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German Apple Cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen)

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My recipe for German Apple Cake is just like Oma’s Apple Cake. Also known as Versunkener Apfelkuchen or German Kuchen, this is an easy and sweet rustic recipe treat to make from scratch.

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There are a variety of fresh apples you can use to create this delicious, comforting cake that’s perfect to enjoy with tea or coffee. This authentic German Kuchen recipe tastes just like Oma made it. Güten Appetit!

easy apple cake recipe for Versunkener Apfelkuchen authentic German kuchen
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Authentic German Kuchen

My son-in-law was born and raised in Germany, and I surprised him by making this cake a while back.

I’ve been making this apple cake recipe for several years now, and he says it is an authentic German Versunkener Apfelkuchen recipe, also known as Sunken Apple Cake.

What’s my secret for developing this fantastic recipe? Well, not only is my son-in-law from Germany, but as a teenager, I actually lived in Germany with my family.

I graduated from high school in Berlin, and I met my husband (who was stationed in the U.S. Army) there.

So, it seemed pretty kismet that our daughter met her husband in college when he was here for a semester abroad!

When we get together for family dinners, I love sharing authentic recipes, like this German Kuchen.

And, now we are now all big fans of this classic apple cake that’s so often enjoyed in Germany.

What is Authentic German Apple Cake?

Unlike American-style cakes, Apfelkuchen is less sweet and more like a coffee or tea cake.

In fact, in Germany, traditional cakes like this are served in the afternoon with coffee (called Kaffee und Kuchen, coffee and cake).

It is the American equivalent of a coffee break, usually shorter on workdays and more leisurely on the weekends.

My easy apple tea cake is rich and wonderfully creamy, with hints of vanilla and cinnamon and thick slices of sweet, tender apples. Just like Oma’s German Apple Cake was.

It brings a lovely rustic bit of comfort to the table, and is a must-make for your next family brunch or your own authentic German Kuchen teatime!

Versunkener Apfelkuchen authentic german kucken

Ingredients for German Apple Cake Recipe

This recipe is made mostly with pantry staples, plus fresh, crispy apples.

To make your own authentic Versunkener Apfelkuchen recipe, you’ll need:

  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Vanilla
  • Cinnamon
  • Apples

TFN Tip: Learn more about the best baking apples in this Apple Cobbler post.

So, as you can see from this great list of basic ingredients, what makes a perfect Versunkener Apfelkuchen recipe is the simple but precise method by which the apple cake is made.

How to Make Authentic German Kuchen Apple Cake Recipe

You will love how easy it is to prep and bake this humble, perfectly sweet, and spice-filled cake.

Make it a day or so before you plan to serve, or whip it up as a last-minute afternoon snack.

It only takes about an hour until you’re able to enjoy tender, warm cinnamon and vanilla cake with juicy fresh apples!

Here are my steps for making an authentic German Apple Cake from scratch:

Pan preparation. Prepare a springform pan by greasing (if not non-stick) and lining the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.

Mix the ingredients. In a medium mixing bowl beat together the butter, sugar, and eggs until creamy. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and vanilla until well mixed.

Spread batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth the top to make even.

prepared cake batter

Assemble the cake. Preheat the oven, and prep the apples by thinly slicing with a mandolin or paring knife. There are two ways to place the apples into the Versunkener Apfelkuchen:

  1. You can fan out the apples around the cake in a single layer for the softest, most tender apples.
  2. Or, as I’ve done in the cake shown in this post, you can group the apples together (about 1/3 of an apple) and gently press into the cake batter. This results in a slightly firmer apple with a bit of bite.
slices of apple sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar

Next, generously sprinkle the top of the authentic German Kuchen with a combination of sugar and cinnamon.

Bake the cake. Bake them until it the top is golden in color and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool a bit before taking it out of the springform pan.

Ready to serve. You can serve them warm or at room temperature. For an extra lovely presentation, I like to dust the top with a bit of confectioners sugar before serving.

This delicious apple cake is one that even Oma would be proud of!

springform pan apple cake

Apfelkuchen Recipe Variations

  • Nutella-style version: stir 1/2 cup of Nutella into the batter just before spreading it into the pan. Then, top with sliced almonds before baking.
  • Add 1/2 cup of raisins or dried cranberries to the batter.
  • For a bit of added crunch, try topping the cake with chopped walnuts or pecans before baking.
  • For a fun twist on the traditional german kuchen recipe, try using Granny Smith apples and serve with a dollop of whipped cream cheese frosting.

What to serve with German Apple Cake

Apple cake is delicious on its own, or try one of these Serve with a cup of a hot tea or cold glass of milk.

  • For breakfast or brunch, serve with a side of yogurt and fresh fruit.
  • As an afternoon snack, enjoy a slice with a cup of coffee or espresso.
  • For dessert, top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Storage and Reheating

This cake can be stored and covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.

For longer storage, place in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Be sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.

You can also freeze this cake for up to 3 months. Wrap it in plastic and then a layer of foil and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

To reheat, place a slice on a plate and microwave for 20-30 seconds, or until warmed through.

Frequently Asked Questions

What apples should I use in this cake recipe?

The best apples to use in this German Apple Cake are those that are both sweet and tart. So, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Braeburn, and Honey Crisp are especially wonderful in this recipe.

How can I make gluten-free german apple cake?

Swap traditional all purpose flour for your favorite gluten-free baking flour to create the same delicious apple cake.

How should I store apple cake?

Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This moist cake is best when kept cool, so if you are making it during warmer months I recommend fridge storage.

Can Versunkener Apfelkuchen be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze Sunken Apple Cake for up to 3 months. I recommend wrapping in plastic and then a layer of foil.

Versunkener Apfelkuchen authentic easy German Kuchen Apple Cake recipe

Get the Sunken Apple Cake Recipe Here

Sunken Apple Cake.
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4.91 from 10 votes

German Apple Cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen)

This authentic Sunken Apple Cake recipe (also known as Versunkener Apfelkuchen or German Kuchen) is a sweet, rustic treat to enjoy with coffee or tea.
Course Dessert, Brunch
Cuisine American, German
Keyword easy apple cake, fall apple recipe, apple cake, German apple cake, apple coffee cake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 313kcal


  • 9" springform pan


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • cup cane sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 medium apples, peeled and cored


  • Prepare the springform pan by greasing it. If not non-stick, line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, and eggs together until creamy. Stir in flour, baking powder, and vanilla until well mixed. Spread batter in prepared springform pan and smooth the top. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Thinly slice apples with a mandolin or paring knife. Either group the apples together (about 1/3 of an apple) and gently press into the cake batter. This results in a soft, slightly firmer apple. Or, fan out the apples around the cake in a single layer for soft, tender apples. Sprinkle the top with 1/3 cup of sugar and cinnamon.
  • Bake cake for 50 minutes, until it the top is golden in color. Serve warm. If desired, lightly dust with confectioners sugar before serving.


Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for 3 months.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 179mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 439IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 1mg

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6 thoughts on “German Apple Cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen)”

  1. 5 stars
    I made this cake and it’s delicious. Funny you mentioned Berlin. My son was in the Marines and married now divorced he and his GF live with their little one 17 months old. Only have seen him on FT but better than not at all. Thanks for this great recipe…

    • I have not tested this recipe with honey. If you need to do so, here are some tips on substituting honey for sugar in cake recipes: Using natural sugars like honey and maple syrup can produce heavy, dark cakes, but they also contribute good flavor (unlike many alternatives to table sugar). As honey and maple syrup are about 20 percent water, you need to reduce the liquid elsewhere in the cake batter (for example by using less egg white). Honey is sweeter than table sugar so you can use 25–50 percent less.

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