Yield: 9″ chai apple crumb cake // Total Time: 1 hr. 15 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.
Light and buttery coffee cake, chai spiced apples and a buttery chai streusel.
Chai Apple Crumb Cake
This chai apple crumb cake is the perfect transition into fall baking. Light, buttery & moist cake get’s topped with chai spiced sliced apples, and is finished off with a simple chai streusel. This cake is a perfect and easy treat for sharing that is sure to be a hit.
Chai apple crumb cake recipe tips
Weigh your ingredients
Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient which can lead to the recipe not turning out properly. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale. This one is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out!
Mix the batter carefully
It is super important to not overmix the cake batter or you end up with a tough and chewy cake rather than a light and moist cake. When alternating between adding the wet and dry ingredients, be sure to only mix just until the ingredient is fully combined and no more.
Room temperature ingredients
It is important for the ingredients to be at room temperature so that they properly incorporate with each other. If you have ever had your batter look curdled, it is most likely due to the ingredients separating from being at different temperatures. Take out the egg and buttermilk at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hr 30 min. before starting the recipe OR follow these methods for room temperature ingredients FAST:
- Fast room temperature eggs. Place the egg in a bowl in the sink and continuously run hot water over it for one minute. And there you go – one room temperature egg! Alternatively (and less waste-fully) fill a bowl with warm water and let the egg sit in it for 5 minutes.
- Fast room temperature buttermilk. Microwave the buttermilk in 5 second intervals until it is no longer cold (but not hot!). And there you go – fast and easy room temperature buttermilk!
- Fast room temperature butter. Slice the butter into 1 tbsp. slices and place them flat on a plate. Microwave in 5 second intervals, until you can easily push into the butter.
Keep an eye on the cake!
Baked goods love to go from underbaked to overbaked in what seems like a split second. Start checking at the cake with a toothpick around 40 minutes. The cake is done when only a few moist crumbs stick to the toothpick.
Ingredients and substitutions
For the chai apples:
Apples: use your favorite baking apple here! I used pink lady (since they are typically the least expensive!) but you can use fuji, gala, jonathan, granny smith, honey gold, or braeburn!
Chai spice: for flavor! It can be found in stores or online. If you are interested in making your own at home, I will have a little recipe listed later in this blog post!
For the chai streusel:
Unsalted butter: the base of the streusel, really what makes it buttery and delicious. You can use salted butter here as well!
Light brown sugar: sweetens and adds flavor to the streusel. In a pinch granulated sugar will work here as well.
All purpose flour: adds structure to the streusel.
Chai spice: for flavor!
For the butter cake:
All purpose flour: the structure of the cake. I would not recommend using cake flour as the cake is already super fluffy and tender using the all purpose.
Baking powder: for helping the cake rise.
Salt: for balancing and bringing out the sweetness of the cake.
Unsalted butter: for tenderizing the cake and giving it that classic buttery taste. You can substitute in salted butter, just omit the extra salt from the recipe.
Granulated sugar: for sweetening the cake and keeping it moist. The sugar also helps aerate the butter to give this cake it’s rise and keep it light and fluffy.
Eggs: for moisture, structure, and binding the batter together.
Vanilla: I use and love this vanilla extract. We will use some vanilla in the bundt, and some in the glaze.
Buttermilk: for tenderizing the cake and adding moisture. I highly recommend using buttermilk but I know it can be hard or annoying to purchase, especially if you don’t plan on using it for anything else. It won’t be completely the same, but you can make a homemade buttermilk substitute. For this recipe, simply combine 5g of lemon juice or vinegar with 145g of whole milk and use as normal.
For the chai glaze:
Powdered sugar: the base of the glaze.
Macerated chai apple juice: When you mix together the apples, sugar, and chai spice and let it sit at the start of the recipe, the apples are being macerated and will release some juices. Keep those juices behind and use them for the glaze!
How to make chai apple crumb cake
1. Make the chai apples. Wash, peel, and thinly slice the apples. Place them in a bowl and coat with the brown sugar and chai spice, being sure that each apple has some spice on it. My favorite way to do this is shake the bowl!
2. Make the streusel. In a medium sized bowl, melt the butter. Add in the flour, sugar, and chai spice. Use a fork to mix the ingredients together until you have formed little clumps of dough.
3. Cream the butter and sugar. In a medium sized mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined.
4. Alternate wet and dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter, and mix just until no flour streaks remain. Then, add in all of the buttermilk, then mix until combined. Add in the remaining flour, gently stirring just until no flour streaks remain.
5. Bake. Pour the batter into a prepared cake pan, smoothing off the top. Place the apples on top of the batter, being sure to leave the juice behind in the bowl. Keep this juice for the glaze! Top the apples off with the streusel, then bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
6. Glaze, serve and enjoy! Make a glaze with powdered sugar and the remaining chai apple juice. Once the cake has cooled to room temperature, drizzle the glaze on top of it. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Make your own chai spice
If you are interested in making your own chai spice, here is what I used for this recipe! This will make enough for 1 tbsp. Half of it will be used in the chai apples, and half will be used in the chai streusel.
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. each of the following: ground allspice, ground cardamom, ground cloves, ground ginger
Chai Apple Crumb Cake Q & A
Can I double this chai apple crumb cake?
Definitely! Simply double all of the ingredients in this crumb cake then split evenly between two 9″ cake pans.
How to store chai apple crumb cake
Like most baked goods, this cake will taste best served on the day it is baked. However, it can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale, and here’s an article about why I use a kitchen scale, and why you should too!
A note on oven temperature
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature. For example, I always have to set my oven to 330°F if I want it to bake at 350°F. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you! I use this one.
Tools and Ingredients
9″ cake pan: I have never had a cake not come out perfectly from this pan, I love it!
Vanilla: I love using Rodelle vanilla extract. Not only is it a great quality product, but it’s on the lower end of the price that vanilla can be! This is the one I use.
Kitchen scale: This is the kitchen scale I use every time I bake, I love it!
For a full list of tools, equipment and ingredients that I use and love, you can check out this page here.
Did you make this chai apple crumb cake?
If you made this chai apple crumb cake I would love to see it and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
Chai Apple Crumb Cake
- 200 g apples (~2 medium apples) peeled & thinly sliced
- 40 g light brown sugar (3 tbsp.)
- 1 ½ tsp. chai spice
- 60 g unsalted butter (¼ c.)
- 90 g light brown sugar (⅓ c. + 1 tbsp.)
- 120 g all purpose flour (1 c.)
- 1 ½ tsp. chai spice
- 190 g all purpose flour (1 ½ c. + 1 tbsp.)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 125 g unsalted butter (½ c. + 1 tbsp.) room temperature
- 170 g granulated sugar (¾ c. + 2 tbsp.)
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 150 g buttermilk (⅔ c.) room temperature
Chai Glaze (optional)
- 90 g powdered sugar
- 1-2 tbsp. macerated chai apple juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Generously butter a 9" cake pan. Crumple up some parchment paper, then un-crumple it and place it into the buttered cake pan, making sure it sticks to the bottom and sides. Set aside.
- Wash, peel, and thinly slice the apples. Mix the apples with the brown sugar and chai spice well, making sure the mixture is evenly dispersed throughout each apple slice. Set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, melt the butter. To the butter, add the sugar, flour, and chai spice. Use a fork to mix the ingredients together until you have formed clumps of dough. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer, in a large bowl) beat together the butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in both eggs and the vanilla. Beat until well combined (~1 min.)
- Add in half of the flour mixture, and mix by hand just until the flour is incorporated. Add in all of the buttermilk and mix until combined. Add in the rest of the flour, and lightly fold the mixture together just until all of the flour is incorporated.
- Pour the butter cake batter into the prepared cake pan, smoothing out the top. Place the apples on top of the batter, making sure to leave out the juice from the apples. (Keep the leftover juice if you plan on making the glaze!) Top the apples on the cake with the streusel.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs. Let the cake cool in the pan until no longer too hot to touch, then use the parchment to lift the cake out of the pan.
Chai Glaze (optional)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and leftover juice from the apples. If the mixture is too thick, add some more juice, or milk if none is left. If the mixture is too thin, add more powdered sugar.
- Once the cake has cooled to room temperature, drizzle the glaze over the top. Serve and enjoy!