Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake (11/52)

I’m shocked, dismayed, and saddened– saddened, I tell you– to discover that after all these years I have yet to share a coffee cake recipe with you.  Not one.  How can this be?  What?  I only buy my coffee cakes from the grocery store bakery?  Oh.  Oh, yeah.  You’re right.  I usually only buy mine from the store.

Wait a minute!  Why on earth do I do that?  Because their coffee cakes are tender, and flavorful, and easier to buy than making my own would be.  Well, that excuse doesn’t hold water around here anymore, and we have this cake to thank for that.

A few weeks ago when hosting our in-laws for dinner, I wanted to make a no-fuss dessert.    It needed to be something that I could throw together that wouldn’t be too heavy, complicated, or over-the-top, which (face it) my desserts have a tendency to be all of the above.  It’s okay; I can admit it.  So I searched my absurdly long favorites list, which serves as my digital to do, and I found a Cinnamon-Streusel Coffee Cake on Martha Stewart’s site.

The comments for Stewart’s recipe led me to believe it’d be pretty good, even though one commenter was clearly confused by the instructions and recipe yields, and it was pretty good– just not quite what I wanted.  Too much streusel that wasn’t really streusel– it was mostly flour…lots and lots of flour.  And it was really too salty for me.  I must admit that the next day it was much, much better than the first day.  But I just couldn’t leave it alone.

So I remade it.

Four more times.

No one seemed to mind.

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

inspired by Cinnamon-Streusel Coffee Cake recipe, Martha Stewart Living (March 2011) 


Streusel Topping:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. table salt

6 tbsp. cold butter

1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans

Apple Filling:

1 golden delicious apple

3 heaping tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. butter

1-1/2 tsp. all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans


8 tbsp. butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. kosher salt or 1/8 tsp. table salt

2 tsp. amaretto or 1/2 tsp. almond extract

1 cup sour cream


2 oz. cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. amaretto  or  1/4 tsp. almond extract

1-2 tbsp. sour cream, heavy cream, or milk


Make the Streusel Topping:

In a medium to large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt.

Lightly mix together the dry ingredients.

Dice the 8 tablespoons of cold butter,

and cut them into the dry ingredients.  I started with my pastry blender, but ultimately settled on my fingers, and then a fork.

It should be crumbly, lumpy, and full of butter bumpies when you finish.  Bumpies is not a real word.

And 1/2 cup of the (very roughly) chopped, toasted pecans.

Make the apple filling:

Peel your apple.  You don’t have to peel it in one long strip. I’ve just always wanted to do that.

Then dice up your apple.

Have you ever cored an apple without an apple corer doohicky?  I saw this neat video about how to cut an apple on Charleston Cooks! Facebook page quite some time ago.  While I can’t find the original video to link for you, I have got to tell you that it changed my life.  I haven’t used my apple corer in at least more than a year.

Here’s what you do: chop off the side of the apple next to where the core is.

Turn the apple and do the same thing.

Turn the apple, and do it again.

Then cut off the last piece.  All you have left is the core.

Cut the sides into slices.  I didn’t measure these, but I’d say they were a little less than 1/2-inch in width.  Not too thick, not too thin.

Then cut them from the opposite direction– about 1-inch pieces, so the final pieces are 1 x 1/2 inches each.

Okay, here’s where I mixed my photos up with my preferred method.  Here I combined the sugar and filling spices with the apple.

I prefer to add only the sugar to the apples, which I cook, and then I add the flour with the spices after the apples have softened.  The difference is virtually negligible, so it’s just a preference thing.

Toss and melt the tablespoon of butter into a skillet over medium heat,

add the spicy (or just sugared) apples, and cook them until tender and juicy.

When juicy, add the flour (or the spicy flour) and cook until the juices thicken.  It doesn’t take long.

Remove the skillet from heat, and add a half-cup of chopped and toasted pecans.

Stir them up to combine, and set the apple filling aside.

Make the cake batter:

I made this in my stand mixer because I make everything in my mixer; however, this batter comes together so easily that you could use a hand mixer or even a large mixing spoon or spatula.

Toss in the room temperature butter and mix it until it’s nice and creamy.

Add the sugar and cream the two together.

Once it’s mixed together, add the eggs one-at-a-time mixing between additions.

In a small bowl, or something along those lines, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk them all together,

and slowly add the mixture to the creamed sugar and eggs.

Measure out a cup of sour cream.

Add the sour cream to the batter.  I suggest turning the mixer off before adding the sour cream, so you don’t wear the sour cream.

My mixer is doing a lovely job of mixing everything.  Or perhaps I need to make sure I get my ingredients into the bowl.  Isn’t it pretty?

I didn’t show you this step, but add the amaretto with the sour cream and give it a quick mix.  I have made this with vanilla, with amaretto, and with almond extract.  I like the amaretto best, but that’s really no surprise.

Give everything a quick mix with a rubber spatula or mixing spoon to make sure all of the ingredients are combined.

Put it all together:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and lightly flour a tube cake pan.  I would assume that you can adapt the baking times to work with any type of pan, but I never use my tube pan, so in order to justify its existence in my space-limited cabinets, I used it here.

Add half of the batter to the bottom of the pan in big heaping plops.  That’s a technical term.  Not really.

Smooth the batter with an offset spatula or a spoon.  It doesn’t look like much, but it will rise.

Add the filling,

and top it off with the remaining batter using more heaping plops.

You’re gonna smooth those plops right out of your pan.  Do you even recognize that reference?  Nevermind.  Don’t tell me.  I don’t want to feel old.

Top the whole thing off with the cinnamon-pecan streusel.

Yes, I know it doesn’t even reach halfway up the side of the pan.  It’ll be okay.

Bake the cake at 350 degrees F for 45-55 minutes.

Let it cool for about 10 minutes.  Then remove it from the pan.

Have you ever removed anything from a tube pan?  I hadn’t.  In fact, the first version of the coffee cake that I made was served straight from the pan because I couldn’t figure out how to get it off of the tube.  A little distraught, I thought about turning to the internet, but I reminded myself that tube pans existed long before the internet, so I should be able to figure this out all my little, old self.  And I did.

My pan has a removable interior and an outer collar.  If yours is all one piece, I can’t help you– sorry.  If you pan is like mine, though…

Remove the interior piece from the outer collar.

Sit the outer collar upside downon top of the cake. .

I didn’t take a picture of that step, and these photos are pretty blurry, primarily because I wasn’t sure I would share this part.  I mean, I’m sure everyone knows how to do this, right?  Well, if I didn’t know, then maybe some of you don’t either.  So I’m sharing my hastily taken blurry photos.

Then carefully flip everything over and lift the base off of the cake.  You might have to use a knife to get the base of the pan and cake to separate.

See.  Messy cake bottom that no one will see.  It’ll all be okay.

Then place a plate or (in this case) cake carrier upside-down over the right-side-up tube pan that is holding the upside-down cake.  Ha, ha!  I’ll wait while you wrap your head around that one.

Carefully flip it all over.

Then eat all of the streusel that fell off of the cake, reasoning that it wants to be eaten right now because if it didn’t, then it totally wouldn’t have fallen off in the first place.

Make the glaze:

In a bowl or large measuring cup, combine the ingredients for the glaze.  I never make my glazes the same way.  Sometimes they need more liquid than other times, so I’ll leave it to your discretion.  I like cream cheese, powdered sugar, amaretto, and sour cream.  It’s creamy and tangy.  You could use vanilla or almond extract instead of the amaretto, or cream or milk or even water instead of the sour cream.

Just mix the ingredients up to a drizzling consistency.

Then splatter it all over the cake.  You can make it pretty if you want.

I like the messy rustic look.

So it won’t win any beauty prizes.

It’s the taste you really care about.  The crumb is tender and tight.  The flavor spot on.  The apples hold up well, and they don’t turn to mush.  The streusel is good enough to eat on its own.

I think the filling would do well doubled, but the one time I did double it, everyone snuck so much out of the skillet in little tastes here and there that the filling ended up only being the equivalent of one apple.

Okay, so maybe it is prettier than we thought.

Store it in the refrigerator– the glaze has cream cheese, and I wouldn’t take any chances– but definitely serve the cake at room temperature.  And the leftovers make a pretty tasty breakfast.

Yield: a lot, 12-16 servings

The reality behind the appearance.  No wonder my children think I’m strange.

Image for pinning:

apple cinnamon coffee cake

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