Apple Coffee Cake

I’ve always been a big fan of coffee cake, but my version of coffee cake came in a plastic package or a blue and white box. I’ve never heard someone say they just made the best homemade coffee cake. I’ve only seen it in vending machines, convenience stores, or the snack aisle at the local grocery store. Ugh, if only I had known. After baking it at home, I will never eat packaged coffee cake again! (I mean, probably never…”never” is a really long time…).

Anyway, onto the recipe! I found this recipe while thumbing through the pages of a book my mother gave me  called “United Cakes of America” by Warren Brown. It’s a collection of recipes from all over the country that includes some traditional cakes and desserts (Whoopie Pie from Maine) as well as some that are a little far-fetched for me (Tomato Soup Cake from New Jersey), but while searching for Winesday recipes, I came across the coffee cake (from Delaware by the way, who knew?). I thought it might be a perfect treat for a chilly night, and I added the apples to make it a little more unique and a little more harvest-themed. The process was so simple, and the end result was so satisfying!

Stuff You’ll Need

Makes one 9×13″ pan

For the Filling

  • 1 cup soft light brown sugar (not packed firm)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of ginger
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional…but delicious)

For the Topping

  • 3/4 cup soft light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of ginger
  • 2oz (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Macintosh or Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced

For the Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup frozen unsweetened apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 4oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup soft light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 9×13″ pan, lightly greased

How to Do It

  1. Place oven rack in the middle position, and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Measure and blend the ingredients for the filling in a small bowl. Be sure to break up any lumps of sugar. Set aside.
  3. Measure and blend the ingredients for the topping (except for the apple) in a mixing bowl using your fingers or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on low speed. Try to distribute the butter as much as possible. Set the combination aside.
  4. For the cake, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Combine the milk, sour cream, and apple juice concentrate in a separate bowl. Set both aside until you’ve creamed together your other ingredients.
  5. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together on low speed the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy. This should take between two and three minutes.
  6. Once the ingredients are creamed, add the eggs individually. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure that everything is mixed thoroughly.
  7. Alternately add the dry and wet ingredients by starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Add 1/4 (dry) and 1/3 (wet) of the ingredients at a time while continuously mixing. When the ingredients are fully incorporated, scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and mix for an additional 20 seconds.
  8. Pour half the batter into a lightly greased 9×13″ pan. Smooth it out so it spreads evenly across the bottom of the pan, and sprinkle the filling ingredients over the batter.
  9. Pour the second half of the batter over the filling ingredients, and gently smooth it out so it doesn’t mix with the filling. Sprinkle the topping ingredients evenly over the top of the batter. Place your apple slices on the topping ingredients. Be creative-put them in a pattern! The more, the better!
  10. Bake for 26-28 minutes or until the cake bounces back when lightly pressed or when a toothpick placed in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool before transferring it to a plate, or cut it in servings in the pan. It looks best cut as squares!

Recipe adapted from “United Cakes of America” by Warren Brown, p. 52.

Tip: I altered the cooking time and temperature because my oven wouldn’t bake much of anything at the recommended temperature (335). If your oven is good at low temperatures, bake the cake at the recommended 335 for 50 minutes.

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