German Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen)

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German Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen)

Apfelkuchen is a traditional German/Austrian apple cake.  It’s very simple, as it calls for only basic pantry ingredients.  You can “dress it up” a bit by adding raisins, walnuts, whatever you like – but I think the apple flavor stands out the best without these additions.

This cake makes a wonderful dessert than can be served warm or cold.  For an authentic touch, serve with a heavy dollop of schlag (Austrian fresh whipped cream).  Or, serve it American style – warm with a side of vanilla ice cream!

Feel free to use whatever apples you like.  This time, I used Gala apples from Washington.  In the past, I’ve used Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and McIntosh – the flavor varies, but this cake is always good.  I also use walnut oil.  Walnut oil can be found at most health food/farmer’s market type of grocery stores – but it’s not essential.  You can substitute with regular canola oil with no problems if you can’t find (or don’t want to find) the walnut oil.


German Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen):

  • 4 c. peeled & sliced apples (about 4 apples)
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c. walnut oil (or canola oil)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare the pan by spraying with nonstick spray (pam for baking).  I used a Nordic Ware Kugelhopf pan (10 cup capacity).   This pan is a little bit smaller than a regular bundt pan, but you can use a bundt pan or an angel food cake pan with no problems.

2.  Peel and chop apples.  Mix with the sugar and set aside.

3.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

4.  Add the eggs to the apple mixture.

5.  Then mix the oil into the apple mixture.  I got this HUGE bottle of walnut oil at Home Goods for about $10.

6.  Pour the apple mixture into the flour mixture, and fold together until combined.

7.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 50-55 minutes.

8.  Cool for 15 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter.  Cool completely, and sift powdered sugar over the top (optional).


  1. Joyce says:

    Hi Mika,
    Thank you for posting this apple cake recipe! I’ve made this several times already, and everyone loves it! I did reduce the sugar from 2 cups to 1 1/3 cups, which I thought was sweet enough. :) I also added 1 cup of chocolate chips to the apple mixture before added the apple mixture to the flour mixture. Delicious!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Hi Joyce! I’m glad it worked out for you. Depending on the sweetness of the apples… you can definitely reduce the sugar… but I wouldn’t go less than 1 1/3 cups, otherwise it might throw off the chemistry of the cake. I’ve made this cake with many different varieties of apples, but my go-to apple is the more sour Granny Smith… so the full amount of sugar works better the more tart/sour the apple. I love your addition of chocolate chips! I’ve recently seen cinnamon flavored chips at the market… that might be an interesting addition too! Thanks for the feedback! :)

      • conny says:

        hey I am from germany and and I`ve never tried to make this kind of apple cake but yours looks really delicious :)

  2. Jade says:

    hye Mika, i like your recipe very much… but i have a question here… can i replace walnut oil with others oil like peanut oil or cooking oil? Because i’m living in malaysia, is kind of hard to buy walnut oil here…

    • Mika Mika says:

      Hi Jade,
      Yes, you can substitute with vegetable oil instead of walnut oil if you cannot find it in your area. :)

  3. Jade says:

    Thanks so much! :) will try to bake it during Chinese New Year for my siblings! :)

  4. Ann says:

    Mika, this cake turned out so awesome! It’s perfect for the holidays. Thank you!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Great! I’m so glad you liked it. This is my favorite apple recipe… It was passed on to me from an elderly German lady that my father used to know back in the 80′s!

  5. Ann says:

    Hi mika,

    If I were to half the recipe and bake in a normal bread loaf pan do you have any idea how long I would bake the cake? Thanks!

    • Mika Mika says:

      For a half recipe, baked in a 9″ X 5″ loaf pan… I would probably figure somewhere around 30-40 minutes, give or take. Maybe set the timer to 30 minutes – and don’t open the oven, just look through the glass door to see what the loaf looks like at the 30 minute mark and bake longer accordingly.

  6. Irene says:

    This is a seriously delicious cake.

    Is anyone having a problem with it sticking to the bundt pan? I have used pam both times and even heavier on the second time and still it sticks aggressively.

    Thanks for any tips!


    • Mika Mika says:

      Do you use the Pam for baking spray? The one specifically for baking has flour in it to help cakes come out of the pan. Don’t use regular pam, which doesn’t work as well. Or you could try buttering the pan very well, then dusting with a fine coating of flour. Also make sure your pan is 100% clean with no traces of burnt on grease/crumbs – these will cause your cake to stick.