Make Ahead

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Apples

September  1, 2014
11 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Makes One 9-inch cake
Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Risa Jampel is an ice dancing, tuna salad-loving dermatologist who lives in Baltimore.
WHAT: A coffee cake that’s just as comfortable at your next dinner party as it is at an afternoon tea, a weeknight family meal, or a Rosh Hashanah celebration.
HOW: Hide thin apple slices and a walnut cinnamon-sugar streusel between two layers of sour cream cake batter. Wait patiently while the cake bakes and browns, then slice a large wedge (don’t even bother with a skimpy piece).
WHY WE LOVE IT: With a crunchy top, an airy center dotted with chocolate chips, and just the right amount of fruit, this cake is everything you want it to be. It’s as humble as any everyday cake, but it’s got enough pizzazz to impress guests. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 1 medium apple, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Butter a springform pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
  2. Mix together the walnuts, the cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using hand beaters), beat together the butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light-colored and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and the vanilla and beat until combined.
  5. Sift the dry ingredients together (you will have sifted the flour twice, which keeps the cake light even with the addition of the sour cream).
  6. With the mixer running at low speed, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the sour cream to the butter and sugar mixture. You want 3 additions of each, ending with the sour cream. Be sure not to over-mix!
  7. Use a wooden spoon or a spatula to fold in the chocolate chips.
  8. Pour half of the batter into the prepared springform pan. Starting on the outside edge, place the apple slices in a concentric circle. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon-sugar-walnut mixture over the apples, then pour in the rest of the batter. Smooth with a rubber spatula.
  9. Top the cake with the remainder of the cinnamon-sugar-walnut mixture, then bake it for 40 minutes, or until it's golden-brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan until the edges start to pull away from the sides.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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    Gretha Brandt
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  • blvachon
  • Katrina N
    Katrina N
  • Gary schocker
    Gary schocker

72 Reviews

mica_j November 22, 2023
This is the perfect coffee cake. Crunchy outside, moist inside, just the right amount of sweet and falls apart slightly when sliced. Will be making this again!
Gretha B. September 25, 2023
I just made this cake, but veganized it. OMG! How delicious it turned out! So the adjustments I made. I subbed 1/2 cup apple sauce/puree for the eggs. Used vegan butter and vegan chocolate, also vegan creme fraiche for the sour cream *Oddly good does an incredible one. Other than that it was perfect. Baked for slightly longer than 40min. Perfect fall cake with whipped cream could be divine! Thanks for such amazing recipes 😍
Sarah Y. February 14, 2022
Excellent cake, so much flavor and not too sweet.
birdsbythesnow April 18, 2021
I would not serve this one to "impress guests" unless they are blindfolded. Though a nice combination of flavors, something in the chemistry of this recipe simply doesn't work. At 40 minutes, prepared as directed, the center was raw; at 50 minutes the center cooked, but the sides and top were caramelized, leaning toward burned. The chocolate chips sank toward the bottom, as did the center of the cake. Wish I had read the many reviews of bakers who encountered the same issues.
Arnel April 4, 2021
Just wanted to add that the cook time is definitely not 40 min. I'm currently on an extra 15 minutes over the 55 minutes it's already been in the oven.
ovy1413 November 2, 2020
Made the cake for the 1st time & it actually poofed up in the middle! I substituted the following: 1/2 cup of AP flour with 1/2 cup Japanese cake flour (Nisshin Voilet hakurikiko), 1 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup stevia baking blend, pecans for walnuts. I also baked it for an additional 20 min since the bamboo skewer I used came out w/ raw batter in the middle, but I also had a loaf of bread in at the same time. I also cut my apples super thin like 1/8 in (~2mm). I think I’ll reduce the cinnamon like another reviewer said. I think my streusel was slightly charred at the edges. Overall, really yummy coffee cake with a great streusel!
karin.anderson.52 October 5, 2020
Very good. I made an 18-cm diameter mini version (ingredient amount x 0.62). I will make it again. But if you don’t have a very sweet tooth, I recommend reducing the sugar in the batter by 25%.
Sylwia September 19, 2020
I've made this cake a bunch of times already. It's my favorite go to fall cake. It's moist and flavorful. The whole family loves it!
paula September 15, 2020
I had never made a cake with apples before but decided to give it a try. I only had mini chocolate chips so I used them. At first I thought it would not rise much but I was pleasantly surprised because it did. I don't know if anyone else had this happen but after it cooled in the pan the middle seemed to "sink" a bit. I really liked it. I am not a cinnamon fan but it was just enough in the recipe. I have been baking something every week since the Covid outbreak. I had forgotten that Food52 had recipes so now I am on the hunt for more baking recipes and those for dinner
blvachon January 27, 2019
I cut the cinnamon in half, substituted sunflower seeds for walnuts and baked it for 60 minutes instead of 40. Everybody loved it.
Katrina N. November 14, 2018
Loved this cake, super easy to pull together with the ingredients I had hanging around (aka the lone apple I had in the fridge and half a tub of sour cream). Baked in a 9inch springform for 50 mins and it came out perfectly. It was moist in the middle, but didn't sink. Also great the next morning!
Gary S. October 6, 2018
I revisited this and tried using 9.5 inch bunt pan. I like to do the cake bible thing so mixed all dry and wet with butter at once then added the eggs last.
Cake was pale which was odd, and turns out someone forgot to add th baking soda...but the powder was enough to raise the batter. And weirdly the texture was amazing, like a cheesecake. Reminded me of a battenburg, something English about this. Really good, also for some odd reason it tasted less sweet. Wondering whether the paler cake developed less caramelization.
Anyway made it again, correctly this time, and I find it almost painfully sweet.
Michael P. September 28, 2018
I just made this in a 9 1/2 inch bundt pan. Flavor was great, I’d just cook it for less time.
Lily Y. March 19, 2018
I just made this cake, baking it in a parchment lined 11x7x2” glass dish, with the sides extended enough to lift out the cake. I baked it in a Breville Smart Oven on Convection Bake 350°F for 44 minutes. I rotated it about 2/3 through, when the oven told me to. I did not have any problems with it sinking in the middle. (I would suggest checking the freshness of your Baking Powder, if you had this problem.) Reading the other reviews, I used only 1 Tbsp Saigon Cinnamon — next time I will try increasing it to 1 1/2 Tbsp.
Alisa J. October 12, 2016
I just made this cake and like others, my cake was not fully cooked at 40 min. My oven is accurate and I used a 9 inch springform pan. I cooked for 50 min and it did sink in middle, I recommend cooking 50-60 min. I also agree that 2 tablespoons of cinnamon is too much. I think I will give this cake another try with adjustments.
Ting August 19, 2016
Made the cake last night and serve it at the breakfast party this morning. I followed the recipe with nothing changed and used the same size spring form pan. 40 mins in the oven and it came out perfectly done. Because it is hot summer, I baked this cake in my counter top toaster oven instead the big stove underneath the stove top. Cool and leave the cake at room temp over night. Colleagues liked it.
susanne M. August 26, 2016
Your toaster oven holds a 9" springform pan??? I have a pretty decent size toaster oven but would never be able to fit that in! Glad you had good results ~ sounds delicious :)
Kimber B. November 26, 2019
Yep I have a double rack convection toaster oven that fits full size pizzas. Took the top ravk out and came out perfect. I live at sea level and I always have to add a little extra flour. Perfect.
susanne M. November 6, 2015
I wish I had read the comments before making this cake ~ I had the same "mess in the middle" issues. I made the foil tent and continued to bake but found after cooling that the bottom and sides had started to burn as I cooked the cake to firmness in the middle :( . Followed directions to a tee, used 9" springform pan and some batter even spilled over the top while baking. I feel as if this one may need to go "back to the test kitchen" for some further revisions ~ clearly has some delicious possibilities but too many issues as i stands now! Please let us know if they fine-tune the recipe!
Pam November 4, 2015
I loved this coffee cake! I used honeycrisp apples sliced very thinly to avoid any sogginess, and baked it for 48 minutes. It turned out perfectly and was a huge hit. I used a bit less cinnamon and sugar in the topping than was called for. The walnuts on top offered a nice crunchy addition on top as well.
[email protected] November 8, 2023
Did you peel the apples?
Aija K. October 17, 2015
Followed exactly to the recipe, bake for 40 min and it was not done then additional 10 min and still rear, added 5 min more and then it's done...the cake was too sweet and complete mess...sorry, will not recommend it to anyone... :-(
Gary S. October 2, 2015
Followed exactly and my oven is reliable, and looked done at 40 minutes but complete mess. I wonder if you are using an apple with less water content, like a Granny Smith and that is the difference here.