Apples are often associated with fall, but apple trees are often ripe with fruit early into summer (depending on climate and weather conditions) and when you know someone with an apple tree who generous enough to save some for you to bake with, you can’t say no just because apples aren’t quite as “summery” as strawberries are. Apples are delicious all year round and this coffee cake is, too. It is so packed with fruit that it borders on being an apple crisp, held together with a little bit of cake batter – which isn’t a bad thing, of course! It means that the cake is very moist and very flavorful. It also means that it isn’t quite as filling as some more bread-like coffee cakes, so it is easy to make room for a second slice.
Since the cake reminded me of other fruit-heavy desserts, I decided to take a cue from my Nectarine and Cherry Brown Betty and make a crumb topping for the cake that is literally a crumb topping. It is made with bread crumbs, finely processed and mixed with some melted butter and brown sugar. The breadcrumbs make for a very simple topping that has a great flavor and texture. I was very generous with the amount of crumbs I used to top the cake because I tend to enjoy the topping on coffee cakes just as much as the actual cake portion!
Check this coffee cake with a toothpick to test for doneness. It is easy to undercook it very slightly in the center because there is so much fruit in it giving off extra liquid into the batter as the cake bakes. Fortunately, in the event that you overbake it a bit, the fruit also keeps the cake very moist. This will keep well for a day or two at room temperature, and also refrigerates (covered, in an airtight container) well for a day or two if you live somewhere too hot to keep food out on the counter.
Apple Crumb Coffee Cake
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 lb apples (2 med-lg), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups fine, fresh bread crumbs (pref. challah or brioche)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, spices and sugar. Add in eggs and the cooled, melted butter and whisk until everything is well-combined and no streaks of flour remain. Fold in apples with a spatula.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together bread crumbs and brown sugar. (Make bread crumbs in the food processor) Stir in melted butter using a fork until mixture resembles very coarse, wet sand. Spread on top of cake batter.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool cake in pan before slicing and serving.