Apple-Studded Brown Butter Streusel Coffee Cake

  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings

I don’t think it’s possible to pack in more appealing elements here: buttermilk batter, warm spices, streusel topping, browned butter and lots of apples.—Amy Traverso


For the topping:
1/2cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2cup all-purpose flour
1/2teaspoon ground cinnamon
3tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus more for greasing pan
8 firm-sweet apple slices (see Apple Notes), unpeeled, for garnish
For the cake:
10 2/3tablespoons (2/3 cup) salted butter
2cups all-purpose flour
1/2cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2cup granulated sugar
2teaspoons baking powder
1/2teaspoon baking soda
1/2teaspoon table salt
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1cup buttermilk
2medium tender-sweet apples (about 12 ounces total; see Apple Notes), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes


  1. Butter a 9-inch cake pan with removable sides. Set aside.
  2. Make the topping: In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Sprinkle the 3 tablespoons of butter cubes over the mixture and use your fingertips to work it in to form a crumbly topping. Chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the cake.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F. Make the cake: In a small pan, melt the butter over medium heat until it begins to turn a medium nut brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a medium bowl, beat the egg and egg yolk to blend. Whisk in the butter and buttermilk, then pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir just to combine. Fold in the apple cubes and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the topping over the cake and arrange the apple slices around the top, lightly pressing them into the topping. Bake until the top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Set on a cooling rack for 20 minutes, then check to see if the sides of the cake are sticking to the pan in any spots. If so, use a thin knife to loosen them. Carefully remove the sides of pan, transfer to a platter, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Apple Notes:

The texture of this cake should be extremely tender, which is why a tender-sweet apple is important. The apples shouldn’t add crunch in the cake as much as little pockets of flavor. The popular supermarket varieties, Fuji and Gala, are a great choice here.

Recipe reprinted with permission from W.W. Norton & Company, Apple Lover’s Cookbook by Amy Traverso (W. W. Norton & Company, 2011)