apple crumb cake

Coffee cake is a staple in my family’s brunch meal. We make the same one every time, this delicious one from chef Sara Foster, a local to our area of NC , but this apple crumb cake is so good that it might just replace our classic version this year.

Apple crumb cake is moist and filled with flavor. It is delicious and perfect for a crowd! | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Apple crumb cake is moist and filled with flavor. It is delicious and perfect for a crowd! | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

The version we usually make was featured on Martha Stewart years and years ago and we have been hooked ever since because of the delicious streusel and crumb to cake ratio (2:1). But, while the streusel is amazing, the cake itself is a bit dry, so for years we have been on the lookout for a cake base to substitute for the original. When I first made this apple crumb cake I thought it would be a good test case for the cake base, but once the final product came out, it was so delicious that I didn’t want to give up any part of it.

Apple crumb cake is moist and filled with flavor. It is delicious and perfect for a crowd! | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Apple crumb cake is moist and filled with flavor. It is delicious and perfect for a crowd! | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

The cake base is amazingly flavorful with almond and vanilla extracts and cinnamon-roasted Honeycrisp apple slices tucked sporadically into bites. The rich crème fraîche in the batter makes it moist and dense without being heavy. While I’m usually a proponent of the 2:1 streusel to cake ratio on most coffee cakes, this cake was so good that it made me change my tune. It pairs wonderfully with the spiced streusel, and the crème fraîche glaze ties in the subtle crème fraîche flavor in the cake. I couldn’t get enough of this cake, and definitely ate more than I want to admit for breakfast and snacks the week I made it.

Apple crumb cake is moist and filled with flavor. It is delicious and perfect for a crowd! | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Apple crumb cake is moist and filled with flavor. It is delicious and perfect for a crowd! | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Apple crumb cake is moist and filled with flavor. It is delicious and perfect for a crowd! | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Roasted cinnamon enrobed apples stud the cake and the topping and make for delicious flavor in each bite. I love the layered effect they create in the cake slices and the look of the fanned apple slices peeking through the streusel on top. Apples seem like a much more versatile and subtle fall flavor than pumpkin and sweet potato, and while I love all of those fall tastes, I feel like apple can easily carry all the way through the season. This apple crumb cake would be perfect for a fall breakfast with friends or breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. I’m sure no one would complain if you make extra to snack on during the day ;)

Apple crumb cake is moist and filled with flavor. It is delicious and perfect for a crowd! | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Apple crumb cake is moist and filled with flavor. It is delicious and perfect for a crowd! | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Apple crumb cake is deliciously moist and flavorful with subtle almond cake base, cinnamon-roasted apples throughout, and spiced streusel and tangy crème fraîche glaze to top it off. It is the perfect coffee cake to take you through the fall and right into the holiday season.

Apple Crumb Cake

Apple Crumb Cake

Ingredients

Apple Crumb Cake

  • 3 cups thinly sliced Honeycrisp apples (1 1/2 large or 2 1/2 small)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled a bit
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons crème fraîche, room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Streusel

  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup flour

Crème Fraîche Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 2-3 tablespoons whole milk

Instructions

Apple Crumb Cake

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Coat an 8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the apples with cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Let sit for 20 minutes then pat the apples dry and reserve about 20 slices for the top. Cut the remaining slices crosswise into ½-inch pieces. Spread the cut pieces on your prepared baking sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until tender. Let the apple slices cool on the pan for about 20 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1 cup sugar. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add melted butter, eggs, crème fraîche, vanilla, and almond extracts. Whisk together, just until combined, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl, as needed.

Spread half of the batter into your prepared dish. Place the roasted apple pieces on top of the batter, leaving about ¼-inch border around the edge. Spread the remaining batter onto the apples. Arrange reserved apple slices in fans of 3-4 on the batter as desired. Top with streusel, letting the apples peek through.

Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour 5 minutes, covering with foil after 30 minutes to prevent the top from browning too quickly. When it is done, the top will be golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the center should come out clean or with only a few moist crumbs. If you do not plan to serve the cake in the pan, remove it after about 5 minutes of cooling and place on a wire cooling rack to cool more quickly. Let the cake cool completely before drizzling with glaze. Serve immediately.

Streusel

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom. Stir in the melted butter until everything is moistened. Add the flour and fold to combine. Gently stir in the chopped pecans to incorporate. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Crème Fraîche Glaze

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients until smooth. Depending on your consistency preference, add more milk to thin the mixture or powdered sugar to thicken the mixture as needed. I used 2 ½ tablespoons milk. Use immediately (otherwise it will begin to harden).


Recipe adapted from Bake from Scratch Fall Baking 2019 edition

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