Move Over PSL—Apple Crumb Cake is Our New Favorite Autumnal Treat
After a long, glorious summer of favoring the grill over the oven—and forgetting about baking all together—something about the autumn air pulls us back into the kitchen. Even when the skies are blue, the air and light take on a different tone that has us longing for the warmth of a kitchen with a cake in the oven. And this perfectly autumnal apple crumb cake is one of the first things we bake to welcome the season. Spiced with cinnamon, a basic sour cream coffee cake recipe gets a boost from apples and a buttery crumb topping. Toasted pecans add a bit of crunch and wonderful nuttyness for a dreamy autumn crumb cake that’s simply sublime.
Grocery List: Apple Crumb Cake Ingredients
We love to bake with sour cream. Its in our classic sour cream coffee cake recipe, and it’s the not-so-secret ingredient in our holiday cut-out cookie recipe, too. If you’re new to using it in cake recipes, welcome to the sour cream cakes fan club! What exactly does sour cream do in baked goods? Well, it’s super fatty and that fat will make the crumb cake as moist and tender as can be. It’s also a bit tangy, which means it doesn’t just contribute to texture, it adds flavor, too. In other words? Don’t skip it! Full-fat yogurt could stand in for sour cream in a pinch, but the cake will taste its best with sour cream. Here’s everything you’ll need to make this fabulous apple crumb cake recipe:
All purpose flour
Unsalted butter. Just to really keep you on your toes, you’re going to need 10 tablespoons of this butter to be as cold as can be (for the crumb topping) and you’ll need one stick of butter that’s at room temperature (for the cake). You’ll also need a little more for greasing the pan, so yes, you’ll need at least 2 and a half sticks of butter on hand for this recipe.
What Kind Of Apples Should I Use to Make This The Best Apple Crumb Coffee Cake Ever?
This is a fantastic question! Apples vary so much! And one of the reasons this apple crumb cake recipe is so much fun to make this time of year is because we truly cannot stop buying and picking apples and therefore we need ways to use them up. They’re falling from neighborhood trees, they’re overflowing at every farmers market stand, and even supermarket apples are plentiful and fabulously good right now. If you love apples—and we do—this is a pretty darn exciting moment. The fact that autumn is apple season really takes the sting out of the fact that it’s also the return of the cold-and-rainy season. But, what apple is the BEST apple for this particular cinnamon apple cake recipe? We’ve got a few answers for you:
Tart apples! This is sort of a matter of taste, but we like the way that tart apples taste in this apple crumb cake because they provide a little balance for the cake’s sweetness.
Crisp apples! We like to use crisp, firm apples as baking apples because they hold their shape and texture through the baking process.
With all of that in mind, though, the truly best apple for this apple cake recipe is whatever apple you love to eat! This may seem like a cop out answer, but it’s true! If you love Honeycrisps, use those! If you love Granny Smith apples, use those! If you’re super psyched about some weird heirloom variety that you’ve only ever seen at this one farmers market stand and you were so into it you bought 20lbs of them and now you’re like “what what I thinking”? Use those! The crumb cake will be delicious no matter what. It’s sour cream crumb cake! It’s always going to be awesome.
How To Make Apple Crumb Cake
Toast the pecans.
Make the crumb topping. Pulse flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, salt and cold butter in a food processor until it looks like thick sand. Squish it together to make big crumbly clusters and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to top the cake.
Sift the dry ingredients together—the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Stand mixer time! Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and vanilla!
Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients and mix!
Add the sour cream and milk! Mix!
Add remaining dry ingredients! Mix just until the ingredients come together—try not to overmix! Overmixing will take your cake from tender to tough.
Pour half of the crumb cake batter into a greased 9x9 pan and top it with the chopped apples and about 1/3 of the crumb topping.
Top it with the rest of the cake batter, pecans and crumb topping.
Bake! It’ll take about 45 minutes at 350°F. Let it cool (obviously the hardest step of all) and then dig in!
How To Store Your Apple Crumb Cake
Thanks to all that sour cream and butter, this apple crumb cake will stay moist and tender for a long time! In an airtight container on the kitchen counter, it’ll stay good for at least four days, and yes, you could freeze it! Let it cool completely, then wrap it tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap. Then wrap it in foil and freeze—it’ll be good for up to three months.
Pairs Well With Pumpkin Carving and Hot Coffee
This apple cake is a year-round treat, but we love it most of all during the fall. Apple-y and cinnamon-y, it just tastes like what we’re supposed to be eating when the leaves turn and the wind starts to howl. We hope you love it as much as we do! If you make it, let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!