Easy Apple Coffee Cake
Easy apple coffee cake made with yellow cake mix, fresh apples and lots of cinnamon sugar swirled in. This easy apple cinnamon cake will become your favorite fall cake and your house will smell like Cinnabon!
Apple Coffee Cake overview
- starts with a box of yellow cake mix
- bake in a 9×13 inch pan
- has chopped apples inside
- will make your house smell like fall!
I was initially concerned that I couldn’t call this a “coffee cake.” But google says that a coffee cake is a cake, often cinnamon flavored, with drizzled white icing – this cake definitely fits that description!
There are so many names you could call this cake – doctored up apple cinnamon cake, easy apple cinnamon crumb cake, apple coffee cake.
So let’s break it down.
- apples, diced into small pieces
- brown sugar
- sour cream
- vegetable oil
- vanilla extract
- yellow cake mix (can use a gluten free mix!)
How To Make Cake Mix Coffee Cake
- Follow the detailed instructions below, but essentially make the cake batter, mix in the chopped apples, and pour batter into a 9×13 inch pan.
- Then swirl in the brown sugar cinnamon mixture on top of the cake. Bake and let your house smell like cinnabon!
- Once the cake is done baking, drizzle the glaze over the cake.
This is for sure the easiest way to make apple coffee cake!
Make Ahead of Time
You can make this apple coffee cake with sour cream the day before you serve it and store it on the counter in an airtight container. However, I recommend waiting to add the glaze until the day of, otherwise the glaze can make the cake soggy.
Does Apple Cinnamon Cake Need To Be Refrigerated?
No. The cake can be kept on the counter in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
What Can I use In Place Of a Box of Yellow Cake Mix?
You can replace the 15.25 oz box of yellow cake mix with another 15.25 oz cake mix. Other flavors I recommend are white, butter golden, spice, and french vanilla!
Gluten Free Apple Coffee Cake
I tested this recipe with a gluten free yellow cake mix and it turned out SO good!
- Be sure to dice the apples into small pieces so they soften during baking. If the apple pieces are too large, they won’t become fully soft.
- Don’t be afraid to really swirl in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Use a butter knife or small spatula.
- Recommended apples include: granny smith, honey crisp, or gala.
Want Cream Cheese Icing Instead?
Beat 4 oz softened cream cheese with 2 cups powdered sugar and 1/4 cup milk until thick. If too thick, beat in more milk (1 tsp at a time).
More Apple Cinnamon Recipes
Easy Apple Coffee Cake
- 2 apples, diced into small pieces (I recommend granny smith, honey crisp, or gala)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp cinnamon
- 1 cup sour cream
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 box yellow cake mix, 15.25 oz (can use a gluten free mix!)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tbsp milk or more in needed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350º F. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Dice the apples into small pieces. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon, mix with a spoon to combine. Remove 3 tbsp and sprinkle over the apples. Set aside the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture. And set aside the apples.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract, beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute or until combined. Add in the cake mix, gently mixing with the beater. Add in the apples and mix by hand until incorporated. Pour the cake mixture into the 9x13 inch pan, smooth with a spatula.
- Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture all over the cake. Use a butter knife or spatula to swirl this mixture into the cake batter.
- Bake for 32-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool while you make the glaze.
- In a mixing bowl combine the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Use a whisk to stir the mixture until it’s smooth.
- YOUR CHOICE: pour the glaze over the warm cake or let the cake cool completely then add the glaze. Serve right away or cover the cake pan with a lid and store on the counter until serving.
- can I make the cake ahead of time / does it need to be refrigerated
- what to use in place of a yellow cake mix
- cream cheese frosting recipe
For the cream cheese recipe, is it supposed to be 1/4 cup milk?
Hi Liz! Yes! Thanks for catching that! I’ll update it to read 1/4 not 14 ?
Are you sprinkling the 3 tablespoons over the apples or the rest of the mixture after you remove 3 tablespoons?
You sprinkle the 3 tablespoons that you remove over the apples. The rest of the mixture gets swirled on top of the cake in step 5!
I would like to make the gluten free version of the apple cinnamon cake but it calls for sour and I also have to be dairy free, so what can I substitute?
Love your blog, a lot of good recipes.
Hi Cecelia! I don’t have a lot of experience with dairy free baking. I would recommend using a dairy free sour cream substitute or a dairy free plain yogurt.
I have turned into a lazy critter recently. I just don’t have the time to bake like I would like. This recipe is terrific answer to coffee cake. I have all the ingredients in the pantry. On Wed. our coffee meeting will have coffee cake!.This is fast an easy yet meets ALL the requirements of a coffee cake . Thanks for the brilliant idea! The people at my Senior Comlex will love this!!!!
Aw, you are very welcome Barbara!
I’m making this today (for work tomorrow) with a Butter Golden cake mix. I’m wondering how it would taste with a spice cake mix?
I would think a spice cake mix would be so delicious!
Do you have to use Sour Cream? Can you you replace it with pudding or cream cheese?
Hi April! I haven’t tried this recipe with pudding or cream cheese – let me know how it turns out if you do!
Can you use a sugar free cake mix? You stated gluten free!
Hi Nancy! I haven’t tried this recipe with a sugar free cake mix myself.
I just made this with a Pillsbury sugar-free yellow cake mix along with the Truvia Brown Sugae blend and it came out great. The cake is fluffy and not too sweet. I added a teaspoon of nutmeg to the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture and did not put on a glaze; topping with sugar-free Coo Whip instead. **** thumbs up!
Is it possible to bake this cake in a bundt pan?
That sounds delicious!! I haven’t tried it myself yet.
I don’t know if you’ve made it in a Bundt yet or not but I did today! I have 2 smaller Bundt pans so I separated the batter into the 2 turned out great! Only thing I’m going to note when I write the recipe down if I do it in a Bundt pan again to do a cinnamon/sugar layer halfway through because the bottom of it didn’t have any but it was very yummy!!!
Erica, it is amazing if you split the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture with half going into the pan first, then 1/2 -3/4 of the cake mix, add the rest of the cinnamon/brown and swirl, then add the rest of the cake mix. When you de pan the Bundt onto your serving plate, you get a gooey glaze on the top… then drizzle cream cheese glaze over the top and you have a stunning and delicious cake that pairs perfectly with coffee!
Do you need an electric mixer or could you mix everything by hand? Thanks in advance :)
Hi Lily! I recommend an electric hand mixer if possible! You can mix it by hand, but it will take longer.
I mixed it all by hand it it tasted delicious!
Your recipes are Fantastic!! The cake is moist, very moist. Keep up your sharing with us. Thanx.
Thank you so much for your kind comment Mary!
Made this cake tonight for my boyfriend’s birthday. Used 3 apples instead of 2 (needed to use them up) and also used 1/2 cup whole-fat plain yogurt and half cup sour cream. I went with Pillsbury’s traditional yellow cake mix since it’s what I had on hand. Wound up taking several minutes longer in the oven to cook through, but it tasted great. :) Also went with a simple caramel glaze instead, which paired nicely.
Can I add more apples to the recipe?
The very best moist cake we have ever eaten. So easy. I commend you. Have made your apple cake several times–love it. Have made your cake recipe without apples and added half can of drained crushed pineapple to mixture. Wow!
Thanks for sharing the apple coffe cake recipe.I will try to make this at home
Yay! Let me know how it turns out!
Can you put chopped walnuts into the batter?
Definitely, that sounds delicious!
I’m thinking of using this recipe. Can I use nuts in it? Have you tried it with chopped walnuts?
Nuts would be a great addition!
I’m going to make this today bu forgot to get powdered sugar, will it be too dry without it?
Hi Heide! Powdered sugar is a critical ingredient for the glaze – but you could skip the glaze and the cake will still be delicious!
You can blend regular sugar in a blender and it will turn into powdered sugar
Hi! I actually changed this recipe up today and instead of apples, I used a can of whole cranberry sauce and swirled it in along with the cinnamon mix. It was so delicious and moist. I’ve received so many compliments already and was told it tasted like a bakery made it! Thank you for such a great, versatile recipe. Definitely will make this again!
If you use a Bundt pan, how long should it bake?
I don’t have fresh apples. Can I use a can of apple pie filling? And do I need to make other changes to the recipe because of canned apple pie filling?
I think apple pie filling would work great! Report back if you make it with pie filling.
Can you freeze this? Thank you
Hi Kim! I haven’t tried freezing the entire pan myself. Sally has a great post about freezing cake: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/how-to-freeze-cakes/
92. Year old man with no baking experience easily makes this coffee cake. Excellent without topping.
Richard, this made my day!!
I love this!! keep on baking!!
This is fabulous! I didn’t have sourcream so substituted 1/2 cup yogurt and 1/2 cup ricotta. Yummie!
Coffee and apples are my son’s two favorite things and yesterday was his birthday. I baked this mesmerizing cake for him and must say he was really surprised seeing it and he loved it. All thanks to you for sharing this recipe.
Can you use applesauce in place of oil?
Hi Jeanette, I haven’t tried that substitution myself, so I can’t give an accurate answer!
Applesauce is a great substitute for oil. I used it and was so happy I did!
Followed the cake recipe exactly and it came out delicious. I used the Betty Crocker yellow cake mix. Didn’t make the glaze, its awesome as is.
Thank you for this delicious recipe. Definitely going into my permanent folder.
Making this for game night with 2 other couples. As my husband is diabetic, I used no sugar added cake mix, and Splenda-blend brown sugar. Added chopped pecans.
Hi Paula, I made this without brown sugar and it still turned out delicious.
I coffee cake last night with Duncan Hines Butter Cake mix–it’s amazing!!
I did add a few chopped pecans to the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. We have 3 GALA apple trees on our farm so I used those. Will definitely be making this again-and soon
Just made this delicious looking cake and i have to say it was mouth watering but it got baked in about 20 minutes and i must say i was not disappointed with the final result. It amazed everyone in my family. Also added some white choco chips for an extra twist. Thanks for the amazing recipe.
This is one of THE best coffee cakes I’ve ever made and by far the easiest.
Delicious and easy! I just took mine out of the oven. (My house smells heavenly!) I followed the directions, but I added some sliced almonds to the mix. I am not glazing it. I will add a scoop of vanilla ice-cream or dollop of whip cream. I will share it at work tomorrow. Thanks.
Could I make these into cupcakes?
Hi Monica! I think they would turn out great as cupcakes! I would recommend following the baking time on the back of the cake box as a reference for the cupcakes!
Just made this and it smells amazing! Just wondering if I could refrigerate it until the day of (two days). I made it today before going back to work with preschoolers… figured I wouldn’t have the energy to bake after work tomorrow!
Hi Brooke! It might be a little extra moist by day 2, but I’m guessing it will still be delicious!
Can you use a Bundt cake pan?
Great, delicious cake! I used three small apples instead of two. Next time, I will not put the glaze on the cake. We found it too sweet. It’s sweet enough on its own. Thanks for the recipe!
I made the cake substituting the oil with applesauce and the sour cream with Greek yogurt. Turned out great, with fewer calories, lower fat and a boost of protein ! Yum. Would make again!
I used a spice cake and it turned out awesome! Just for me I like a little less brown sugar and cinnamon on top next time! But it is a wonderful recipe my husband loved it!
Can I make the batter the day before? And refrigerate it over night?
A friend brought me lots of apples, so this was a good chance to try this recipe. It came together beautifully and is absolutely delicious. The recipe is now in my tried and true file. Thank you.
I made the cake substituting the oil with applesauce and the sour cream with Greek yogurt.
This cake is delicious
Thank you so much for sharing the recipe for this Apple coffee cake. My Brother and I had a great time and the cake was just tasty!
The recipe calls for 1 1/2 TBSPS cinnamon. Then the instructions say to take out of the cinnamon brown sugar mixture, 3 TBSPS of the mix to sprinkle on the apples. I am having a hard time figuring out which is incorrect, the ingredients list? Should that be 3 tablespoons and then take out 1 1/2 half tablespoon for the apples or does the later 3 refer to teaspoons? Please advise.
Mix the 1 & 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon and the 1/2 cup brown sugar together in a bowl. Then measure out 3 tablespoons of that mixture and sprinkle the 3 tbsp over the apples. The remaining cinnamon/brown sugar mixture is then incorporated into the cake.
Do I need to peel the apples?
Yes, I would recommend peeling them.
Loved it!! I had fresh apples that I just picked and an abundance of yellow cake mixes to use up. I did not have sour cream so I had to substitute Greek vanilla yogurt. Definitely a keeper. And yes my house smells amazing as well.
I’m thinking of trying this with a keto yellow cake mix and subbing vanilla low carb yogurt for the sour cream… any advice on that? Thank you!
Could I use canned apples instead of fresh? I have some on hand!
Hi Beth! Yes you can! The batter might come out a little more moist because of the canned apples, so it could possibly need a little extra baking time.
Mine is bread pudding density, instead of cake Is that how it is supposed to be?
This cake is delicious and so easy to make! Thank you
Would 3/4 c melted unsalted butter work in place of veg oil? OR I was thinking of 1/4 C veg oil & 1/2 C melted unsalted butter. Has anyone tried that?
I am Celiac been craving apple fritters. This is excellent! My man even loved it he keeps thanking me. Thank you so much for making same sunshine in a celiac’s life.
I added all the ingredients together as a mistake of not reading the recipe as a whole LOL! I had half cup of sour cream, vanilla yogurt, and 3 gala apples to use up which sparked this recipe search for something delicious. Definitely glad I found this! The kitchen smells amazing! I can’t wait to taste it. Thanks for the recipe. Next time I’ll make it into a true coffee cake 😅
Just made it and is delicious! Takes a little longer in a glass baking pan so I checked every 5 minutes after 30 minutes!
Easy and really good. Moist and not overly sweet. I didn’t even frost it. Just sprinkled a little powdered sugar on top.
Do you peel the apples first?
Nope, I didn’t!