Delicious and unique creamy apple crumb cake, with layers of apple and cream, encased in a lovely crust and with a wonderful crumb topping. Great enjoyed as an apple dessert cake or as an apple coffee cake.
Why you’ll love this apple crumb cake
This delicious apple cake is unlike any other cake I’ve made and is one of my favourite ways to bake with apples. With a shortbread crust, a creamy custard filling, lots of apples and a generous, crispy crumble topping!
This is a cake to bake and share or bake and take when you need to bring a dessert to an event. You can bake it up in the morning and enjoy it later in the day.
As this cake is also lightly sweet, it’s also nice to enjoy as an apple coffee cake.
Apples – use any apple that you’d use for an apple pie. I’ve used Pink Lady here, but Spy, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith etc. also work well.
Heavy Cream – aka whipping cream (35% b.f.) Heavy cream will give you the creamiest results, though you can use a lighter cream, such as 18% table cream or 10% half and half cream, if you like.
Sour Cream – a full-fat sour cream or Greek Yogurt is recommended, for best texture of the apple filling. I haven’t tested this recipe with low or no-fat sour cream or yogurt.
This is a visual summary of the steps to make this cake. Always refer to the complete instructions in the Recipe Card below when making the recipe, as not all steps may be illustrated here.
1. Start by making the shortbread crust by mixing together the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor until you have a sandy mixture. (You can simply cut the butter in with a pastry cutter if you don’t have a food processor.). Add 3/4 of the crumb mixture to the springform pan and press lightly into the bottom and up the sides slightly. Add the prepared apples, then scatter the remaining crumb mixture over top. Bake for 20 minutes.
2. While base and apples are baking, prepare the creamy filling. When the base has cooked, remove from the oven and pour the creamy filling mixture over-top. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
3. While the filling is baking with the apples, prepare the crumble mixture and pop into the freezer until needed. When filling has set, remove from oven and scatter the crumble mixture over top. Return to the oven for a further 20-30 minutes, or until set and lightly golden.
- If you want to be able to transfer your baked cake to a serving platter, be sure to line the bottom of the springform pan with a round of parchment paper.
- This cake is best enjoyed on the day it is baked, to really enjoy the crumble topping. It will keep well for several days, though the crumble may soften the longer it sits. I like to cover well and refrigerate the left-overs after the first day.
- This cake should freeze well.
How to make a crispy, crumbly crumble
Freeze it! Be sure not to skip the short trip to the freezer after you mix the crumb topping. It’s the secret to a crispy and crumble crumble.
Get the Recipe: Apple Crumb Cake
For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups + 3 Tablespoons (200 g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (150 g) white sugar
- 1 teaspoons (1 tsp) baking powder
- 7 Tablespoons (100 g) unsalted butter , cold, cut into 6-8 pieces
- 3 medium (3 medium) apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
- 2 large (2 large) eggs
- 1 cup (200 g) whipping cream, or table cream (18%) or half and half cream (10%)
- 1/2 cup (120 g) sour cream, full-fat, or plain full-fat yogurt
- 1/2 cup (100 g) light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon (1 tsp) vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
For the crumble topping:
- 1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (140 g) white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon (1/4 tsp) cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- 5 1/2 Tablespoons (80 g) unsalted butter, melted (or salted butter and omit the pinch of salt)
- Preheat oven to 350F. and grease an 8-inch springform pan. *A parchment round on the bottom of the pan is recommended if you plan on removing the cake to a serving platter. Set the springform pan on a baking sheet and set aside. *Note: if you are using a dark springform pan, reduce temperature to 340F.
- 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.
- Sprinkle about 3/4 of this mixture over the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Using the back of a spoon, spread the crumbs into an even layer on the bottom of the pan and up the side just a bit. You don't want to compress the crumb mixture too much. Scatter the prepared apple slices over the crumbs (avoiding placing the apples right up agains the side of the pan), then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top. Again, do not press down. Leave it as is. Place the springform pan on top of a baking sheet (to catch any liquid from the apples that might leak from the pan!). Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, sour cream, brown sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
- When cake base has baked 20 minutes, remove from oven and carefully pour the egg mixture over the top. REDUCE THE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 325F (or 315F for a dark pan and return the cake to oven and cook for a further 20 minutes.
- 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.
- 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 quite liquid 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 - 30 minutes or until the edges are pulled away from the sides of the pan, the top crumbles are light golden and the centre is set. As long as it's not too 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.
- Allow to cool in the pan, on a cooling rack, for 10 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.
- Dust with powdered/icing sugar, if desired.