Apple Butter Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping

This moist and delicious coffee cake is perfect with... well... a cup of coffee... sweet apple butter in the middle.. topped off with a wonderful crumb topping.. a great way to start the day!
We had small cake from our local supermarket's bakery and they used apple butter as a filling in a layer cake... it was pretty darn good.. and gave me a hankering for apple butter..... and I also had a hankering for a crumb topping ... I wanted a coffee cake.... I decided to set out to invent a coffee cake combining all things I wanted in a cake... we loved the results.

To Make the Apple Butter:
You can buy commercially made apple butter... but making your own is so easy.  I made my apple butter one day.. and stored it in the fridge.. and made the coffee cake another day.
To make this coffee cake I used about 1/2 the yield on a mini batch of apple butter... if you buy your apple butter.. you will need about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of apple butter.  Peel, core and chop about 5 good size apples... put them into a crock pot, add 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon... mix well.
Cook on high for about 2-3 hours then reduced it to low for about 6 hours … stir periodically.

Use an immersion blender to blend it. You can mash it manually with a masher.  If your apple butter is especially runny.. turn the crock pot on low and cook until you get the consistency you want.  If yours is runny you didn't do anything wrong, different kinds of apples will emit different amounts of moisture.... it's not a problem.. just allow it to "cook down a bit". 

Put the apple butter into jars or containers and allow to cool and then refrigerate until completely cold. 

This recipe uses a cake mix.... I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme Classic Yellow... you can use any brand you like... just don't use the ones that call for butter... because this recipe is adjusted to use butter with a regular cake mix.
Awhile back I posted a "how-to" post... how to make a cake mix more like a bakery cake... it truly works wonderfully... and it's easy... click here if you'd like to read about it.  I mention this post because the mix with alterations is how this coffee cake is made. 
Rather than a fluffy cake you get with cake mixes... this makes a ake that's a little more dense and richer in flavor.
Make sure to use whole milk with this recipe.
I used a glass pan... I just think it will be easier to get pieces out of it... looks pretty too.
Baking times will vary... set your timer for 45 minutes and check it by using a toothpick inserted in the center .. if it comes out clean.. it's done.  If it's not done.. check it every 5 minutes or so.  Mine took about 56 minutes.. but my oven was a little on the low temp side...
When spreading the apple butter on the batter... drop teaspoons of it all over the batter.. then take the back of a teaspoon to spread it.. don't try spreading it further than about a half dollar size otherwise you mix it into the batter too much.. which here and there isn't a problem.. but doing it too much will not be the best. 

When you divide your batter in half.. it's better to err on the side of too much on the first layer .. otherwise the bottom layer will be a little thin.. it won't ruin your cake.. but it will make getting pieces out of the pan more difficult. 

To make the topping, make sure to melt the butter and allow it to cool before adding it to the dry mixture.  Just let it set out until it's barely warm. 

The topping will be very sticky and wet... that is correct.  Use your hands to take a clump.. then break it up through your fingers, dropping it over the top of the top layer of batter.  The clumps you drop should be the size of kidney beans. 

Sifting or sprinkling powdered sugar over the top is optional... but highly recommended.. it looks so pretty... just make sure you do it when the cake is completely cooled otherwise it will melt into the topping. 

I sift the powdered sugar by putting a spoonful into a small strainer and tapping it gently as I move over the top of the cake. 

This was absolutely delicious... I hope you like it! 

Recipe:  Apple Butter Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping
All you need:
1-1 1/2 cups Apple Butter * See Tips
Powdered sugar
For the Cake Batter:
1 yellow cake mix *See Tips
Substitute whole milk for water on the pkg directions
Add 1 more egg than the pkg directions call for
Substitute melted butter for the oil but be sure to double the amount
For the Crumb Topping:
2 3/4 cup flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 sticks of butter, melted and allowed to cool to warm
All you have to do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and lightly flour a 9 X 13 glass baking dish.
***Read Tips before starting.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour brown sugar and cinnamon.  Add the cooled melted butter (it shouldn't be cold, just cooled to room temp or slightly warm at the most). Mix well .. it will be a very very sticky mass.
Prepare the cake mix according to package instructions using the substitutions noted above. Spread half of the batter in the prepared baking dish.
Gently spread the apple butter over the batter.  Spread the remaining batter over the apple butter.
Crumble the topping over the entire top of the batter.
Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 50-60 minutes.  Baking times will vary... set your timer for 45 minutes and check it by using a toothpick inserted in the center .. if it comes out clean.. it's done.  If it's not done.. check it every 5 minutes or so.  Mine took about 56 minutes.. but my oven was a little on the low temp side...
Note:  Some of the topping will sink during baking and the batter will bubble up in spots ... this is fine.. it will not affect the quality of your cake.. the topping crunch will be there.
Allow to cool completely.   I allowed mine to cool about 2 hours.  Then sift a little powdered sugar over the top.  See Tips.
Cut into squares and serve.

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