfectly reliable recipe that returns great results from you.
* I peeled the apples, just a preference of mine.
* We chunked the slices because although I read the recipe my muscle memory likes to cut apples into big chunks. Oops! Used about 2.5 apples we had handy: a Honeycrisp, part of a Pink Lady that was about to be a loss, and a Granny Smith which retained some texture.
* Our oven demanded another 12 minutes on this bake with much testing at intervals, but it did turn out perfectly.
* After tasting it same day and next day (for DATA!) we concur it is better the next day, and only used a light towel to cover because I like a crispier crumb.
Thanks again, Deb, it’s a winner.
This was amazing on so many levels. You can taste all of the butter. I added sliced almonds to the crumbs for extra crunch .
Delicious. With and without the apples. Totally reminds me of the crumb cake my grandmother in Brooklyn used to pick up from the bakery down the street. It’s all about the crumb! This is in my regular rotation for dessert. Thank you!
Do you think swapping rhubarb (or rhubarb + strawberries) would work for this recipe?
Absolutely. I hope to try it soon this way!
I made a double batch of these today in a 9×13 but instead of using apples I used blueberries and holy moly…what a win! The crumb and cake layers don’t hold together as well as they do when you use apples but it is literally so delicious it hardly even matters. Excited to try with cherries or apricots later this summer! D
For your Big Crumb Coffee Cake with rhubarb, you layered half the batter, then the rhubarb, then the rest of the batter; versus here, where you put in all the batter and then the apples. Did your method just change over time, or is there a specific reason to layer the rhubarb between layers of batter?
This way is more traditional, but also, the apples are heavier and will nestle into the cake better from the top.
Inspired by Deb’a Instagram post saying she made this with peaches, I made this (almost) exactly written with the last few sad looking plums in my fridge and it was insanely good. The only change I made was that I had about 1.25 pounds of plums and used them all. Not mad at the extra plummy goodness!! This was so good!!
where is the recipe for the apple crumb cake but with peaches? Looks Devine!
I’m not sure there is one on the site. Other bakers have reported their results with peaches in the comments, perhaps?
It’s this. I swap the peaches 1:1 by weight. It might need 5-10 minutes longer to bake.
Hi! Can this be made with gf flour?
Some here have done that with success! Run a CTRL+F search for gf on this page to see some results.
Here are some comments from people who have made the cake with gluten-free swaps:
This cake is delicious.
Reminds me a bit of the strawberry cake recipe that we all love.
I made this as written yesterday but with peaches instead of apples, delicious! Used two larger peaches, but could have used another. Look forward to the apple version come fall, maybe even subbing with pears. Wonder how rhubarb would work in this.
I just made this cake and it’s DELISH!! And so simple. The hardest part was spreading the batter in the pan.
Thank you so much for providing measurements in gms, oz and cups – I use all three depending on the ingredient – and this saves me so much time in conversions!!
For anyone still reading comments: I felt inclined to less effort and more hunger, so I didn’t bother creaming anything and still got a delicious cake worthy of sharing. What’s more, I used liquid coconut oil and frozen cranberries instead of butter and apples, and a bloop of molasses in granulated sugar instead of brown sugar. I did also increase the overall sugar by a smidge (and added two spoonsful of crushed-nuts-in-honey from a fancy jar) to the overall cake. How delicious.
Can you freeze this? Any special tips for that?
Born in Philly and raised in South Jersey I now live in England (45 years) and a crumb coffee cake is impossible to buy here. Entermann used to be here but no more. I’m going to have to make this but it’ll have to wait until I bake a honey cake for Rosh Hashanah.
I made your Big Apple Crumb Cake for a co-workers birthday and it was a huge hit! So much so that I made it 2 more times that month, with the same reviews! This is my go-to recipe when apples are in the kitchen. Thanks for a fabulous fall fixture!
Wow – so great! That is some serious crumb! Cake was tender right after cooling. Look forward to the joys it’ll bring tomorrow (if there’s any left…) recipe worked perfectly (tho I think I mucked something up with the crumb measuring which seemed sandy on mixing – so added more butter…) 2 Granny Smith- perfectly sweet enough and done perfectly in an 8″x8″ at 55min. Thank you for the recipe!
I’m going to make this apple crumb cake for the holidays this week. I’m totally stumped on what kind of apples to use. Please help me out!
I made this today using Macintosh apples from the CSA. They gave us little baby apples so it took 5 to make a pound. Even with all the cutting and peeling, from start to putting into the oven, the process took less than half an hour.
I used full fat Greek yogurt for the sour cream and was thankful for reading the comments first because I also halved the amount of crumb and wet my hands to help smoosh the batter into the edges of the pan. It ended up cooking for 60 minutes.
I could not wait until tomorrow to taste it, but I did manage to wait 5 hours. I’m not sure how it could get any better, this recipe is another absolute winner!
I had to come back today to say that the cake really is better the next day despite how amazing it was yesterday. What a great recipe!!
Hi I made this parve by swapping the butter for coconut oil and it was perfect. I used cake flour for the cake and buckwheat flour for the crumbs.
Oh and I swapped the sour cream for coconut milk + lemon juice
This was so good I made it two days in a row. Second batch, I added upped the cinnamon and added some cardamom to the topping. I might like this better than apple pie.
I made this and actually doubled the recipe and baked in a 9 x 13 pan. It was delicious and go rave reviews at my church. Highly recommended!
This looks wonderful. Mazel tov on your son’s Bar Mitzvah.
Wanted to let you know that I made this last year with my son, and he loved it so much that he has asked for it for his birthday cake this year (coming up soon). :)
I just made this and can confirm it’s one of the very best cakes I have ever made. I also can confirm it’s even better the second and third day, which means it will be a perfect make-ahead for Thanksgiving. I doubled the recipe and used a 9 x 13 pan, and it came out perfectly. I also peeled the apples and drizzled a little caramel sauce over the apples before putting the topping on, but I’m sure it’s just as outstanding without it.
I do have a question for Deb: Why do you sprinkle the salt and baking soda over the wet batter before adding the flour? No big deal, but I am used to whisking all the dry ingredients together and adding them all at once to a batter. Is there any specific science behind the two-step technique?
Glad it was a hit. It allows the recipe to be one-bowl.
I have made this delicious cake twice – love it – but the crumb topping is not “very thick” as the recipe says it should be, and is quite flour-y. Anyone else have the same issue? Next time I think I’ll cut the flour in half and see how that works.
I found the crumb to be a little hard, but not floury. More butter, maybe?
Lovely! I left the cinnamon off the apples and added it to the cake batter instead because I wanted the apples to remain fruity and tangy and it worked perfectly. The amount of soft apples in an apple pie is not a texture I like, but the smaller amount of apples in this mixed with the big crumbs and cake is very nice!
The cake cooked within the 50-55 minute time frame.
I just made this cake with plums. Huge hit!
Is this more of a dessert or coffee cake? I’m definitely making it, but don’t care for overly sweet coffee cakes. Thanks
It’s more of a coffee cake sweetness, but we eat it for dessert.
I had to laugh…serves 12-16? The two of us will finish this in 3 days! No petite pieces for me! ( I grew up in NJ and could live on crumb cake).
I made a load of these exactly a year for our Parish Fair bake sale…and they were among the first to go! Making twice as much tomorrow for the fair this weekend, and I know they will do the same. I grew up on the Jersey Shore, where we take crumb cakes seriously. This one is a WINNER WINNER!!!!!
Just made this after a trip to an apple orchard. It turned out perfect! Thank you!
This was so yummy!! It seemed like a lot of crumb when we were assembling it, but it turned out supremely well. We followed the recipe to a T, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Other than next time I’ll buy some vanilla ice cream to have ready to eat with the warm cake.
This was so delicious! Although my toddler wouldn’t eat the apple skins, so next time I’ll peel. (It was just so liberating not to peel!) I cooked for 50 min at 325, and it was pale & far from done, so I had to hike it up to 350 for another 20 min. My oven is brand new, so I’m assuming its thermostat works! If I cook it at 350 next time, does that dry out the cake or burn the top or anything?
My friends and I made this last night. We tried doubling the recipe. I looked over to see Piper measuring the crumb recipe by loosely shaking things into measuring cups, squinting, not leveling them off, and sort of just dumping in “about” the correct amount. The flour, unsifted, got this treatment as well. Meanwhile, I accidentally put in two 1/2 cups of brown sugar instead of two 1/3 cups for the cake. (The second 1/2 cup of brown sugar was like half granulated cane sugar, too, since we ran out.) The cake dough was put in in unsmoothed soft clumps that did not fully cover the pan’s bottom. The pan was circular. My oven, which has communication issues, was maybe fully preheated when I put in the cake. No timer was set.
It was fucking delicious and could not have come out better. 5 stars, this seems to be a 2 college students at 10pm-proof recipe.
Hi Deb! Can I use this crumb topping on my apple pie?
I did! And it was excellent!
Made this last night and we cut into it at lunch. This was so, so good! It was such a good way to use up fuji apples that had been languishing in our fridge for a few weeks now. In our desperation to use up ingredients and make a cake, it sort of turned into a treasure hunt for what others suggested in the comments vs what we had in the pantry. These are the subs I made based on comments + what we had: yoghurt for sour cream, sunflower oil for butter in the cake, a flax egg for a chicken egg, and some ACV because my dried out half a lemon didn’t yield enough juice. We have seniors with dental issues in the house so I followed the suggestions of a commenter who swapped out 1/3 of the butter in the crumb for vegetable shortening to keep it from getting too hard. This was such a hit! Really loved that still churn out a delicious cake even with all the subs.
Long time Smitten Kitchen fan, first time commenter. I made this for New Year’s breakfast and it was fantastic!! What a delicious way to start off 2023. I used Cortland apples – they were a little soft but fine for baking. For the crumb topping, I also used softened instead of melted butter – I’m not sure why, other than that the butter was already soft by the time I started the crumb topping, so I thought, what the heck, I’ll just use it softened. The crumb to cake ratio here is SPOT ON – pretty much 50/50. Deb, thank you for this recipe! I’ll be making this again for sure.
Made this for a brunch at work. So amazing I made it two more times that week! Absolutely delicious!!
Hi Deb! Just wanted to let you know, I have baked this as written, but also tonight baked it vegan – with vegan butter, vegan yogurt and a flax egg. It is just as delicious as the regular version! The nonvegans and the vegan in my family thank you for yet another winner!
I’ve been wanting to make this Big Apple (Big) Crumb Cake since the recipe first appeared and today was The Day. It did not disappoint–especially the crumb topping. Bakery quality! The recipe was under-salted for our tastes when using Diamond Kosher salt, so next time I’ll try regular iodized salt. I’ll also use about 1/2 t. nutmeg and some lemon zest in the cake because around here anything that holds still long enough seems to get lemon zested. Thanks, Deb!
I had a bag of slightly past their prime apples in the fridge and a commitment to bring a baked good to a potluck, so this recipe was perfect! It was easy to follow and unfussy to make – I appreciated not having to peel the apples. The peels get nice and soft so you don’t even notice them. I used Empire apples and subbed in mayonnaise for the sour cream, as I didn’t have any in the fridge. Will have to try with sour cream next time to get that little extra tang. The cake turned out great and was a hit at the party.
This is excellent! As a native NYer who misses crumb cake almost as much as NY pizza and bagels, this met all expectations. My dad took a piece home with him, which is praise indeed.
Doubled this recipe and baked it in a 9*13 pan. I used light brown sugar for the crumbs and it was significantly lighter that pictures here, so might switch to dark next time. I used 2 ambrosia apples and the rest were gala, I didn’t need the full 2 pounds so froze about 1 apples worth for a personal apple crisp one day.
OMG I have this in the oven right now and can’t wait! I had two large apples that needed to be used and I was certain you would have a delicious, easy recipe for me. I was even able to stop myself from eating all of the crumble mix before it went in the oven, so I consider that a moral victory. Thanks for coming through once again, Deb!
How does this wonderful big crumb apple cake work in a tub pan?