This apple coffee cake is swirled with a ribbon of sweet brown sugar and pecan streusel goodness. The tender cake punctuated with softened apples is elegant enough for company, simple enough for every day, and versatile enough for breakfast and midnight nosh and pretty much every moment in between. –Renee Schettler Rossi
Apple Coffee Cake
For the apple coffee cake
- 3 medium apples (Golden Delicious, Gala, Braeburn, Empire, or a mix), peeled, cored, and finely chopped (3 to 4 cups)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon (1 to 2 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for the pan
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 cup chopped pecans
For the apple glaze (optional)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup apple juice or cider
- 1/2 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar (optional)
Make the apple coffee cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Generously butter and flour a 12-cup (10-inch [25-cm]) Bundt pan–this is a big cake!–tapping out any excess flour. If your Bundt pan is smaller than 12 cups, don't attempt to add all the batter to it. It will overflow during baking. If you are using a smaller pan, prepare an extra small baking dish or muffin tin to cook the extra batter.
- Place the apples in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
- In a large bowl with a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer, beat the granulated sugar and butter until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Fold into the sour cream mixture. Stir in the apples. Scrape half the batter into the prepared pan.
- In a small bowl, mix the 1 tablespoon cinnamon with the brown sugar and pecans. Sprinkle over the batter in the pan. (It may seem like a lot but go ahead and use it all. Trust us. You’ll be glad you did.) Cover with the rest of the batter and smooth the top. Be sure to leave some room in your pan for the cake to rise. This means you may not be able to add all of the batter to the Bundt pan. You can bake any additional batter in a small baking dish or a muffin tin.
- Bake for 65 to 80 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Keep an eye on the cake and if it begins to brown too much, cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil.
- Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Then place a wire rack on top of the Bundt pan and carefully invert everything. Gently lift the pan from the cake and let the cake cool completely on the rack.
Make the apple glaze (optional)
- In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with a little of the apple juice to make a smooth paste.
- Pour the remaining apple juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Gradually add the cornstarch paste and cook, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth. Stir in the apple juice concentrate and cinnamon. Remove from the heat. Let it cool slightly.
- Take a taste. If a sweeter glaze is desired, beat in the confectioners’ sugar.
Serve the coffee cake
- Carefully transfer the cake to a cake stand or serving plate. Spoon the warm apple glaze over the cooled cake or sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Slice and serve while still warm or, if you can wait, cover and keep it overnight for an even more marvelous flavor.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This apple coffee cake is pretty much a perfect specimen of coffee cake—not too dry, not too moist, a lovely crumb that’s just heavy enough, and extra special with the finely chopped apples. The layer of nuts, sugar, and spice is just the icing on—or rather in—the cake, adding lots of flavor and crunch.
So, yes, I love this cake. I really love cakes like this rather than elaborate layered cakes with buttercream and such.
“Oh my god! This is so good!” were the first words after one of my tasters took a bite. At first I thought this would be solely a brunch type of coffee cake, but it would certainly also be fine for tea time or breakfast time or snack time or late night nibbling time or really any time at all. And, although it is an apple cake, and therefore seems autumnal from a first read-through, it could absolutely be served and enjoyed year round. It was hard not to go back for seconds and thirds.
I used 2 Granny Smith plus 1 Gala. It looked like there was way too much of the cinnamon, brown sugar, pecan mixture when the cake was being assembled, but this was not the case when the cake was being eaten. Walnuts could be happily substituted for the pecans, if preferred.
Lastly, yes, you do want to drizzle with the optional apple glaze! There’s no question that the apple glaze adds to the deliciousness of the apple coffee cake, which, while wonderful unglazed, was even more wonderful glazed. It’s a quick and easy addition and adds to the impress-your-friends-and-family-and-guests nature of the cake.
I used apple juice, though if apple cider was in season, I would absolutely use that. I used the confectioners’ sugar, but it wasn’t at all necessary and I would skip it in the future as the cake is happily rich but not too sweet, and that is part of what makes it a terrific cake—the sugar was superfluous though not so sweet as to be cloying. There was too much glaze for this cake. Besides making less in the future, the extra could be reserved and spooned atop or below the cake slices when presented or could be reserved and served over ice cream or yogurt for an added treat.
This coffee cake is definitely a “company’s coming” cake.
It was very moist, which I think can be attributed to the small dice of the apples, which seemed to melt into the cake. I used Gala, Red Delicious, and Empire apples. I thought that it seemed like a lot of apples but the apple flavor was perfect. The pecan filling added the perfect amount of sweetness and wasn’t overwhelming. I chose not to use the glaze and instead garnished it with a shower of confectioners sugar instead.
As with most cakes, it tasted even better the next day and was a hit with my co-workers. What’s also nice is that the cake serves a crowd. It would be a great addition to a brunch menu.
I decided to kill two birds with one stone by making this cake for a retirement party potluck. I thought that apple desserts are such a neutral contribution that everyone would try a slice. Setting it on the table surrounded by store-bought (gasp) goodies and watching people take a sniff and gravitate towards MY dessert was a heartwarming thing to watch. And that apple cider glaze? So fragrant it was like drawing flies to honey.
The glaze was glorious and I omitted the sugar since I wanted it to be on the tart side. I used Galas.
The only problem? The name coffee cake kept people asking why they didn’t taste any coffee in the cake.
Although this coffee cake recipe requires some time to prepare, it’s delicious and yields a yummy cake to share or serve for a special breakfast or brunch. The ribbon of pecans and brown sugar flavors the entire cake and adds a sweet touch.
I was surprised this recipe didn’t have any salt in the ingredients. I think a bit of salt would enhance the flavor of the cake portion that doesn’t have any of the brown sugar filling. I used 2 fuji and 1 Granny Smith apples.
This apple coffee cake was very well received and didn’t last long on the counter. It’s not too sweet, like many coffee cakes are, and the apple flavor and moist crumb makes it seem like more of a snacking cake, though it definitely can be fancied up if desired.
I used 2 Gala apples and a Fuji. I pretty much followed the recipe exactly and the baking time was spot on. I didn’t make the glaze, as I thought the cake was sweet enough without it. I will for sure be making this cake again in the fall when I have an abundance of apples.
The apple cake is everything I want in a coffee cake. It was a moist, tender cake filled with plenty of bright-tasting apple cooked to just the right degree of doneness—not too crunchy and not too soft. The ribbon of streusel running through the middle was the perfect addition to the cake—the pecans tasted almost candied and the brown sugar added a nice sweetness to a not-too-sweet cake. I used Lady Alice apples. I didn’t use the optional apple glaze—the cake was perfect as it was. When I baked the cake, I thought I would top it with a sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar, but it needed nothing other than a cup of coffee or tea.
There were still lumps after beating in the sour cream and eggs for several minutes. These smoothed out after I added the flour and apples. I thought the cake tasted a tiny bit flat, with no added salt. Next time I will add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the batter. I don’t have a big “salt” tooth, but I do think a little bit of salt in baked goods helps to round out the flavors.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed everything about the apple coffee cake. The cake was very moist and I loved the small pieces of apple throughout the cake.
I used Gala apples. I baked the cake for exactly 1 hour and 20 minutes. It was perfect. I didn’t make the optional apple glaze.
The only thing I would change next time, and I’ll definitely make it again, is to add more pecans and brown sugar to the middle. I had a little trouble with the top half of the cake sticking to the pan, but I think I should have loosened it before I flipped it over. My mistake didn’t ruin the cake at all.
I would recommend this cake to anyone who enjoys moist cakes with pecans. It wasn’t difficult to make and it was well worth any effort at all. It was delicious! We served it to several friends and not a single bite was wasted. Get ready because it makes a lot of cake!
I knew this apple coffee cake would be delicious before it went into the oven. The cinnamon, lemon juice, and apples smelled like apple pie. And the tablespoon of vanilla extract made the batter smell so good I had to stop myself from eating it straight from the bowl. The finished cake definitely lived up to my expectations. I think we all take a sliver every time we walk into the kitchen. The brown sugar and cinnamon and pecan filling nicely complements the apple cake. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
I made this recipe twice, as the first time the texture was a bit off. I believe it was because my 3 apples (1 golden delicious, 1 Gala, and 1 braeburn) came to 4 cups chopped. The second time I made it, I used 2 smaller apples (1 Gala and 1 golden delicious) that came to 2 cups chopped and the cake was perfect. The next time I make this (and there will be a next time!) I am going to try layering the filling so it’s 1/3 batter, 1/2 pecan filling, 1/3 batter, 1/2 pecan filling, and then the remaining 1/3 batter.
This cake is amazing. Thanks for a great recipe!
I like this cake for the flavor. I love this cake because the recipe directions are clearly written and even a novice baker can turn out a fantastic cake.
I used 3 different apples for this cake (Golden Delicious, Braeburn, and Gala) because they all cook down differently so you get different textures throughout the cake. The baking time was exact and the cake came out of the pan looking beautiful. I tried a slice before using the glaze. I feel the glaze added too much moisture to the cake and the texture changed.
The blend of flavors in this cake makes it perfect for brunch and is thoroughly enjoyed with a hot cup of coffee while sitting on the porch.Hands on time for this recipe was longer than I anticipated, but only because of peeling and chopping the apples. Then again, I should just do it a little faster instead of making sure the apple are all close in size. However, making sure the apples are similar in size ensures they are all cooked through, instead of having smaller pieces overcooked and larger piece undercooked.I used Gala apples in this recipe, and the moisture and mild flavor contributed so well to this cake. My plan was to dust the cake with confectioners sugar, but decided not to. Since the cake was so moist, I didn’t want the sugar to dissolve into the cake, so I left it as is. The apples were tender and perfectly cooked inside the cake. It came out perfect after 1 hour 10 minutes.This is an excellent recipe! If you like pecan pie, you will like this recipe. It makes 10 servings and is great for a weekend brunch. The pecan layer in the middle, caramelized, and creates a gooey, pecan pie-like layer. Putting it into a Bundt pan also dresses up the coffee cake and makes it visually appealing. It could probably be made in other pans, but the cooking time would need to be adjusted.