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German Apple Cake

German Apple Cake | Magnolia Days

Translating and converting recipes from other languages is not an easy task. Even something as simple as cake has many variables. The challenges are measurements, methods, and ingredients. I discovered this when I decided to tackle making German Apple Cake. It’s been on the to-do list for a couple of years. It got on the to-do list the last time my mom and I went to Germany to visit family.

We spent one day with my mom’s cousin (my first cousin once removed?). Plans included lunch, shopping in the family shoe store, and the absolutely cannot be missed afternoon cake and coffee. Yes, it’s a German daily tradition and my mom will not miss out on it when we are in Germany. Lunch was at a restaurant down the street from our cousin’s home and store. After lunch, mom bought some shoes for herself and a pair of boots for me.

German Apple Cake | Magnolia Days

Our cousin served wine and cookies after shopping. We sipped and nibbled while catching up on family and events. Then the magic hour struck and it was time for cake. The table was set with this gorgeous cake in the center. I asked for the recipe and our cousin brought out this very old cookbook. The covers were gone and pages tattered. I took a photo of the recipe so I could have the original one.

Old German Cookbook

My mom helped with translating the recipe. We went over each detail and I took plenty of notes. Converting measurements was interesting. I went to several conversion calculators and got different results. All I could do is go with my gut instinct. German flour is different than American flour. Hours of research concluded to try bleached all-purpose. The first attempt didn’t turn out as I wanted. I adjusted the quantity of the baking powder and used unbleached cake flour for the second attempt. I was pleased with the second one and ready to share the recipe.

German Apple Cake | Magnolia Days

How is the German Apple Cake? It is a buttery cake topped with apples and an apricot glaze. The airy texture makes it a lighter feeling dessert. I can’t wait to bake this for my mom on Mother’s Day. Hopefully she will enjoy it as much as she did the one in Germany.

German Apple Cake | Magnolia Days

Do you make something special for Mother’s Day? I do and there are some talented bloggers who do also. Scroll down to find a list of the recipes with links to each of them. Take a look at Chocolate Pecan Torte (my mom’s favorite) and Strawberry Cake too.

Mother's Day Recipes Collage for Holiday Food Party
4.5 from 2 votes

German Apple Cake

A recipe for German Apple Cake made with fresh tart baking apples. The recipe is translated and adapted from an old German cookbook.
Course Dessert
Cuisine German
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Author Renee


For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached cake flour*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 baking apples; peeled cored, and sliced
  • 4 to 6 walnut halves optional

For the glaze:

  • 3 heaping tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

For the garnish:

  • 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar


For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 10-inch springform pan.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  3. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add lemon extract and beat to combine.
  6. Add flour mixture and milk and beat on low speed until just combined. Batter will be thick.
  7. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
  8. Arrange apple slices and walnuts on top of batter.
  9. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  10. In the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking, make the glaze.

For the glaze:

  1. Push preserves through a fine mesh sieve into a small saucepan. Remember to scrape the strained preserves from the underside of the sieve as it will be thick and cling to the sieve. Discard pieces of apricot flesh inside the sieve or use them for another purpose. You should have 2 to 3 tablespoons of strained preserves.
  2. Combine gelatin and cold water in a small bowl. Allow to bloom for 10 minutes.
  3. Add bloomed gelatin to the preserves and stir over medium-low heat until combined and dissolved.

To finish the cake:

  1. Carefully brush glaze over warm cake.
  2. Cool cake for 10 minutes then remove the sides of the pan. Cool cake completely on a wire rack.
  3. Dust cake with confectioners sugar before serving.

Recipe Notes

*If you cannot find unbleached cake flour (King Arthur brand is most widely available) substitute bleached all-purpose flour or cake flour. Those flours will give the cake a slightly different crumb and texture.

Are you looking for Mother’s Day recipes? I’ve teamed up with some wonderful blogger friends for another Holiday Food Party to share ones you can make for all the moms in your life. It is a fabulous lineup of sweets and savories:

Mother's Day Recipes Collage for Holiday Food Party

  1. Coconut Cupcakes from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
  2. German Apple Cake from Magnolia Days
  3. Baked Lemon Pasta with Broccoli and Shrimp from What Smells So Good
  4. Cinnamon Pear Cake from Roxana’s Home Baking
  5. Strawberry Whiskey Sour from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
  6. Huevos Rancheros from Crumb Blog
  7. Triple Lemon Cake from Created by Diane
  8. Banana Chocolate Chip Bread from Chocolate Moosey
  9. Lemon Thyme Shortbread from Jen’s Favorite Cookies
  10. Pineapple Coconut Sweet Rolls from Pineapple and Coconut
  11. Caramilk Stuffed No-Knead Brioche from Gotta Get Baked
  12. Mom’s Extra Tall Sponge Cake from Hungry Couple NYC
  13. Brown Butter Pecan Fudge Ripple No-Churn Ice Cream from Cupcakes and Kale Chips

Special thanks to Jen at Jen’s Favorite Cookies our host and the one who does so much to make these Holiday Food Parties happen.

Recipe Rating

Kathleen Denne

Monday 2nd of August 2021

I'm going to try to make this gluten free for my son-in-law. I have Bob's Mill all purpose gluten free flour. I will add some cornstarch and sift it in to make a cake flour from it. All I need are some apples and time.

Katie Moseman

Monday 2nd of August 2021

Will you let us know how it went? I'm now gluten free and have been adapting many recipes to fit my dietary requirements.


Thursday 31st of May 2018

I'm tickled with finding this recipe. I can't wait to give this a try. And I'm glad YOU did the translation. I've tried baking recipes from other countries and most of the time I use the translation tool on the computer. Finding recipes from other cultures and countries is one of my favorite recipes to find and use. One of the reason I'm very happy with this year's season of the PBS show, "Martha Bakes" as she's doing cookies from all over the world. But as for those recipes translated by the computer, some are so off and so bizarre they're downright laughable. They would make an outstanding comedy routine. Then there are those where its just one or two things that I can't quite seem to figure out what it should REALLY mean, and of course, its always a vital part I'm not familiar with and so hesitate to try the recipe and waste the time, the ingredients and the effort. The main reason I'm writing is to ask you......Do you remember about how many servings this cake provided, normal servings I should say? Also, are you familiar with Fante's in Philadelphia? They are a deli and a kitchen supply store. While they specialize in Italian of course as this is their specialty, they carry kitchen tools, recipes and ingredients from all over Europe mostly. I discovered them while searching for a Pizzelle maker that was a GOOD one with deep grooves and high quality and not these tacky, cheap, nonstick, and horrible to use ones found at most places kitchen today. It wouldn't surprise me if the ones at Fante didn't actually come from Italy. However, I think I saw recently they had 00 flour which is often used by the French. It's one ingredient I want to get in before I make several French recipes. I didn't go to the site to check on this but it wouldn't surprise me if they don't have authentic ingredients you might be looking for. I live about 3 hours from Philadelphia and I'm hoping to take an overnight or maybe even weekend trip this summer to visit here and some other sightseeing. I live about an hour outside of Washington, DC, actually about 7 miles from Camp David. If I REALLY wanted to push it I COULD do it in one day, I've driven to Philadelphia just for the day to attend the Philadelphia Flower Show (one of the best in the nation) but its not my idea of an enjoyable day, especially when I'm doing the driving. Check out their website, they have a massive website including oodles and oodles of authentic recipes from all sorts of ethnic groups. I'm sure you'll find a ton of interesting things even if its not your flour or other ingredients you might want for some German recipes.

Willson Nickeson

Saturday 3rd of January 2015

"This is also the same recipe I use (ironically) for Jewish Apple Cake. It's a recipe we use so that we may have it as part of a Kosher meal as it is sans dairy. For the "trained pastry chef"....make it and make it the way it's written. It absolutely is the perfect amounts of everything, it's prettier with the apple ribbons, but I suppose you could mix all ingredients together. I use 5 apples, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup of oil, 1/4 cup oj. It takes a patient person to bake this because it is often in the oven for upwards of 90 minutes!! But I've made it DOZENS of times and have never had a failure and have never had a single person not like it. It is a heavy cake, but a superbly moist cake (not oily at all). And it tastes even better the next day!!!!"

Read more: Have nice day

thank you


Sunday 4th of May 2014

Those old family recipes are always the best, once you work out the handwriting and/or translation. Beautiful apple cake, Renee!


Saturday 17th of May 2014

Thanks Stacy and now comes the fun of translating more of them.


Sunday 4th of May 2014

The cake looks very good and delicious. It's right with the translating, you cannot simply translate word by word and there you go. The measurements are really a challenge. Well, now you have translated the recipe into a form, I can't 'read' and the photo of the original is too small too read. No worries, a yummy apple cake you did!


Saturday 17th of May 2014

Thanks Chris.