Apple Crumb Coffee Cake: A dessert rotten to the core.

Posted by Alyssa Boicel on

Coffee crumb cake is not a common dessert to find here in Spain so when I saw a whole bag of apples were on sale at my local fruit stand for 1 euro, I decided to make a recipe that is a spin on the classic morning dessert.

There is no limit to the amount of apple recipes available online, but I wanted to add that missing touch to the traditional coffee crumb cake. Not to be confused with an apple crumble which focuses solely on the baked apples, this recipe follows a french trend of baking whole fruits directly into the cake batter adding a delicious surprise to every bite.

Although the majority of the sugar in this recipe is in the chewy cinnamon crumble, I definitely try to cut down on the amount of sugar normally used. Most coffee cake recipes require about a cup sugar in the crumble and then an additional cup in the batter. For anyone trying to lose weight or cut down on their sugar intake, this is a crazy amount of sugar for one dessert!

For these ingredients, I am using a brand of sugar cane from Madrid called Azucarera. This brand of sugar is not only great for making streusel toppings but also good as a regular topping for plain yogurts or cereals.  I decided to forgo using granulated sugar for unrefined brown sugar (or sugar cane) instead, because the flavor is nuttier and the texture is chewier. This makes a huge difference when you start using this type of sugar to make a caramel. 

Although this recipe does call for apple sauce, in this version I blended the flesh of two rotting apples because the acidity and bacteria would act as a good rising agent for the cake filling. With all that said, let’s dive in (starting with the baked apples, because they take the most time) and make this dessert that is rotten to the core, but delicious to the mouth!


PREP TIME Cook Time Total Time


Baked Apple:

6- 8 royal gala apples
1/3 cup (80 g) of butter
½ cup (80 g) of brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon flour
1 star anis

Cake Filling:

2 cups (256 g) of flour
¼ cup (30 g) of almond flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 cup (250 g) of apple sauce
¾ cup (200 g) of Greek yogurt
1/3 cup (80 g) of butter (Room Temperature)
2 eggs

Crumble Topping and Base:

80 G of butter (Room Temperature)
1 cup (220 g) brown sugar
¾ cup (100 g) of flour
¼ cup (30 g) of almond flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt


Caramelized Baked Apple Instructions:

  1. Set oven to 175 ℃ (350 F). Cut in half and peel all the apples, scooping out the core using the teaspoon of a measuring spoon to round out the perfect circle.  

  1. Once all the apples are peeled and cored, take out a sauce pan large enough to fit all the apples. Turn the oven to medium low heat and melt the butter, sugar, flour, salt, nutmeg, and star anis together.

  2. Once the caramel starts to thicken, add the apples stirring them around for about 10 minutes. This is to infuse the caramel and apple flavor.

  3. After 10 minutes, take only the apples out of the saucepan and place them in a glass dish or on a sheet pan between parchment paper. We will dry out the apple some more in the oven for the next two hours on low heat.

Since the apples will take time, we can move on to the cake filling.


Cake Filling Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix all your dry ingredients and the butter with an electric mixer on the lowest setting.

If you are mixing with a handheld mixer, use your fingers to break up the butter in the flour. When mixing the batter, whisk in small circles so as not to not release the gluten. We’re making Apple Crumb Coffee Cake, not bread.

  1. Prepare to add the rest of your wet ingredients, starting with the yogurt. If you have rotting apples, peel them and blend them into a sauce to use as a wet ingredient, otherwise just add a regular apple sauce next.

  1. Lastly add the eggs one at a time. Once the eggs are blended then stop mixing so that the batter is not over-mixed. The batter should look fluffy.

  2. Afterwards, pour the batter into a small container and store in the fridge up to 30 minutes or until the remaining time you have left for the baked apples to be ready.


Cinnamon Crumble Instructions:

  1. In a medium size bowl, mix all your dry ingredients.

  2. Add the room temperature butter and start breaking up the butter with your fingers making fine crumbles. If the crumble feels too dry and sandy, add another tablespoon of butter and form little balls of flour before crumbling again to create bigger chunks of crumble then set aside.


Cake Assembling Instructions:

  1. Once your baked apples are ready after two hours of baking at 175 C, take them out of the oven. Separate the apples from the remaining juice and set aside to cool down. Leave the oven on at the same temperature for the cake.

*You can save the remaining baked apple juice to create more caramel as a topping by just heating the excess juice in a small saucepan, adding ¼ cup (55 g) more of brown sugar.

  1. Butter a cake pan on all sides, then press half of the crumble mixture on to the bottom of the cake pan to create a chewy base.

  2. Next take the cake batter out of the fridge and pour half of it into the cake pan on top of the crumble base.

  3. Now you can start strategically placing all your baked apples on top of the first half of the batter. (I also poured a layer of thick caramel on top, which is optional.)

  4. Pour the remaining batter on top and then proceed to top it with the remaining crumble mixture. Then put cake into the oven and set the timer for 60 minutes.

  5. After 60 minutes, poke the cake with a toothpick. If the stick still shows batter, continue to let it cook checking every 10 minutes.

  6. Once the toothpick comes out dry, turn the oven off and take the cake out to let it cool for the next two hours.

If the cake is too moist, you can leave it in the oven with the oven off for 30 minutes to an hour so that the cake can dry out more. Due to the moisture of the apple and almond flour, the cake can take longer to dry out.

Once your cake is ready and cooled down, you can serve it to friends with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of plain whip cream. This Apple Crumb Coffee Cake has less sugar than a traditional coffee cake and you can even cut out more if necessary. The focus is on the apple and chewy crumble, making for a nice after dinner treat.


 Leave comments if you have any suggestions or feedback about this recipe!

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