Our traditional German Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen) with streusel topping is a dessert classic you'll find all over Germany. And you don't even have to travel further than your kitchen because you can make this delicious dessert at home.
With its heartwarming apple filling, enticing streusel topping, and a hint of vanilla, this dessert is sure to become a family favorite.
This is another "Kaffee und Kuchen" staple. You've heard me talk about the afternoon traditions Germans love when we sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee and a slice (or two of) cake.
Before we go any further, I've long struggled to share a traditional German Apple Cake recipe. Because, to be honest, there's no such thing as one standard German Apple Cake. Even in my family, I can think of several versions.
There's the type of sunken apple cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen), one with a beautiful lattice topping, one with Schmand (a German dairy product), one with a sheet cake confectioners' sugar glaze, etc. The list goes on and on.
So, is mine a traditional one? You bet. And even better, it's one that's simple and delicious.
I have made one substitution. In Germany, we don't often use vanilla extract. Instead, we use vanilla sugar. Either homemade or Dr. Oetker.
You can find Dr. Oekter Vanilla Sugar in most larger grocery stores where I live, but I think most of you will have vanilla extract at home. If you want to use vanilla sugar instead, substitute one package for the amount of extract I indicated.
Why This Easy German Apple Cake Recipe Works
UNFORGETTABLE FLAVOR - This apple streusel cake strikes a delectable balance with the tart apples and the sweet vanilla-laden dough.
PERFECT TEXTURE - The crunchy streusel topping pairs excellently with the soft apple filling for a play on textures that's hard to resist.
SIMPLE PREPARATION - This German cake recipe makes baking a breeze using everyday ingredients and a simple process.
VERSATILITY - Ideal for both casual family dinners and festive occasions, this cake is a versatile delight.
Please check the recipe card below for a detailed, printable ingredient list.
ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR - Forms the foundation of the cake, lending it structure and consistency.
BAKING POWDER - An essential ingredient that ensures the cake rises, giving it a light and fluffy texture.
APPLES - This German apple cake's key component provides an unmistakable sweet-tart flavor.
GROUND CINNAMON - Boosts the flavors of the apples while adding a warm, inviting aroma.
LEMON JUICE - Helps keep the apple slices fresh and lends a subtle tangy note.
VANILLA EXTRACT - Enhances the overall flavor of the cake, making every bite richer.
BUTTER - Contributes to the cake's tender crumb and forms the base of the scrumptious streusel topping.
How To Make This Traditional German Apple Cake
Please check the printable recipe card below for more detailed instructions.
- Make dough by mixing flour, baking powder, butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.
- Press some dough into a prepared springform pan.
- Layer cinnamon-sugar-tossed apple slices over the dough.
- Top with remaining streusel and bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
Recipe Success Tips
CHOOSING APPLES - Opt for apple varieties like Granny Smith or Honeycrisp that hold their shape well during baking.
BAKING - Ensure your oven is preheated and bake until the streusel topping is golden and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
COOLING - Allow the cake to cool to room temperature on a wire rack before removing it from the springform pan.
SERVING - For a special treat, serve at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
WHIPPED CREAM - I don't know if this is a German thing or "a my German family thing". But a big slathering of whipped cream is a must.
A LA MODE - Pair a slice of cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
AS IS - This cake stands out on its own, so feel free to serve it plain and let the flavors shine!
STORE - You can keep the Apple Cake fresh for up to 3 days at room temperature in an airtight container.
FREEZE - If you want to keep it for an extended period of time, it's best to freeze it. To do so, wrap securely, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw to room temperature before serving.
REHEAT - Briefly warm in the oven if desired after thawing.
More Delicious German Dessert Recipes
GERMAN CHEESECAKE - With its velvety texture and rich flavor, it is a timeless dessert classic.
BEE STING CAKE - Known for its crunchy honey almond topping, this cake offers a delightful surprise in every bite.
CHERRY CRUMB CAKE (Kirschstreusel) - The balance of tart cherries and sweet crumb topping will keep you coming back for more.
BUTTERKUCHEN (Butter Cake) - This buttery, soft, yeast-based cake is full of simple and satisfying flavors.
GERMAN CRUMB CAKE (Streuselkuchen) - Experience the sweet, buttery crumbs in generous layers that make this cake a crowd favorite.
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German Apple Cake
For the dough:
- Preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
- Combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, and softened butter in a large bowl. Use a mixer and blend everything until crumbles begin to form.
- Take ⅔ of the crumble mixture and press it into the base of the pan. Raise the dough about 1 inch high along the sides of the springform.
- Mix the apple slices, lemon juice, sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
Assembly and Baking
- Pour the apple mixture into the springform pan. Sprinkle the remaining dough crumbles over the apples.
- Place the springform pan on the middle rack and bake for 45-50 minutes.