German Apple Cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen) is so incredibly delicious. A fancy looking cake that is so easy to make. Perfect for tea time or parties. This never fail recipe is sure to impress!
We love to have this cake with our homemade tea.
German Apple Cake
Apfelkuchen (apple cake) is a very popular cake in Germany. It is a favorite everyday cake in Germany and often chosen for afternoon coffee and cake time.
It looks so fancy yet is so easy to make. This is a great recipe for new bakers. Always reliable, quick to put together with easily available ingredients and a crowd pleaser.
Butter, Sugar, Vanilla, Lemon Zest, Salt, Eggs, All Purpose Flour, Baking Powder, Milk, Apples, Apricot Jam
- Make sure to choose good quality, sweet and juicy apples. I like using gala or fuji apples. The apples must be small in size so that they can fit nicely in the baking pan and cook perfectly soft.
- For a lighter crumb use cake flour. To make your own cake flour for this recipe, use 1½ cups all purpose flour plus 3 tablespoons corn starch. Measure things accurately and check this tutorial if needed.
Step By Step Pictures and Overview
- In a stand mixer, cream butter, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest and salt, until fluffy.
- Add eggs and beat mixture until light and fluffy.
- Combine flour and baking powder. Add flour and milk alternatively at low speed.
- Transfer batter to cake pan.
- Peel, quarter and core apples. Using a paring knife, make several parallel slits on the peeled side.
- Arrange apple quarters on cake batter in a flower like pattern.
- Brush melted butter on apples. Bake at 350º F until golden brown.
- Make syrup with apricot jam. Release springform pan ring. Brush syrup on hot cake and let it cool completely.
How to Serve It
It is often served with fresh whipped cream. But you could serve it simply dusted with powdered sugar too.
This cake keeps well at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. You could also refrigerate it in warmer weather.
The cooled cake can be wrapped, packed and stored frozen for couple months.
- Try using cake flour for a nice and delicate crumb.
- Make sure the cuts in the apple are deep, but not all the way to the center core. Because that may separate the slice from the entire quarter.
- Use as many apple quarters as you can fit on top of the cake batter.
- You can top the apples with sultanas, almond slices or chopped walnuts, for a variation.
This cake is vegetarian, low sodium, nut free and soy free. Below are some options, but I have not tried the variations myself.
- Vegan: You could try using this vegan yellow cake batter. Adjust the amounts.
- Egg Free: Try flax eggs or the vegan cake above.
- Dairy Free: Use oil (not butter) and dairy free milk or the vegan cake above.
- Gluten Free: You may try this gluten free yellow cake recipe, adjusting the amounts.
- Use ¼ cup + 1½ tablespoons light olive oil and ¼ cup + 1½ tablespoons honey. And 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour + ⅔ cup cake flour. Use organic apples and don’t peel them. Try to use grass fed butter. Bake the cake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whole wheat pastry flour is produced from soft wheat berries. It does not form a strong gluten network, resulting in a lighter texture, while enhancing the nutrition quality of the baked product.
Apple Nutrition Facts
Apples are loaded with health promoting phytochemicals and have been considered beneficial for lowering the risk of many diseases - diabetes, heart disease, cancer etc. They are especially good for weight management. The peel is rich in fiber and antioxidants. More about apples discussed in the post on Rustic German Apple Pancake, which is great for a brunch.
More Cake Recipes:
- Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
- Moist Maple Sweet Potato Cake
- Tahini Chocolate Marble Cake
- Pineapple Cupcakes
- German Blueberry Kuchen
- Almond Flour Chocolate Cake
★ DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? PLEASE COMMENT AND GIVE IT A STAR RATING BELOW!
German Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen)
- ½ cup butter + ½ tablespoon
- ½ cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or sugar
- 1½ tablespoons grated lemon zest
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 eggs large
- 1 ⅔ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons milk whole or reduced fat
- 1½ pounds apples organic, juicy (I used Gala apples)
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam
- 1 tablespoon water
- Springform Pan
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter and dust with some flour. Line the bottom of cake pan with parchment paper.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter at high speed. Then add sugar, vanilla sugar or extract, lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Continue to beat until the mixture is fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, continuing to beat the mixture until light and fluffy.
- Combine all purpose flour and baking powder and sift into a bowl. Add half the flour, then 1 tablespoon milk, remaining flour and 1 tablespoon milk into the mixer, running it at low speed.Tip: Use just enough milk to give the batter a slow dropping consistency.
- Transfer cake batter into the springform pan and level it off.
- Rinse apples and wipe dry. Then peel, quarter and core them. Using a paring knife, make several parallel slits on the peeled side of apples.Tip: This step should be done carefully. Make sure the cuts are deep, but not all the way to the center core. Otherwise the slice may separate from the entire quarter.
- Arrange apple quarters on cake batter, peeled side up, in a flower like pattern, starting from outside and working inwards. Do not press it down.
- Brush melted butter over apples. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Strain apricot jam through a sieve and take it in a small sauce pan. Add 1 tablespoon of water, boil and reduce it to honey like consistency.
- Release the springform pan ring. Brush apricot syrup over the hot cake and let it cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream.
- Choose small, sweet and juicy apples like gala or fuji.
- To make your own cake flour for this recipe, use 1½ cups all purpose flour plus 3 tablespoons corn starch.
- Whipped Cream: Sweeten ½ cup heavy cream with ½ tablespoon powdered sugar and flavor with vanilla or rose water. Then whisk it until stiff peak stage.
- Healthier Version: Use ¼ cup + 1½ tablespoons light olive oil and ¼ cup + 1½ tablespoons honey. And 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour + ⅔ cup cake flour. Use organic apples and don’t peel them (image below). Try to use grass fed butter. Bake the cake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Nutrition Facts - Healthier Version
- Calories 268, Total Fat 11 g (Saturated Fat 3 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat 7 g), Cholesterol 70 mg, Sodium 155 mg, Potassium 161 mg, Phosphorus 109 mg, Total Carbohydrate 38 g, Dietary Fiber 3.2 g, Sugars 18 g, Protein 5 g
This post was first published on March 28th 2016 and has been updated with improvements in recipe, formatting, tips and additional enhancements.
After trying many apple cake recipes finally an eureka moment….your adaption hit it out of the ball park. The whole family agreed it was a keeper.
Only one suggestion I would peel apples and add small chunks of apple into the batter. Thank you for sharing with the world.
Thanks for the nice feedback. Love the idea of adding apple chunks to the batter. Certainly peeling apples is a personal preference, some don't mind it.
Looks like a great recipe! What size cake pan do you suggest? 8", 9", 10"?
It's in the recipe. 9 inch springform pan.
Just made this today and I’m really happy with the result. Recipe is definitely a keeper!! Thank you so much for sharing with us!!
So happy you liked it :)
My grandmother used to make similar but instead of apples she would use apricots. It’s delicious!
Yes thats very good too.