Apple Coffee Cake

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Almost every Sunday morning growing up, my father would make a huge apple coffee cake for us after church. We would hungrily watch him pour the batter into the pyrex baking dish, insert apple slices, and sprinkle with streusel topping. Oh the magic of baking to young eyes! A half hour later the coffee cake would emerge from the oven, perfectly risen and crusted with brown sugar.

Apple Coffee Cake

Several years ago I found a recipe for a similar coffee cake in the Boston Globe (can no longer find it), one that they had listed as an apple cake for the Jewish high holidays and posted it here. However, the Globe recipe made a much thinner cake than the one I loved from my childhood, and several people over the years have had more success with this one by doubling the batter. I agree, so I’ve adjusted the batter amounts. I’ve also reduced the sugar substantially from the original, and topped the cake with a streusel topping of brown sugar, flour, and butter.

Recipe updated March 16, 2015.

Apple Coffee Cake Recipe

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6


  • 2 cups (280 g) all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) of white granulated sugar plus 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter (140 g), room temperature
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup (235 ml) whole milk
  • 1 medium tart green apple, cored, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices

Streusel topping:

  • 4 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp butter, cut into small cubes


1 Preheat oven, prepare pie dish: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9-inch pie pan (can use a springform pan or square baking pan)

2 Whisk flour, baking powder, salt: In a medium bowl, whisk vigorously together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

3 Make cinnamon sugar: In a separate small bowl, mix 2 Tbsp of the sugar with the cinnamon, set aside.

4 Beat butter and sugar, add eggs, add flour mixture and milk: Using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat in the eggs until blended. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk, beating after each addition until just combined.

5 Pour batter into baking dish, top with apple slices, cinnamon sugar: Pour half of the batter in the bottom of the baking dish. Lay the apple slices on the batter so they just cover the batter (you may have to overlap some slices). Sprinkle the apples with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Spread the rest of the batter over the apples.

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6 Top with streusel topping: In a small bowl mix together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon for the streusel topping. Sprinkle over the cake and dot with butter.

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7 Bake: Bake the cake at 375°F (190°C) for 30-35 minutes or until it is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.


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Apple Coffee Cake

Showing 4 of 70 Comments

  • Aubrey

    Love this recipe! Haven’t made it in awhile and my husband practically begged me to make it. It just came out of the oven and will be devoured soon! :) Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Jessica

    My family loves this recipe. My neighbor just gave me some apples from the orchard and I’d like to make some coffee cakes and freeze them for the winter. I know you said it wouldn’t work to make it the night before because the cake won’t rise properly. If I froze it right away would that help? Have you tried baking it, freezing it and reheating it? Any tips would be appreciated. Otherwise I’ll try experimenting!

  • Jayne

    Hi Elise, I know it’s been 7 years since you first posted this. But I want to make this into a cupcake. Do you think that can work or is the cake too soft to hold itself up?

    Great question, I haven’t made it for a while so I don’t remember. If you try it as a cupcake, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  • Erin

    I’m eating the Apple Coffee Cake as I type this. It was a huge hit with my husband, 5 year old and 18 month old twin girls (who are rather picky eaters). I wouldn’t change anything about it. I will definitely be making this again. Thanks for the recipe!

  • April G.

    This was great! I had some sour cream to use up so I mixed 1/2 a cup of it into 1/2 a cup of milk. It was very moist and tender! Next time I think I’ll make a streusel topping, since that’s one of my favorite parts of a coffee cake.

    I don’t know why everyone is saying there isn’t enough batter. I made the recipe as written–except for the sour cream– and mine turned out pretty much exactly like the picture. I used a standard Pyrex pie plate. It’s the perfect ratio of cake to apples!

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