Traditional German Apple Cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen) is one of our favorite cakes to make. We love that it’s a delicious and gorgeous single layer cake that is also pretty low maintenance. We don’t peel the apples, like most German apple cake recipes do because we like the added color and texture the skin gives the overall cake.
What is German Apple Cake?
German apple cake is a simple, single layered German cake. It usually has a simple, vanilla flavored batter that bakes around sliced apples. These cakes are also considered to be Mittwochskuchen, which is German for Wednesday cakes, because they’re so simple they can easily be made in the middle of a busy week.
How to Make this German Apple Cake?
Ingredients for German apple cake
Tools you will need
- cutting board
- melon baller
- measuring spoons
- dry measuring cups
- liquid measuring cup
- mixing bowls
- hand mixer
- offset spatula
- 9″ cake pan or 9″ fluted tart pan
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Slice each apple in half lengthwise and scoop out the core and seeds. Lay apples, cut side down, and thinly slice each half, leaving the halves intact. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl whisk together dry ingredients.
- In another mixing bowl combine butter and sugar and beat together until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, lemon juice and vanilla and continue to beat together.
- Scrape down sides of the bowl and add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix together until just combined. Fold in milk until just combined.
- Lightly grease a fluted tart pan (or cake pan), place onto a baking sheet and pour the cake batter into the pan. Even out the surface.
- Place each apple half, cut side down, around the edge of the cake creating a ring. Place the final apple half in the center of the cake.
- Bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center area of the cake.
- Remove from the oven and allow cake to cool. Remove cake from the pan and transfer to a platter or cake stand.
- Lightly dust with powdered sugar, slice and serve.
German Apple Cake Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions
One of the best things about this German apple cake is its versatility. It’s delicious warm and fresh from the oven, but also super tasty the next day straight from the refrigerator or at room temperature.
This cake can be made 3 days ahead of time. Once cooled, tightly wrap and store in the refrigerator.
This cake can be tightly wrapped and stored in the freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, transfer cake to refrigerator to thaw.
What to Serve with German Apple Cake?
We serve our cake with a simple dusting of powdered sugar, but it can also be served with a dollop of whipped cream or even vanilla ice cream!
What is the Best Apple to Use for German Apple Cake?
You can use a number of different types of apples for this cake. Some of our favorites include gala, pink lady and honeycrisp. The sweet flavor and crisp flesh makes all those options great for this cake. If you prefer a more sour or tart flavor granny smith would be a great option.
The most important factor is that the apples are small and the slices made are thin so that the apples bake evenly as the cake bakes.
More apple recipes you will love:
- Apple Fritters
- Apple Cranberry Cake
- Browned Butter Apple Pie with a Cheddar Crust
- Apple and Thyme Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream
- Apple Cake with Chai Spiced Buttercream
- Streusel Topped Apple Pie Cheesecake Bars
- Apple and Cheddar Scones
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German Apple Cake
- 3 ½ small apples (such as gala, pink lady, honeycrisp)
- 1 ⅔ cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 10 tablespoons sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Slice each apple in half lengthwise and scoop out the core and seeds from both apple halves using a melon baller or measuring spoon. Lay each apple, cut side down, and thinly slice each apple half, leaving the halves intact. Set aside.
- Pour flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl and whisk together.
- In another mixing bowl combine butter and sugar and beat together with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, lemon juice and vanilla and continue to mix together.
- Scrape down sides of the bowl and add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir together until just combined and no lumps remain.
- Fold in milk until just combined.
- Lightly grease a 9 inch cake pan (or fluted tart pan), place onto a baking sheet and pour the cake batter into the pan, evening out the surface with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
- Carefully place each apple half, cut side down, around the edge of the cake, about 1/4 inch apart, creating a ring. Place the final apple half in the center of the cake.
- Place cake pan onto a baking sheet and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center area of the cake. Remove from the oven and allow cake to cool, about 30 minutes. Remove cake from the pan and transfer to a platter or cake stand. Lightly dust with powdered sugar, slice and serve.
- *Makes 1 (9 inch) cake