Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

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This moist, tender Apple Coffee Cake is filled with warm, comforting spices, apples, and pecans for a delicious, fall-inspired take on classic coffee cake.

the side view of a piece of apple coffee cake on a plate sitting next to the dish of coffee cake, a mug of black coffee, and a basket of apples

This coffee cake is SO good. Like really, really delicious (think delicious, moist coffee cake with all of the flavors of the best apple pie you've ever tasted). It also smells absolutely divine…the aroma that will fill your house while this indulgent treat bakes is unreal – better than any harvest-inspired candle on the market – and we've got fresh apples and tons of comforting spices to thank for that!

Enjoy this coffee cake as part of a grand brunch spread (right next to a Quiche Lorraine and a batch of blueberry scones) or all on its own for a special weekend breakfast treat. Be sure to rinse it down with a mug of coffee (that’s a must, right?) while you enjoy sweet conversation with those you love!

What is a coffee cake?

Coffee cake is typically served at breakfast alongside a cup of coffee (hence the name). Texturewise, it’s much like a muffin but it’s baked into cake form rather than individual muffins. Coffee cake usually has a crumb topping that adds to its delicious, irresistible appeal!

What sets this coffee cake apart?

This apple coffee cake recipe is the best fall-inspired coffee cake you’ll find. Here’s what sets it apart from the rest:

  • The Cake – the cake base of this recipe is moist, tender, and just sweet enough, letting the other components of the cake really stand out! We made this cake gluten-free (though you don’t have to!), and oftentimes, gluten-free baked goods can be dry, crumbly, and gritty, but that's not the case here!

  • The Cinnamon Sugar Swirl – we’ve added a simple layer of cinnamon sugar in the middle of the cake to ensure cinnamony goodness in every single bite!

  • The Streusel – this cinnamon streusel is buttery and perfectly-textured!

  • The Apples – the apples in this cake make everything so moist and flavorful, it's truly the perfect sweet treat to celebrate apple season.
  • The Sweet Apple Cider Icing – though this part is totally optional, if you want to take this apple coffee cake to the next level, this icing is the perfect way to do just that!

the top view of a dish of iced apple coffee cake sliced into individual pieces and sitting on a marble surface

How to Make Apple Coffee Cake

While this recipe may look intimidating, it is actually super simple and straight-forward, and it will make you feel like an absolute pro in the kitchen!

Step 1: Make the Batter

To get started, you’ll first need to make the cake batter. We’re all about simplicity here, so this batter can be made in one large bowl and just requires a quick whisk to mix it all up. Add all of the dry ingredients to a bowl, whisk them together, then add in the wet ingredients and mix again until fully combined. Finally, stir the chopped apples into the batter, and voila! –  your batter is ready to go! Do note that the batter will be pretty thick but should still be pourable.

Step 2: Make the Spiced Crumble

In another effort to keep things as simple as possible, we’re using melted butter instead of softened so that you don’t have to spend any time manually working the butter into the mixture. To make the crumble, add all of the dry crumble ingredients to a separate bowl, give them a quick whisk, then stir the melted butter into the flour mixture until a crumbly texture forms. If your mixture is on the mushy side (it can be flattened into the palm of your hand and sticks together), add 1 teaspoon of flour to the mixture at a time, until the texture of coarse crumbs is reached.

Step 3: Assemble the Coffee Cake

To assemble, simply grease or line a square pan (we used a 9×9, but an 8×8 pan will also work) with parchment paper, then pour in half of the cake batter and spread it evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar (white sugar, brown sugar, or coconut sugar) on top of the batter, then pour the remaining cake batter into the pan. Finally, sprinkle the spiced crumble over top in an even layer.

Step 4: Bake the Cake

Bake the cake in a 350°F oven for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 5: Make the Sweet Apple Cider Icing

Once the coffee cake is out of the oven, let it cool for at least 30 minutes (until the cake is at room temperature). While the cake is cooling, whisk the powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and apple cider together in a small bowl, and once the cake is cooled, drizzle the icing over top. If you’re icing is on the runnier side, add a bit more powdered sugar to thicken it up, and if it’s too thick, just thin it with a bit more apple cider.

the top view of a piece of apple coffee cake on a plate sitting next to the dish of coffee cake and a mug of black coffee

Can you make apple coffee cake gluten-free?

You totally can! We actually made this apple cake gluten-free (as we do with all of our baked goods), and it turned out beautifully. To ensure a tender, moist gluten-free coffee cake, we used King Arthur Measure for Measure flour – this is the flour we use to develop about 95% of our gluten-free baked goods because it is easy to find, affordable, doesn't have a gritty texture, and, of course, makes a delicious end product. Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten-free flour is another really great option. When shopping for gluten-free flour, be sure that your blend contains xanthan gum, otherwise you'll need to add in a teaspoon.

Can coffee cake be made in advance?

It can! If you’re going this route, we recommend making your coffee cake one day in advance and then storing it in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to enjoy your cake, you can either warm the whole thing up in a 350°F oven for 5-10 minutes, or microwave individual pieces for about 20 seconds.

Can I make coffee cake muffins instead?

Absolutely. If you’re short on time or just looking for a fun twist on traditional coffee cake, you can very easily turn this cake into muffins! It’ll make about 18 muffins altogether, and they’ll need to bake for about 25 minutes in a 350°F oven.

a close up of apple coffee cake cut into pieces and iced with an apple cider icing

Can you freeze coffee cake?

Yes! Coffee cake freezes really beautifully! Our favorite way to freeze coffee cake is by individually wrapping each piece in parchment or wax paper before storing them together in a large Ziplock bag in the freezer – these individually wrapped cake pieces should stay good for about 4 months in the freezer! To reheat, simply microwave an individual piece for about 1 minute or baking them in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes.

We hope you enjoy this absolutely delicious apple cinnamon coffee cake on your next special morning brunch with your loved ones!

More Apple Recipes

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Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

the side view of a piece of apple coffee cake on a plate sitting next to the dish of coffee cake, a mug of black coffee, and a basket of apples

This apple cinnamon coffee cake is moist, tender, loaded with fresh apples and warm fall spices, and topped with the perfect cinnamon streusel.

  • Author: Amber Goulden
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 16
  • Category: Brunch
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (about 1 heaping cup)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the crumble:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon*
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

For the icing (optional):

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 12 tablespoons apple cider or milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a 9×9 (or 8×8) pan or line with parchment paper.
  2. To make the cake, place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Then, add the butter, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, and milk, and whisk until fully incorporated. Finally, stir the apples into the batter.
  3. Pour half of the cake batter into the bottom of an 9×9 (or 8×8) pan, then sprinkle the 1/3 cup sugar over top, as evenly as possible, followed by the teaspoon of cinnamon. Pour the remaining cake batter over top and spread evenly.
  4. To make the crumble, add the flour, sugar, and spices, to a bowl and whisk to combine. Then, stir in the butter until a crumbly mixture forms and mix in 1/2 cup of chopped apples and the pecans.
  5. Sprinkle the cinnamon crumble on top of the coffee cake batter, then bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  6. While the cake is cooling, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cream for the icing, then drizzle over top and serve!

Notes

  • You can substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice for the spices in the crumble
  • To make into muffins: bake at 350 F for about 25-30 minutes. This recipe will make about 18 muffins.
  • To make gluten-free: substitute a 1-for-1 gluten-free flour blend. Our favorites are King Arthur Measure for Measure and Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1.
  • For dairy-free: substitute coconut oil for the butter and use the dairy-free milk of your choice.
  • For refined sugar-free: use coconut sugar in place of the white and brown sugar, and omit the glaze.

Keywords: coffee cake, apples, breakfast, brunch, crumb cake, cinnamon streusel

Comments

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  1. Nicole says:

    I thought this said vegan but don’t see any egg free alternatives?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Vegetarian, not vegan, Nicole! We haven’t tried it with an egg substitute, but a flax egg may work…let us know if you try it!

  2. Annette Harris says:

    This looks like the perfect addition to my baby shower dessert table in a few weeks! Thank you!!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Yay!!! It’ll be a hit for sure!

  3. Erica Curcio says:

    This recipe! LOVE it. It’s still sweet without the glaze. I used King Arthur All Purpose as my Flour.

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      So glad you loved this, Erica!! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  4. Kelli says:

    The apples in the batter says divided. What are they divided for?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Whoops! Just deleted “divided”! Thanks for catching that, Kelli!