Fresh Apple Crumble Cake

Apple Crumb Cake

I love to read Italian baking forums. Italians are, among other things, great bakers. The only small issue … they’re written in Italian and I’m always totally at the mercy of google translate. Sometimes, the words just don’t translate into things that actually make sense. This is particularly troublesome when dealing with baking recipes, where precision and clarity kind of help. If I’m intrigued enough by a recipe though, I’ll often just take the part that I can figure out and wing the rest.

An absolutely delicious and unique fresh apple crumb cake, topped with lots of crunchy crumbles. A great apple dessert cake!

Let’s just say I did a lot of “winging” with this one. Combine the translation issues with rampant, last-minute ingredient substitutions and a scale that decided to go on the fritz half way through and I have, quite possibly, turned it in to a completely different recipe. No matter, this cake was one of the best things I’ve eaten in some time, and given how much I bake, that’s saying something!

Fresh Apple Crumb Cake

This cake has such a unique preparation. I don’t think I’ve made anything quite like it. I was expecting the base to be somewhat like a pie pastry, but it actually comes out like sand. I was sure I’d already messed up the recipe when I scattered it into the pan. I just went with it though. After 20 minutes in the oven, the crumbs had set and encased the apples. Then when you pour the egg mixture over top, you’ll be sure that it will never come together as anything that will eventually be sliceable, but it does. It’s awesome! Those sandy crumbs bake up into a crust that my daughter thought tasted like shortbread. Inside are tender apples, surrounded by a creamy thick sauce. The crumble topping provides lovely sweetness and crunch (and look awfully pretty, too). It’s perfection.

As you can see from the photos, the sides of my cake got a bit more browned than they should have. It wasn’t obvious until I removed the ring from the springform pan. I had started to doubt the oven temperature I should be using and had bumped it up a bit during the last stage of cooking. Then, when I checked it in the oven at the 60 minute mark (total cooking time), it was sunken in the centre. Convinced that it wasn’t cooked yet in the middle, I gave it another 5 minutes. I probably shouldn’t have done either of those things. That’s clearly just the way this cake bakes. As long as the cake is not “jiggly”, somewhere around 60-65 minutes total is just fine, even if the centre is sunk down.


Fresh Apple Crumb CakeMy cake was made with half and half cream (10%) and full fat sour cream. I used Empire apples. It is best on the day it’s baked, but still good next day.

Apple Crumble
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A delicious apple dessert that has a unique "crust", a moist apple filling and a crisp, crumbled topping. The original recipe was in grams, so if you have a scale, use those measurements.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8

Yummly
Ingredients
  • For the cake:
  • 200 g / scant 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 150 g / 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 100 g / 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into 6-8 pieces
  • 3 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200 g / scant 1 cup heavy cream (35%), table cream (18%) or half and half cream (10%)
  • 120 g / 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 100 g / 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Pinch salt

  • For the crumble topping:
  • 120 g / 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 140 g / 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 80 g / 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 360° F./180° C. and grease an 8-inch/20 cm springform pan. Set on a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Make the cake: In a food processor, add the flour, sugar and baking powder. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until the butter is combined with the flour. You'll end up with a very dry mixture, like sand almost.
  3. Sprinkle about 3/4 of this mixture over the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Don't press it down at all, but move it around a bit so it goes up the sides just a bit. Scatter the prepared apple slices over the crumbs (avoiding the sides), then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top. Again, do not press down. Leave it as is. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, sour cream, brown sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  5. When cake base has baked 20 minutes, remove from oven and carefully pour the egg mixture over the top. Return cake to oven and cook for a further 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the crumble topping. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Add melted butter to the mixture, just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the mixture comes together in large clumps. Place the bowl into the freezer until needed.
  7. When the cake has baked for 20 minutes, remove from oven. (The egg mixture should have set somewhat so that the crumbs won't sink into the cake. If it is too liquidy still, return to the oven for a few more minutes.) Evenly sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top. Return to the oven and bake a further 20 minutes. Note that the cake will be sunken in the middle, even when it's "done". As long as it's not jiggly and a tester inserted in the centre comes out with just crumbs (not liquid), it's ready to take out of the oven. It should have bake about 60-65 total, including all 3 steps.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan, on a cooling rack, for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the outer ring of the springform pan. Allow to cool more before removing from the base.
  9. Dust with powdered/icing sugar, if desired.

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116 Comments

    • Let me know how you make out with it, Valerie. It is such an interesting preparation technique. It has me thinking about how to use it for other variations :)

  • Someone just told me of your blog and also “Cooking With Mr. C.” on Facebook. (also a blog) I just “Liked” his Facebook page and came to your blog. It’s wonderful. I love when people share blogs with each other. Denise

    • Thanks Sophie. They actually sell a cream called Table Cream here. I’m not exactly sure what to do with it. I always use half and half for my coffee and heavy cream for whipping etc. I guess based on the picture, I’m supposed to pour it over my fruit :)

  • I fancy trying this it looks delicious. Crumble is my favourite dessert. Not sure about the table cream though? I wonder if single cream is similar? I’m in the UK.

    • Hi Andi, Yes, table cream in Canada is comparable to single cream in the UK. You could also use double cream, but I found the lighter cream quite nice.

  • I made this today,and it came out lovely. I had no cream or half and half, so I used canned milk. I also added cinnamon to the custard base and baked at 350.

    • I don’t think a 10″ round would be high enough, unless you happen to have one with 3″ sides. This cake came up quite high on the springform. You’d also have trouble getting it out of a regular pan, I think (if appearance is important).

  • My husband and I really want to make this cake tomorrow, but we were wondering if we could use a nine-inch springform pan instead. Thank you!

    • Hi Katie. It was good on day after it was baked, but I wouldn’t push it any further than that. It’s very moist with all the apples and it will become soggy eventually. As for freezing, I haven’t tried it, so honestly not sure how it would work out. I would be worried about it being soggy once it thawed.

  • I made this scrumptious cake yesterday. I made it in an 8″ springform and it was so TALL! Everyone loved it and I can’t wait until after dinner tonight to have another piece! Also going to share it out with some friends today (otherwise, I would be eating the whole thing). Thank you for such a wonderful recipe.

  • Hi! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. Mine is in the oven as I type this… However, I just noticed my springform pan is leaking! A good amount of the egg mixture leaked out… now I’m hoping it will still be good and not a total waste of ingredients! I even covered the base and sides of the pan with strips of parchment paper and I was hoping the 20 minutes of baking the “base” of the cake would have sealed in the seams but I guess I was wrong. This pan is going in the trash when this cake is ready. Wish me luck!

    • Crossing my fingers for you, Joyce. You know, I half expected some leakage when I baked mine (baked it on a baking sheet, just in case), but thankfully, mine held tight. Just a thought, but maybe the parchment on the sides might have worked against you here, as the base probably seals up a bit better when baking right against the pan. Let me know how it comes out.

  • Hi,

    I was wondering we’re only supposed to have one layer of the sliced apples in the pan? Maybe my apples are more large than medium but I still have a lot leftover after placing the sliced pieces on the base mixture.

    Thanks, Yesim

    • Hi Yesim. No, you can pile them up. Just avoid the edges (pile them up in the middle and to within an inch of the sides).

    • Thanks again :) I loved this cake. I’ve made it several times since I posted it. It’s great to bake up and take to friends/dinner etc. Everyone loves it and it travels well.

    • Oh do let me know how it was with mixed berries! (Sounds really great). And yes, I’m hearing so much about this polar vortex. We’re always in a polar vortex here, I think :)

      • Thanks Jennifer. Btw, I’m originally from Ontario and am always on the search for great Canadian recipes that I can’t see to find here…sweet and savory. I’ll research your recipe index as I’m sure you have tons of great dishes!

  • As I am enjoying watching the Winter Olympics and checking out recipes on Pinterest, you have commanded my complete attention.
    I love to cook. I too love to create. After living half my life growing up in the South and the present half in So California I have such an eclectic love of so many cuisines. However, of all the hours that I have pinned some favorites and yet-to-be favorite recipes, I think that you are one of the most talented, interesting and intriguing recipe writers that I have had the pleasure to read. You seem to have a sincere love and honest communication of wanting your readers to throughly understand your recipes. Bravo on providing the weight of your baking ingredients.I find your recipes very educating. Thank you! And I hope that your wrist heals very quickly. By the way, if you have a chocolate chip cookie recipe that crisps around edges w/out going flat I would be grateful. I don’t know if living by the water affects them or perhaps needs baking powder? Should be so easy!!!

    • Thanks so much Carmen and I’ve been spending some time enjoying the Olympics, as well! I love to cook and create, too. I share only my best creations and do sincerely hope that everyone enjoys them as well. As for the chocolate chip cookie recipe, I stopped trying new recipes after I made the Jacques Torres ones from the New York Times (recipe here – http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/091crex.html?_r=1& ). They are the perfect CCC in my opinion. If you try them, be sure to make them as written (including using cake flour, resting the dough 24 hours and make them as large as they suggest and with some salt on top). I guarantee, you won’t be disappointed.

      • Thank you so much!! I can’t wait to try. It’s just been one of life’s little challenges. Using your link to perfecting Hollandaise sauce for my Husband’s Eggs Benedict Birthday Breakfast tomorrow.

  • I’m thinking of veganizing this cake, because it just looks too good. My question is what do you think does the egg mixture do to the rest of ingredients? Moisten it and hold together mainly (eggs as a binder)?

    • Hi Bee. Yes, the egg/cream mixture holds the apples together. It bakes up into a custard-like sauce that surrounds the apples. If you can find a vegan custard recipe, I think that would be a good starting point for veganizing.

  • Made this today. I wish it had more cinnamon so I will be adding more next time I make this apple crumble. It turned out really well even without springform just have to make sure you grease the baking container (i used a ceramic/baking bowl that;s about 8 inch in diameter.) Looks beautiful and tastes great! Thank you.

      • I was stopping in to let you know I’ve made your (kinda) crumb cake – but I see the trackback has already done it for me. Yes, it was delish… even with our necessary changes. Thanks so much for sharing it!

        • Hi Toby and so glad you enjoyed the cake! I think I’d love to try some cheddar in a future version. Thanks for coming over to let me know :)

  • I LOVE this cake! This will be the 7th one I have made over the past 2 months, definitely one for the collection, thank-you so so much!

  • Hey Jennifer! You have such a lovely blog. I just made this recipe last week using alternative flours and it was really delicious! A really interesting way to bake a cake – everyone loved it! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Thanks so much, Elly and you have a lovely blog yourself :) So glad you enjoyed the cake. Your version looks delicious!

  • Hi, just stumbled across this today via Pinterest. Love the photography and want to try the recipe. Do you happen to remember the original source of the recipe (the italian recipe)? Thanks!

    • Hi Elizabeth, Sorry, I don’t off-hand. I recall it was a baking forum (as opposed to a site), where home cooks share their recipes, but that’s about it.

  • Oh man, I just stumbled upon your blog and I am so happy I did! This looks incredible – browned sides and all! I completely agree with you, Italians are some of the best bakers – I swear every Italian I’ve ever met was a genius in the kitchen. I am definitely trying this recipe.

  • Delicious, gooey, amazing cake but – speaking as a European reader – may I just point out that an 8″ springform pan is 20cm not 24cm.

    • Thanks Evie. Fixed it! (Even though Canada is technically metric, I was educated in Imperial, so I still have to convert things and not always well ;)

  • Simplesmente adorei suas receitas!!!! Estava a procura de um Crumble de Maçãs para fazer no Natal, achei!!!! gostei muito, vou fazer! parabéns!!!! Sou de São Paulo, Brasil! abraço,

  • Hoje eu e minha filha fizemos o Cumbre Maças para testar pro Natal, mais uma vez, parabéns, ficou maravilhoso…. Todos amaram, ficou perfeito!!!! Assou no tempo total de 1:10h, perfeito! abraço

    (Today my daughter and I did the Cumbre Apples to test for Christmas , once again , congratulations , it was wonderful … . All loved , was perfect !!!! Assou total time of 1 : 10 am , perfect! hug)

  • Your cake looks delicious and it is really different from other italian crumble pie recipes I have tried. Could you tell me where did you find the original italian recipe? Thanks a lot

    • Hi Claudia, I wish I could! All I remember is that it was a baking forum (in Italian). I copied down the ingredients/instructions after I translated it in Google translate. When I went back to try and figure out where I got it from, I was not able to find it again.

  • My girlfriend and I will be trying this out tonight! I’m a BIG fan of apple pie so I’m stoked to try this unique twist :) Just a quick question about the apples used…I don’t think I can get Empire, do you have any recommendations for other apples? Are crisp, sweet apples best, or would a tart apple like Granny Smith work?

  • Hi I was hoping to bring this to an Easter brunch, it looks amazing! Do you serve it hot out of the oven, room temp, out of the fridge?

    • Hi Amanda. Any of the above! It definitely doesn’t need to be served hot from the oven, but that said, it would be nice warmed with some ice cream maybe, if eating as a dessert. I really enjoy it at room temperature, as well (for the brunch table). And it’s still pretty good from the fridge with a slice of cheddar (that’s the voice of experience talking there ;)

  • It just came out if the oven! My house smells A-mazing! My 3yr old helped me make it and is also excited to taste it :) thanks for sharing! Super easy to make too.

  • Hi! This sounds like a lovely cake. I would just like to ask if I were to make a mini crumble cake version (such as one in a large ramekin), would it be possible? How would you adjust the measurements of the ingredients? I want to make a mini version, if possible, but I’m afraid of messing up the ratios

    • Hi Sophie, I’m not sure this dessert is really suited for individual/mini versions. The cake, as is, is quite small (8-inches) and freezes well, if you’re worried about having too much.

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