Easy German Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen)

This German Apple Cake is Sweet, Crumbly, and All Sorts of Delicious!

Searching for a traditional German apple cake recipe? You’re in the right place! Our German apple cake with streusel topping is always a crowd-pleaser.

With a yummy center made from apples and cinnamon and a bunch of sweet crumble (streusel) on top, this German cake is actually relatively simple to make.

Apple cake is a classic German cake that comes in many different versions. Some cakes a kept very simple while ours includes crumbles (which are called Streusel in German). To be honest, these are always Lisa’s favorite part of a cake!

german apple cake slices with crumbles on plate
Look at all that crumble on that German apple cake!

Other German apple cakes are covered and resemble more of an apple pie (called gedeckter Apfelkuchen), while others even have a soft pudding layer in the middle.

Aside from cakes, there are lots of other German apple recipes – one of our favorites is Apfelpfannkuchen (German apple pancakes).

For this recipe, we decided to go for a classic “Apfelkuchen mit Streuseln” (apple cake with crumbles on top) since this is our favorite. In the future, we might add some more versions of apple cake to this website!

Similar to how there are a few different versions of the cake, there are also different ways you can make the dough of the cake. Some German apple cakes are made from a yeast dough.

However, we know that people from North America generally don’t use yeast that often (and in some cases are even uncomfortable with using it – it’s not actually that scary though!). That’s why we have decided to make this cake with a simple dough that doesn’t call for any yeast.

two slices of german apple cake on white marble and blue plate
Apple cake looks great served up on whatever plates you have around!

This cake is not difficult to make if you just follow the step by step instructions. Just keep in mind that it’ll take you a bit of time to make this cake since there are a couple of different steps.

In some German apple cake recipes, the dough for the base and the crumble topping is the same. In our recipe, they are made from slightly different mixtures so you’ll have to make them separately.

It should only take a couple of extra minutes though, so don’t worry! We like this version better since creating them separately makes it easier to get the exact amount of ingredients that you need for each.

slice of german apple cake on plate with crumble on top
One slice of German apple cake with crumbles – coming right up!

For this apple cake, you can use all different kinds of apples – it really depends on your preference. We usually like using red apples that have a slightly sweet taste but you can also use green apples if you prefer those.

If the apple peel is quite hard, it’s better to peel the apples since we don’t pre-cook them for this recipe.

When baking, make sure to check on the cake every once in a while. Sometimes the crumbles can get quite brown. In that case, you could cover the springform pan with some aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes to stop the crumbles from browning further.

Just so you know, this cake stores well in the fridge for about 3-4 days (we keep it in a container with a lid). If you don’t like consuming the cake when it’s cold after taking it out of the fridge, you could always heat it up for a few seconds in the microwave or for a few minutes in the oven. Enjoy this German apple cake!

slice of german apple cake on plate with crumble on top

German Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen)

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

With a hint of sweet and delicious crumble on top, this German Apple Cake is the perfect dessert. Made from just a few simple ingredients like apples and cinnamon, this fancy looking crumble cake is actually fairly easy to make!

Ingredients

The Base

  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 medium-sized egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • a pinch of salt

The Apple Filling

  • 5 medium-sized apples
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

The Crumble Topping

  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 355 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease and flour a 9.5-inch cake springform pan. You can also line the bottom with parchment paper.
  3. Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract with your hand mixer in a large bowl. Add the egg and beat again.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Add the mixture to the liquid ingredients in small increments while using your hand mixer (and later your hands) on a low setting to avoid the flour from making a mess. You'll have to stop using your mixer about halfway through since the dough will become quite sticky. Just use your hands for the last bit and make sure not to overmix! Stop once everything is well combined and there are no lumps.
  5. Take the dough and roll it out with a rolling pin until it is slightly bigger than your springform pan (you'll need it for the edge/crust!). Make sure to put some flour on the surface and on the rolling pin first to avoid unnecessary sticking. Alternatively, you can also flatten the dough with your hands, then place it directly in the springform pan and form it to the bottom of the pan and up the sides (for crust). Make sure the dough has an even thickness and also make sure you have an approx. 1.5. inches high edge along the removable ring part of the springform pan (this is the crust).
  6. Peel the apples, remove the cores, and cut them into approx. 1/4-1/2 inch-sized cubes. Place the apple cubes into a bowl, add the cinnamon and mix well. Now evenly place the apple cubes over the cake base.
  7. For the crumbles, mix butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and flour using your hands (not your mixer!). The dough should be quite crumbly but the flour should be fully mixed in with the other ingredients (there should not be a lot of white flour spots). This might take a couple of minutes. If your dough feels too soft/sticky, add slightly more flour until it reaches the desired consistency (this shouldn't happen though). Rip the dough into small pieces and place it on top of the apples.
  8. Bake the cake for approximately 50 - 60 minutes. Since every oven is different, your baking time might vary slightly. Once the cake is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool in the springform pan. Remove the cake from the pan once it has cooled sufficiently.

Notes

  • For this recipe, feel free to use any apples that you have at home. We recommend peeling the apples first if the peel is quite hard since the apples are not pre-cooked in this recipe.
  • Towards the end of the baking, the crumbles might get quite brown (depending on your oven). In that case, you could cover the springform pan with some aluminum foil for the last few minutes.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 393Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 221mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 3gSugar: 30gProtein: 4g

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice. The exact values can vary depending on the specific ingredients used.

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