Apple Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Oat Streusel Topping

Fall places me in a state of emotional turmoil. The restless girl within me anticipates the change. She wants to wear all of the scarves, watch all of the college football, and bake all of the apple coffee cake (with all of the cinnamon oat streusel topping, naturally).

Classic Apple Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel Topping

The contented girl within me, however, protests. She watches the sun set earlier with a sadness in her heart, counts the weekends she can still spend on the lake on one hand, and prematurely mourns the loss of good tomatoes. Summer’s end: my personal definition of bittersweet.

Apple Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel Topping. SO moist and it's made with whole wheat flour too!

As a Wisconsin resident who catches a chill in the freezer section of the grocery store, summer is my favorite season. That said, I am a bit of a cheater. At the same time I profess to sweet summer that it’s my one and only romance, I am seduced by the deep colors and warm flavors of alluring autumn.

Although I am happy to delay fall’s cooler air and tumbling leaves in favor of summer’s lush grasses and late sunsets, fall baking is my Pied Piper. I follow it straight to the pumpkin and apple aisles every year. I’ve already shared my secret recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip bread, and now I’m dabbling in fall ingredients once more with today’s stellar recipe for apple coffee cake with cinnamon oat streusel topping.

Best Ever Apple Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Oat Streusel Topping. An ultra moist coffee cake with fall spices, fresh apples, and an ADDICTIVE crumb topping.

Fresh Apple Coffee Cake

The day I baked this apple coffee cake, it was 81 degrees, and the sun shone with gusto. I felt a wee bit guilty turning on my oven and digging out my apple corer, but the holy smells of cinnamon and toasting walnuts wafting through my kitchen while the apple coffee cake baked reassured me that I’d chosen a righteous path.

Apple Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel Topping. So moist and loaded with fresh apples!

This apple coffee cake also stays far, far away from that horrific offense of coffee cake kind: being too dry. Buttermilk keeps the cake moist, and a few natural juices from the apples also ensure that this cinnamon-spiced apple coffee cake pleases with every tender bite.

Contrasting with the moist cake crumb, we have a delightfully crunchy and dangerously addictive walnut oat streusel topping. Although there isn’t oatmeal in the cake, I like using oats for the streusel topping, because they provide the most pleasing texture, and their flavor is a classic match with the cinnamon and apples in the coffee cake.

Best Ever Apple Coffee Cake with Extra Cinnamon Streusel Topping. SO moist and the walnut oat topping is addictive!

And just in case you aren’t already tempted to have more than once piece: this apple coffee cake features whole grains and a reduced amount of sugar, but thanks to the sweetness of the apples and a heap of warm fall spices, you and your fellow apple coffee cake munchers will never suspect. Just ask Ben’s co-workers: he arrived at the office at at 8:19 a.m. with the leftovers, and by 8:53 a.m., the plate was scraped clean.

Brown Sugar Apple Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel Topping

Although I might be cheating on summer, I’m willing to risk a little reprimand for the sake of streusel-topped apple coffee cake.

Please just don’t tell the tomatoes. I’m hoping they’ll stick with me, at least until October!

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Apple Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Oat Streusel Topping

Moist and fluffy apple coffee cake with an addictive cinnamon oat streusel topping. Packed with warm spices and fresh apples, it's the perfect fall treat!


Prep Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Cake:



  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)

  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk, at room temperature

  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and diced tart apples, such as Granny Smith (about 2 medium)


For the Streusel Topping:



  • 3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats

  • 1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar (light or dark)

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts


For the Glaze:



  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

  • 2 tablespoons milk (or cream for a richer glaze)

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions:


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round spring form pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease once more. Set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, all spice, and nutmeg. Set aside.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.

  4. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the bowl with the butter, then 1/2 of the buttermilk, stopping to combine after each addition. Repeat, adding the second 1/3 of the dry ingredients, the remaining 1/2 of the buttermilk, and ending with the remaining 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure everything is evenly combined. Stir in the apples. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan, then with the back of a rubber spatula, smooth the top.

  5. Prepare the streusel topping: In a small bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Pour in the melted butter, then stir until the mixture forms large crumbs. Stir in the nuts. Sprinkle the streusel over the coffee cake batter in the pan.

  6. Bake the coffee cake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a butter knife around the cake’s edges to loosen it, then unmold.

  7. Prepare the glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth. Drizzle over the warm cake after it has been unmolded. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.


Store leftover apple coffee cake in a tight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or wrap tightly and freeze for up to 1 month. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then glaze just before serving


All images and text ©/Well Plated.

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About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

27 comments

  1. Yum, yum ,YUM!! I love anything apple this time of year but especially cake!

  2. You had me at apple! This looks like the perfect way to get your apple-a-day, right? Especially since there are whole grains and reduced sugar involved.

  3. It’s such a hard transition when our tastebuds crave spice but our bodies are still warmed from the Indian summer heat. I could go for this cake a thousand times over, though, so bring it on!!!

  4. Gurrrrrrrl, I hear ya. It’s a constant struggle. BUT! The best way to look at it, we get to make summer and fall food! #HECKYES

  5. I’m with you. I like autumn in theory, with all the colors and spices and crispness. And the apples. But man, I would trade it all for everlasting summer!
    This cake is awesome. I will eat it by the pool in 90-degree heat happily!

  6. I’m with you! I know I didn’t eat nearly as many tomatoes as I should have this summer. But is fall has this cake for breakfast, then I am all in :)

  7. I’m sweating and craving pumpkin/apples/caramel/cinnamony goodness all at once- it’s confusing for sure :)

  8. im so glad everyones already into pumpkin and apple game this year. love the toppings. 

  9. Oh, this will be the perfect treat to make and bring for a morning meeting! Thanks, Erin, for another delicious recipe!

  10. Oh yummy for my tummy!!

  11. That oat streusel looks INCREDIBLE. Oh my gosshhh. I haven’t made a coffee cake in so long and this is totally making me crave baking.

  12. You just can’t beat a streusel topping! Especially with gorgeous apples, this looks fabulous! :D

  13. I’m dying to make this, but don’t have a spring form pan. What can I use in it’s place?

  14. 81 degrees and still baking? You’re a trooper! But the pie looks amazing! Bet it tasted awesome too. Thanks for sharing! We’re happy that it’s fall, because our family bakes more in the fall. And this is a great idea to try.

  15. Looks delicious! Can I Omit the walnuts in the topping? Also, I want to make it dairy free. I will be using soymilk instead of milk. Can I use oil instead of the softened butter?

    • Hi! While I appreciate your needing to make the cake dairy free, I’m afraid the changes you suggested would alter the flavor and texture of the cake. You can easily omit the walnuts (or swap them for a different nut such as pecans), but canola oil can’t be swapped for butter with the same results, since it is a liquid and can’t be creamed with the sugar the way softened butter can, so it will change the texture of the cake. I’d suggest swapping a dairy-free or soy butter instead. I’ve never tried the cake this way, but I think that would give you better results than canola oil. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  16. This is such a great fall coffee cake! I don’t know why I’ve never put oats in my coffee cake crumb! Obviously that’s changing now 😀

  17. I’ve made this 3 times in the last month. I didn’t have walnuts so substituted pecans but it was still incredibly delicious. Thank you!

  18. I’ve made this Apple cake three times (twice for the same person who personally requested it) and people love it!. I don’t have a 9″ pan so I use an 8″ and make a couple of muffins with the left over batter. Mine also comes out much darker than in your photos. Not sure why as it takes a shorter time to cook.

    This last time, the batter was sooooo thick and the only difference is that I used an electric hand mixer (instead of a good old wooden spoon) and I weighed all the ingredients. It’s turned out really tough! This makes me sad.

    Thanks for the recipe! Next time I’ll get it perfect.

    • Hi Kate! Thank you so much for leaving a review. I’m happy to hear you’re making the recipe and people are loving it! Oven temperatures can vary, and the type of pan you use can affect things too, so there are a couple factors that could be causing the coffee cake to take a shorter time to bake and turn out a bit darker. As for this last batch turning out tough, I think using a hand mixer probably caused the batter to be overmixed, so I would suggest sticking with that good ol’ wooden spoon. I hope it’s perfect next time you make it!

  19. I don’t mind using buttermilk with the exception of not being able to find a carton small enough and I end up tossing half a bottle. Is there something else I can use? I’ve heard of buttermilk substitutions (recipes) but I’ve never used one.

    • Hi Melanie, there are two substitutions I’ve used. I haven’t tried it for this particular recipe, but I’ve used it successfully in others. The first is to thin yogurt with a bit of milk…for this recipe, I’d use a scant 1/2 cup yogurt and stir in enough milk to make it buttermilk consistency. The second is to add half a tablespoon of white vinegar to 1/2 cup of milk and let it sit 5 minutes before using it. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  20. Looked and smelled amazing! I wish I could add a pic it looked like it should be in a book! :)

    Rating: 5
    • Thank you so much, Angela! I really appreciate your taking the time to leave this awesome feedback. I wish I could see a picture too—I’m sure it’s beautiful!

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