If the scent of cinnamon and apples sends you into a full-on fall frenzy, you won't believe what this cake will do to your tastebuds. Apple Crumble Cake is a soft, tender cake speckled with warm notes of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It's topped off with a crunchy, buttery streusel and ends with a sweet drizzle of vanilla glaze.
With perfect results every time, you'll be glad to know this recipe makes not one, but two Apple Cakes. One for now and one for the freezer, allowing you to serve it up on a whim anytime! Serve it as a little slice of breakfast heaven, a tea time treat, or the perfect addition to any fall dessert table.
APPLE CRUMBLE CAKE INGREDIENTS
All-Purpose Flour - Different flours contain different amounts of proteins. Proteins greatly impact the structure of baked goods. Be sure to use only all-purpose flour for this recipe.
Spices - The combination of ground cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg is a simplified rendition of Apple Pie Spice, and it will add a great deal of flavor to your Apple Crumble Cake! If you're able, use a small Microplane or the fine holes of a box grater to grate your own nutmeg.
Unsalted Butter - It is very important for the cake that your butter is at room temperature. If needed, you can soften it in the microwave, but be sure you do not overheat to the point of becoming runny. However, to make the crumble portion of the cake, you'll want the butter to be very cold. Also, remember to use only unsalted butter.
Cream Cheese - Cream cheese in your batter will not only keep your Apple Cake from drying out, but it'll make for one luxuriously soft crumb. Be sure you use block cream cheese (not the whipped kind from a tub) and that it is at room temperature before incorporating into your batter.
Sugar - You'll need both granulated sugar and light brown sugar for the Apple Crumble Cake itself and the crumble topping.
Lemon Juice - While optional, freshly squeezed lemon juice will add a bright and welcomed note of acidity to your cake.
Apples - Choose only firm, tart apples for this recipe. Granny Smith, Jazz, and Honey Crisp are all perfectly acceptable choices.
You will also need large eggs, pure vanilla extract, baking powder, (not to be confused with baking soda) and fine sea salt for your Apple Crumble Cake.
HOW TO MAKE APPLE CRUMBLE CAKE
- Prep - Preheat the oven with a rack positioned in the center. Prep the cake pans by rubbing them with butter or oil. Then, cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan. The parchment paper ensures easy removal when it comes time to take your cakes out of the pans! You'll also want to have the apples peeled and diced before you begin mixing your wet ingredients.
- Mix the Dry Ingredients - In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- Mix the Wet Ingredients - You can use a stand mixer or a large bowl and a handheld mixer to mix your wet ingredients. Begin by adding the butter, cream cheese granulated sugar, brown sugar, and lemon juice to the bowl, and beat until light and fluffy. Then, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, followed by the vanilla.
- Add the Apples - Fold in the apples, divide the batter between the prepared cake pans, and smooth over the tops.
- Make the Crumble Topping - To make the crumble topping for your Apple Crumble Cake, combine flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Cut in the butter cubes using a pastry blender or fork. Then, clump together with your fingers and crumble over the cake. We use this Crumble Topping on a wide variety of desserts. It's a good one to have in your repertoire.
- Bake - Transfer the cakes to the oven and bake. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 20 minutes.
- Remove From Pans - To remove the cake from the pan, place a large plate over the top of the cake pan. Carefully invert the pan, keeping the two connected, and gently tap/shake the cake pan to release the cake. Then, repeat once more so the crumble topping is facing up. Use a cake stand or serving dish in place of a plate, if desired.
If you love this recipe, you'll definitely want to try our easy Caramel Cake too!
HOW TO FREEZE APPLE CRUMBLE CAKE
This Apple Crumble Cake Recipe will yield two 9" cakes, which means you can serve one now and freeze one for later. Bonus.
To freeze the cake, remove it from the pan as directed and have ready two large sheets of plastic wrap laid out in a cross on your work surface. Place the cake in the center of the plastic wrap. Then, bring the plastic wrap up and over the top of the cake. Repeat this process with aluminum foil and wrap tightly. Transfer the cake in the freezer and use within 3 months for best results.
PRO TIPS FOR BAKING CAKE
Follow the tips below when baking your Apple Crumble Cake for perfect results!
- Don't underestimate the power of preheating the oven. Giving your oven more than enough time to come to temperature is essential for optimal results (from Better Homes & Gardens).
- Use the right pan. It's important when baking cakes that you use the indicated pan size. If your pan is too small, the cake might overflow. If your pan is too large, the cake may sink (from Cooking Light).
- Prep your pans. Greasing the pan and lining it with parchment paper will keep your cakes from sticking and ensure easy removal (from Better Homes & Gardens).
- Position the pan in the center of the oven and rotate halfway through the baking process for even cooking (from Real Simple).
5 MORE APPLE DESSERTS YOU’LL LOVE
- Apple Pudding is a festive apple dessert that everyone will adore, yet doesn’t take all day in the kitchen! It’s a quick-fix that’s decadently moist, loaded with big apple flavor, easy to make and tastes amazing.
- Apple Strudel with layer upon layer of flaky crust and a flavorful apple filling is a dessert that could conjure the whole family just by scent alone!
- Homemade Apple Pie doesn’t need to be complicated and you certainly don’t need an onslaught of ingredients. You can make a perfect apple pie with nothing but the essentials…and this recipe!
- Apple Crisp Pie stacked with layers of perfectly cooked, delicious cinnamon apples, and topped with a crunchy, golden oatmeal crumble, all sitting atop a perfectly cooked, buttery pie crust. Yes, please.
- Caramel Apple Dip is a must for the hostess at heart! Featuring sweet layers of cream cheese, salted caramel, and chocolate toffee. A must-have for your entertaining recipe arsenal!
Apple Crumble Cake is a soft, tender cake speckled with warm notes of cinnamon and apples. Topped off with crunchy, buttery streusel and vanilla glaze.
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 pound (about 3) large Granny Smith Apples, peeled and diced into ½" cubes
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ tablespoons brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of fine sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350° and make sure the rack is in the center of the oven. Have ready two round 9" cake pans, greased and bottoms lined with parchment paper.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Set aside.
Add the butter, cream cheese granulated sugar, brown sugar, and lemon juice to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. If you do not have a stand mixer, use a large bowl and a handheld mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then, add the vanilla and mix once more.
Mixing on low, slowly incorporate the dry ingredients. Then, fold in the apples. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans, and smooth over the tops.
Make the Crumble: Combine flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Cut in the butter cubes using a pastry blender or fork. Then, clump together with your fingers and crumble over the cake.
Transfer the cakes to the oven and bake for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Remove from the pans and transfer to a serving dish. Allow to cool completely if adding the glaze.
Make the Glaze: Add powdered sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and sea salt to a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine and drizzle over the cakes. Allow to set 20 minutes.
MORE APPLE RECIPES TO TRY!
Apple Crumble Cake
German Apple Cake with Streusel Topping
Apple Cheddar Pull-Apart Bread
Apple Cinnamon Crumb Bars
Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls
Old-Fashioned Applesauce Oatmeal Cake