Apple-Ginger Coffee Cake


Lots of cakes get the label, coffee cake. But what exactly is a coffee cake? I got out my dictionary for this one. Yes, I really did. I like to keep my facts straight.
The long of it:
A variety of cakes intended to be served with coffee or for similar breaks and snacks. Under this definition, a coffee cake does not need to contain coffee. They are typically single layer cakes that may be square or rectangular like a Stollen. Coffee cakes are typically flavored with cinnamon, nuts, and fruits. These cakes sometimes have a crumbly or crumb topping called streusel and/or a light glaze drizzle. Some similarity to teacakes may be found, though teacakes are often smaller individual items served with tea.
The short of it:
Coffee cake is total validation for the overly guilty type who enjoy eating dessert for breakfast.

I, however, didn’t feel any guilt having a piece of this cake with my morning coffee nor did I feel guilty later in the afternoon when I had another piece with a cup of tea as I worked at the computer.
So there. It’s the kind of cake you keep coming back to for one more little bite. It’s moist (I hate that word), super flavorful from the candied ginger and dried spices, and has great texture from the diced apple and toasted oatmeal on top. Off the record, I think the streusel topping would be delicious made with chopped pecans or walnuts in lieu of the oatmeal. So feel free to play around with the recipe. An obvious choice to serve at a brunch or breakfast, I think this would be amazing served as a dessert topped with some cinnamon or maple ice cream. I don’t think you can go wrong either way.

Here’s to cake for breakfast!


Apple-Ginger Coffee Cake


This high altitude recipe for coffee cake is studded with fresh apple and crystalized ginger. It’s oatmeal streusel topping makes for a unique and delicious cake to be enjoyed all throughout the day!


Streusel Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats

Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour & 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch fresh ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons crystalized ginger
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, & coarsely chopped


  1. Heat the oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Butter a 9 x 13 glass baking dish; set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, make the streusel: combine the brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, flour, and butter with your fingers until crumbly. Stir in the oats; set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Stir in the crystallized ginger and set aside.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugars and beat until very light. Add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time, beating each one in well before adding the next.
  7. Alternately stir in the flour and the buttermilk, until the batter is just mixed, taking care not to over mix. Gently stir in the chopped apple.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with reserved streusel.
  9. Bake about 40 to 45 minutes or until the top of the cake is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  10. Remove from oven and place cake of wire rack to cool.
  11. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.