Warm Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Today is a very special day.

No, it’s not just because I’m giving you the recipe for this amazing coffee cake. Although, this cake is very special.

Today is special because of a birthday.

Today is my grandma’s birthday (She is 35 this year). While I wish I could be spending the day with her soaking up the sun in southern California, I’m in New York state dreaming about coffee cake in her honor.

My grandma and poppy (that’s my grandpa, not my grandma’s favorite bagel) used to treat themselves to a large slab of coffee cake almost weekly. I remember how she used to rave about this amazing coffee cake with big crumbs and a tender, sweet cake that they would get from the market.

Every. single. time. she told me about it, the inner depths of my stomach began to rumble. I mean, who doesn’t like a huge sugar rush of sugar, flour, and butter at 7:00 AM with their morning coffee?

Coffee cake soon made it to my Wish List and I finally made it a few weeks ago. Though this recipe isn’t what you’d eat if you’re planning on hitting the beach in your new itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka-dot bikini, it is definitely much lighter than most coffee cakes without sacrificing taste or texture. Talk about win-win.

It has a wonderful apple flavor with a hint of cinnamon. I also made it with whole-wheat flour instead of all purpose, cut out 6 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup of sugar, and subbed in vanilla yogurt for sour cream.

What’s your favorite morning breakfast treat?

Warm Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake


For the topping:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 7/8 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

For the filling:

  • 2 cups minced apple
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (or a but more if you really like it)
  • pinch of salt

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 and 1/4 cups almond milk (cow’s milk works too)


1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13-in. baking pan and set aside (if using stoneware, you don’t have to grease).

2. To make topping: whisk together sugar, salt, flour, and cinnamon. Add the butter and applesauce and stir until thoroughly combined and mixture resembles moist, course meal. Set aside.

3. To make the filling: Combine apple, cinnamon, sugar, flour, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

4. To make the cake: in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, applesauce, and both sugars together until well-combined, about 2-4 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Add the eggs and beat until throughly mixed, about three minutes (The original recipe calls for each egg to be added separately, but I messed up. I still came out perfectly though). Scrape your bowl.

5. In a small bowl mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In another small bowl whisk together yogurt and milk. It may be a bit lumpy, that’s okay.

6. On low speed add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the batter. As it incorporates, add half of the milk mixture. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remainder of the milk mixture. Mix until barely incorporated and add remaining flour. Use a spatula to make sure that all the remaining ingredients are incorporated.

7. Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. It’ll be less than 3 cups. Spread batter across the bottom of the pan all the way to the edges. Sprinkle the filling on top of the batter. Dollop the remaining batter across the top of the filling and use a spatula to spread the batter. If you want to make it swirly, you can use a butter knife and make a few gentle swirls. Sprinkle the topping over the batter and bake until golden brown, 55 to 60 minutes. Use a skewer or toothpick to test for doneness. It will come out clean when the cake is done. Remove from oven and allow to rest 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Cake will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for 4 to 5 days. It also freezes well for up to 3 months.

Inspired from the Joy the Baker Cookbook

11 thoughts on “Warm Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

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