German Apple Cake

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This two-tiered German Apple Cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting is a decadent fall dessert recipe that’s loaded with seasonal flavor and charm. This autumn-inspired cake is set to become your new favorite fall dessert.

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As the golden hues of autumn begin to blanket the world outside, I find myself drawn to the warm, comforting embrace of my kitchen more than ever. And what better way to welcome the season than by diving into a recipe that’s as rich in flavor as it is in tradition?

I’m absolutely thrilled to share my take on the classic German Apple Cake. Infused with juicy apples, crunchy pecans, and those signature fall spices we all adore, this cake is one of my fall favorites. Cake is a happy place for me. If the calories didn’t count, I would probably eat a slice almost every day. Who’s with me?

And let’s not forget the pièce de résistance: a velvety cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Whether you’re a baking aficionado or just dipping your toes into the world of desserts, I promise you, this cake is the perfect companion for your autumn adventures.

Want more apple recipes? You’ve got it. This collection of my best apple recipes will keep you busy in the kitchen this fall.

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What is German Apple Cake

From my research, I learned there are several versions of German Apple Cake. I’m not sure this recipe is the most traditional one, but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful. For added interest, I decided to take the recipe that I had (which was made in a 9 x 13-inch pan) and turn it into a two-tiered cake. That probably makes this recipe even less traditional, but that’s fine by me. Putting a twist on the classics is one of the things I love to do.

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Because I was crazy excited to make this Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, I may have put a bit too much of it on my cake. When you make this recipe, I suggest being a little less generous with the frosting. That is unless you’re a frosting freak like me. Then, by all means, go to town.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • The blend of the cinnamon cream cheese frosting with those sliced apples and chopped pecans on top? Your guests will be begging you for the recipe (and bragging rights!).
  • We’re talking about wholesome apples and toasty pecans combined with those oh-so-comfy fall spices. Every bite is a comforting hug that evokes memories of crisp air, golden leaves, and cozy sweater days.
  • Whether you’re a baking newbie or a seasoned pro, this cake fits the bill. The ingredients are easy to find, and the steps are straightforward. Plus, I’m right here cheering you on every step of the way!

No matter how you make it, German Apple Cake is a winner. It’s a moist, dense, and rich cake that’s loaded with apples and flavor.

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Ingredients

Ready to bake? Me too! Let’s gather up the ingredients you’ll need for this German Apple Cake. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • all-purpose flour
  • ground cinnamon
  • baking soda
  • kosher salt
  • eggs
  • sugar
  • canola oil
  • vanilla extract
  • apples
  • pecans
  • cream cheese
  • butter
  • confectioners’s sugar
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How to Make

Once you’ve gathered everything you need, you’re ready to make this German Apple Cake. I’ll walk you through the easy steps below. I’ve also provided a full ingredient list and detailed instructions in the printable recipe card below.

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray with baking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. (A full ingredient list and detailed recipe instructions are available in the printable recipe card below.)
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  1. In a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Use a hand mixer on medium speed to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix again until just combined. Fold in the chopped apples and pecans. The batter will be thick.
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  1. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared baking pans. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
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  1. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan on a wire rack. These cakes are delicate, so when removing them from the pan, be gentle and don’t rush. I used a large dinner plate to make the process easy.
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  1. While the cake is cooling, prepare the frosting. Using a mixer, blend the cream cheese and butter. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time. Add the kosher salt and cinnamon. Mix until the ingredients are well combined and the frosty is fluffy.

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  1. Transfer one of the cake rounds to the serving platter and spread frosting on that first layer of cake. Position the second cake round on the frosting and then top the second layer of cake with more frosting. Use an offset spatula to smooth the top and sides of the cake.
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I went for a “naked” cake effect. It gives a rustic-looking cake. It also doesn’t require a lot of frosting skill so it’s one of the easiest ways to frost a cake. In essence, you’re just scraping off the frosting to let some of the cake show through.

  1. To garnish the cake, top it with apple slices and chopped pecans. I tossed my apple slices in lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

You can serve this cake immediately or store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve. I suggest allowing the cake to come to room temperature before serving so the frosting is soft.

And that’s it!

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Recipe Variations

Love this recipe and want to try it other ways? Here are a few variations you may enjoy.

  • Pear Delight: Swap out the apples for ripe, juicy pears. Pears have a sweet and delicate flavor that pairs (pun intended!) beautifully with fall spices. Consider Bartlett or Anjou pears for a melt-in-the-mouth experience.
  • Spiced Rum Raisins: Soak some raisins in spiced rum for an hour, drain them, and fold into your batter. The result? A cake with a subtle hint of warmth and depth, elevating the traditional flavors.
  • Caramel Drizzle: Once your cake is frosted and decorated, drizzle some homemade or store-bought caramel sauce over the top. This addition makes the cake even more decadent and pairs beautifully with the apple flavors.
  • Chocolate Chips Twist: Add a handful of semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips to the batter for a delightful surprise in each bite. Chocolate and apples? Trust me; it’s a match made in dessert heaven.

Remember, recipes are just a starting point. Don’t be afraid to mix and match or to add a special ingredient that holds meaning for you. Cooking and baking are all about creativity and making a dish uniquely yours.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different type of apple?

Absolutely! While I adore the flavor of Granny Smith or Honeycrisp for this cake because of their tartness and firmness, feel free to experiment with your favorite variety. Just remember, you want an apple that holds up well during baking.

No pecans in the pantry – what can I use instead?

Walnuts are a great substitute! They bring a similar nutty richness. If you’re not a fan of nuts or have an allergy, you can simply omit them or sprinkle some raisins or dried cranberries for added texture.

Can this cake be made a day in advance?

You bet! In fact, letting the cake sit allows the flavors to meld beautifully. Just be sure to store it in a cool place and frost it closer to serving time.

Can I turn this into cupcakes?

Definitely! Just adjust your baking time accordingly, as cupcakes will bake faster than a full-sized cake. They’d make a delightful treat for any autumn gathering.

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More Apple Desserts You’ll Love

If you’re having a small gathering this fall, give this German Apple Cake a try. If you do, please leave a comment and a 5-star rating below. 

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German Apple Cake

This two-tiered German Apple Cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting is a decadent fall dessert recipe that's loaded with seasonal flavor and charm. 
4.56 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, German
Keyword: apple cake, cake, fall baking
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 701kcal

Ingredients

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:

Instructions

  • Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray with baking spray. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Use a hand mixer on medium speed to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix again until just combined. Fold in the chopped apples and pecans. The batter will be thick.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared baking pans. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pans on a wire rack.
  • In the meantime, prepare the frosting. Using a mixer, blend the cream cheese and butter. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time. Add the kosher salt and cinnamon. Mix until the ingredients are well combined and the frosting is fluffy.
  • Transfer one cake to the serving plate and spread frosting on that layer. Top with the other cake round and add another layer of frosting on top of that. Smooth the top and sides of the cake with an offset spatula. Garnish with the apple slices and chopped pecans.
  • Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. If refrigerating, allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving.

Notes

This cake can also be made in a 9 x 13-inch cake pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes.
The frosting recipe makes a generous amount. Any excess can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use the extra to dip apples, frost cinnamon rolls, or spread onto cookies.
To prevent the sliced apple garnish from turning brown, toss the apple slices with a bit of lemon juice before putting them on the cake.

Nutrition

Calories: 701kcal | Carbohydrates: 87g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 431mg | Potassium: 134mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 68g | Vitamin A: 572IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg

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33 Comments

  1. This was a major hit – I took it to a dinner party. I was in need of a way to use up some over-ripe Braeburn apples and this was the perfect application. The cake batter was an interesting consistency but when mixed with ample apples it was delicious. The only modification I made was to the frosting – I felt it needed a little something to cut the sweetness so I added ~1 Tbs of bourbon; took the “fluff” down a little but really amped up the flavor. If booze in your food isn’t your thing, vanilla would also work. For sure will make this again – everyone had two pieces!