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German Apple Cake on a platter with a slice out.

German Apple Cake

Teri & Jenny
A simple German Apple Cake recipe (Versunkener Apfelkuchen) that is delicious, beautiful and unsuspectingly low maintenance. It's a perfect holiday dessert, but can be made and enjoyed all year long!
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
cooling time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine german
Servings 8
Calories 332 kcal


  • 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**

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, at room temperature or gently rewarmed.

Make Ahead

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 a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!

What Are the Best Apples 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 tart flavor granny smith apples 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.


  • We love the simple flavors of this cake, but you can totally add some spice like ground cinnamon or ground cardamom.
  • If you would like the apples to be evenly distributed throughout the entire cake and you don't mind not having the pretty top of the cake, you can peel, core and chop them so there are chunks of apple in the cake.
  • Add a splash of rum into the cake batter for a light boozy flavor.


Calories: 332kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 6gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 135mgPotassium: 141mgFiber: 3gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 496IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 86mgIron: 1mg
Keyword apple cake, cake recipe, german apple cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!