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Versunkener Apfelkuchen (German sunken apple cake) recipe

Versunkener Apfelkuchen (German sunken apple cake) recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Cake
  • Cakes with fruit
  • Apple cake

For this apple cake you need to cut the apples like a fan not only for looks - this little trick makes the cake especially moist.

3 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 level teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 to 7 apples (depending on size)
  • icing sugar for dusting (optional)

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:45min ›Ready in:1hr5min

  1. Beat butter till creamy and gradually add sugar and eggs. Mix flour and baking powder and stir add. Stir till well combined and smooth.
  2. Peel and quarter apples. Remove core and cut apples like a fan from the outside towards the inside but do not cut all the way through.
  3. Preheat oven to 175 C / Gas 3-4. Grease a springform tin and evenly spread the pastry mixture. Place the apple quarters in a circle on the pastry with the cut side up. Gently push the apples into the pastry.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven till golden brown about 45 minutes.
  5. Dust with icing sugar if liked.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(12)

Sunken apple cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen) from Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to Streuselkuchen (page 43) by Luisa Weiss

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Vegan German Apple cake recipe | Versunkener Apfelkuchen | apple cinnamon cake recipe with step wise pictorial and video Method.


You must have noticed these words in the title of the post. So this is mandatory to understand what does it mean.

Versunkener means Sunken
Apfel is Apple &
kuchen stands for Cake

So, Versunkener Apfelkuchen are the German words which means Sunken Apple Cake.

In the making of this cake, batter is raised above the apple slices placed in batter, thereby sunken the apples.

That is why this cake is also named as Sunken Apple Cake.


If talking about batter, you know everyone has his own way of preparing batter.

Choice of flour, with eggs or eggless, dairy or vegan, these are all the criterias which are solely based on one’s own preference.

So here’s no question of any difference between German and other apple cakes. Be it German or not, batter is prepared by one’s own will.

Actually the basic difference lies only in the way apples are placed in the cake.

In other apple cake recipes, the apples are made only a part of batter. And if you can see the apples slices arranged over the top of cake, then it is apple upside down cake only.

Whereas in German apple cake, the apples are seen to be arranged over of top of cake but this is not done in a way apple upside down cake is made.

If you have ever tried any upside down cake, then you must be knowing that to make such cake, first fruit slices are arranged at the bottom of cake tin and then over the top, batter is dropped.

When the cake gets ready, it is to be flipped and only then fruit appears on the top.

But in German apple cake, first batter is poured in baking tin and thereafter apples (cut into quarters & then sliced) are arranged over the top. When cake gets baked, batter rises up and embed slices deep inside them, giving a sunken look to apples.


This cake is traditionally served after sprinkling powdered sugar over the cake and a big dollop of whipping cream.

But note that powdered sugar is sprinkled only when the cake is completely cool and immediately before serving.


A. This cake asks for lots of apples but less batter. Apple slices has to sunk but remain visible at the same time. So don’t prepare much batter.

B. This cake uses both all purpose flour and whole wheat flour but you can skip the one you want. Add completely one flour.

C. Oil should be unflavored. Strong flavoured and smelled oils like mustard, peanut or the like are barred.

D. Apple puree should be made immediately before using otherwise it will turn dark.

E. After adding baking soda and powder in a batter and also after cutting apples, you can’t wait for a long. So be quick in finishing the process. If you have some help in the kitchen, divide the task so that cutting of apples & prepration of batter finishes together at the same time.

F. You can brush some warm jam, preferably apple jam, on the hot slices immediately after cake is baked. This will give a beautiful glaze to apple quarters, hence to the cake as a whole.

G. Don’t throw way the apple peels and cores. You can make a delicous jelly out of it. Click here for the recipe.


For many more eggless and vegan cakes, click here .


  1. Take a bowl and add oil, powdered sugar and water. Whisk to dissolve sugar completely.
  2. Place a sieve over the bowl and add whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon powder and nutmeg powder.
  3. Sift the ingredients into the bowl.
  4. Add apple puree, vanilla essence and lemon juice.
  5. Mix the mixture into a batter using cut and fold method.
  6. Pour the batter in a cake tin lined with greased butter paper or parchment paper. Keep aside.
  7. Take 3 to 4 apples, peel their skin and cut into quarters.
  8. Remove the core and seeds and mark cuts on the wider side of apple quarter. But note that quarters should remain intact from the other end.
  9. Arrange these apple quarters over the batter having sliced side upwards.
  10. Bake the cake in a preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes @ 180°C in the middle rack with both the rods on.
  11. Insert the toothpick and if it comes out clean it’s a sign that cake is baked properly.
  12. Let the cake cool completely.
  13. Vegan German apple cake is ready.
  14. Serve after dusting with powdered sugar.

Apple puree is made by grinding the apples. If finding difficulty in making puree, add a bit of water. However no issues if there remains few chunks of apples.

German Apple Cake

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan.

Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Thinly slice each quarter lengthwise several times without cutting all the way through so the apples stay in one piece (hasselback style). (The apples will open as they bake.)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time beating for 30 seconds on high speed after each addition.

Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice and beat until combined.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

With the mixer running on low speed add half of the flour, then the milk, followed by the remaining flour, and then the sour cream. Beat until just combined. Don't overmix!

Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Arrange the apple quarters in concentric circles over the entire surface of the batter. Brush the melted butter on top of the apples.

Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until the apples and crust are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (the apples will not be completely tender).

Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and remove the springform ring. Brush hot apricot jam over the cake and apples right as soon as the cake comes out of the oven. Allow the cake to cool completely.

Dust the cooled cake with confectioners’ sugar and serve with sweetened whipped cream.

Sweetened Whipped Cream

In a large bowl, use an electric handheld mixer to beat the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla on high speed until stiff peaks form.

This cake is made with a simple vanilla cake batter. The batter is rather thick and it helps to hold the apples in place and stop them from sinking to the bottom. A few notes on the main ingredients.

Flour: All-purpose flour or cake flour will work in this recipe.

Sugar: The sugar in the recipe is on the low side. It creates a lightly sweetened cake. Add 50% more sugar if you like it sweeter.

Apples: As mentioned above almost all apples will work but it is best to use cooking apples like granny smith.

What I love about the Sunken Apple Cake

Despite its seemingly complicated yet self-explanatory German name—go ahead and say it out loud, this cake is easy to make. There is no special ingredient required and it is fairly quick to put together. Preparing the Hasselback-sliced apples is the most involved part of the prep work, but it’s worth the effort. Not only does that ensure that the apples soften throughout, it also makes for a delightfully appealing presentation. The apple quarters are propped on a thick batter and sprinkled with turbinado sugar. Traditionally, the cake is only lightly dusted with powdered sugar before serving. I do that sometimes, but I also love having the crunchy element from the large sugar crystals.

During baking, the apple wedges sink and fan out a little bit, while the batter puffs up around them. The resulting cake is sturdy enough to hold the apples in place and is a touch on the dry side, which I believe makes them last longer at room temperature. Plus, no soggy cake there. The crumb is lightly sweet and lets the flavours of the apples shine. This is why I’d highly recommend using your favourite sweet-tart variety/ies for this recipe.

Tips for the best Versunkener Apfelkuchen – Sunken Apple Cake

Tip for slicing your apple quarters without cutting through: Slicing the apple quarters without cutting through is best done by placing the apple quarter, core side down onto your chopping board and starting from one side and slicing the slits carefully from one side to the other (e.g. if you’re right handed slicing from the left side to the right side of the quarter), this helps keep the slices as consistently fine as possible and gets you moving into a rhythm.

Heavy cake batter: The cake batter is not runny here and the pieces of soft apple therein are the star, however, it can be a cake more on the slightly dry side if you don’t have three large eggs – suggest using four medium eggs as this is one of the few ingredients providing moisture in this cake.

How to lay out your quarters: If you were to google the name of this cake you’d find that everyone places the apple quarters differently into their cake, therefore the lack of directions when it comes to pressing the quarters into the batter, I prefer beginning with the outer edges of the cake and working in and didn’t want to overwhelm the eye, therefore opted to leave the center, apple free. There are no rules here though, go wild and place them where you wish.

Size of cake tin for this cake: The cake was baked in a 20cm or 8 inch cake tin.

Versunkener Apfelkuchen – Sunken Apple Cake
Adapted from Unser Kochbuch No. 1. Das GU Kochbuch für junge Leute via
Serves 8

2 apples, peeled, cored and quartered
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons superfine/caster sugar
125 grams / 4.4 ounces butter, softened
100 grams / 1/2 cup superfine/caster sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
240 grams / 1 1/2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Greaseproof a cake tin and preheat the oven to 180°C/350F.

Carefully, cut slits halfway through each apple quarter, leaving 1/4 inch uncut nearerest the core section.

You want the quarters to remain whole, so carefully slice without cutting all the way through.

Place the sliced quarters in a bowl with the lemon juice and sugar, stirring to coat and set aside.

Place the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, approximately 1 minute if using a stand mixer, 1 1/2 minutes if using a hand beater or 2 1/2 minutes if mixing by hand.

Add the vanilla extract and egg yolks and beat until well combined, approximately 30 seconds if using a stand mixer, 1 minute if using a hand beater or 1 1/2 minutes if mixing by hand.

Place the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl and stir to combine. Add the dry mixture in thirds to the butter mixture on the lowest setting until it is just combined and no dry portions remain.

Place the egg whites into a separate bowl and beat until stiff.

Spoon a third of the cake batter into the stiff egg whites and fold through until combined and no lumps remain, continue adding a portion of the cake batter to the egg whites and fold through until the mixture is fully combined.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and spread out the batter evenly.

Press the apple quarters into the tin in your chosen pattern and bake in the oven for approximately 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Versunkener Apfelkuchen | Sunken Apple Cake

Versunkener Apfelkuchen | Sunken Apple Cake

Among all the fruits that grow in Germany, apples are a top favourite. Hence, it is no surprise they are the most consumed fruit in the country, and there are countless apple cakes in the country. The Versunkener Apfelkuchen is among the more popular of them and also in my opinion a very easy cake to bake.

“Versunkener Apfelkuchen”, pronounced Pfer-soon-kanar Apfel-koo-chan, translates to Sunken Apple Cake. It is a plain batter cake in which slit quartered apples are laid on top of the batter. As the cake bakes, the batter rises around the apples and encases them. This gives the impression of the apples peeking out of the golden brown crust. This cake belongs to a category of cakes known as “Mittwochskuchen”, which means Wednesday cake as these cakes can be prepared at a short notice in the middle of the week when time is short.

Versunkener Apfelkuchen | Sunken Apple Cake

This cake is served with a dusting of powdered sugar on top. The Germans enjoy it with an additional mandatory serving of a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. You can enjoy it fresh out of the oven as soon as it has cooled to room temperature but, you won’t be wrong in trying it a day later as well. It tastes divine! The plain sponge with the sweet moist tartness of the apples makes a fantastic combo.

This cake works better with cake flour than all-purpose flour as the batter contains no additional wet ingredients and hence all-purpose flour would yield a dryer cake. I’ve mentioned in the recipe how to substitute cake flour using all-purpose flour and cornstarch.

  • Sunken Apple cake-baking prep
  • Sunken Apple Cake – fresh from the oven

What apples to use for Versunkener Apfelkuchen?

You can use any apples for this cake. Ensure that they are ripe as you do not want too much of a tart taste in every bite. Also, smaller sized apples cook well by the time the batter bakes. Pack them snugly in the baking tin. I used Gala apples as they are crisp with a mild sweet flavour. Peel the apples, quarter them and slice them thinly and as deep as possible without breaking the quarter. This ensures that the apples cook well by the time the cake bakes and also they open up slightly like an accordion, which is a visual treat.

Another tiny detail, which I would like to mention here is that German’s usually use Vanilla Zucker (Vanilla sugar) instead of Vanilla bean or vanilla extract/ essence in baking. You can make this easily at home by placing a slit Vanilla pod in a jar of sugar and let it infuse. If you have no access to Vanilla sugar, use vanilla extract.

I hope you will enjoy baking this cake as much as I did. Please leave your feedback in the comments. Happy baking!

German Sunken Apple Cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen)

Easy enough to whip together on a weekday and fun to make with kids, this classic German cake combines apples and lemon zest under a raw sugar crust for a bright and delicious dessert.

1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons (125g) granulated sugar

9 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (130g) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

11/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 Tablespoons demerara (raw) sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9” round cake pan (or springform pan) with an oil-based spread (like Crisco or baking spray) and line the bottom of the pan with parchment.

Peel the apples, then core and slice into 8ths (I use a corer/slicer to make quick work of this).

Zest the lemon into a bowl with the butter and sugar. Cut the lemon in half and juice one half. Strain any seeds and set the juice aside.

Using a sturdy wooden spoon or mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add vanilla extract and one egg, mixing until fully combined. Add remaining eggs one at a time, fully combining each egg before adding the next.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the lemon juice and flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the apple slices with the core side down in a circle around the edge of the pan, pressing down slightly, so each slice is secured in place. Take the remaining apples and place in the center. Sprinkle the top of the cake generously with demerara sugar.

Place pan in the center of the oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a tester comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing pan. The cake should be firm enough that it should be easy to move without disturbing the apples.

German Apple Cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen)

Ger­man apple cake (ver­sunken­er apfelkuchen) is a per­fect fall dessert that even a novice cook can make. In Ger­many, this cake is often served in the after­noon for “cof­fee and cake” time (kaf­fee und kuchen), a cof­fee break at around 3 p.m. where peo­ple sit down and enjoy a cup of cof­fee with a piece of cake, a pas­try, or cook­ies. Tra­di­tion­al­ly this cake is giv­en just a light dust­ing of pow­dered sug­ar and served with a dol­lop of fresh, sweet whipped cream, but you could also serve it warm with a cold scoop of vanil­la ice cream. If you want, you can also give your fin­ished apfelkuchen a gold­en and glossy appear­ance by light­ly brush­ing it with a lit­tle hot apri­cot jam.


  • 4 small apples
  • ½ cup unsalt­ed but­ter , room tem­per­a­ture
  • ½ cup gran­u­lat­ed sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanil­la sug­ar* , or vanil­la extract
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cups cake flour**
  • 2 tsp. bak­ing powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 T bsp. milk
  • Pow­dered sugar


Cook’s Notes

*To make vanil­la sug­ar at home you need 1 cup gran­u­lat­ed sug­ar and 1 vanil­la bean. Place the sug­ar into the bowl of a food proces­sor. Scrape out the vanil­la bean using the back of a knife and scrape the seeds into the bowl with the sug­ar. Pulse the sug­ar and vanil­la seeds until well incor­po­rat­ed. Store vanil­la sug­ar togeth­er with the scraped-out vanil­la bean in an air­tight con­tain­er until ready to use.

**To make cake flour from all-pur­pose flour, you mea­sure one cup of all-pur­pose flour, remove two table­spoons flour from the cup and add 2 table­spoons corn­starch. Sift the mix­ture two times to even­ly dis­trib­ute the corn­starch. (For­mu­la: 1 cup AP flour – 2 table­spoons AP flour + 2 table­spoons corn­starch = 1 cup cake flour)

It’s up to you what type of apples you use in this recipe, but I rec­om­mend using a firm vari­ety of apple that will hold its shape while bak­ing, like Gala, Brae­burn, Fuji, or Gold­en Deli­cious. Avoid soft­er, juici­er apples like Macoun, Graven­stein, and McIn­tosh, as these apples don’t hold their shape while cook­ing and may make your cake sog­gy (these vari­eties are tasty, but are bet­ter suit­ed to mak­ing apple sauce or eat­ing out of hand). If you use a tart apple like Granny Smith, don’t skip the pow­dered sug­ar and sweet­ened whipped cream, as this cake is not as sweet as Amer­i­can cakes.

This cake will stay fresh 3–4 days cov­ered at room tem­per­a­ture. It tastes even bet­ter on the sec­ond day, in my opin­ion. Sprin­kle it with pow­dered sug­ar just before serv­ing. You can also freeze this cake once it’s baked. Just let the cake cool to room tem­per­a­ture, cov­er air­tight with plas­tic wrap, and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to serve, defrost at room tem­per­a­ture until thawed. You can warm the cake up in the oven just before serv­ing if you like.

Watch the video: Υγιεινό! γρήγορο! εύκολο γλυκό ψυγείου! kritonas alexia


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