Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Streusel Topping

15 comments All Recipes, Cake Recipes, Light Bites
Apple cake is everything you love about an honest-to-goodness butter cake! Cinnamon-spiced apple chunks nestled in moist and tender buttery cake, and with the most heavenly, crumbly brown sugar cinnamon streusel topping you’ll ever taste!
apple cake with brown sugar cinnamon streusel topping

This delicious apple cake is the ultimate! I love absolutely everything about it. Oh, its sweet and buttery taste, for one. And then, there’s the cake crumb.  So moist and tender textured.

This apple cakes also looks as rich and gorgeous as it tastes, with a beautiful golden buttery hue, and pockets filled with moist apple chunks baked to softness.

Cake aside, what really hits the spot for me is the heavenly brown sugar cinnamon streusel topping!

In fact, the streusel alone makes it worth all the effort to bake this apple cake. I just can’t get enough of it, which is why I’ve heaped mine sky-high to deliver the ultimate pleasure!

apple cake with brown sugar cinnamon streusel topping

And you’re going to love how easy this apple cake comes together, no matter what! The first one or two times I baked this, I thought I was just lucky to have gotten everything right. But I began to realise just how consistently great the cake turned out on every occasion.

Trust me, if you follow the ingredient amounts and instructions I’ve set out, I promise it’s not going to be another wait-and-see-what-happens moment. You will have a truly AAH-MAZING apple cake on your hands.

So in case you missed all that, here’s why this apple cake is so good (again)

  • Deliciously moist and tender cake crumb – say goodbye to dry, fall-apart crumbly cakes!
  • A sweet and buttery taste – delivers real buttery flavour as all good butter cakes should!
  • The most amazing brown sugar, cinnamon streusel topping! – this comes with a warning! It’s so addictive, you’ll probably want to streusel every other cake from here on!
  • The fruity deliciousness of cinnamon-infused caramelised apples in every slice of cake – it’s almost like having apple pie cake!
  • A cake that always turns out!

Ingredients for apple cake

I love that this apple cake is a great option for my impulsive or unplanned bakes. Because the ingredients needed are almost always on hand in my pantry or kitchen.

apple cake ingredients

Which apples work best?

Granny Smith, Macintosh, Envy, and Gala apples all work beautifully. I personally make with whatever apples I have on hand, sometimes even a mix of different varieties.

But, Granny Smiths are my favourite choice. I like the tart notes to balance the sweetness of the cake. It’s really all about what you enjoy.

Make perfect apple cake in 4 easy steps

Step 1: Make the brown sugar cinnamon streusel topping

Step 2: Make the apple filling

Now, peel the apples. Slice or dice, whichever way you like it. I like to change things up every time I bake this.

apple cake with brown sugar cinnamon streusel

If you’re craving for chunky apple texture, keep your apple dices a little chunky, or slices a little thick. Or else, you’ll find the apples ‘disappear’ in the cake after baking.

The recipe suggests 3 medium-sized, which is quite enough for an 8-inch (20-cm pan). So depending on the size of the apples you use, as well as the size of your pan, you might need more. I prefer having more than less, anytime! It just means more fruity goodness in every slice!

In a mixing bowl, combine the apple chunks or slices with ground cinnamon, brown sugar and lemon juice. Give it a couple of good tosses, to coat evenly

apple cake

Step 3: Make the cake batter

Use the step-by-step photos here to give you a visual guide and reference on how the make cake batter. For detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the end of this post.

Remember to have all the ingredients at room (or cold) temperature where indicated, and to keep the mixer speed at low to medium throughout, where specified in the recipe instructions.

Step 4: Layer the pan with cake batter and apples, top with streusel and BAKE!

This cake tastes even better the next day or two! It will keep well in an air-tight container stored in a cool, dry place, for up to 3 days. That is, if it even lasts that long!

Now, go ahead and enjoy your slice of heaven!

Here are more awesome butter cake recipes to inspire your next bake:

Tried this recipe? I’d love to see! Remember to share your pics on Instagram and tag @foodelicacy or #foodelicacy.


apple cake with brown sugar streusel topping

german apple cake

Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Streusel Topping

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Apple cake is everything you love about an honest-to-goodness butter cake! Cinnamon-dusted apple slices nestled in moist and tender buttery cake, and with the most heavenly, crumbly brown sugar cinnamon streusel topping you'll ever taste!


  • 175 g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature,
  • 175 g brown sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp milk

For the streusel topping

  • 115 g plain flour, plus extra, for dusting
  • 85 g brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 85 g unsalted butter, chilled, cubed

For the apple filling

  • 3 apples, peeled and cored, diced or sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


Make the streusel topping

  1. Put the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
  2. Rub in the butter gently with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Bring the crumbly dough together into a ball.
  3. Wrap the streusel dough in cling film or a plastic bag. Let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Make the apple filling

  1. In a bowl, combine diced or sliced apples, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and lemon juice. Give it a couple of good tosses to coat evenly. Set aside.

Make the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 190 deg C (375 deg F). Grease the sides and base of a 20-cm or 8-inch loose-bottomed cake pan. Line the base with baking paper.
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed. Cream until the batter turns pale, light and fluffy. This may take up to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the lemon zest and beat for 5 - 10 seconds, until well distributed throughout the batter.
  4. Add in the beaten eggs, in 4 additions. Beat well after each addition. The batter will curdle at first. Continue to beat on medium speed until the batter becomes smooth again, before adding the next addition.
  5. Sift in the self-raising flour and salt. Beat on low speed until just combined. Finally, add the milk. and again, beat on low speed until well incorporated. The final batter should be smooth.

Fill the cake pan, top with grated streusel, and bake

  1. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Smooth the surface with a spatula.
  2. Arrange half of the apple cubes or slices (discard any juices) over the batter.
  3. Spread the remaining batter over the apples. Smooth once more with a spatula. Arrange the remaining apple cubes or slices (again, discard any juices) on top of the cake batter.
  4. Remove the streusel dough from the chiller and coarsely grate it.
  5. Spread the grated streusel evenly over the apples, to the edges of the cake pan.
  6. Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour (time will vary slightly depending on your oven). Test with a skewer by inserting it into the centre of the cake. If the skewer emerges with some sticky batter, bake for a few more minutes and check again. When baking is finished, remove the cake from the oven and leave it in the pan for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the cake from the pan, and let cool on a wire rack. Best served warm.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 375Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 252mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 2gSugar: 27gProtein: 5g

All nutritional values are approximate only.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to see! Remember to share your pics on Instagram and tag @foodelicacy or #foodelicacy.


  1. Hi Fong, that’s wonderful! I’m so thrilled to hear it. This has become my favourite cake to bake with apples and I’m happy you enjoy it too! Thank you very much for sharing!

  2. Hi Celia, I just made this cake for dessert with my sister and my brother in law and they both loved this cake so much! So did I ! It was moist and soft though it didn’t look so ? maybe due to the color. This recipe is a keeper and I’m going to bake it for thanksgiving dinner ? thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe

  3. Thank you so much, Phoebe! Hope you’ll try it, it really is a delicious cake!

  4. This looks so delicious! Thank you for such clear and beautifully shot step by step images on making this cake.

  5. Hi Celia
    Thanks for the tips, will definitely bake this yummy apple cake again and again.

  6. Hi Ruby, thank you for sharing! So glad it turned out to your satisfaction ?. I haven’t tried it myself, so I can’t really say from experience. But as the batter is quite thick, you may want to set the cupcakes inside the moulds of a muffin pan so that there’s direct contact with heat of the pan to bake through the batter. Also, the muffin pan will help keep the cupcakes in ‘shape’. It will be a shorter baking time, maybe 20 mins give or take, depending on your oven. I hope this works out for you!

  7. Hi Celia,
    I tried your Apple cake recipe earlier. Your steps are easy to follow, the cake turned out well and is so yummy ? Thank you for sharing this recipe.
    Is it possible to bake this using cupcake cases? Appreciate your advice.

  8. Hi Amy, sorry for the delay in replying as I was out of town. I’m sorry I don’t have the conversion in cups (by volume). I use weight measurements because it’s much more accurate and gives the highest probability for successful and consistent baking outcomes. I’m sorry I couldn’t be more helpful. It’s really a recipe worth trying, so I hope you can give it a go!

  9. Can you please add conversions from grams to cups please

  10. Hi Elaine, I’m so thrilled! Thank you for trying out these recipes, and for always being so giving of your time to write and share. You’re always such a wonderful source of encouragement for me keeping at my blog, so a BIG THANK YOU!

  11. Hi Celia

    Just tried this cake today and it turned out exactly as per your pictures. Thank you for these absolutely tried and tested exact recipes , it is so encouraging and comforting to know that my time is always perfectly used ! Please keep your recipes coming!

  12. Thank you so much, Ovidia!? I really enjoy getting feedback on these recipes that I share, and am so happy that your effort and meals are enjoyed and appreciated by your loved ones! That’s just awesome!??? Glad you could come along on this journey with me! Have a wonderful week!

  13. Thank you! I’ll give it a go and see how it turns out! I tried making your pork belly and eggs in soya sauce, 3 cup chicken and banana butter cake/bread. I practiced those dishes while I was in Australia and made dinner for my family when I went back to Singapore for the holidays and they loved it so much, especially the 3 cup chicken hahaha. I love your recipes, thank you so much, looking forward to more delicious recipes! 😀

  14. Hello Ovidia! So excited that you’re going to bake this apple cake ?. Yes, you can absolutely use a regular cake tin. Lightly grease the base and sides with butter and sprinkle with some flour, and tap out the excess. I’ve found that the streusel holds together and sticks to the top of the cake quite well when baked, as the cake will slightly rise through and all around the streusel. Most of it should stay in place, save for a bit of loose ones anyway. I heaped quite a bit of streusel and ate up all the loose bits…delicious!!?? Hope you’ll share how it turns out! Happy baking!

  15. Hi Celia!

    I was thinking of making your german apple cake tomorrow but i noticed your cake tin was the kind where the sides could be loosened. The cake tin I have is the ordinary non-stick round cake tin. Which means if I were to remove the cake from the tin, I would have to overturn the cake onto a tray or something of that sort. Would the streusel stay intact with the cake? If so, what should I do? Thank you!!

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