Apfelkuchen. Or Apple Cake. Or Bavarian Apple Cake. OR “Happy Apple Cake” as I’m calling it….
This was a common treat when I visited my grand parents as a kid, so was homemade apple strudel, spaetzle and all kinds of yummy German/Austrian/Bavarian things to eat. My grandmother was an excellent baker and made everything from scratch. My mom was telling me how she even made her own phyllo dough for the strudel. That is a LOT of work, something I hope to try one day.
I saw Barbara from Creative Culinary, post this pear quick bread the other day with the hashtag, #TwelveLoaves, and I asked her what it was all about. She told me it was a monthly recipe group all about breads and that there was a different flavor theme each month, but we could make our own twist on it, not have to follow the exact same recipe as everyone else. November’s theme is apples and pears, and well what do you know? I still have a HUGE bag of apples that we picked from our trip to the apple orchard not too long ago. So apple bread it was. Barbara also told me that it didn’t have to be limited to just bread that its merely a suggestion and that anything from waffles, to quick bread, to cake would count. So I went on a little search for inspiration. I have some apple cider in my freezer still so I was thinking maybe an apple cider bread; but then when I was looking online I came across some recipes for Apfelkuchen and knew I had to make it, I mean after all I am Austrian and my mom did grow up in Germany and they have like some of the best pastries in the world. Especially apple pastries
To keep with the bread theme, I made these into two smaller loaves than a traditional round cake. Since its a bread theme with #Twelveloaves I thought making them more like a quick bread than a cake would be appropriate. These were a bit of a challenge to make, but so worth it. This is a lightly sweetened yeast raised cake, and the apples bake just enough to turn mushy at all. I hate that. Mushy apples. Ew.
I had to scrape the topping off the tops of the apples so you could see them, since that is part of the decor of the cake, and I think it looks really neat. I cut into the cake for a cute “slice” pic and couldn’t stop laughing at what I found. My husband was cracking up too.
Dude. The cake is SMILING at us. I so didn’t plan this. When I put down the first layer of apples in the cake, I didn’t realize how much the cake was going to rise, this was my first time with a yeast cake, and I didn’t layer in enough apples. I was working quickly since we were making dinner at the same time and I had a cramped work space, hungry kids, hungry mom ( that would be me) etc so I was kind of rushing. So when we cut into the cake and realized the first apple layer was closer to the top than expected I was dying laughing that it made it look like the cake had a face.
A closer look. Maybe Apfelkuchen really means ” happy apple cake”. Maybe its my grandmother smiling at me through the cake for making one of her recipes. I lost her when I was 16, so I hope I made her proud.
Lots of other tasty apple and pear breads and cakes are posted on Creative Culinary and Cake Duchess, the two hosts of #Twelveloaves, and posts also mentioned on #TwelveLoaves on Twitter. Come join in the fun, the group is open to anyone. I think!
We cut another piece to show what the apples in the top looked like, and also because I told my husband there was no way I could eat the piece that was smiling at us. He said he had no problem eating it. Figures. Typical guy.
Vanilla ice cream always goes good with anything apple. So says my husband.
- For the Cake Batter:
- 2 ¼ c all purpose flour (281 g)
- ½ c sugar (100 g)
- 1 packet of rapid rise yeast, or active dry yeast
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ c milk (178ml)
- 1/3 cup butter, softened (76g)
- 1 large egg, room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (5 ml)
- 2 cups baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
- 1 tsp lemon juice (5 ml)
- 1 tbsp sugar(14g)
- 4-8 small baking apples, peeled, cored, halved, and tops sliced thin but not all the way through (8 if using a larger pan)
- ½ c sugar (100g)
- 1 tsp cinnamon (.68 g)
- 2 tbsp cold butter(30g), cut into small pieces
- Grease either 2 8X4 loaf pans or a 9X13 pan with butter.
- Combine the thin apple slices with the lemon juice and sugar,stirring to coat well and set aside.
- Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork until crumbly.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer combine half of the flour, sugar, yeast and salt and mix to combine.
- Heat the butter and milk together until the butter is melted and the temperature is 120 deg f. Slowly add this to the flour mixture. Beat on medium until combined, about 2 minutes.
- Add in the egg, vanilla and mix well again and then add the rest of the flour and mix on low until a stiff batter forms.
- Spread a little less than half the mixture on the bottom of the prepared pans, it is pretty stiff and stretchy so work slowly to not over work the batter. Place the apple slices over the batter and cover with the remaining batter. Gently press the apple halves into the top of the batter, arranging in any pattern desired. Sprinkle the topping over the batter avoiding the tops of the sliced apples. Cover pan with a towel and let rest in a warm, draft free area until batter has doubled in size, at least an hour
- Preheat oven to 350 deg F
- Uncover the pan or pans and bake for 20-30 minutes or until done. Let cool in pans on a wire rack. If made in loaf pans carefully remove from pans and set on a plate to cool. Can be served room temperature or warmed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Use firm sweet-tart baking apples such as Granny Smith, Pink Lady or Fuji.
Traditional German or Bavarian baking uses Vanillezucker or vanilla sugar. It may be hard to find the packets of it here in the states, perhaps at specialty bake shops or places like Cost Plus World Market. I substituted it for a little more sugar and the vanilla extract.
This was traditionally made in a bowl and mixed with a spoon. I saved your arm by using a stand mixer. Electricity is a good thing. But it still can be mixed the traditional way.