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Oma’s Apfelkuchen (Grandma’s Apple Cake)

My husband’s German family calls this Oma’s apfelkuchen, which translates to "Grandma’s apple cake." They’ve been sharing the recipe for more than 150 years. I use Granny Smith apples, but any variety works. —Amy Kirchen, Loveland, Ohio
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 45 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    10 servings


  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 medium tart apples, peeled, cored and halved
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • Confectioners' sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Let egg yolks stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Starting 1/2 in. from 1 end, cut apple halves lengthwise into 1/4-in. slices, leaving them attached at the top so they fan out slightly. Set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, sift flour, cornstarch, cream of tartar, baking powder and salt twice. Gradually beat into creamed mixture. Add milk; mix well (batter will be thick).
  • Spread batter into a greased 9-in. springform pan wrapped in a sheet of heavy-duty foil. Gently press apples, round side up, into batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs, 45-55 minutes. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pan with a knife; remove foil. Cool 1 hour longer. Remove rim from pan. Dust with confectioners' sugar.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 422 calories, 23g fat (14g saturated fat), 148mg cholesterol, 177mg sodium, 50g carbohydrate (28g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.


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Average Rating:
  • rena 55
    Sep 20, 2020

    Rich, buttery texture and flavor. A delicious cake. But I had to bake it longer and the sides were a little hard. My family really enjoyed it, though.

  • wesoar
    Aug 20, 2020

    What a find! I was absolutely wowed by the way the apple and butter flavors shine through in this simple yet decadent cake. It's dense, almost like a blondie, so if you want a sponge cake, keep looking (but I encourage you to try this one another time!). A little slice of this rich cake goes a long way, and luckily for my small family, this cake lasts.

  • Rachel
    Aug 11, 2020

    This cake is so homey and comforting—it's not going to be your typical fluffy birthday cake, but it feels just as special! I love how dense and buttery it is, and it's definitely not too sweet (I love a subtly sweet dessert!). The hint of apple is so nice, not to mention, it is BEAUTIFUL! When I make it, I like to imagine my German great grandmother delicately slicing the apples, watching it bake up nice and brown, and serving it to her family generations ago.

  • Samuel
    Aug 11, 2020

    I prepared this for my in-laws. It looks impressive but is actually pretty simple to make. I'll definitely be making it again soon!

  • Harvey
    Jan 26, 2020

    I've made a similar Dutch Apple Cake for many years now. For those having problems with the center being 'gooey' - I had the same problem until I caught a hint on a cooking show. After putting the batter in the pan put it in the oven for 15 minutes, take it out, and then place the apples in. That sets the bottom and keeps the apples from sinking all the way through. Since I started that practice the cakes have come out much better and the apples aren't stuck to the pan.

  • Cindy
    May 30, 2019

    This is similar to my grandmother's (Norwegian) recipe except in her recipe we do not keep the apple slices together. We tuck the individual apple slices into the cake in rows. This helps cake not to be gooey in middle under apples. Also we served it with a vanilla sauce.

  • Marianne
    Mar 14, 2019

    very disappointed. I baked it 65 minutes and still middle mushy. Outer edges done and getting burned. Will not make it again.

  • Natalie
    Sep 28, 2018

    I have made this cake several times. It is a rich, dense, and delicious cake perfect for the fall. I like that the texture and taste are different from typical cakes. I made the cake as directed. I had to bake it longer than indicated. The size and type of apple can also impact the overall finish of the cake. It is a lot of work, but I highly recommend it!

  • DJScookingforfun
    Oct 30, 2017

    Made this cake exactly as written. Turned out ok, at best. The center, or I should say middle area inside apples, turned out gooey and not done. I cooked the entire 55 minutes. The outer area and near the apples was done perfectly, but as mentioned above, the inner portion of the cake, not cooked. To get it cooked I would have to burn the rest. While this cake has great promise, not sure how it was the Grand Prize winner, especially looking at other's comments.

  • Bonnie
    Oct 22, 2017

    Haven't actually tasted yet. Have to wait one hour. Husband had to try this cake-it looked so delicious. Didn't understand directions for aluminum foil so didn't use it. Cake came out almost burned. Help!!