This Applesauce Coffee Cake includes applesauce and sour cream to keep it super-moist. The applesauce also adds sweetness and richness to the cake. And a classic spicy streusel runs through the center and top of the cake.
The words coffee cake make you think of breakfast – a nice slice of cinnamon-y, moist cake paired with a piping hot cup of coffee – right? Of course, it should, but I also like to think of coffee cake as an any-time-of-day snack cake. It satisfies the mid-afternoon cravings and the post-dinner sweet tooth.
Coffee cake is awesome in that it has a variety of flavors and textures that work harmoniously together. And because of that, I opted to cut back on some of the sugar and fats (eggs & butter), to let all of the flavors shine without an overwhelming taste of just sugar. I didn’t completely omit the sugar and fats (because well, I love them), but I did swap in some applesauce which is also a great swap because it adds to the moistness of the cake. Add in some sour cream and you’ve got yourself a super-moist flavor-bomb of a snack cake.
The best coffee cake I have ever had has been from my Grandma’s oven, and the thought of a nice homemade cake vs. the cloyingly sweet, chewy and sometimes dry store bought makes me look forward to breakfast! This is a relatively easy recipe to whip up for brunch and the benefit is you have leftovers to pick at the rest of the week.
Homemade is also best because you can add and refine the recipe as you see fit. You can adjust the amount of cinnamon filling in the middle of the cake and swap in any kind of nut or seasoning that meets your taste. I personally prefer a thinner layer of cinnamon filling in the cake because I like to taste lots of cake. I also lean a bit more traditional so I stick with cinnamon and pecans for the streusel but you could refine this with allspice, a pinch of ground cloves (or think Thanksgiving and some plain ‘ol pumpkin pie spice), orange zest, toffee bits, or even adding some lemon zest to the cake batter.
The cake also has the versatility to be baked in any shape. I chose a 9in x 13in pan for this recipe, but you can also use a round cake pan or tube pan – keep in mind with a deeper baking pan like the tube pan, you will want to adjust your cooking time to make sure it cooks all the way through. When you are making the cake, it may seem like there is no way there is going to be enough batter to fill the pan, but have no fear, it will rise up like a good cake should.
The only problem with this coffee cake – the Husband has witnessed how easy it is to make and has requested every weekend since. At least no baked good is going to waste in this house! 🙂
Applesauce Coffee Cake
- 1 and 1/2 cups sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
For streusel topping
- In the working bowl of a food processor, add the flour, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and cinnamon. Process on low speed until combined – about 15 seconds. Transfer 1 and 1/4 cups of the flour mixture to a small bowl and stir in the remaining brown sugar – set aside. This will be part of the cake filling.
- Back in the food processor bowl, add the pecans and butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal – about 10 pulses. Set aside. This will be the streusel topping.
For the cake
- Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 350o degrees. Make a foil sling for a 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan – folding the foil as needed to fit the short and long side of the pan with enough foil to hang over the sides of the pan. Push the foil into the corners of the pan and up the sides, making sure the foil is smooth and flush against the pan. Lightly grease the foil.
- In a medium bowl, whisk 1 cup of the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until smooth and combined.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the mixing bowl and mix on low speed until combined. Add the butter and remaining sour cream and mix until the dry ingredients are moistened with a few large butter pieces remaining – about 1-2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and beat until batter comes together – about 10 seconds – scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the egg mixture in 3 additions, beating for 20 seconds and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the applesauce with the last addition of egg mixture. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the batter is light and fluffy – about 1 minute.
- Pour 2 cups of the batter into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the streusel filling (the mixture without the nuts) evenly over the top of the batter. Pour the remaining batter on next – spreading carefully with the rubber spatula, and top the batter with the remaining streusel filling. Finally, sprinkle the streusel topping on top.
- Bake until the cake feels firm and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean (with a few crumbs) – about 30-40 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Lift the cake out of the pan using the edges of the foil, and let cool on the wire rack for at least 30 minutes.
- The cake can be stored in a covered cake dish or wrapped in foil at room temperature for up to 5 days.