Apple Cinnamon Crumble Cake

  • Serves: Makes one9 x 13 x 2-inch pan
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Variations:  Carrot with Pineapple Layer Cake; Fresh Apple Cinnamon Layer Cake; Frosted Fresh Cherry Layer Cake; Frosted Pineapple Layer Cake

Food styling and photo by Sarah Phillips © Sarah Phillips

This recipe makes a wonderful apple crumble cake. It is filled with chopped apples and topped generously with cinnamon crunch, that can be served as a coffee cake. Chop the apples into the size of marbles and you can't go wrong. You can substitute the 1 1/3 cups of sugar with light brown sugar, if desired, but remember to pack it into the measuring cup if you do - dark brown sugar is too overpowering for this recipe, so if you don't have light brown sugar, use 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed and 2/3 cup regular sugar as a substitute!


Be sure your baking powder and/or baking soda (and salt) are evenly distributed throughout the flour so that the cake doesn’t develop uneven air holes as it bakes, which can cause it to crack or fall apart. Mix them together with a large mixing spoon so they all get distributed. (A fork allows the dry ingredients to slip through the tines of the fork causing uneven mixing). Make sure you reach down to the bottom of the bowl.

1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into tablespoon-size pieces

3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into dry measuring cup and level to rim
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole or 2% milk, can be cold from refrigerator; measure in liquid measuring cup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, can be cold from the refrigerator
1 1/3 cups light brown sugar, packed

4 large eggs, can be cold from refrigerator

1 cup peeled, cored and chopped apples; chop into the size of marbles and then, measure. I recommend using Granny Smith because they hold up better during baking and do not turn mushy.

1. Prepare the topping recipe: In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon.
Cut-in the cold butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. You can also squeeze the butter and flour mixture in between your fingers to "cut-in".

2. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

NOTES: It’s best to use an electric stand mixer for this cake because it is more powerful than a hand-held electric one. Extra horsepower is needed due to the large amounts of ingredients that it has to mix. I
have used a 325 watt KitchenAid Mixer when making this recipe.

1. Position oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Generously grease a 9 x 13- inch pan. Set aside.
SARAH SAYS: For cake baking, a heavy, shiny metal pan works the best. Darker, nonstick or heavy, ovenproof glass pans conduct the oven’s heat more and darken and toughen the cake’s crust. To compensate, lower the oven’s temperature by 25 degrees F

2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Add the vanilla extract to the measured milk and combine. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar: beat the butter on low speed with a paddle attachment until softened.

Add the granulated sugar in a steady stream at the side of the bowl until combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes until creamy, light in color and fluffy. During beating, stop the mixer and scrape the bowl often.

4. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time and beat 20 seconds after each addition until combined. Beat the mixture for one minute on medium until it is smooth and fluffy. Stop the mixer during mixing and scrape the bowl often.

5. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 2 equal portions, alternating with the milk mixture in 3 additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix after each addition until JUST combined.

With the last addition of flour, mix until almost incorporated. Stop the mixer and take off the mixer bowl. Add the chopped apples and FOLD with a large rubber spatula until JUST combined. DO NOT OVERMIX.

Scrape the bowl and lightly smooth the top of the batter in the greased pan. Spread the topping mixture evenly all over. (For a variation, spoon 1/2 batter in the greased pan, cover with 1/2 of topping, cover with remaining batter (as best you can by dropping spoonfuls of batter on top). Cover second layer of batter with remaining topping.)

SARAH SAYS: If you overmix wheat flour when moistened, it produces too much gluten. Too much gluten toughens and dries a cake when baked. It also causes the cake to develop a peak in the middle and deep cracks on the top as well. If this happens, cut the cake into small, bite-size pieces and frost each one. Place on a serving platter and serve anyway – no one will know!

6. Bake the layers for 45 - 55 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick in the middle of each cake layer and remove. It should have a few moist crumbs attached, but not batter. It should also smell done. The cake will be dark golden brown at the edges.

Cool the cake in its BAKING PAN set on a wire cake rack...Do NOT unmold. Serve warm (not hot) cut into big squares from its pan or cool completely.

Store cake at room temperature for 2 days or so, covered with foil or plastic wrap... It freezes well!

Carrot with Pineapple Layer Cake
Fresh Apple Cinnamon Layer Cake
Frosted Fresh Cherry Layer Cake
Frosted Pineapple Layer Cake

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