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apple cake slice in plate close up

Apple Crumb Cake Recipe

Get the flavor of a classic apple pie with less than half of the effort! This apple cake features 3 delicious layers: soft vanilla cake on the bottom, tart apples in the center, and a crunchy crumble on top! And even better, the crumble uses the same base ingredients as the cake!
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 1 (9x13 inch) cake


For the dry ingredients:

  • 2 & ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

For the bottom vanilla cake layer:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed * see notes
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the center apple layer:

  • 2 cups finely diced apples about 4 medium sized apples
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the crumb topping:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons cool water


  • Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and dust with flour (or line with parchment paper). Set aside. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Whisk to combine. Divide the dry ingredients in half and set aside one half for later (about 1 and ¾ cups for each portion).
  • Make the cake layer: In a large bowl, combine half of your dry ingredients (about 1 and ¾ cups) and the butter. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until your get a mixture that resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Whisk together until the batter just comes together. Take care not to over mix! Some lumps are fine. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking dish. Spread into an even layer, and set aside.
  • Make the apple layer: In a medium bowl, combine apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir together until the apples are fully coated in the sugar and cinnamon. Evenly sprinkle the apples over the cake layer. Set aside.
  • Make the crumb topping: In a large bowl, combine the remaining half (1 and ¾ cups) of the dry ingredients and an additional ½ cup of flour. Whisk to combine.
  • Add in the other stick of butter. Again, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add 4 tablespoons of water and mix. You should be left with a crumbly mixture that sticks together when pinched. If it's too dry, work in more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the right texture.
  • Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the apple layer. Bake the cake in the center of a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool slightly before slicing.



* It's not too important whether the butter is at room temperature or not. As long as it's not melted, cold or softened butter work in this recipe for both the cake and crumb topping! If your butter was softened, you may need less milk for the cake batter, so do keep an eye out for that. The ingredient amounts listed here assume you're using cool or cold butter. 
It is best if the eggs and milk are at room temperature because they incorporate more smoothly into the batter. 
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