apple cider crumb cake.

it’s hard to believe that fall is upon us already…hasn’t this year just flown by?

i mean, december is in three short months. i’m getting married in three months. three months, people! the panic is definitely setting in.

in lieu of having a full-on panic attack right now, let’s talk about the weather, shall we?

here in Florida it doesn’t quite feel like autumn, but methinks the weather might be starting to come around just a little. it’s not quite as humid, the afternoons have been lovely and windy, and dare i say that the evening air has the slightest hint of a chill.

then again, i was outside taking photos for less than ten minutes today and was sweating like a whore in church perspiring ever-so-slightly, so maybe this is all just wishful thinking. who knows?

even if fall isn’t quite in full-swing, i’m going to do my best to make the weather bend to my will. baking autumn-inspired desserts, for me, is the best way to making fall happen right now. well, aside from being able to control the weather, which sadly i cannot do. where’s Storm when you need her?

you know, from X-Men? anyone? where my nerds at?

when i think of the onset of autumn, the first thing that comes to mind is apple cider. what could be a more perfect beverage for this time of year? from September right on through the end of November, it’s entirely possible that i will drink my weight in apple cider.

right now, we love enjoying it ice cold, preferably in a frosty mug. you should totally keep some mugs in your freezer, and bust them out when you have company. people go crazy for beverages served in a frosty mug! it’s true.

and when the weather finally decides to cool down, i love setting a pot of cider on the stove and letting it mull with spices for hours. it makes the house smell insanely good, and a warm mug of cider with a good book makes for a lovely evening indeed.

but perhaps one of my favorite things to do with apple cider is to bake with it.

this apple cider crumb cake is everything i could ever want in a fall dessert. the cake is deeply flavored throughout with the crisp tartness of apple cider, and the crumb layer on top is, in a word, gigantic.

i’ve always felt that the crumb topping is the best part of a crumb cake, but most recipes leave you with a disappointing crumb to cake ratio. well lovelies, i decided to remedy that by making a crumb layer that’s the exact thickness of the cake layer. trust me, you’ll find that there’s plenty of crumb topping in this cake!

i drizzled this crumb cake with a simple apple cider glaze, to which i added a tiny bit of applejack. you know me, when i see an opportunity to spike something, i take it. well, minus a volleyball, because i am a bit too short to properly spike one of those.

this dessert is simple, rustic and incredibly satisfying. it’s pretty perfect.

this apple cider crumb cake is best enjoyed with a tall glass of–what else? apple cider! crazy! bet you didn’t see that coming, huh?

apple cider crumb cake

Yield: one 8" x 8" square pan, or one 9" round springform pan

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50-60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

you can bake this crumb cake in either an 8" x 8" square pan, or a 9" round springform pan! i bet you could also make adorable individual crumb cakes in a muffin tin, too!


for the crumb topping

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons butter, melted, warm
2 2/3 cups cake flour

for the apple cider cake

2 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 tablespoons butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup vanilla yogurt (feel free to substitute an equal amount of buttermilk or plain milk here)
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider

for the apple cider glaze

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2-3 tablespoons apple cider, depending on how thick or thin you'd like your glaze
2 teaspoons applejack, apple schnapps or apple brandy (optional)


for the crumb topping

in a medium bowl, combine all ingredients with a spatula until a thick dough forms.

allow to cool for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the cake batter.

for the apple cider cake

preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, with a rack in the center of the oven.

butter and flour your pan, and set aside.

combine the cake flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, kosher salt and cinnamon in the bowl of a stand mixer with the beater blade attached.

turn the mixer on low and mix the dry ingredients until they are well-mixed and combined, about 30 seconds to a minute.

with the mixer running on low, slowly add the butter to the dry ingredients a tablespoon at a time, pausing between each addition. when all the butter is added, the mixture should resemble moist crumbs.

add the eggs and yolks, and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds, or until the eggs and yolks are incorporated and the batter begins to moisten and fluff up.

add the vanilla, yogurt (or buttermilk, if using) and apple cider, and mix on low until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

when the liquid ingredients are incorporated into the batter, turn the mixer speed up to medium and beat for 2-3 minutes, or until the batter is thick and fluffy.

pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top in one even layer with a spatula.

break up the prepared crumb topping into pea-sized balls with your fingers. don't worry about making all of the crumb balls the same size, you just want them to be relatively similar.

sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the cake batter, making sure to completely cover the cake with the crumb topping.

be sure to use all of the crumb topping! it's going to seem like a lot, but we want a nice, thick layer of crumb topping.

bake the cake at 325 degrees F for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely to room temperature on a wire baking rack before glazing.

for the apple cider glaze

in a small bowl, combine the confectioners sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of the apple cider.

using a fork or spoon, stir to combine. remember, you can always add more liquid to loosen up the glaze, so start out with a little and add from there.

add the applejack, if using.

when the glaze is at your preferred consistency, it's ready to use.

assembling the cake

i like to slice the cake into 3" square slices, and then dust each one with powdered sugar and glaze right before serving. that way, if there are leftovers they will keep stored at room temperature.

the leftover cake will keep, stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

adapted from cook's illustrated, may 2007

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10 Responses to “apple cider crumb cake.”

  1. #
    brandi — September 9, 2011 at 11:26 am

    this. looks. so. good! love that crumb layer.

  2. #
    Kathryn — September 9, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I was thinking about making a cider cake only the other day – it just sums up autumn doesn’t it? This is such a beautiful cake, it looks perfect.

  3. #
    Chris @ TheKeenanCookBook — September 9, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I made apple cider muffins earlier in the week. Perfect for this cooler weather (here in NJ at least). Love this post!

  4. #
    Amber- Loves Food, Loves to Eat — September 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Um. wow. This looks amazing. Can’t WAIT to make it!

  5. #
    Dawn — September 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    I was just looking for the perfect dessert to bring to our neighborhood gathering, and I think I’ve found it now, thanks!

  6. #
    Kat — September 10, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    It is dinner time, but all I can think about it this! Yum. Looks fabulous!!!

  7. #
    ErinsFoodFiles — September 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I LOVE apple cidar! This sounds divine!

  8. #
    Dayna — October 27, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    I made this a couple of weeks ago for a family party. It tasted delicious, but was incredibly dense. When I picked it up to transport, I was shocked at how heavy it was. It basically formed into a solid mass and it was quite difficult to cut. Does anyone have an idea as to why this happened? I’m tempted to try again because once we microwaved it, it was much softer!! thanks!

  9. #
    taylor — December 22, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    i made this yesterday and it didn’t last more than a couple hours even though mine baked in a 8×11 pan. very yummy. it was perfectly fluffy too but i accidentally put in twice as much baking soda which i was nervous about. the apple cider flavor was perfect. my crumb topping wasn’t as thick as in the pictures but again it might have been b/c my cake was super fluffy w/ the extra baking soda. thank you for a great recipe!

  10. #
    Julia — October 4, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Hi Jaclyn,

    Check out my blog – I tried out your recipe to create some great crumb cake muffins! Love the recipe, thanks so much!

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