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German Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen)

8 Servings

1½ hours plus cooling

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Apfelkuchen, or apple cake, is a classic German sweet of which there are numerous versions. We were particularly fond of Luisa Weiss’s recipe in “Classic German Baking,” which is her adaptation of a recipe she found on a package of almond paste. Almond paste is not a typical ingredient in Apfelkuchen, but it gives the crumb a custardy richness, a moist, tender texture and a pleasant—but not overpowering—almond fragrance and flavor. Tangy-sweet sliced apples are fanned on top of the batter and baked into the surface to an elegant effect. You will need an apple corer to punch out the cores from the apples before halving them. If you don’t own one, halve the apples, then notch out the cores with a paring knife. This recipe was developed with a conventional (that is, not nonstick) springform pan. If yours is nonstick or otherwise has dark finish, to prevent overbaking, heat the oven to 350°F and begin checking for doneness on the low end of the time range




Don’t use marzipan in place of the almond paste. Marzipan is sweeter than almond paste. Also, make sure the almond paste is fresh and pliable, not dried out and hard, or it won’t break down properly during mixing. The apples can be peeled, cored and halved before you make the cake batter, but don’t slice the apple halves until the batter is in the pan. If sliced sooner, the apples may discolor.

1½ hours

plus cooling


  • 130

    grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan

  • teaspoons baking powder


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Rachael N.
November 14, 2023
This was a very easy cake to make and turned out beautifully! I used a conventional 9 inch springform pan, however, took one of the reviewers comment about starting to check for doneness at 40 minutes! I'm so glad I did! Perfect total time in my oven was 45 minutes!
Cheryl V.
September 23, 2022
Reminded me of Munich
My husband and I loved the cake. Years ago visiting our daughter in Munich we had a cake like this. I slightly over cooked it because I couldn’t find a lighter pan to purchase. My oven is excellent baking and I tested it at 50 minutes and it needed longer. I should have only done a couple minutes more. I will know next time. Question, I found almond paste locally and was pleasantly surprised by this. I bought two and froze one. Does that normally work? I live in a small town and often finding specialty item is hard. Not youngest took our springform pan so I had to find another. Love the cake.
Carol K.
June 5, 2022
Made for husbands 76th birthday! Lovely cake!
Cheryl V.
October 16, 2022
Favorite cake
I have made this three times and will make another today for a gift. It’s fabulous. I have found that I need to watch the cooking time closely so it doesn’t over bake on the edges. It’s so good that I just bought a second lighter colored spring form pan to see if it makes a difference. Travels well and makes a delightful company dessert that is a real treat.
Kenneth F.
February 18, 2024
Excellent apple cake.
The only change I made was to use some almond extract along with the vanilla to ramp the almond flavor a bit.
Shilpa S.

Is the almond paste store bought or homemade? Can you please post a recipe for homemade almond paste?

Amy M.

Love, love, love the flavors of this cake. Additionally, the proportions create a perfect coffee/tea time accompaniment that delighted 9 guests without overwhelming.

David N.

Can you please reveal the brand of almond paste you use and its proportion of sugar to almond?

Matthew K.

If you're a marzipan lover, you'll really enjoy this cake!

Orrin C.

This recipe is delicious!! I made it with (frozen) peaches last time and it was even better! One issue I'm having is getting the fruit to stay on top of the cake- it always sinks to the bottom. I'm wondering if anyone has found a way around this- either by making the batter thicker, or pre-cooking the fruit, or adding the fruit after the cake has been partially baked . . . Any suggestions?

Kanika R.

I made this for Easter and my husband and I absolutely loved it. I used a pre made almond paste (Details on my Instagram @thatcurrysmell) I did reduce the sugar a bit . Used a little more than half a cup as we like our baked goods less sweet.

Shilpa K.

How would you adjust the recipe to make the rhubarb version?

Pamela A.

I made this today and loved the flavor. My springform pan is a darker version, so I watched the time carefully but it was still more done along the outside and the bottom than I would like. Can I adjust the oven temp down by about 25 degrees to compensate?

Lee C.

Hi Pamela, I just made this cake today and also love the flavor. But I also have a dark colored pan and I think it got too done (in 50 minutes). So next time I am definitely lowering the oven temp by 25 degrees. I think that should work.

Jennifer Z.

My family absolutely loves this cake. So easy and the flavor is perfect. If you like almond flavor in your desserts this is a must try.

Christina T.

A winning recipe and an easy crowd pleaser. After reading a comment from Kanika above , I ordered the almond paste from Mandolin, Inc., a California almond grower. Fyi cheaper to order directly from the company than Amazon. Highly recommend to use this almond paste since it's the quality of the almond paste that makes the cake so good

Gary M.

The recipe states "heat the oven to 350°F and begin checking for doneness on the low end of the time range" - WHAT IS THE TIME RANGE?
The recipes should state first and in bold lettering - Oven temp & time - instead of hiding it at the first for one part and time at the bottom.

Lynn C.

Hi Gary -

I think you are referring to the note at the top of the recipe that gives alternate instructions for using a springform pan with a dark finish? Are you using a springform pan with a dark finish? If so, In Step 1, where the recipe states "Heat the oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the middle position," you would heat the oven to 350 degrees instead. In Step 5, where the recipe states, "Bake until the edges of the cake are deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes," you would want to start checking the cake for doneness at 50 minutes. Since these are alternate instructions we do not include them in the master recipe.

Based on years of feedback from home cooks on how they want the information presented in recipes, our recipe writing template includes the information where it is necessary and appropriate for you to know. It is meant for you to follow along as you are preparing the recipe. For example, we always call for heating the oven as the first step in a recipe so the oven has time to preheat before the food is ready to go in. If we didn't do it this way your cake batter/cookie dough, etc. would have to sit out on the counter waiting for the oven to preheat. This could negatively impact the leavening in the cake/cookies and potentially affect the final texture due to loss of air in the batter, warming of the batter/dough, etc. The timing is included at the point when you have finished the batter, put the pan in the oven, and are ready to set your timer. Based on that, we wouldn't want to tell you to heat the oven and bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes as the first step of the recipe. It wouldn't make sense before you've actually made the batter. We hope that clears things up!

The Milk Street Team

Diana L.

It was very good. I have used almond flour (4 oz of it) as I did not have the almond paste. I also only put 1/2 cup of sugar as I had sweeet apples. Its super easy to make and you cant mess it up.