It’s apple season! There are so many amazing ways to use apples in your baking in the fall. I haven’t had a chance to go apple picking yet, but picked up a tote of local apples this weekend. After I enjoyed the first one, my next question was what to bake. After realizing it would be nice to have something special for Sunday breakfast, I quickly settled on this coffee cake recipe.

KatTreats quick apple coffee cake

This recipe is one from my grandmother, Rita. Unlike the apple cake recipe I started making for her birthday, this is a cake that she used to make for my brother and me. She would sometimes send us home from a dinner at her house with this cake still warm. When I would visit Boston while I was living in DC, my Gram would often make this cake for me to enjoy during my stay. We used to eat it for breakfast, but it would be a great with tea or as dessert. The apples get tender but contrast with the moist cake and the topping.

This recipe has been altered slightly from her version. She used shortening for the cake and suggested butter or oleo for the topping! I can tell by her handwritten version that she had made some adjustments to the original as well. My grandmother had received this recipe from her sister-in-law, my Aunt Margie. Margie’s version called for ½ teaspoon of cinnamon in the topping, but my Gram wrote, “1 tsp better.”

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She also noted that using an 8-inch pan was better than the 9-inch pan. My little tweaks are using butter throughout and adding nutmeg to the topping. One of the things I love best about using her recipes is that I find myself in conversation with her when I make my own changes to her recipes. It doesn’t hurt that I get to enjoy her classic treats too.

Recipe notes from my Gram

mise en place

crumb mise en place

oven-ready apple coffee cake

Quick Apple Coffee Cake

This moist apple cake with a crumb topping is a great way to start a fall morning.
Course:  Breakfast
Prep Time:  15 minutes
Cook Time:  45 minutes
Total Time:  1 hour
Servings:  8


For the cake

  • ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 apples peeled and cut into thin slices

For the topping

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ cup butter cut into small pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.
  3. Peel, core, and thinly slice apples.
  4. Cream butter and sugar until light.
  5. Add eggs and mix until incorporated.
  6. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  7. Pour vanilla in milk.
  8. Add half of the dry ingredients and half of the milk. Mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  9. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and milk. Mix until just combined.
  10. Stir in apple slices.
  11. Put batter in prepared pan.
  12. Next make the topping. Whisk together dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
  13. Add in butter. Then, with pastry blender or fork, cut ingredients together until mixture is crumbly.
  14. Sprinkle topping on batter.
  15. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out without batter.