Apple Coffee Cake

Nothing is more American than apple pie… well okay, maybe baseball. Just as American is quick apple coffee cake!

overhead of apple coffee cake made with crescent rolls


Apple Coffee Cake is an easy cake that uses crescent rolls and fresh apple slices with butter, cinnamon and nutmeg. Top it off with salted caramel sauce for a decadent treat that offers a centerpiece worthy presentation. Perfect for apple season.

What is Apple Coffee Cake?

This cake lingers between pie, cake, pastry or even Amish apple dumplings. Instead of using classic, crumbly pie crust, I used buttery, flaky refrigerated crescent rolls and instead of apple filling, fresh cut apples.

angle shot of apple coffee cake with fresh apples

I’ve seen (and made) Apple Poke Cake and even apple dump cake, but this version remains my favorite due to its uniqueness. And what makes it a coffee cake? Well, any cake served with coffee is obviously a coffee cake. A great recipe for bake sales and entertaining guests for brunch or special breakfast.

Best Apples for Baking

I prefer Red Delicious because they bake well and I love the color, but you can use another more tart apples, like Granny Smith. Or use a combination for sophsiticated flavor and texture.

Other great baking apples include:

  • Granny Smith Apples
  • Honeycrisp Apples
  • Golden Delicious
  • Rome
  • Jonathan or Jonagold Apples
  • Braeburn
  • Northern Spy
  • Gala Apples
slice of easy apple cake with caramel drizzle


The nature of this apple cake is ease, so the ingredient list is also fairly short. Most coffee cakes use wet ingredients and a batter, ours uses premade dough. No need for a crumb topping with a velvety sauce that keeps the cake moist.

  • Refrigerated crescent dough– Buttery and delicious, it is the ultimate shortcut for this type of recipe.
  • Fresh apples– I used red delicious, use a variety or your favorite flavor. Amplify the apple-ness by using 3 apples. Core them and slice super thin and uniformly so they cook evenly. A mandoline slicer is a good way to do this. If you have small apples, use 4-5.
  • Brown sugar- A touch of molasses is welcome in this dish. Light or dark brown sugar work fabulously.
  • Lemon Juice– A double whammy, the acidic properties of citrus prevent apples from browning, but also balance the sweetness.
  • Ground Cinnamon & Nutmeg- The ultimate duo in terms of warm spices, they complement each other, but you are free to use one or the other if you don’t have both on hand.
  • Caramel Sauce– We made a homemade batch because I like a lot of salt, but store bought caramel is also good. For more variations use a Bourbon Caramel Sauce , Pecan Caramel Sauce , Dutch honey or pure maple syrup. And if caramel just isn’t your thing, Powdered Sugar Glaze and candied walnuts are amazing too.
  • Fleur de Sel– And crunchy little textured dessert salt. This is optional, but highly recommended for nearly any dessert lover who likes sweet and salty. It also helps balance any sweet cake.
crust of apple cake with caramel running down the sides

If you are looking for a German style apple cake, omit the caramel sauce and top with a dollop of sour cream. Or add your own streusel topping.

How to Make It

The beauty of this quick coffee cake is in the gentle rippled texture resulting from the lack of uniform pieces of crescent dough and apple slices.

Those ribbons of buttery goodness don’t need to be packed in tight. In fact, it will cook more evenly when it is loosely put together, allowing the dough to fill out the spaces, so don’t aim for perfection.

  1. Preheat the oven and line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment. Coat the parchment with cooking spray. The nature of this cake is sticky, so as much as you can do to prevent it from coming apart is best.
  2. Toss the fresh apple slices with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice in a large bowl until fully coated. Some folks like to use a tablespoon of melted butter, but I don’t find it necessary.
fresh apple slices tossed with brown sugar and cinnamon in a glass bowl
  1. Line the exterior of your prepared baking dish with crescent dough, pinching the edges together and pressing into the sides of the pan to stick. Then press a layer of apple slices into crescent dough, followed by another lining of crescent dough and so on. Do not worry about making it all pack tightly, in fact leaving a little room for expansion is a good idea to ensure the dough cooks all the way through.
step by step images of how to make an apple coffee cake
  1. Bake the cake until the top is golden brown.
  2. Remove and allow to cool. Carefully remove from springform pan to serving platter.
  3. Drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with fleur de sel. I like to serve mine ala mode with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Serve with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

What if I don’t have a springform pan? You can use a regular pie plate. I would suggest a deep dish pie plate. There will be no need to use parchment paper because you won’t pop it out. Just serve it straight from the dish with a cake server. Do not make this in a bundt pan, it will not cook through.

Make Ahead & Storage 

Can I make apple coffee cake ahead of time? You can certianly make the apple cake in advance, but wait to top it with salted caramel sauce until you are ready to serve. I prefer mine warm, so you can even heat it just a little in the oven before serving.

Keep it in the springform pan until ready to serve as well. The parchment paper should help it easily come free. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap at room temperature.

Can I freeze apple cake? You sure can! I freeze mine in single slices in airtight plastic bags so I can indulge in just a slice whenever I’d like.

easy apple coffee cake recipe for pinterest

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close up slice of apple coffee cake with caramel sauce
overhead of apple coffee cake

Apple Coffee Cake Recipe

5 from 6 votes
The Apple Coffee Cake recipe uses crescent dough for fun ribbons of buttery pastry with tender apples, a caramel sauce and crunch of salt.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 12 slices



  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut pieces of parchment paper to line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Coat the parchment with cooking spray.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, toss the cut apple slices with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice. Coat well.
  • Break refrigerated crescent dough into serrated triangles. Line the exterior of your springform pan with triangles, matching up edges and pressing into the sides to hold. Then press a layer of apple slices into crescent dough, followed by another lining of crescent dough. Repeat layers of crescent dough and apples until you have filled the whole pan. Do not worry about making it all pack tightly, in fact leaving a little room for expansion is a good idea to ensure the dough cooks all the way through.
  • Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  • Remove and allow to cool. Carefully remove from springform pan to serving platter.
  • When ready to serve, drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with fleur de sel.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.


Calories: 285 kcal, Carbohydrates: 45 g, Protein: 2 g, Fat: 12 g, Saturated Fat: 5 g, Sodium: 449 mg, Potassium: 56 mg, Sugar: 26 g, Vitamin A: 15 IU, Vitamin C: 2.4 mg, Calcium: 20 mg, Iron: 0.9 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 285
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: quick apple cake
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
step by step image of how to make a caramel apple cake
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and food lover behind Savory Experiments. She is obsessed with butter, salt and bacon and spends all her time in the kitchen and behind a camera. Jessica is a contributor to PopKitchen by Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal Food + Travel and more!

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Recipe Rating

Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Using pre-made crescent dough for this coffee cake was such a great idea!! It made the whole cake-making process so much faster and tasted amazing!

  2. 5 stars
    Don’t use the apples sparingly, the more the better. Made this for Saturday breakfast and it was devoured before noon. The smell while it cooks………….delicious.

  3. 5 stars
    This cake was amazing, we loved the delectable sauce and the crunch of the salt! Your shortcut of using refrigerated crescent dough is genius!

  4. 5 stars
    This was so moist and flavorful! It couldn’t have been easier, too! Thank you for another great one. 🙂