Apple baking season doesn’t usually come into its prime until the beginning of fall, but I just couldn’t wait to get started this year. This Apple Pecan Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel is a delicious coffee cake that will be a huge hit at any brunch, whether you’re serving it up in the spring or autumn. The tender cake is packed with plenty of juicy apple chunks and crisp toasted pecans – and the whole thing is finished with a buttery cinnamon streusel!
The cake batter is fairly thick, which allows it to hold onto the apples and nuts so that you get a good distribution in every slice of the cake. It is made with greek yogurt (sour cream could be substituted, if you don’t have the yogurt) that tenderizes the batter and gives it a very subtle tang. I added vanilla to the batter, but held off on adding other spices to the mix because I wanted the cake to feel timeless and not limit it to the fall table.
I used fuji apples, which I often bake with, for this recipe. I don’t recommend using a very tart apple, such as granny smiths, because the cake itself is not overly sweet and the tart apples might be too sharp of a contrast. A sweeter, or sweet-tart, apple is a better choice. Cut the apples into dice that are no larger than 1/2-inch to ensure that they cook all the way through while the cake is baking. The apples do not have to be peeled because they are cut into such small chunks, which makes prepping the fruit quick and easy. I used 1 1/2 apples, but you might need slightly more or less depending on the size of your fruit. You can also throw in an extra handful of apple chunks if you like it really fruity.
The cake is delicious when it is still a tiny bit warm from the oven, with a soft crumb that is packed with flavor. The streusel has a good cinnamon flavor and is crunchy enough to be a nice contrast for the tender cake. You may not be able to finish the cake in one sitting, but fortunately it keeps quite well when stored an in airtight container so you can go back for seconds later.
Apple & Pecan Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup greek-style yogurt
1 1/2 cups diced apple (approx 1 1/2 medium apples)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped, toasted pecans
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
For the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light. Beat in eggs, followed by vanilla extract. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the yogurt. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, followed by the apples and pecans. Mix until no streaks of flour remain visible.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
For the streusel: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir in melted butter with a fork until a crumbly mixture comes together.
Squeeze clumps of the streusel mixture in your fist to create large clumps when sprinkling streusel over the cake batter in the pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the cake (watch out for apple pieces!).
Allow cake to cool completely before slicing.