This moist and healthy Apple Coffee Cake topped with cinnamon oat streusel, is a storybook way to welcome fall (whether you do it with open arms or a bit begrudgingly).
Fall always places me in a state of emotional turmoil.
The restless girl within me anticipates the change.
On the other hand, the contented girl within me protests.
She watches the sun set earlier with sadness in her heart and mourns the loss of peak-season berries (particularly where this Blueberry Buckle is involved).
Summer’s end is my personal definition of bittersweet.
Thankfully I have this buttery apple coffee cake to ease me through this confusing seasonal transition!
5 Star Review
“This was by far one of the best coffee cakes I have ever eaten.”— J.P. —
Why I Love this Apple Coffee Cake
Aside from being my primary coping mechanism (right beside Pumpkin Coffee Cake, of course!) for welcoming the cooler fall weather, I love this apple coffee cake for a few reasons:
- The delightfully crunchy walnut oat streusel topping contrasts beautifully with the moist cake crumb. (These Coffee Cake Muffins also have delicious streusel topping.)
- This apple coffee cake recipe features whole grains and a reduced amount of sugar, meaning you can take another slice (or follow with a slice of this Applesauce Cake) with a little less guilt.
- It’s finished with a drippy vanilla glaze (like these Blueberry Biscuits) that’s so simple to make, it should be a crime.
How to Make Apple Coffee Cake
I hope you’re ready to enjoy the best apple coffee cake with streusel topping!
Loaded with apple chunks and made with buttermilk, both do their part to keep the coffee cake moist and tender with every bite.
- Flour. To make this apple coffee cake healthy and add some whole grain goodness, I use a blend of all-purpose flour paired with white whole wheat flour.
- Apples. Filling the cake generously with juicy chunks of apples turns it into a slice of fall.
When selecting apples for baking, choose apples with a crisp, tart flavor and that hold their shape well once baked. Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Gala, and Pink Lady are all excellent baking apples.
- Buttermilk. While some coffee cakes call for yogurt or sour cream to give the cake moisture, this recipe uses good old-fashioned buttermilk. The acid tenderizes the cake and helps it rise.
- Butter. Flavors the cake and contributes to its light structure and tender texture.
- Cinnamon. Is it even fall if you aren’t baking with cinnamon?
- Allspice + Nutmeg. Two aromatic spices inspired by apple pie.
While it’s not essential, if you can get your hands on whole nutmeg and grate it fresh, it’s worth the extra effort. Trust me!
- Egg. The egg whites make the cake fluffy and give it structure, while the yolk adds fat to soften and tenderize the coffee cake.
- Vanilla. Contributes an extra layer of flavor to the cake and sweet glaze.
- Oats. I like using oats for the streusel topping because they provide the most pleasing texture, and their flavor is a classic match with cinnamon and apples.
- Walnuts. Add an earthy flavor and extra crunch to the streusel topping.
- Line a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment paper and grease with butter or cooking spray.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- In a separate mixing bowl, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, alternating between the two.
- Fold in the apples, then transfer to the prepared baking pan.
- Make the streusel and sprinkle over the top.
- Bake at 350 degree F for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool, then unmold from the pan.
- Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake, slice, and serve. ENJOY!
- To Store. Keep leftover apple coffee cake in a tight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- To Freeze. Wrap the coffee cake, unglazed, in plastic and freeze for up to 1 month. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then glaze just before serving.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Springform Pan. Believe it or not, these are not just for cheesecake.
- Mixing Bowls. This is my everyday set of nesting glass mixing bowls.
- Wooden Spoons. Skip the mixer and grab a good old-fashioned wooden spoon for this recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you don’t own a springform pan, you may use a traditional 10-inch round cake pan or an 9×9 square baking pan instead. Just note that the baking time may need to be adjusted slightly depending on the type of pan that you use. Be sure to grease the pan VERY well so it doesn’t stick.
While I recommend peeling the apples before adding them to the batter and baking, doing so is a personal preference. Unpeeled apples will add a bit of color and additional texture to the recipe, plus extra nutrients.
Despite the name, most coffee cakes do not traditionally contain coffee. They get their name because coffee cakes are typically eaten in the morning alongside a cup of coffee or espresso.
Apple Coffee Cake
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 allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg freshly grated if possible
- 1/4 cup 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 tart apples peeled and diced, such as Granny Smith (about 2 medium)
For the Streusel Topping:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease once more. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, all spice, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
- 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.
- Next, 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.
- 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.
- Last, 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.
- TO STORE: Keep leftover apple coffee cake in a tight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- TO FREEZE: Wrap the coffee cake, unglazed, in plastic and freeze for up to 1 month. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then glaze just before serving.
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