Sour Cream Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Crumble

Sour Cream Apple Cake with Brown Sugar CrumbleRemember a few weeks ago when I told you I was on the prowl for a go-to apple cake recipe?  I made a French apple cake with caramel sauce and was fairly convinced that I’d found The One.  It was simple and full of apple-y goodness, embellished with a ridiculously good caramel sauce.  Perfect…

…until my mind started wandering.  It wandered off into dangerous territory with thoughts of crumble and streusel.  Thoughts of a cake you might get away with serving as breakfast.  Rings, tubes, bundts.  Buttermilk, sour cream, oh my…I had to bake another cake!

This time around, I went for a cinnamon-spiced sour cream apple cake, loaded with fruit, and topped with an addictive brown sugar crumble.  It’s perfect, warm from the oven with a cup of coffee or your afternoon tea.  Go for decadence and top it with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream and you’re looking at a very worthy fall dessert.  I think it’s safe to say there will never be just 1 apple cake in my life; this is a field I’ve got to keep playing.

Round up your baking basics plus a container of sour cream and a bunch of apples.  I wanted a cake packed with apples.  I used 6 big apples–2 Golden Delicious and 4 Braeburn. Spiced Apple Cake Ingredients

Start with what is bound to be everyone’s favorite thing about the cake: the crumb topping (duh.).  Mix brown sugar with flour, cinnamon, and melted butter until large crumbles form. Brown Sugar Crumble

Peel and slice the apples, then mix up the cake batter.  Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in 1 bowl; eggs, sugar, vanilla, sour cream, and butter in another.  Dry & Wet Ingredients

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, then fold in the apples. Mixing Wet into Dry Folding Apples into Cake Batter

Dollop the apple-laden cake batter into a greased tube pan and top with the brown sugar crumbles.  No snitching!  I mean, not too much snitching!  Bake.

Crumble-Topped Apple CakeCool as long as you can bear, then pour the coffee and cut everyone a big hunk.  I’m loving this apple cake “research” so much I might purposely never find The One.

Spiced Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Crumble

4.7 from 3 reviews
Sour Cream Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Crumble
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This cake is great for dessert and, as I happen to know, perfect leftover with morning coffee.
Recipe type: Cake, Dessert, Baked Goods
Cuisine: American, Fall
Serves: 12-16
  • For the Crumble Topping:
  • 1 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ c. Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • For the Cake:
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Nutmeg
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 8 oz. container (1 scant c.) Sour Cream
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
  • 6 large Apples (I used 2 Golden Delicious, 4 Braeburn), peeled and thinly sliced
  • additional butter and flour for preparing the pan
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a tube pan.
  2. First, make the crumb topping. Whisk together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Pour in the melted butter and stir with a fork until large clumps form. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, sour cream, and butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in the apple slices.
  4. Dollop the cake batter into the prepared pan. Spread with a spatula to evenly distribute the apples and create a fairly level top. Sprinkle clumps of the crumb topping evenly over the top of the cake.
  5. Bake until a tester inserted in the center of the ring glides through the apples and comes out free of cake batter, about 1 hour, 5-10 minutes. I would start checking at 50 or 55 minutes as apple cake baking times tend to vary based on size/variety of apples used.
  6. Cool the cake for 10-15 minutes in the full pan, then remove the outer portion and allow to cool at least another 15 before you attempt to pull it off the pan completely. Serve the cake warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar, with a scoop of ice cream, or a dollop of whipped cream.


Other fall desserts you might enjoy:


  1. pam says

    YES! Just what I was looking for to make for brunch with Shirlee and Dave! Aunt Margaret, I’ll send some home for you (if they don’t eat it on the way!)

  2. Erin says

    This looks amazing! Could I make this the night before Thanksgiving and store it in the fridge? Or should i leave it out??

  3. Janet Fernandez says

    Thanks for the recipe but it’s not one of the best apple sour cream cakes I have made. It looks yummy but my one didn’t work out. I found it was a very heavy cake. I served it with ice cream as the recipe stated and it was a bit too rich and doughy. Thanks anyway.

    • Sue says

      I made it, and found it to be yummy but very heavy ,too. I am wondering what can be done to lighten the actual cake? It is almost a dense pudding. Do you think adding more baking powder would help? Maybe adding some baking soda?

    • says

      Hmm…the crumb topping would end up on the bottom, which may be taste good, almost like a crust, but it also might end up getting soggy. I think the baking time would be pretty similar.

    • says

      I wouldn’t use a bundt pan unless you’re making it without the crumble (and why would anyone want to do that?!), as the crumb would end up on the bottom and likely become quite soggy.

  4. Elaine says

    This cake brought back wonderful memories of a bakery in Hawaii that made something very similar that my then pre-teen daughter loved. She’s 43 now and wants the recipe, too. Thanks!

  5. Rebecca says

    I made this tonight. It was good, moist. I was unable to get the topping to form large crumbles. It stayed the consistency of thick batter. I ended up having to try create “crumbles”. I think I will try not melting the butter next time.

    • says

      I imagine it would take longer since there won’t be air flowing through the middle like there is with a tube pan. I’d just keep an eye on it and let us know how it turns out!

  6. Sandy says

    I made the apple cake for dessert with dinner tonight. My grandkids loved it. The thing that always disappoints me about apple cake is you can’t taste the apple. This is more like a crumble topped aople cake/pie. This recipe is a keeper.

    Also, I used a tube pan without a removable bottom, and the cake came out with no trouble.

  7. says

    I made this apple cake it was delicious in a ‘Bundt pan; spring form pan. I made it last night removed outer pan for it to cool. I was afraid to flip it. I should put walnut decoration on bottom before batter was added. ‘When I cut it was difficult, I added red walnut pieces, dried cranberries over put 1/2 lemon juice over cut apples, put dried ingredients, some of wet ingredients, layer of apples with lemon juice the apples were moist delicious but fell apart.
    Intended to bring home in pan and box. The clean-up crew start put cake in baggies ,i showed up I stopped them. 1/2 cake that was not a huge mess. I Realized it was a bad idea for ‘Bagel brunch fund raiser, I had to cut and serve the cake fallen in pieces. I added sour cream vegan, used almond flour, coconut, some Bob red mill white wheat cake flour afraid other flours might not hold. I made crump topping with coconut oil and earth balance vegan melted. I had to cut cake on Bundt topping. I used 2 granny- smith, 1opoel, 1 Barlette Pear, 1 pink Lady,1 Galla. I tried to cut and give people because it wouldn’t hold together. what is best way to preserve the cake left now. i refrigerator. plastic wrap over top on Bundt pan. will it stay good 4–5-days in refrigerator

  8. says

    I used springform pan. everyone who ate enjoyed it. I added a little almond extract 1/2 tsp. i sprinkle with powdered sugar, go lost cutting to serve. Robin Black

  9. says

    Sarah got the correct spelling now. I have cake in refrigerator hoping to Preserve 3 days take to bay area from Chico, Sacramento Stop, before going to Benica in California


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