Apple crumble coffee cake is a mouth-watering flavour trifecta of apple, cinnamon and cardamom in every bite. Crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, it’s perfect with coffee, tea or warm apple cider on a crisp fall day.
What is it about autumn that makes us want to bake all day? This time of the year, I love baking:
- Apple galettes (easier to make than apple pie)
- Pecan pie cheesecake bars (I always get requests to make this)
- Ube brownies (fast becoming everyone’s new favourite)
- Korean cream cheese garlic bread (the magic of sweet and savoury in one bite)
I also love making apple crumb cake. It’s one of the simplest and most delicious cakes I bake all year.
It doesn’t have or need frosting. It’s wonderfully soft and tender on the inside but has a nice crunch on the outside. And it has delightful hints of cinnamon and cardamom that will give you the fall feels.
Let’s get to it.
Why you’ll love baking this apple crumb coffee cake
You’ll want to bake this apple crumb coffee cake (or apple cardamom cake or apple cinnamon crumb cake — they’re all true!) all season and, frankly, all year.
- Easy to make. It’s so easy and straightforward to make. Just watch the step-by-step video instructions to see how easy.
- Classic flavours. But it doesn’t scrimp on flavour. Each bite tastes like fall. Not to mention your house will smell wonderful while it’s baking.
- Crumb topping. Crunchy, sweet, slightly salty, the perfect complement to the delicious apple cake underneath it.
- Eat for breakfast. If there ever was an excuse to eat cake for breakfast, this is it! Though perfect for snack and dessert too.
- Or serve to company. And it’s also elegant enough to serve to friends and family when they come over.
How to make
In addition to being an effortless cake to make, ingredients for this easy apple crumble cake recipe are also simple and not difficult to find.
For the apple crumb cake topping, you’ll need:
- All purpose flour
- Brown sugar
- Rolled oats — also called old-fashioned or whole oats
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground cardamom
- Melted butter
And for the apple crumb cake:
- All purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Apples — I use Granny Smith apples, see FAQs below for more information
- Fresh orange juice
- Brown sugar
- Ground cardamom
- Ground cinnamon
- Unsalted butter
- Cream cheese
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Large eggs
To make apple crumble coffee cake, you’ll need the following:
- 9-inch round springform pan
- Electric hand mixer or stand mixer
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Rubber spatula
While not required, it’s always a great idea to have a kitchen scale and an oven thermometer. They make sure you have the exact amount of ingredients and the correct oven temperature every time.
1 CRUMB TOPPING. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until well incorporated. Set aside.
2 PREHEAT. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round springform pan.
3 DRY INGREDIENTS. In a large bowl, combine all purpose flour, baking powder and salt.
4 APPLES. In a medium bowl, toss apple slices with fresh orange juice. Stir in brown sugar, cardamom and cinnamon.
5 WET INGREDIENTS. In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, cream cheese, granulated sugar and vanilla extract until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes on medium-high speed).
6 EGGS. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the bottom and sides of your bowl.
7 COMBINE. Switch to low speed and add the flour mixture in 3 stages. Beat until smooth and well combined. Again remember to scrape your bowl.
8 FOLD. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in your apples until evenly distributed.
9 TRANSFER. Transfer the batter to your springform pan and spread evenly. Place crumble on top of cake batter.
10 BAKE. Bake for 60 minutes or until golden brown and the edges start to separate from the pan. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out with minimal crumbs.
11 COOL. Take out of the oven and cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the pan before releasing the sides. Serve warm.
Expert baking tips and recipe FAQs
Why is this recipe called a coffee cake anyway? You might have noticed there is not a single drop of coffee in this recipe.
It used to be that coffee cakes were quite literally cakes that listed coffee in the ingredients. But now it’s evolved into anything and everything that goes well with coffee (or tea). So from simple spice cakes to streusel topped ones.
And this apple crumble coffee cake is everything I love about a coffee cake: lovely tender cake, crunchy oat crumble, amazing taste. It goes so well with coffee (thus, the name) and tea (yay for tea lovers like me).
The apple is clearly the star of the show here. And it’s one of my favourite fruits to bake with.
When picking the kind of apple to use in your baking recipes, keep in mind that the best variety is sweet as well as tart and, more importantly, firm and crisp enough so it doesn’t turn into mush when you bake it (unless that’s the goal, of course).
I always pick granny smith apples. They are crisp and bake really well. They are also more on the sour side, which provides a nice balance for a sweet dessert like this.
But you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one apple variety. Go ahead and experiment! Mix and match until you find your favourite, tastiest combination.
This easy apple and cinnamon crumble cake is perfect served warm, fresh from the oven but also still pretty wonderful the next day (all it takes is a few seconds in the microwave).
You can also top it with ice cream, sprinkle with a simple glaze or confectioner’s sugar, drizzle with salted caramel sauce.
You can store cinnamon apple crumb cake leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. It should keep for up to a week. To serve, warm for a few seconds in the microwave.
This cinnamon apple crumb cake is a light, flavourful, easy-to-make cake that’s the perfect kick-off to fall baking.
But really, whether it’s still September, the middle of October, already a chilly November, or right in the thick of summer, a slice of this cake is always a great idea. Enjoy!
Other cake recipes to make this fall
If you’re on a cake baking spree like me, check out these other cake recipes:
- This red velvet cake with ermine frosting is the red velvet cake of the good old days. It’s not weighed down with heavy cream cheese but paired with the most delicate whipped ermine frosting. The combination is delicious!
- Yema cake is a popular Filipino cake that’s made of soft and airy chiffon cake, rich and thick yema (egg yolks and condensed milk) spread, and yema frosting that’s stable and so easy to decorate with.
- Another chiffon cake favourite — this chocolate chiffon cake with whipped cream frosting is light as air frosted with whipped vanilla cream that’s equally light and fluffy.
- Lemon cake is a hit any time of the year especially this one — lemon cake with lemon curd filling. This is the ultimate lemon curd layer cake for lemon lovers.
Apple fans will also enjoy this apple fritter bread from Wendie over at Butter Your Biscuit!
Did you make this apple cardamom coffee cake? How did you like it? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
Are you looking for more things to make using apples? Check out this delicious collection of sweet and savoury apple recipes.
Apple Crumble Coffee Cake
For the Apple Crumb Cake:
- 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 pound Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- ⅓ cup brown sugar firmly packed
- 1 ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 8-oz block cream cheese softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 pcs large eggs room temperature
- Mix all crumb topping ingredients in a small bowl until well incorporated. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round springform pan.
- In a large bowl, mix 1 ¾ cups flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.
- In a medium bowl, toss 1 pound apples with 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice. Stir in ⅓ cup brown sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons cardamom and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
- In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat ½ cup butter, 1 8-ounce block cream cheese, 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes on medium-high speed).
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the bottom and sides of your bowl.
- Switch to low speed and add the flour in 3 stages. Beat until smooth and well combined. Again, remember to scrape your bowl.
- Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in your apples until evenly distributed.
- Transfer the batter to your springform pan and spread evenly. Place crumble on top of your cake batter.
- Bake for 60 minutes or until golden brown and the edges start to separate from the pan. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out with minimal crumbs.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the pan before releasing the sides. Serve warm.
- If you find the top of your cake browning too fast, loosely cover with aluminum foil and continue baking.
- Customize the crumb topping by adding chopped nuts and even dried fruit like cranberries.
Nutritional information are estimates only.