It feels like just yesterday that I was mourning the passing of another summer, desperately clinging to every fleeting day of warm sunshine and barefoot days. It’s true, I’m a summer girl, but that’s all in the past now – at least for this year. Fall is in full swing and I’m fully into all of its pumpkiny, cinnamony glory. The one thing that fall has that summer doesn’t is the cozy factor. In the summer, the only opportunity we get to be even semi-cozy is if we get a good rain storm. Even then, it’s nothing like the kind of cozy that fall brings. The warm sweaters, fuzzy socks, warm cider and snuggling by the fire – sign me up. We are winding down one of the best fall weekends yet, complete with corn mazes, carving pumpkins, making bonfires and crockpots of chili. Tonight we are relaxing by the fire, watching our favorite Harry Potter movie, enjoying generous slices of this Apple Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake.
Falling into the Fall Feeling
Tonight I didn’t bother lighting sweet-smelling candles in the house like I normally do. The smell of this cake baking was more than enough. I seriously can’t get enough of apples and cinnamon this time of year. The smell of this Apple Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake with its buttery, crumbly topping is what all of my autumn dreams are made of. The cake is moist and spongy and made with my favorite secret weapon for the dreamiest texture – sour cream. And while I love traditional coffee cake any time of year, at this time of year it’s so delicious to add a ripple of cinnamony, syrupy apples.
So we cook the apples down on the stove top until they are nice and soft, like pie filling. And then we swirl the apples through the cake batter. The apple isn’t overpowering in this Apple Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake. Instead, it’s just enough to make it perfect for the season. Perfect to go along with that hot cup of coffee.
But what makes this cake truly special is the crumb topping. After all, it wouldn’t be coffee cake without that thick layer of buttery crumbs. I’d be lying if I said that the crumb topping wasn’t my favorite part. I love how it sits perfectly on top of the cake, defying gravity and offering a totally different yet complementary texture.
This recipe makes enough to fill a 9×13 baking dish, so you’ll have plenty to go around. It also travels well, so cut it into squares and take it to your next potluck or football game. Or, do like I do and curl up with your own personal piece in front of the fire. It’s a cozy cake for the coziest season. Enjoy!
- 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 cups apples, peeled, cored and diced into small pieces
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
The Crumb Topping
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 sugar
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
Bring the apples, 3/4 cup sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon to a boil in a small saucepan. Lower the heat and simmer until thickened and apples are very soft, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat. Mixture will thicken as it cools.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and eggs together until fluffy. Blend in the sour cream and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Pour into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Drop spoonfuls of the apple mixture onto the cake batter. Using a knife, swirl the apple mixture evenly into the cake batter.
In a small bowl, use your hands to mix all of the topping ingredients together until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the cake batter. Bake 40 minutes.