People have been eating coffee cake for centuries.  Although the recipes evolved through time and place in the world, having a sweet cake with your morning cup of ambition has been a part of human life for a very long time.  While the traditional, American, cinnamon crumb-cake is tasty, it’s also a little tired.  I sought out an updated version of an old standard.  Fall is knocking at our door, and apples seemed like a perfect addition to this cinnamony-sweet cake.   Plus, with all of the farm-stands and orchards around here chock full of the freshly picked beauties, they were an easy choice.  But I didn’t stop there… underneath the crunchy, cinnamon-oat streusel topping lies a creamy, sweet layer of cream cheese.  I’m having a slice right now, steaming coffee mug in hand, and enjoying the crisp, early-fall morning air coming through my patio door.  It’s just lovely.  I highly recommend starting your morning tomorrow in a similar way, and embrace the beginnings of autumn with this new classic.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Cake:

  • ½ c. (1 stick) butter, softened
  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • ¼ c. white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ c. vegetable oil
  • ½ T. vanilla
  • 1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ t. baking soda
  • ½ t. baking powder
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 2 c. peeled and diced apples (¼ to ½ inch pieces). I used honeycrisp, but any firm apple will do.

For the Cream Cheese Layer:

  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese, or Neuchâtel cheese
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3 T. white sugar

For the Streusel Topping:

  • ¾ c. white sugar
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • ½ c. flour
  • ¼ c. oats
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • ½ t. baking powder
  • 7 T. cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • Pinch of salt

First, preheat oven to 350ºF and butter an 8×8-inch pan.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars for the cake until fluffy.  Next, add the oil, egg, and vanilla and beat until well combined.  Scrape down the sides and mix another minute or two.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix until well combined and smooth, scraping down the sides as you go.

Next, peel and dice your apples and fold them into the cake batter.  When the apples are well-incorporated, spread the batter into your buttered pan.

Now, make the cheese layer.  Cream together the cheese, sugar, and vanilla with your mixer until smooth.  Spread the cheese mixture over the batter.

Finally, combine the streusel ingredients in a small bowl and mix well with a pastry cutter, a fork, or your hands.  You want the butter to completely mix into the dry ingredients; the streusel should be crumbly, but hold its shape when squeezed into a ball.

Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the cream cheese, admire your masterpiece for a moment, and put it in the oven for 45-50 minutes until the top is golden brown and crispy.  Let it cool for about 10 minutes (while your coffee is brewing) before you dig in.

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