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Apparently apples are going out of season, whatever that means. Regardless, I used it as an excuse to squeeze in one more apple bake before the holidays. This is actually a combination of two of my favorite baked things - any cake with a crumb topping and an apple cake recipe my sister introduced me to a while back. The result is a gloriously moist, deep-dish cake full of apple flavor and topped with a crunchy, sweet, salty crumb topping. It's only complete with a festive dusting of powdered sugar on top.

Total time: 2 hours

Active time: 1 hours

Bake time: 1 hour

Makes 1 9" cake round

Ingredients for the cake:

2 medium honeycrisp apples (or other baking apples)

1+1/4 cups dark brown sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk 

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2+1/2 cups (313 grams) all purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Ingredients for the the crumb topping:

1+1/4 cups (156 grams) all purpose flour 

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp kosher salt

6 tbsp butter, melted

Powdered sugar (for dusting)



1.) This cake has a gorgeous crumb topping on it, which means instead of flipping it out of our pan, we'll need to lift it out! To do this, begin by buttering a 9" round baking tin with sides at least 2+1/2" high - this recipe makes a deeper-dish cake, so if your pan is shorter, you won't use all the batter. Then, cut two strips of parchment paper 2" wide and press them into the greased pan in a cross, with the ends of the strips coming up above the edges of the pan. Then, cut out a circle of parchment slightly smaller than the bottom of the pan (watch this video to learn how to do this really easily) and place it into the bottom of the pan on top of the strips. Butter the top of the parchment round. Preheat your oven to 325°F.


2.) To make the cake, begin by grating the apples using the large holes on a box grater and set aside to allow any excess juices to run off. This should yield about 1+1/2 - 2 cups of grated apple. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, oil, and egg and whisk briefly until combined. Add buttermilk and vanilla extract and whisk until incorporated. Switch to a rubber spatula and add the baking soda, kosher salt, and flour, folding the dry into the wet until you have an even batter. Pour the excess juices off of the apples, and add them to the bowl, folding them in until fully incorporated. Set the batter aside.

3.) To make the crumb topping, in a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt and mix with a fork to combine. Then add the melted butter and continue to mix with a fork until you have clumpy, moist pebbles of crumb topping. Set aside.

4.) In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon and set to the side. Now, pour slightly less than half of your batter into your prepared pan. Use a spatula to gently spread it into an even-ish layer and allow to sit for a minute to flatten out. Then, sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture all over the surface, being sure to get into the edges of the pan. Pour the remaining batter over the cinnamon-sugar, and gently spread into the edges. Again, if your pan is smaller, it won't be big enough to hold all the batter - don't fill higher than about 2/3 of the way up. 

5.) Now, squeeze together big handfuls of the crumb topping, and use your fingers to break it into big crumbles all over the top of the cake, again, being sure to cover the entire surface, getting all the way into the edges. Bake for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes, or until the cake is set and a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few wet crumbs, but no batter.

6.) Allow the cake to cool in the pan for at least half an hour. Then, gently run a knife or rubber spatula around the outside edge of the cake. Using the parchment handles we created, carefully lift the cake out of the pan and transfer it to a plate to cool for another half an hour or so. Once cool, use a strainer to dust the top liberally with powdered sugar (this part got me in the holiday spirit), cut yourself a big piece, and enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea!

base cake recipe adapted from

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