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.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost to you. See my disclosure policy here.
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!
WHAT’S COVERED IN THIS POST
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!
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:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
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.
Spread batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth the top to make even.
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:
- You can fan out the apples around the cake in a single layer for the softest, most tender apples.
- 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.
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!
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
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.
Swap traditional all purpose flour for your favorite gluten-free baking flour to create the same delicious 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.
Yes, you can freeze Sunken Apple Cake for up to 3 months. I recommend wrapping in plastic and then a layer of foil.
Get the Sunken Apple Cake Recipe Here
German Apple Cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen)
- 9" springform pan
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1½ cup cane sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ 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.