This Apple Streusel Snack Cake is moist and flavorful; loaded with fresh apples, a streusel topping, and finished with a simple vanilla glaze. Every fall morning should be started this way!
Table of contents
Apple Streusel Snack Cake
This apple streusel snack cake starts with a brown sugar cake base (which is AMAZING) with little bits of grated apples hidden throughout. It's then topped with a cinnamon streusel topping AND vanilla glaze. Each and every bite is sheer perfection!
If you're craving a rich, perfectly spiced apple cake and love a good streusel topping, then this cake was made for you. It's one of the moistest cakes I have ever made and it tastes amazing.
Not only is this apple streusel snack cake ridiculously delicious, but it's also ridiculously easy to make. It’s one bowl (kinda) so if you can mix and stir and pour, you can make this cake!
Ingredients for Apple Streusel Snack Cake
This apple streusel snack cake doesn't require a ton of ingredients; here's what you'll need:
- Dark brown sugar: Using all dark brown sugar gives a nice caramely flavor to the cake.
- Oil: Any neutral tasting oil, like vegetable or canola, will work!
- Applesauce: For an extra boost of apple flavor! It also acts as our egg in this recipe.
- Milk: Whole milk is best, but you can use a low-fat or dairy-free alternative as well!
- Vanilla: I use vanilla extract for the cake and vanilla bean paste for the glaze, but you can use them interchangeably!
- All-purpose flour: I tested this cake with both all-purpose flour and cake flour and found that all-purpose consistently lead to the best results.
- Cinnamon: You've gotta add cinnamon to an apple dessert!
- Baking soda: For a little leavening action.
- Fine sea salt: Desserts without salt can taste a little plain, so don't forget it!
- Apples: Make sure you use a good baking apple; more on this in the FAQ section below!
- Butter: For our streusel topping.
- Powdered sugar: For our glaze!
How to Make Apple Streusel Snack Cake
This apple streusel snack cake couldn't be much easier to make, honestly! There are three main components: the apple cake, the streusel topping, and the vanilla glaze.
1. The Apple Cake
Honestly, this apple cake is delicious on its own without the streusel topping. It's jam-packed with apple and cinnamon flavors and just screams fall. The best part? It's a one-bowl recipe and SOOOO simple to make. Like seriously, if you can hold a whisk and spatula, you can make this cake!
To make the cake, you'll start by whisking together the brown sugar, vegetable oil, and applesauce until combined. Then you'll add in the milk and vanilla and, again, whisk until combined. (Feel free to replace the milk with a dairy-free alternative to make this cake vegan!) Once the wet ingredients are all together, you'll add in the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and apples and stir with a silicone spatula until everything is nice and combined. Then just pour the batter into your prepared baking pan and you're ready to make the streusel topping before sending it all off to the oven!
How to Cut Apples for Apple Cake
First off, let me just say there's really no right or wrong way to cut the apples for this particular apple streusel snack cake. It really comes down to personal preference (all the way down to whether you peel the apples or not); personally, I like to peel my apples, but feel free to leave it on if that's what you prefer! As far as cutting is concerned, I tested three different methods for this cake:
- Shredded: My personal favorite. After peeling the apples, I just use a box grater to shred them up into tiny pieces. This method causes the apples to sort of disappear into the cake; so you won't have pockets of apples but you'll still have all of that delicious apple flavor.
- Thinly sliced: This method is a little more involved but will give you tiny pockets of apples throughout the cake. You can either use a mandoline to slice the apples or slice them super thinly by hand. From there, I like to sort of give them a rough chop to create paper-thin bite-sized pieces. This is my second favorite way to cut the apples.
- Diced: The classic method. You'll get pockets of apples throughout the cake. Be sure to not leave the apple chunks too large or they'll want to sink to the bottom of the cake as it bakes.
2. The Streusel Topping
Ahhh, sweet and buttery streusel topping… You’ll need five ingredients for this crumb topping: brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, flour, and butter. (Feel free to replace the butter with vegan butter.)
To make the streusel topping, you simply just throw everything into a medium bowl and combine with a fork until the mixture is combined and forms little crumbs. Ta-da! Sweet, streusel topping that will bake up perfectly… try not to eat it all.
3. The Vanilla Glaze
The vanilla bean glaze drizzled on top really gives this cake its wow factor. And you only need 3 ingredients… could this BE any easier?! Simply whisk powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla bean paste together until smooth. A fork or mini whisk is helpful since the mixture is so small. Give it a taste and add a pinch of salt if desired. (I usually add a small pinch.) Then you're ready to drizzle as much as you want on top of your freshly baked snack cake!
Apple Streusel Snack Cake Recipe Troubleshooting & FAQ
APPLE STREUSEL SNACK CAKE: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What type of apples should I use?
Generally speaking, you want apples that will hold their shape and not become a mushy mess in the heat of an oven. These types of apples are typically referred to as “baking apples” and include varieties like Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, and Pink Lady. To add depth of flavor to your cake, try mixing a variety of baking apples. My favorite combination is Honeycrisp and Granny Smith!
Can I make this cake vegan/dairy-free?
Absolutely! Just replace the milk with dairy-free milk (almond is my favorite) and replace the butter in the streusel topping with vegan butter!
How long does this apple streusel snack cake last?
This apple streusel snack cake is best served the same day it is prepared, but it can be covered tightly and stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days!
Why is this recipe in grams?
I post my recipes in grams as it's the most accurate way to bake and it's how I develop them; cups are not only inaccurate but they vary in volume worldwide! In any event, if you look at the recipe card underneath the ingredients list, you can click "US Customary" and it'll convert to the less accurate volume measures ?
APPLE STREUSEL SNACK CAKE: TROUBLESHOOTING
Help! My cake is dry! What did I do wrong?
This cake is anything but dry! If yours turns out as such, you likely either added too much flour or you overbaked it! It could also be a combination of the two! For the best results, use a scale to make this recipe and keep a close eye on it in the oven!
Help! My cake sunk in the middle! What did I do wrong?
A little bit of sinking when cooling is natural, but if the cake completely sinks to the point where the edges of the cake are higher than the middle, then something went wrong! It's possible that you underbaked the cake and removed it from the oven before the middle got a chance to finish baking. Adding too much leavener could also cause the cake to rapid rise while baking and then collapse while cooling.
Apple Streusel Snack Cake
For the Apple Cake:
- 180 g dark brown sugar
- 40 g vegetable oil
- 30 g applesauce
- 130 g milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 170 g all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 180 g apples
For the Streusel Topping:
- 55 g dark brown sugar
- 30 g all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 30 g unsalted butter softened
For the Vanilla Glaze:
- 60 g powdered sugar
- 15 g milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and grease an 8x8-inch baking pan or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
To Make the Apple Cake:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the dark brown sugar, vegetable oil, and applesauce until combined. Add the milk and vanilla extract and whisk again until well combined.180 g dark brown sugar, 40 g vegetable oil, 30 g applesauce, 130 g milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Using a silicone spatula, stir in the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt until just combined.170 g all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Add the apples and stir until evenly incorporated. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and set aside.180 g apples
To Make the Streusel Topping:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dark brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt.55 g dark brown sugar, 30 g all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, pinch of salt
- Add the softened butter and, using a fork, mix until well combined and crumbles form. Sprinkle on top of batter in an even layer.30 g unsalted butter
- Bake the cake for 27-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and relatively crumb-free. Remove cake from oven and let cool while you make the vanilla glaze.
To Make the Vanilla Glaze:
- Add powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla to a small bowl and whisk until well combined and smooth. If the icing is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar; if it's too thick, add more milk. Drizzle glaze over warm cake and enjoy!60 g powdered sugar, 15 g milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
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