Apple Crumble Cake Recipe - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Apple Crumble Cake Recipe


The only professional sport I watch on TV is football.  I used to follow tennis since that’s the only sport I actually play, and I still occasionally watch a grand slam tournament.  My maternal grandfather sat me down in front of the television one Saturday afternoon when I was about 7 years old and started to teach me the game of football.  It was a Penn State game, since he grew up outside of State College, Pennsylvania and several of his brothers and family members attended the school.  He was a die hard fan and actually resembled then-coach, Joe Paterno.

My grandfather served in the army in World War 2 and therefore also rooted for Army as well and took me to an Army game when I was a teenager.  My grandmother unfolded the back of the station wagon and introduced me to tailgating.  Such fun!  They also had season tickets to the Giants for years and years, so I inevitably grew up a Giants fan.  I married a major Steelers fan, therefore on Sundays in the fall and most of the winter, we so look forward to staying home and watching football.

Sometimes we have friends over and sometimes we don’t, or we go to someone else’s house to watch.  But most Sundays you can find me in the kitchen making soup and squeezing in some meal prep during halftimes.  I also have bursts of creativity when I am just sitting in front of the tv. This past Sunday, I had an idea for a new apple cake and I thought I would try one out in time for Rosh Hashana.  Lucky for me, I had quite a few taste testers ready and willing to sample the results.

I was confident in this cake since I tweaked an existing cake recipe (the blueberry-lemon loaf with cornmeal crumb topping from a spring class), topped it with sliced apples and a crumb topping recipe that I tweaked from my cookbook.  The result was glorious – a moist, perfectly spiced cake with tender apples and a crunchy, crumbly top.  As with all my desserts, I aim to reduce the sugar as much as possible while keeping them “normal,” as my son says. So this cake is not terribly sweet and would be delightful for brunch, as well as dessert.

Unlike most of my other recipes that I teach in classes, I did not have the opportunity to test this out a dozen ways.  But if you need substitution advice that is not given here, I think I can give you good suggestions.  In these photos I used Jovial Foods einkorn flour which is a new favorite.  (This is not sponsored, by the way.) I am really down on wheat, oats and the accompanying toxin, glyphosate, unless I have an option that has been tested.  Einkorn is an ancient wheat and although it contains gluten, Jovial’s is grown glyphosate-free in Italy.  I sub it one-for-one with wheat flour.  There are gluten-free swaps within the recipe.

For those of you who need a dairy-free dessert, you’re in luck!  I used olive oil in the cake and provided the option to use either butter or a vegan butter (I use Miyoko’s Creamery) in the topping.  Olive oil is fruity and keeps the cake moist, but there is no actual olive oil taste.  It’s not the quickest cake in the world since you have three steps – the cake batter, peeling and slicing apples, and the topping.  But it’s well worth the effort and I know it will be a huge success when you serve it.  Happy fall and here’s to a sweet new year. XO

As always, I get such joy out of seeing you recreate any of my recipes!  Please tag me @pamelasalzman #pamelasalzman on Instagram so I can check them out!  Thank you!


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5.0 from 3 reviews
Apple Crumble Cake Recipe
Serves: serves 8-10
  • Crumble Topping:
  • ½ cup maple sugar or light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup oat flour, whole wheat pastry, spelt, einkorn, or a combo of GF oat flour and Jovial GF Flour
  • ⅓ cup old-fashioned rolled oats (I use One Degree Organics)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter or vegan butter, cut into pieces
  • Cake:
  • 3 sweet apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced and tossed with a little orange juice or apple brandy (Calvados) to prevent browning
  • 2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour or Einkorn flour (or Jovial GF Pastry Flour + 1 ½ teaspoons of xanthan gum)
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup maple sugar or unbleached cane sugar
  • ½ cup unrefined cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil + extra for greasing the pan
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup whole milk or oat milk (I used low-fat Oatly)
  • Powdered sugar for serving, if desired
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a small amount of oil on the bottom of a 9-inch round springform cake pan and line it with parchment paper.
  2. Make crumble: In a large mixing bowl, with your hands combine all topping ingredients until no longer dry. Set aside in the refrigerator or freezer.
  3. Make the cake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
  4. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and milk until very well combined. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula.
  5. Arrange the apple slices evenly over the batter. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the apples. Bake in the center of oven, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 40-50 minutes*. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake and remove the springform ring. Cool completely before serving. Dust with powdered sugar if desired before serving.
Powdered sugar is not something something I normally use. But a light dusting of it gives the cake a pretty finish and I only used about 1 teaspoon total on the whole cake.
* I had someone tell me her cake was done at the 35 minute mark. Always check baked goods early, especially if your oven runs hot. Do not use convection here unless you drop the temp to 350 degrees.


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  1. To make this gluten free – what is the ratio for the crumble of GF oat flour and Jovial GF flour?

    • I would use half GF oat flour and half GF flour blend. For the GF flour blend, I don’t think Jovial makes one anymore. I use King Arthur and Bob’s Red Mill one-to-one with success.

  2. Hi! Just baked this for the family, but I really struggled with the done ness throughout. The bottom was over cooked but the middle top (right below the apples) was raw. I kept adding time in the oven but finally took it out bc I could tell the bottom was already over cooked. I am an experienced cook and baker and usually get things right. Any advice?

    • I’m sorry you had trouble. Did you use the right size pan? A pan that is too small, even by an inch, would affect the result. Where did you position the cake in the oven? I have had experiences with some ovens where the bottom rack is too hot. I always use the middle for baking. Lastly, it is important to allow the cake to cool completely before serving. I hope these help troubleshoot the recipe for you.

  3. Hi Pamela! If I wanted to make this cake with good old white AP flour can I keep all the flour measurements the same?

  4. This looks wonderful! For the Einkorn flour from Jovial – do you typically use the all-purpose einkorn or the whole wheat variety?

    • It depends on the recipe. I often use a mix of both, but it really depends on the actual recipe.

  5. Just wondering how to store overnight to bring to someone’s house tomorrow? THANK YOU!

    • Room temp covered with plastic wrap. Make sure it is completely cool before you cover.

  6. Hi Pamela,

    I’ve been substituting einkorn flour in many of my recipes one to one but found that in a pizza dough recipe it was very dense and heavy. Is there a particular kind of jovial you recommend specifically for baking?

    • Interesting! I haven’t used einkorn in pizza dough but I use the Jovial Foods white einkorn flour one-to-one and the whole wheat einkorn is more like 7/8 cup to 1 cup of regular flour. You can also search the Jovial Foods website and check out their recipes to get an idea of proportions.

      • Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly. Which einkorn do you recommend for he apple cake?

        • the white one!

  7. Would this work as muffins? What changes would I need to make? Thanks!

  8. Can’t wait to make this looks so delicious.. I have the Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour and I assumed I could substitute it without any problem for anything that needs flour??? You’re saying we need to add the xanthan gum whenever I’m using it instead of flour for baking?

    • Since I have never used Cup 4 Cup GF flour, I cannot tell you how it would work in this recipe. I know many people have success with it, but I can’t say for sure what the results would be here. Let me know if you try it though!

  9. Hello!

    Any suggestions for egg free?

    • I’m wondering the same thing. I usually use flax eggs but they don’t always yield the same moisture as an egg would.
      I am salivating over this recipe by the way!

      • Sorry, I just didn’t have the time to test the recipe with an egg substitute. Flax eggs and aquafaba are usually good subs for eggs in small amounts, so I would assume either would work here, but I can’t make any guarantees.

    • Wondering if flax eggs would work?

      • I can only wonder as well since I haven’t tried them here. That should work, but I don’t know for sure.

    • I would try flax eggs or aquafaba (try 6 TBS) stabilized with 1/4 tsp cream of tartar. No idea what the results would be since I haven’t tried either.

    • I just made it with chia eggs (2 tbsp ground chia w 6 Tbsp water) and it worked great. Note: I used Thrive Market’s paleo flour blend, no xanthan and I used 1/2 Cup honey + 1/4 Cup sugar instead of the 3/4 cup sugar in the batter (wanted to add honey for Rosh Hashanah). It was delicious and great texture.

  10. Morning Pamela!
    This cake looks delish.
    I have a huge bag of spelt flour and would love to use
    It for this cake?
    Thank you for the recipe.

    • Go for it!

  11. Can this cake freeze well?

    • I am assuming yes because I have frozen similar cakes, but I have not tried freezing this cake so I can’t tell you for sure.

    • Did you freeze? I am curious if it worked out?

  12. Is it possible to substitute almond flour?

    • Unfortunately you cannot sub almond flour one-for-one with a grain flour. If you need a grain-free cake, I would find a good basic grain-free cake recipe and add the same spices. Then you could swap half almond flour and half starchy flour (like arrowroot or cassava) for the flour in the crumble. It won’t be exactly the same, but good enough. You might take a look at my grain-free lemon poppyseed muffin recipe and turn that into a cake (omit poppyseeds and lemon zest.)

  13. Would it be possible to convert this to an 8 by 8 or 8 by 10 pan as a snack crumb cake? Thanks!

    • Area of a 9-inch round cake pan is 63.6 sq, inches. Area of an 8 x 8 is 64 sq. inches, so that would be basically identical. An 8 x 10 is 80 sq inches which would also work and make a slightly thinner cake which would cook in a little less time. But I think that would be great since the cake is thick. Line the cake pans with parchment that goes high enough up two of the sides so you can pull the cake out with ease and not have to invert it out of the pan and lose any topping. 🙂

  14. Hi whats is the xanthane for? Can it be nade with out it. Where I live im not a le to find it.
    Thanks for the recepie looks delicious.

    • The xanthan gum is ONLY if you use GF (ie gluten free) flour. You need it to provide structure and elasticity. If you use a wheat flour or any flour with gluten, you do not need xanthan gum.

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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