I remember my grandma making coffee cakes and sweet muffins for breakfast, along with eggs, sausages, hot coffee and a big pitcher of milk on the table. The older generation really loved their coffee cakes. I’ve noticed that many Millennials and Gen Z’s think coffee cake contains coffee. Maybe some coffee cake does contain coffee, but in general, coffee cake is called that because it’s typically eaten with coffee. A classic coffee cake is usually a subtly sweet cake with cinnamon, crumb topping and maybe some icing. The Apple Crumb Cake recipe I’m sharing with you has the elements of a classic coffee cake, but so much better! The cake is fluffy and soft, the crumb topping is chunky and plentiful, and the apples are perfectly tender. And don’t get me started about the icing!
Why do most of our grandmothers cook and bake so well? Because they’ve had decades of trial and error to perfect their recipes, tweaking them here and there until they’re approved and loved by their families, neighbors and friends. This cake has had its share of trial and error. She has earned her place as a well-loved, delicious, beautiful queen of coffee cakes.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 cups chopped apples (1/2-inch pieces) Use any combination of your favorite baking apples.
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 2/3 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour, sifted
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 1/3 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 2 cups (8 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
- pinch fine sea salt
- 3-4 tablespoons heavy cream, room temperature
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add apples, sugar and cinnamon.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer apples to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
- In a medium bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon and salt.
- Work in butter with your fingertips until mixture looks like wet sand. Press together to make 1/2-inch chunks.
- Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line a 9-inch cake pan with a removable bottom*, or a 9-inch springform pan, with parchment paper. Wrap the bottom of cake pan with aluminum foil and place pan on a baking sheet.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar, with an electric mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy.
- Beat eggs and vanilla into butter mixture in three separate addition, making sure each addition is incorporated before adding the next.
- In a small bowl, whisk milk and sour cream together.
- On low speed, mix flour mixture into batter in three separate additions, alternating with milk mixture. Beat just until combined.
- Transfer batter to prepared baking pan. Smooth top with a spatula.
- Drain any excess liquid from apples. Top cake batter evenly with apples, then topping mixture.
- Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and continue cooling.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, melted butter, vanilla, salt and 2 tablespoons of cream. Add additional cream until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over cooled cake.
*To find the cake pan I used, click here.