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German Apple Cake with Streusel Topping

This 3-layer German Apple Streusel Cake is easy, beautiful, and absolutely delicious! If you’ve got apples, you’ve got to make this German cake.

Serve with a side of freshly whipped cream and you’ve got an impressive fall apple dessert!

😍 About This Recipe

Apple cake (Apfelkuchen in German) is popular traditional German dessert. You’ll find different versions in bakeries, cafes, and on kitchen tables for afternoon Kaffee und Kuchen.

There are different ways to make German Apple Cake. If you like streusel, you’ll love this variation. If you’re looking for an apple cake without streusel topping, try my German Apple Custard Cake.

This German Apple Cake has three tasty layers:

  1. Tender yeast cake base on the bottom
  2. Cinnamon sugar apples in the middle
  3. Almond streusel topping on the top of the cake

Like many German cakes, this one is not overly sweet. The yeast cake balances the sweetness of the apples and streusel topping. (If you’re looking for another type of yeast cake recipe, try my German Bee Sting Cake).

I used about five apples in my cake but you can add more if you’d like. The streusel on top is a little different compared to the streusel I use in my German Plum Cake – this streusel has ground almonds.

The three layers – yeast cake, apples, and streusel – combine to create a super tasty dessert!

❓FAQ

How is this German apple cake recipe different from Versunkener Apfelkuchen (sunken apple cake) or Gedeckter Apfelkuchen (covered apple cake)?

While both are classic German apple cakes, they’re a little different from this recipe and each other. Versunkener Apfelkuchen has two layers (buttery cake and apples) and is more like a coffee cake with apples on top.

Gedeckter Apfelkuchen looks more like an apple pie because it has a bottom and top layer with a filling made of chunks of sweet apples.

Both of these traditional German apple cakes are scrumptious but if you like streusel, you’ll love this recipe.

What kind of apples should I use?

Tart apples like Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples are generally recommended for recipes like this because they hold up well in baked desserts. That said, I’ve used other kinds of apples (whatever I happen to have in my kitchen) with good success.

Can I bake this cake in a tart pan?

I recommend using a springform pan. This cake is too tall for a tart pan.

🛒 What You Need to Make This Recipe

Here are the ingredients:

  • All purpose flour
  • Instant yeast
  • White sugar
  • Vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract)
  • Milk (room temperature)
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Apples (peeled and cut into slices or small pieces)
  • Lemon juice & zest
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Ground almonds (I buy this at Trader Joe’s but you can grind almonds in a food processor if you prefer – just make sure to stop before it becomes almond butter!)

Here are the baking tools you need:

  • Mixing bowls
  • Wooden spoon or rubber spatula
  • Paring knife (to slice apples)
  • Cutting board
  • 9-inch Springform pan
  • Circle of parchment paper or round Silpat mat
  • Wire rack
  • Plastic wrap (for storing)

😍 How to Make German Apple Cake with Streusel Topping

The first step is to make the yeast cake. Add flour, yeast, sugar, vanilla sugar (or extract), milk (room temperature), melted butter, and salt to a large bowl. Mix until it forms a dough.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until it’s smooth and no longer sticky. Don’t add too much extra flour. If you don’t want to do this by hand you can add the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer and use a dough hook attachment.

Place the dough back in the mixing bowl and cover with a towel. Let the dough stand for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to to 350F/180C.

Wash, peel, and slice the apples into thin slices. Place apple slices in a large mixing bowl and toss with lemon juice and lemon zest.

In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla sugar, and a pinch of salt.

Next, prepare the streusel topping. Add ground almonds, flour, sugar, vanilla sugar (or extract), and salt to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix with a whisk or wooden spoon until well combined.

Dice the butter and add it to the flour. Use your fingers to work the butter into the flour until it goes from being dry to sticking together in clumps.

Line your springform pan with parchment or a round Silpat mat (I usually grease the bottom of the pan so the parchment will stick better) and then press the yeast dough into the pan.

Place the apples on the yeast cake. You don’t need to be exact with your placement because the streusel topping will cover most of the apples. If you like a lot of apples, you can add more than my recipe suggests.

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the apples. Then top the apples with the streusel.

Bake the cake on a rack in the middle position of the oven at 350F/180C for about 45 minutes. The streusel should be golden brown.

When the cake is finished, let it cool for a few minutes in the springform pan on a wire rack. Then release and remove the springform pan. Once the cake has cooled a bit, slice and serve the warm cake with fresh whipped cream.

Store in an airtight container or wrap tightly in plastic wrap in a cool place for 3-5 days.

Enjoy this delicious apple cake!

❤️ Looking For More Apple Recipes?

Yield: 9 slices

German Apple Cake with Streusel

German Apple Cake with Streusel
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Cake

  • 4 Cups [500g] Flour (all purpose) 
  • 2 tsp [2.5 oz / 7 g / 1 packet] instant yeast 
  • 1/2 Cup [100g] sugar 
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp extract)
  • 1 Cup [250 ml] milk (room temp)
  • 7 TBSP [100g] butter (melted)
  • Pinch of salt

Apple Filling

  • 3-5 apples (or more!) 
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon + zest 
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla sugar 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt 

Streusel

  • 1/4 Cup [40g] ground almonds 
  • 1 Cup [150g] flour
  • 1/2 Cup [100g] sugar
  • 7 TBSP [100g] butter 
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla sugar
  • Pinch of salt 

Instructions

    1. Add flour, yeast, sugar, vanilla sugar (or extract), milk (room temperature), melted butter, and salt to a medium sized mixing bowl. Mix until it forms a dough.
    2. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until it's smooth and no longer sticky. Don't add too much extra flour. If you don't want to do this by hand you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.
    3. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with a towel. Let the dough stand for 30 minutes.
    4. Pre-heat the oven to to 350F/180C.
    5. Wash, peel, and slice the apples. Place apple slices in a mixing bowl and toss with lemon juice and zest.
    6. In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla sugar, and pinch of salt.
    7. Add ground almonds, flour, sugar, vanilla sugar (or extract), and salt to a medium sized mixing bowl. Mix with a whisk or wooden spoon until well combined.
    8. Dice the butter and add it to the flour. Use your fingers to work the butter into the flour until it goes from being dry to sticking together in clumps.
    9. Line the springform pan with parchment or a round Silpat mat (I usually grease the bottom of the pan so the parchment will stick better) and then press the yeast dough into the pan.
    10. Arrange the apples on the yeast cake.
    11. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the apples.
    12. Top the apples with the streusel.
    13. Bake the cake at 350F/180C for about 45 minutes. The streusel should be golden brown.
    14. When the cake is finished, let it cool for a few minutes in the springform pan, then release and remove the springform pan. Once the cake has cooled, slice and serve with freshly whipped cream.

😍 What Can I Help You With Next?

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Kirsten

Thursday 7th of October 2021

It's not a huge issue, but I was hoping this could be made with a dairy free milk and margarine. I'm not going to experiment with it this time around but if my boyfriend really likes this, I'll have to try making it dairy free in the future. Based on your own experience with baking in general, do you have any insight as to how either ingredient change might affect the dough, if at all? Just asking for speculation really, since I'm sure you'd probably know better than I.

Maryann

Friday 22nd of October 2021

@Kirsten, I use Almond milk. It adds just a hint more almond flavor and is delicious. This is a super GF recipe if you use 1-1 flour, use 8tbp of butter and two more tbsp of milk when making the dough. Reduce the GF flour for the streusel.

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Saturday 9th of October 2021

I imagine using margarine instead of butter will be fine. I haven't baked with non-dairy milk but I think that would work ok. A vegan friend of mine just suggested using soy milk because it's thicker than something like almond milk. And she thought Miyoko’s margarine could be a good sub for butter. I'm going to ask another vegan friend of mine, since she bakes a lot. I'll add an update here after I talk with her. :)

sara

Wednesday 9th of December 2020

are there supposed to eggs in the cake?

Cate, International Desserts Blog

Friday 11th of December 2020

Nope, no eggs!

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