Apfelkuchen Recipe

This is based on a recipe from a reader’s Oma — I’m not saying whose so as to protect Reader X from a little old lady’s wrath. An apple kuchen recipe like this is properly called a “versunken apfelkuchen” because the apples are immersed into the batter. I like the presentation with apple halves, but you can slice the apples and arrange them any way you wish. You’ll need:

2 pounds apples — a firm, sweet apple like Golden Delicious
juice of 1 lemon
9 ounces (scant 1 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking power
½ teaspoon salt
5 ounces (10 tablespoons) butter, softened
8 ounces (1 cup + 1 tablespoon) sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
zest of 1/2 a lemon
5 ounces (2/3 cup) milk
5 ounces (2/3 cup) buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 375. Peel the apples, slice them in two, and core them. Toss the apple halves with the lemon juice and three ounces of the sugar and set them aside for one hour.

Next, prepare the batter. Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together. Combine the eggs and vanilla in a bowl. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle and beat until light in color. Beat in the egg mixture. Add the lemon. Stir in flour mixture, then the milk and buttermilk.

Scrape the mixture into a buttered 10″ springform pan. Score the apple slices, slicing them long-ways, but not completely through. Arrange the apples in the batter. Reserve the accumulated juice.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the top is golden. Meanwhile, reduce the liquid to a glaze consistency in a small saucepan. Remove from the oven, let cool and brush the apple syrup onto the apples. Serve in slices.

13 thoughts on “Apfelkuchen Recipe”

  1. AWESOME looking! I’ll be baking one of these this weekend.

    Question: I dislike buying buttermilk because the majority of it goes to waste (yes, I know I should find other things to bake and use it up); do you think there will be any negative impacts caused by the use of a powdered buttermilk product (adjusting for liquid, of course)?

    1. Let me know how it turns out! As far as the buttermilk, just use all milk save for two teaspoons. Add two teaspoons of lemon juice instead and you’re good to go!

      – Joe

  2. Just wondered, is it 2 teas powder or soda? What would happen to the texture if I put 2 teas soda? And I need to macerate the apple slices and apple halves, not just the halves? tx tracy

    1. Hi Tracy! It’s definitely two teaspoons baking powder. Two teaspoons soda would be WAY too much leavening pop for this application. Remember baking soda is about four times more powerful per teaspoon than baking powder.

      Regarding your other question, yes do macerate both the halves and slices together.

      – Joe

  3. Hi Joe, thank you for this great recipe! I am having a dinner party on the 24th of June, and this is going to be my dessert. What would you suggest to go with it? Ice cream, clotted cream, or a single or double cream? Any ideas would be appreciated-
    Karen (England)

    1. I should think a small scoop of a good vanilla ice cream would be perfect!

      Thanks for the note, Karen!

      – Joe

  4. Dear Joe,
    This Apfelkuchen is simply awesome! I have made it twice now and just had to write to share with you my delight in your recipe and to thank you for it and also for the joy your website/blog brings me. My mother is from Germany and this apple cake brought back many happy memories for her. The Germans love their apples. The density and buttery flavor of this cake is sublime. Your methodical steps are perfect and much appreciated. For other readers, like me, who enjoy reading comments to recipes I hope you appreciate a few of my thoughts:

    I find macerating the apples and reducing the juice, although time-consuming, are very worthwhile. You are absolutely right that this cake begs for a sweeter yet firm apple. I used a blend of Winter Banana, Mutsu, and Gold Rush that I had in storage from the fall. These gave the cake an almost perfumy aroma and such a delicious flavor. So I do feel the choice of apple is imperative to a good end result. I can’t see Granny Smith-like apples working in this recipe as they are just too tart. The lemon zest, to me, is also imperative. Both times I made this I had to bake it for a good half hour longer than you state, but I attribute this to either oven variances or the differences in apple varieties. I simply baked it until a cake tester came out clean.

    So, to other readers who are considering this recipe, just do it! Find the right apples and allow yourself the time to follow the steps that Joe outlines so perfectly and you won’t regret it. Needless to say, Joe’s Apfelkuchen will remain a part of my repertoire.
    Kindest regards, Natalie (a grateful reader from Indiana).

    1. Hey Natalie!

      Thanks so much for the kind words and for your excellent comments, which will make a great addition to the post. Next time I drive up I-65 (which is often) I’ll keep the windows rolled down in hopes of catching the scent of baking apples! Happy New year!

      – Joe

  5. Tried this twice with apple slices on top,none in the middle. Both times it fell when it came out of the oven. It tastes very good but too thick. I used skim milk and buttermilk. Wondering if that is the problem. Also, I opened the oven door to check it. Could that cause it to fall? The taste is perfect so I would like to get some advice before I try it again and have it fall.

    1. Hey Donnie!

      Sorry to hear that. I’m wondering if you might be over-beating the batter, creating a foam that rises too high, then collapses under the weight of the apples before it can set up. Opening the oven door probably doesn’t help, indeed it’s bad for any foam while it’s baking. But maybe try whipping a little less, also some apples in the middle would probably help give the cake more structure, more support instead of a single thick layer of cake.

      Keep me informed!

      – Joe

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