This cinnamon apple crumb cake has it all. From the moist and rich cake, to the tender apples laced throughout, to that gloriously crunchy crumble topping – it has all the texture and all the flavour in one gorgeous cake.

Have an overload of apples to get through? Try this Apple Frangipane Tart and these Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls too.  

A slice of cake being held above the rest of the cake.

Why you’ll love this cake

Whether you’re heading dreamily into Fall or warming up in Spring (like I am right now), this cinnamon apple crumb cake still hits all the right notes.

  • Crunchy, cinnamony streusel topping
  • Slightly dense, moist and soft cake
  • Juicy, tender apples
  • Warming spices

Aren’t we lucky that apples are available and affordable year-round? This gorgeous, textural cake is such a great way to use up a big batch of apples.

This cake would sit just as perfectly for brunch as it would for dessert and you could even add a cinnamon icing drizzle or a little caramel sauce for extra decadence.

What is crumb cake?

Created in the US, the classic crumb cake is a moist, buttery cake topped with a thick layer of crumble topping.

I like my crumble to be crunchy all the way through, so mine isn’t quite as thick as the classic version, though you can certainly increase the quantity

Apple crumb cake ingredients

Ingredients for apple crumb cake on a marble bench top.

Detailed quantities and directions in the recipe card below.

  • Apples: I like using Granny Smiths in all my baking, including this cake. Their slightly tart flavour goes beautifully with the sweet cake but they also hold their shape well in baking.
  • Sugar: In this cake, we’re using brown sugar only. It adds moisture and the slight caramel flavour it adds goes perfectly with cinnamon and apples.
  • Flour: Just regular plain (all-purpose) flour is all you need.
  • Eggs: Use large eggs, free-range if possible.
  • Sour Cream: The sour cream adds moisture and tenderness to the cake.
  • Almonds: I add almonds for a little nutty crunch to the crumble but feel free to swap them for another, like walnuts or pecans, or leave them out entirely.
  • Vanilla: Please use vanilla extract or vanilla paste, not essence which is a synthetic flavouring.
  • Salt: As always, a touch of salt intensifies flavours.
  • Baking powder: Baking powder will give the cake rise.
  • Cinnamon & Cardamom: Cinnamon and apples go together like Kermit and Miss Piggy and the cardamom adds this little tangy something something that you can’t quite put your finger on but tastes amazing.
  • Butter: Lots of it. This cake is buttery and so is that lovely crumble topping.

The best apples for apple cake

Many apples work well for apple cake. Granny smith have a slight tartness which works great with sweet cake but Gala, Pink Lady and Honey Crisp all hold their shape well too.

Tools you’ll need

  • 8 inch spring form cake tin: You could also make this in a 9 inch tin but it will be shorter (in height) and won’t take so long to cook.
  • Stand mixer or electric beater: this just makes mixing the batter much easier.
  • Mixing bowls
  • Silicone spatulas: I love these because no batter gets left behind – sorry kids.

How to make apple crumb cake

With a simple cake batter, even simpler crumble topping and no need to cook the apples first, this cinnamon apple crumb cake is a breeze to make.

A collage of 6 images showing how to make the cake.

See the recipe card below for the full recipe details.

  1. Make the crumble: Simple mix together the dry ingredients then grate over some butter. Now use a wprm-recipe-container- or your fingertips to blend it all together until it’s clumping and there are no large lumps of butter left (photo 1).
  2. Prep the apples: Peel, quarter and cut out the cores of the apples. Slice each quarter 5-6 even slices (photo 2).
  3. Make the batter: First, mix together the dry ingredients (photo 3). In a separate bowl beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, then beat in the eggs one by one (photo 4). Add the flour and sour cream. Fold through some of the apples (photo 5), then tip it all into a baking tin.
  4. Add the topping: Arrange the remaining apple slices neatly on top, then scatter the crumble all over the top (photo 6). Bake.
Top down view of a whole apple crumb cake on a cake plate.

Tips and tricks for the best apple crumb cake

  • Cream the butter and sugar:  Possibly the most important tip of all, make sure the butter and sugar are well beaten and creamy. Beating the butter and sugar actually creates air which adds to the texture of the cake.
  • Be gentle when adding flour: Once you add the flour, be very careful to just fold it in until only just combined. Mixing the batter too much at this stage can develop the gluten in the flour, which may end up in a tough cake.
  • All ovens vary: What takes 40 minutes in my oven may only take 35 or maybe 50 in yours. This is because many ovens run hot or cold, meaning the temperature of the inside of the oven isn’t always the temperature you’ve selected. I recommend keeping an oven thermometer in your oven so you can check – they’re very cheap and last a long time.

How to store the cake

Keep this cake in an airtight container for 3-4 days, in the fridge.

This cinnamon apple crumb cake really doesn’t need anything else but if you feel the need for something drizzly, there’s certainly no judgment here. Try a maple or cinnamon icing or an easy caramel sauce.

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Closeup of a slice of apple crumb cake on a white plate.

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3 slices cut from a cake on a taupe cake plate.

Cinnamon Apple Crumb Cake

5 from 2 votes
Loaded with cinnamon, apples and plenty of crumble, thiscinnamon apple crumb cake is sweet, crumbly and all kinds of delicious. Ever soslightly dense, yet tender cake topped with a crunchy topping – yes please!

Ingredients

FOR THE CRUMB TOPPING:

  • 130 g plain (all-purp) flour (1 cup / 4.6oz)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup flaked almonds
  • 85 g unsalted butter, cold (¾ stick / 3 oz)

FOR THE APPLE CAKE

  • 3 medium apples
  • 195 g plain (all-purp) flour (1 1/2 cups / 6.9oz)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 113 g unsalted butter, softened (½ cup / 1 stick)
  • 150 g light brown sugar (¾ cup / 5.3oz)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • cup light sour cream, room temp

Equipment

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Grease and line an 8 inch spring form cake tin.

FOR THE CRUMB TOPPING

  • Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and almonds in a bowl, then grate in the butter. Use a pastry blender or your fingertips to gently blend it all together until clumping and there are no big pieces of butter visible.

FOR THE CAKE

  • Peel the apples, then quarter and remove the cores. Cut each quarter into 5-6 even slices. You'll need 2 ½ cups of sliced apples, which is about 2 ½ apples.
  • Cut ¾ of the slices in half again and set them aside separately to the full slices.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom and salt then set aside.
  • Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the vanilla and and the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each.
  • Add half the flour mix and fold through. Fold through the sour cream and then finally the remaining flour mixture until just combined. Make sure not to overmix.
  • Fold through the smaller pieces of sliced apples.
  • Tip the thick batter into your prepared baking tin then spread to the edges and level out the top a little.
  • Scatter the crumb topping all over the top. Arrange the remaining slices of apple on top, nestling them down here and there under the crumble.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
  2. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  3. All ovens vary – test for doneness 5-8 minutes before the recipe suggests. It’s worth investing in an oven thermometer. They’re very cheap and it can live in your oven indefinitely.
  4. This is quite a thick batter but don’t worry the apples and sour cream keep the cake moist. Super moist. I love this cake because it’s loaded with apple and cinnamon flavour and is incredibly soft and moist.
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