Traditional German Apple Cake Recipe – Oma's Versunkener Apfelkuchen

If you’re looking for an easy and impressive dessert to make, look no further. This simple vanilla cake topped with thinly fanned apples and a fresh dusting of icing sugar looks so pretty and fancy!

Prep Time

25 minutes

Cook Time

50 minutes

Total Time

75 minutes


Makes 12 servings


  • 3 to 5 apples, depending on size
  • ½ cup (114 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) lemon juice
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon (3 - 5 milliliters) vanilla or almond extract
  • 1¾ cup (228 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoon (6 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (3 grams) salt
  • ½ cup (120 milliliters) milk
  • 1 tablespoon (6 grams) powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Grease bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan.
  3. Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla until creamy.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir the flour mixture into sugar mixture a little at a time, alternating with the milk.
  6. Spread the cake batter in the prepared pan.
  7. Cut thin slices into each apple quarter from the outer part toward the center several times without cutting all the way through. The apple slices will separate from each other while the cake bakes. Arrange sliced apple quarters on top of the batter (see photos above).
  8. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Remove the cake from pan.
  10. Put powdered sugar into a small sieve and gently tap to dust sugar evenly over the entire cake.


  • Extra apples? Make this buffet treat!
  • Add ½ to 1 teaspoon almond extract instead of or as well as the lemon juice.
  • Brush hot sieved apricot jam over the apples right after the cake comes out of the oven.
  • Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • Tastes best warm right out of the oven or the second day once the apples have infused their flavor throughout the cake.
  • I've made this in a foil 9x12-inch pan and it works just as well.

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12.21.2021 revision update