Recipe: Apfelkuchen Apple Cake

In Germany, Apple Cake (apfelkuchen) is the equivalent of a batch of brownies in the US. Making it is an act of love and memories.

Click here to read about my recent trip to Germany where I discovered food and family, and find out what makes this recipe so special!


  • 3 medium apples
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 9 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar in the raw



  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F.
  2. Line the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper and sides of pan.
  3. Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples to 1/4″ to 1/8″ thick.
  4. Zest the lemon and add to the sugar. Save the unused lemon.
  5. Place the sugar, butter in the bowl of the mixer with the lemon zest and beat until light and fluffy. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides; add the vanilla extract and 1 of the eggs.
  6. Beat until combined before adding the second egg. Beat until combined and then add the third egg. Scrape down the sides. Beat until combined.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour mixture until just combined, and beat in the juice from the reserved lemon half. Scrape down the sides with a spatula and give the batter one last mix by hand.
  8. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  9. Gently press the apple slices into the batter, leaving only a bit of space between each the slices.
  10. Sprinkle the top evenly with the raw sugar.
  11. Bake, until the cake is golden-brown and a tester inserted into the cake (make sure you don’t go through an apple) comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.
  12. Place the pan on a rack to cool for 5 minutes before running a knife around the edge and removing the spring form ring. Let cool to room temperature.
  13. Serve with slightly sweetened freshly whipped cream.