Apfelkuchen recipe, an authentic German apple cake!

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This hearty Apfelkuchen recipe is perfect for fall and winter, and uses freshly harvested apples making them into a delicious dessert. It’s a very popular dessert in Germany, generally served with coffee or ice cream. 

 

When I was younger, my mom used to make it for my siblings and me all the time. Apefelkuchen is a nostalgic treat that reminds me of fond memories with my family, and I hope this recipe can become a new tradition for others.

Ingredients needed: 

3 ¼ cups flour, divided into 2 cups and 1 ¼ cup

½ tsp salt

1 ¾ cup unsalted cold butter, cubed and divided into 1 cup and ¾ cup

5 Tbs ice water or very cold water if you don’t have ice

2 ¼ cups granulated sugar, divided into 1 cup and 1 ¼ cup

8-9 peeled apples, thinly sliced, preferably Granny Smith

2 ½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves (optional)

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp almond extract

 

Our first step is to preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9×13” baking pan. I recommend using a lot, because if you don’t, the caramel-like apples may stick to the sides and cause the dish to be hard to clean out and the crust may be difficult to scrape off the bottom. I personally used a glass pan, so I don’t know if there would be much of a difference by using a metal pan, but it’s possible that if you use a metal pan you should keep an eye on it while baking.

 

Next, take some apples and peel the skin off. I’m using eight, but you can also use nine, which I started out with originally. (I accidentally dropped the peeled apple on the floor, so I had to make do with eight.) You may be able to use a potato peeler, but I wanted to conserve as much apple flesh as possible, so I used a regular knife. 

 

Third, you must cube your butter into small squares, about a half inch by half inch. You’ll get a little mound of cubed butter, but make sure to keep one cup separate from the ¾ cup. (I forgot to do this, so I ended up having to measure it out manually, which was annoying, so make sure to have your butter separate!)

Next, you’ll need a food processor, but a blender can work as well. I used a food processor, but some flour did get stuck on the bottom and I had to clean it out with a rubber spatula as well as my hands several times. Add 2 cups flour, ½ tsp salt, 1 cup butter, and 5 Tbs cold or ice water. Make sure to add the flour last so it doesn’t get stuck at the bottom of  the food processor before pulsing. It took me at least five minutes to finish pulsing, but by the end, it was a slightly crumbly dough that was not sticky at all. If your dough sticks to your hands, then add a bit more flour. 

 

Press the dough into the well-greased 9×13” pan until it covers the bottom. It’s okay if it’s thin or has a couple small holes in some spots, but do your best to completely cover it. You do not have to cover the sides of the pan. Bake the bottom crust for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and slightly flakey. 

While the crust is baking, combine your peeled and sliced apples with 1 cup sugar, 2 ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg and optional ¼ tsp ground cloves. Toss until all apples are coated in mixture evenly, then spread onto baked crust after it comes out of the oven. 

After spreading the apples, use the food processor or blender again to pulse 1 ¼ cup flour, 1 ¼ cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, ¼ tsp almond extract, and ¾ cold cubed butter until crumbly and fine. Sprinkle over the top of the apple mixture until it thickly coats the apples, then bake for about 1 hour or until golden brown, and the apple mixture is a thick caramel-like consistency and bubbling. Best served warm, but can be stored in an airtight container for about 3-5 days. Optionally top with ice cream or serve with coffee.