This apple cider coffee cake features a crunchy cinnamon streusel topping, a moist cake layer studded with fresh apples, and a drizzle of apple cider glaze. If you're a fan of apple cider, you're going to love this coffee cake!
Do you have a favorite fall ingredient? Mine has got to be apple cider. I love its tart, refreshing, and crisp flavor.
So, as a fan of both cider and coffee cake (hello to my coffee cake cookies!), I thought...why not combine the two? And oh my god, I can't wait to share this one! It's truly one of my favorite apple recipes, especially alongside a hot cup of coffee.
Why You'll Love This Cake
- A fluffy, moist apple cinnamon coffee cake layer includes notes of apple cider and plenty of vanilla to ring in fall.
- A layer of crunchy streusel topping full of cinnamon and brown sugar gives you that quintessential coffee cake texture.
- A drizzle of tart apple cider glaze (more on that later!) yields a sticky, jam-like topping and balances out the sweetness of the cake.
Spotlight: Apple Cider
Unlike apple juice, which is filtered, the unfiltered nature of cider provides so much tart apple flavor. Cider is used in a few different ways in this recipe:
- First, you reduce apple cider on the stove and add some of the concentrated liquid into the batter.
- Continue reducing the remaining cider until it is thickened and syrupy (props to King Arthur Flour for the boiled cider syrup idea). Once cooled, the syrupy liquid solidifies into the texture of thick honey.
- Coat the apples with some of the syrup before baking. And finally, drizzle a bit on top of the baked cake.
This cider glaze is a must-try, and I highly recommend making a double batch for waffles, ice cream, or brown sugar pancakes.
For the cake:
- Apple cider: Look for apple cider that is unfiltered, non-alcoholic (we don't want hard cider!), and unsweetened. If you can swing it, select an organic or local variety.
- Cinnamon: I call for 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, but if you'd like, you could definitely sub in other spices.
- Unsalted butter: Make sure to use room temperature butter.
Tip: To quickly soften butter to room temperature, cut into ½-inch cubes, and arrange evenly on a plate. Your butter should be ready in 15 - 25 minutes.
- Sour cream: Full-fat sour cream helps bring a nice tang and moisture to this dessert, but Greek yogurt can also be used in a 1:1 substitution.
- Apples: I call for Granny Smith apples, but Mutsu are a great substitute as they're also quite tangy in flavor. You can also use Golden Delicious.
For the streusel topping:
- Melted butter: I tested this recipe with both cold butter and melted butter in the streusel topping and I found the melted butter had a better crumb texture.
For a full list of ingredients and quantities, refer to the recipe card.
How to Make This Coffee Cake
Step 1 - Reduce the cider: To a large stock pot, add 4 cups of apple cider. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the liquid until you have 2 cups left (Image 1). Remove ½ cup of the reduced cider and set aside to cool.
Step 2 - Make the cider glaze: Continue reducing the remaining 1 ½ cups of cider until the mixture is thickened, syrupy, and coats the back of a spoon, similar to the texture of warm honey. You should have about ⅓ cup of syrup. (Image 2)
Meanwhile, toss sliced apples with a bit of syrup and flour. Set aside. (Image 2)
Step 3 - Make the streusel: Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and kosher salt in a small bowl. Mix butter and streusel ingredients together until the dry ingredients are fully moistened into small clumps (Image 3).
Step 4 - Cream the butter and sugar: To the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and sugars. Cream until light, fluffy, and doubled in volume (Image 4).
Step 5 - Mix in the rest of the dry ingredients (except flour). Alternate adding the flour and the remaining wet ingredients to the batter; make sure not to over-mix (Image 5).
Step 6 - Fold in the apples. (Image 6)
Step 7 - Spread the batter in an even layer in the prepared pan. (Image 7)
Step 8 - Bake: Top with the streusel, and bake. Bake the coffee cake until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the cake comes back clean (or has just a few crumbs) and the streusel topping no longer feels wet, about 30 - 35 minutes (Image 8).
TIP: The streusel topping will continue to firm up and harder after removed from the oven, so don't worry if it looks a bit soft.
Drizzle the warm cake with remaining apple cider glaze, then cool completely before slicing and serving.
Leftover coffee cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 - 2 days or up to 5 days in the fridge.
If you're making the coffee cake ahead of time, I recommend drizzling the apple cider glaze right before serving to prevent it from getting soggy.
Plan ahead: This recipe is a bit more involved than a typical coffee cake, so I'd recommend making it on a weekend or preparing the reduced cider and glaze a day in advance!
Cleaning the pot: As with cooking caramel, reducing apple cider can sometimes cause sugary residue to stick to your pot. To prevent this from happening, use an enameled dutch oven, and scrape the sides of the pot frequently. From there, you can soak the pot for a few minutes then scrub off any residue with a sponge.
Actually, the two cakes are very similar. The main difference is that crumb cake has significantly more, well, crumb (usually double the amount). The resulting crumb layer is larger and sometimes crunchier, too.
Unfortunately, you will need a hand mixer or stand mixer for this cake. Otherwise, it will be quite difficult to cream the butter and sugar.
A metal 8-inch by 8-inch square baking pan works best here. I haven't tried this recipe with a glass baking pan, but I would recommend lowering the temperature to 325°F / 163°C and checking the cake after 20 minutes.
For even more cozy recipes, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter.Happy eating! Love, Karishma
Apple Cider Coffee Cake
- 1 Stand Mixer, (an electric hand mixer works, too)
- 32 fluid ounces apple cider
- 170 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
- 50 grams granulated white sugar
- 53 grams dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon diamond-crystal kosher salt (plus more for seasoning), use ¼ teaspoon if using any other brand of salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 60 grams full-fat sour cream, ¼ cup | chilled or at room temperature
- 188 grams all-purpose flour
- 5 ounces peeled and sliced apples, from about 1 apple | sliced into 1-inch pieces with ⅛-inch thickness
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- Set a rack in the bottom-third of the oven and preheat to 350℉/177℃.Grease an 8-inch by 8-inch square baking pan, then line with parchment paper so that at least two of the sides leave an overhang (this will make the cake easier to remove).
Reduce the apple cider
- Add the apple cider to a medium sauce pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a vigorous simmer and reduce the cider for 25 - 30 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to 2 cups. Use a flexible heat-proof spatula to occasionally stir and scrape any residue from the sides. Note: Be careful when pouring the hot liquid into a measuring cup to check if it's reduced enough. Remove the pot from the stove and wait until it cools down slightly (about 30 seconds, or until the mixture is no longer spurting out bubbles) before carefully pouring it into the measuring cup.32 fluid ounces apple cider
- Once the liquid has reduced, remove ½ cup from the pot. Cool until lukewarm, but not hot. Whisk in the sour cream and set aside.60 grams full-fat sour cream
- Make the apple cider glaze: Meanwhile, continue simmering the rest of the apple cider until it reduces to about ⅓ cup and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt. Set aside to cool.
- Make the streusel: Mix all streusel ingredients except butter. Pour in the melted butter and smush with your hands until the streusel feels moist throughout and small crumbs form. Chill in the fridge while you prepare the other ingredients.57 grams unsalted butter, 62 grams all-purpose flour, 106 grams dark brown sugar, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon diamond-crystal kosher salt
Prep the apples
- Mix 1 teaspoon flour and 1 tablespoon of the apple cider glaze in a small bowl. Toss to coat with the apples. Note: If the glaze feels very thick and difficult to work with, you can reheat it in the microwave for about 10 seconds to loosen it up.5 ounces peeled and sliced apples, 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
Make the cake
- Cream the butter and sugars: In the bowl of a stand mixer fixed with a paddle attachment, add butter and sugars. Mix on medium speed until light, fluffy, and doubled in size, about 4 - 5 minutes.170 grams unsalted butter, 50 grams granulated white sugar, 53 grams dark brown sugar
- Reduce speed to low, then add egg and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds - 1 minute until whipped and fluffy. The mixture will appear to curdle, but just keep mixing it, it should smooth out.1 large egg, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- On low speed, add the salt, baking powder, baking soda, and ground cinnamon. Alternate adding the flour and the apple cider/sour cream mixture until everything is just barely combined. Turn the mixer off, then use a spatula to fold in any remaining dry bits. Fold the sliced apples into the batter until just combined.½ teaspoon diamond-crystal kosher salt (plus more for seasoning), 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, 188 grams all-purpose flour
Layer the cake
- Transfer batter to the prepared pan. Use an offset spatula to smooth batter in an even layer. Finally, top the cake with the streusel in an even layer.
- Bake in the oven for 30 - 35 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (or with just a few crumbs). Remove from the heat.
- Immediately drizzle 2 tablespoons of the glaze all over the top. Cool cake for 10 minutes, then carefully remove from the baking pan and transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing and serving. Note: If the glaze feels very thick and difficult to work with, you can reheat it in the microwave for about 10 seconds to loosen it up.