Recipe Review: City Mailer Apple Crumb Cake


If you’ve ever lived in a place with an address, you’ve gotten junk mail. Among the many pieces of junk and semi-junk mail we get here at casa de sunflowers is a monthly mailer from the city. It has the usual mixture of coupons for local businesses, advertisements for other local businesses, and the occasional bit of editorializing you would expect.

A few months ago, there was something a little unusual in the mailer. A cake recipe! My partner pulled it out, assuming I might like to try it. I decided I would, eventually, and stuck it in my recipe drawer. I promptly forgot all about it.

Flash forward to last week, as we were planning our usual pile of Thanksgiving food. I was looking for something to make for dessert, and I found the page torn from the mailer in the drawer. So, why not? I figured I would give it a try.

Quite the spread for two people, but it feeds us for a week.

Pictured above:

All cooked over the course of two days. By now, we’re almost done with the leftovers. My partner saved the duck carcass and made stock out of it, and we’re going to make ramen out of that in the next few days, so that’s exciting! I do love me some ramen.

But, you didn’t come here to read about my Thanksgiving. You came here for the cake! So let’s take a look at it.

It turned out pretty decent!

The thing about this recipe is, well, it seems kind of slap-dash. The graphic design on the mailer page is great, but the recipe itself is kind of poorly written. You have lines like “To make tcake in a large bowl…” (typo included) and “stir until the mixture is evenly moist, set aside, too.” Also, while the recipe has advertising for three local orchards and one local HVAC company, but there’s no indication of who actually wrote the recipe.

So, for the purposes of the review, I’m going to rewrite the recipe with a couple of tweaks for clearer directions. You can find it at the bottom of the page.

So what is it? It’s a Cinnamon Apple Crumb cake. It’s layered; there’s a layer of cake, a layer of apples, a layer of cake, and the streusel crunch topping. It’s sort of like a cross between my Blueberry Buckle and Apple Crumble recipes, really.

The one oddity about the recipe, at least as far as the cakes I typically make are concerned, is that it calls for sour cream. It makes the cake a little fluffier, but I can’t say it was really that noticeable, compared to the other kinds of cakes I’ve made in the past.

The steps were easy enough to follow, though spreading the batter for the second layer was a bit tricky because of how sticky it is. I might recommend using a piping bag for it just to make it easier. Maybe I’ll try that next time.

My verdict? It’s pretty good! It’s not the best cake I’ve had, and I would probably prefer my own apple crumble recipe if I was making it again, but overall it’s not bad, especially for a recipe I got in a piece of junk mail.

Let me know if you try the recipe out!

Cinnamon Apple Crumb Cake

An apple crumb cake recipe provided by a local mailer, tested out for quality. Turns out: it's pretty decent!
Servings 1 Cake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • Springform Pan
  • Whisk
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Piping Bag


For the Streusel

  • Cups Flour
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • ¼ Cup White Sugar
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • ¼ Tsp Nutmeg
  • ½ Cup Butter Melted
  • ½ Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Tart Apple Or two smaller apples

For the Cake

  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • ½ Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ½ Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • ¼ Tsp Baking Soda
  • ¼ Tsp Salt
  • ½ Tsp Baking Powder

For the Icing

  • ½ Cup Powdered Sugar
  • Tbsp Apple Cider


Make the Streusel

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter your springform pan. Optionally, line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • Peel, core, and chop the apple.
  • Whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • Mix the sugars, butter, and vanilla.
  • Stir the two mixtures together until evenly moist, and set aside.

Make the Cake

  • Cream the butter and sugar together.
  • Add the egg and beat well.
  • Add the vanilla and sour cream, and beat again.
  • Mix together the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Combine this with the wet cake mix and stir until just combined.

Assemble and Bake

  • Spread half the batter thinly across the bottom of the pan.
  • Spread the apple chunks across that layer.
  • Sprinkle about 1 cup of the streusel across the apples.
  • Spread the remaining batter evenly across the top. This may be tricky, as it's sticky and will pull up the streusel. You might consider piping it out.
  • Spread the remaining streusel on top.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick or tester comes out clean.

Make the Glaze

  • Mix together the powdered sugar and apple cider. Add to a piping bag and pipe over the top of the cake as thoroughly as you want.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Apple, Cake, Cinnamon

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