Brazilian Apple Crumb Cake (Cuca de Maçã)

This coffee cake with its cinnamon crumb topping is very popular in Brazil, especially in southern Brazil where apples are cultivated. Banana (cuca de banana) and pineapple (cuca de abacaxi) are other popular versions of this cake.

Serves: 12Hands-on: 25 minutesTotal: 1 hour 25 minutesDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 12


  • 3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3⁄4 tsp. salt, divided
  • 6 Tbsp. cold butter
  • 8 Tbsp. room-temperature butter
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3⁄4 cup buttermilk


  • Toss the apple slices with the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1⁄2 cup flour, 1⁄2 cup sugar, cinnamon, and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Cut cold butter into small pieces, and use a pastry cutter (or your fingers) to mix butter into the flour/sugar mixture until it has the texture of coarse crumbs. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Place room-temperature butter in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add remaining sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time (reserve whites) and vanilla and mix well.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together remaining flour, baking powder, and remaining salt. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer in 2 parts, alternating with the buttermilk.
  • In a large, clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold the egg whites into the batter. Spread mixture into the prepared cake pan. Layer the sliced apples on top of the batter. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the apples.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Let cake cool on a rack in a pan for 15 minutes before removing from pan.