Greek Yogurt Apple Streusel Cake

I’m home for the holidays visiting my maternal family on the Central Coast of California. Before I left Los Angeles, I decided to bake a quick cake that I could take home with me (because when you’re a food blogger, people sort of expect you to come bearing food gifts!). I wanted to bake a moist loaf cake that would be easy to transport and last a couple of days without drying out. We had extra green apples in the kitchen which I wanted to use up, so my mind went to apple cake. Usually I use sour cream in my apple cakes, but lately I’ve taken to adding Greek yogurt to my cakes and quick breads. It adds moisture to the batter without a lot of unnecessary calories. It gave a lovely texture and flavor to this Apple Streusel Cake. I used lots of cinnamon and a little butter for added flavor. The resulting Greek Yogurt Apple Streusel Cake was a big hit at my maternal family’s Christmas  celebration. It’s the perfect easy cake to bring to a family gathering, or to serve at a brunch buffet. It goes great with a cup of hot tea or coffee– sort of like the apple version of a sour cream coffee cake, made with a lower calorie Greek yogurt batter. Try it, you’ll love it!

I haven’t had time for many posts this week, but I look forward to getting back in the swing of things next week. Hope you’re all having a great holiday!

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Greek Yogurt Apple Streusel Cake

Cake Ingredients

  • 3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled (about 1 lb apples)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups + 2 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3/4 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Dash of cloves
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • Nonstick cooking oil spray

Streusel Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • Pinch of salt

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp water, or more if needed
  • 1 tsp melted butter

You will also need

  • Electric mixer, large mixing bowl, medium mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, spatula, 2 medium loaf pans (8 ½ x 4 ½ inches each)
Total Time: 2 Hours
Servings: 16
Kosher Key: Dairy
  • Put peeled apples into a bowl of cold water mixed with lemon juice. Reserve. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Cut the butter into small chunks and place in a large mixing bowl along with 1 1/2 cups sugar. Use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and sugar for a few minutes. Make sure the butter is fully integrated into the sugar and the mixture turns into small, even-sized crumbs.
  • Add the eggs and oil to the bowl. Continue to mix until smooth.
  • Add the Greek yogurt, vanilla and almond extract to the bowl. Use a spatula to stir the mixture till smooth.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together 2 ¼ cups flour, baking soda, 1 ½ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt, nutmeg and cloves.
  • Fold the dry ingredients into the wet to make a thick batter. Don’t overmix—a few lumps are okay.
  • In the same medium bowl you used to sift the flour, sift together remaining ¼ cup flour, 2 tbsp sugar and ¼ tsp cinnamon.
  • Drain the peeled apples and pat dry. Core the apples and dice them into small ¼ inch chunks.
  • Add the apple chunks to the flour, sugar and cinnamon mixture. Toss the apple chunks with the flour till evenly coated.
  • Fold the apple chunks and walnuts into the cake batter. Grease two loaf pans with nonstick cooking oil spray. Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans.
  • Combine streusel ingredients in a food processor and pulse till a crumbly topping forms. If you don’t have a processor, chop the walnuts into very small pieces and mix them with the other streusel ingredients till the mixture is moist and crumbly.
  • Sprinkle the tops of the two cakes evenly with streusel, half on each cake.
  • Place the cakes into the oven. Bake for 60-70 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking, till the top is brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. If the top of the cake browns faster than it bakes, cover with foil for the remainder of baking time. It’s a very moist cake, so err on the side of cooking it a little longer if you’re unsure, using the foil to protect against burning.
  • Let the cakes cool for 20 minutes in their pans, then gently release and place on a wire rack to cool completely. If the cakes will not release easily, you can also let them cool completely in the pan.
  • To make the glaze icing, sift powdered sugar into a small mixing bowl. Use a whisk to mix the ingredients till a thick and creamy icing forms. You want the consistency of thick honey; if you need a little more moisture, add milk a few drops at a time. Just a drop can take it from a thick honey to a runny texture, so add with care. The thicker the frosting is, the more white it will dry... adding too much water will cause it to dry clearish, and it won't have that nice thick white look to it.
  • Line a glass with a plastic bag, wrapping the edge of the bag around the outer rim of the glass. This will help you fill it with frosting. Use a spatula to scoop the frosting into the bag.
  • Place cakes on top of a piece of parchment paper or paper towels to catch drips.
  • Work the frosting into the corner of the bag and snip off a small corner with scissors. Gently squeeze and drizzle the frosting in a zig-zag pattern across the top of the cakes, using half of the icing for each cake.
  • Let the icing dry for at least 30 minutes to set (it may take longer depending on the weather).
  • Serve cake slices with a cup of tea or coffee. Sigh contentedly. Apple cake is good. Life is good.

Other Great Recipe Ideas

Joy the Baker: Cinnamon-Sugar Apple Skillet Cake

Brown Eyed Baker: Apple Hand Pies

Recipe Girl: Maple-Drizzled Apple Muffins

David Lebovitz: French Apple Cake

Healthful Pursuit: Apple Pie Cupcakes with Cream “Cheese” Frosting

Comments (17)Post a Comment

  1. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This looks Fantastic! will definitely be making this for my family soon. I’m just wondering how long you think the cake would stay fresh? I often send my brother in law who is deployed in the middle east packages of cookies and such. I know he would love this cake!

    1. Hi Malka– first off, many thanks to your brother for his service! We ate this cake on the third day and it was still fresh and moist. I wrapped it in plastic wrap and again in foil. The only thing I would worry about is the length of time it takes to ship, and the temperature it will be kept at. It’s a very moist cake, and it might get moldy if transported in warm conditions for a few days. Perhaps there is a way you can keep it cool till it gets to him, with an ice pack perhaps? You also might want to cut one of the apples out of the recipe, so it doesn’t have quite as much fruit in it– the fruit adds to the moisture content. I’m sorry, I’m just not familiar with the shipping times, and I don’t want to give you the wrong advice! Hope that helps.

  2. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This sounds delicious! I have a plethora of apple-cinnamon flavored Chobani in my fridge that I need to use up soon, so this might be just the recipe! Can’t wait to try it!

    Sweet Tooth

  3. Hi Tori,
    Love this recipe. (I also love another apple cake recipe you recently posted BTW.) To the point: should I use vanilla Greek yogurt or plain, or it doesn’t matter? Thanks.

    1. Hi Alice, I used plain. You can use vanilla, but the cake will turn out sweeter. Also, any fat content will do– I used nonfat and it worked out great. Enjoy!

  4. As one of your regular English readers is it possible for you to give cake measurements in grams/ozs as we as a rule do not use cup measurements and our butter does not come in sticks!!!!!!!!! I really enjoy your column.

  5. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I try to eat low fat and was looking to use up some marshy apples and greek yogurt that were taking up space in the refrigerator. This is delicious! I didn’t drizzle with frosting. Instead, I added a little flour and a little extra butter 2-3Tbsp total) to the brown sugar topping and cut it together with a fork. I topped both cakes and baked as directed. The topping made a crevasse and the sweetness sunk through the middle while baking. This made a delicious treat that wasn’t just on top like most streusels.

  6. I made this cake a couple of weeks ago, exactly as directed, and I LOVED it (as did my friends, who came over and inhaled half my cake, greedy beggars!)

    The consistency of the cake reminded me a lot of my mum’s banana bread, and it occurred to me that this could make a nice daily treat, as well. I made the recipe again tonight, leaving out the streusel and glaze, and substituting half of the flour for whole-wheat flour. I also made it in muffin pans. I’m a teacher and I love having healthy muffins to eat mid-morning to keep me going through the day, so I thought this might be one to add to my rotation.

    It turned out really delish! I’ve been looking for a good apple-cinnamon muffin recipe for a while, and I think this recipe is one I’m bound to repeat. Do you have any other suggestions for converting cake recipes like this into muffin form, and increasing the health-factor?

    1. Great ideas JennyBean! Re: healthy subs, subbing half whole wheat flour for white is usually a good sub to start with. I sometimes replace some of the oil/butter with applesauce (never more than half, otherwise the texture is affected). This cake has very little butter though, so I wouldn’t bother with it. And of course, using Greek yogurt in place of sour cream is always a helpful sub. So happy you liked the cake!

  7. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi, Tori:

    Sounds like a wonderful apple cake. Can’t wait to try it. Was wondering, do you think it would work with a gluten-free flour base as well? Or might it be too moist? Thanks.

  8. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I came across this cake because I had Greek yoghurt that needed to be used, and 3 trees full of apples. I did make a few changes to the recipe that worked well. I had no walnuts so I left them out. I only added 1/3 cup of sugar (just couldn’t bring myself to add more), I used wholemeal flour in the cake. For the topping I used LSA, Hazlenut meal, wattleseed, sugar and butter and it worked well.
    Next time I’ll make sure I have walnuts before I start.

  9. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I made this recipe a few days ago and it is delicious. In spite of my inattentive attempts to mess it up, including mismeasuring the flour (fixed just in time), spilling in too much clove, and accidentally using non-Greek yogurt, it is very tasty. So moist and tasty, and the apple flavor really stands out.

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