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+ servings
German apple cake, post oven and all done!
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5 from 2 votes

German Apple Cake

Whole chunks of sweet-tart apples are baked into a moist and buttery vanilla batter, creating a showstopingly gorgeous German apple cake that’s impressive to look at and deceptively easy to make!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: Californian
Servings: 12
Author: Daniela Gerson


For the German Apple Cake

  • 5 apples peeled, quartered and cored, cut hasselback style
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon zest & juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp milk

Cinnamon-Sugar Glaze (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoon granulated
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350°F and coat the bottom of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan or baking dish with butter.
  • To prepare the apples: Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Use a sharp knife to thinly slice each quarter (hasselback style) without cutting all the way through so that the apple stays intact.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add sugar and mix until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes longer.
Add eggs one at a time and beat for 30 seconds on high speed after each addition.
  • Add vanilla extract, salt, and lemon zest and juice. Beating until just combined.
  • With the mixer on low, add the flour, baking powder, and salt followed by the milk. Beat until just combined. Don't overmix!
  • Spread cake batter into prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Arrange apples quarters with sliced side up.
  • While the cake bakes, make the cinnamon-sugar glaze by melting the butter. Off the heat mix in the sugar and cinnamon. Brush mixture all over cake and apples for the last 10ish minute of baking time.
  • Bake cake for about 45 minutes total, until lightly browned and a skewer comes out clean.
  • Transfer to a cooling rack let cake cool a bit before serving.


  • For optimal texture and fluffy results, be sure to use room temperature butter when creaming.
  • Remember to make small slices in the apples but not actually cut all the way through them.
  • Don’t stress about cutting the apples perfectly or fret if you accidentally cut all the way through them! They’ll fan out while they bake and surely look awesome + ou can always reassemble the apples on the cake!
  • If you don’t have a stand mixer, the bowl of a food processor with the paddle attachment can work.
  • Leftovers will keep, covered, at room temperature up to 4 days.