Say it with me…”Ap-Fel-Koochen.” If you love apple cake, you must must must bake this cake as soon as humanly possible. Many years ago (actually 8 years ago) when I married my husband, my father-in-law asked me to make him a traditional German cake called Zwetschgenkuchen, just like his mother used to bake for him. Zwetschgenkuchen (pronounced tsvetch-gen-kuchen) is an Italian plum cake with a heavy cake batter similar to coffeecake and it is a crowd pleaser! This delicious cake comes in many forms, including Bienenstich Kuchen (cream filling and toasted almonds), Kasekuchen (cheesecake) and Pfirsichkuchen (peach topping) but today we are focusing on a sweet apple topping. So if you were wondering what to do with all of those apples from your recent apple picking trips or you are getting ready for Rosh Hashanah and the apples and honey are at your fingertips, this cake is seriously the answer!

You can layer your apples in any pattern then top them with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. The sugar adds sweetness to the apples but also adds a layer of crunch over the entire cake.

Now THAT is a baked Apfelkuchen! The cake batter rises between the layers of the apples while it bakes and the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top caramelizes to crunchy perfection.

I like to serve the apple cake warm with a dollop of coconut whipped cream and a drizzle of homemade peanut butter caramel.

German Apple Cake {Apfelkuchen}

Cake Batter
  • ½ cup margarine, room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp almond extract (or Disaronno)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
Apple Topping
  • 2-3 small Gala or Braeburn apples
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and prepare a 9-inch tart pan with cooking spray or oil.
  2. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the margarine and sugar. Add the eggs and almond extract and mix again.
  3. Separately, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the batter and mix on medium speed until combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared tart pan and spread it out with a spatula until even. The batter is sticky so spraying the spatula with cooking spray will help move the batter around the pan.
  5. Slice the apples into thin wedges and layer them on top of the batter.
  6. Stir together the sugar and cinnamon and pour it over the apples.
  7. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet (in case any batter spills over while it bakes) and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is browning and the cake tester comes out clean. If the cake isn’t cooked through, bake for 5 more minutes.