Autumn Apple Buckle

Buckles, simple streusel-topped cakes studded with fruit, are traditionally made with summer berries. For his autumn version, Jan Birnbaum substitutes tart apples, for a denser, more coffee-cake-like dessert.Plus: More Dessert Recipes and Tips

Autumn Apple Buckle
Photo: © Anna Williams
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs
10 to 12


crumb topping

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup half-and-half

  • 2 pounds Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • Sweetened sour cream, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 10-inch springform pan.

  2. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and salt. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles moist sand. Add the walnuts and pulse 3 times. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and press into large crumbs.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, ginger and salt. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the honey. Add the lemon zest, vanilla and eggs and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients in 2 batches, alternating with the half-and-half and beat at low speed until smooth. Fold in the apples.

  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the crumb topping. Bake the buckle in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the topping is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for at least 1 hour before unhinging the springform and removing the ring. Cut the buckle into wedges and serve with sweetened sour cream.

Make Ahead

The buckle can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Rich late harvest-style wines with hints of fruit, honeysuckle and toasted nuts, as well as a delicate sweetness, echo the flavors in many autumn fruit–and–nut desserts. Look for a Moscato d'Andrea.

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