Recipe: A Dainty Apple Cake (Äppelkuch)

In the southern reaches of Luxembourg, in an area called Gutland, live a happy collection of orchards where apples, plums, cherries and berries ripen in the sun. Now… I knew, without a doubt, that I absolutely, positively wanted to make a plum cake when we got to Luxembourg, however the seasons were against me. Since it is January and not a plum in sight, I somewhat grumpily resigned myself to making a traditional apple cake, a.k.a. Plan B.

One bite in and I knew this was a fantastic choice. Made with a buttery dough and a wet custard, the two layers literally combine in the oven, creating a moist, incredibly delicious cake. When topped with a heavy dusting of cinnamon and confectioner’s sugar, all feels right with the world. Right… and very apple-tastic.

NOTES: Use a 8″ cake pan with standard 2″ inch sides (no shorter). Do not use a springform pan, as the milk mixture will certainly leak out. The easiest way to remove the cake from cake pan is to let cool until just warm, run a butter knife around the edges, invert onto one dish, then quickly onto a second dish (the serving platter). Comes out perfect every time!

Ingredients:

Dough:

2 cups flour
2 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 stick (½ cup) salted butter, cubed
1/2 cup milk

2 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces, or thinner.

Topping:

2 eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar

Garnish:

apricot jam or jelly thinned with a little hot water
Powdered sugar
cinnamon

Method:

Play a little Luxembourgish music… perhaps the National Athem. Now, find a happy spot to bake a cake via Stovetop Travel. I’m choosing the kitchen in Vianden Castle. Dreamy!

Vianden Castle. Photos by Christophe Finot and Benotzer.

Next, preheat the oven to 375F.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with dough blade, add a happy flurry of flour, sugar and baking powder. Pulse to combine.

Next, add hunks of butter and pulse until pea sized pieces form.

While pulsing, stream in the milk until…

… a soft, shaggy dough forms… one that can easily be pressed together into a ball.

Take the dough and press it into a greased and floured 8″ cake pan. Then slice the apples …

… and press them firmly into the dough, overlapping as you go (important or they’ll float up).

Whisk together the topping ingredients:

And pour it on top of the cake. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Please note that this…

… will turn into this…

Which is just okay. But once you brush it with apricot glaze and top with plenty of powdered sugar and cinnamon… it’s … just… so full of love.

Enjoy with whipped cream, berries, or even currants, as pictured here.

All of that will turn into a big smile.

I never thought I’d be so glad it isn’t plum season.

A road in Luxembourg. Photo by Les Meloures.

Wishing you a lovely journey, wherever you happen to be today.

And don’t forget… sometimes Plan B works out just fine… just fine, indeed.

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Comments

  1. Jessica Bennett says:

    Plan B looks delicious! I’ll add this to my ever-growing list of recipes I want to try. I was going to make the green bean soup this weekend, but believe it or not, I couldn’t find the beans (I went to one regional chain and 2 natural food stores), so I didn’t even bother seeing if I could find celeriac.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      That is beyond weird… I wonder where they all went lol.

      • Jessica Bennett says:

        No idea. I bought a nice little bag of them a couple weeks ago at one of the natural food stores, so they do exist. Maybe the somewhat large Chinese population bought them all in preparation for New Years celebrations? Are they a part of a traditional dish for that?

  2. Jessica Bennett says:

    Oh, and a plum cake sounds yummy too. You should make one when they come in season!

  3. aunty eileen says:

    oh my gosh… wish I could have some right now! what a great cake!

  4. No wonder it’s so good…that’s a lot of butter….

  5. Gosh that looks good! I wonder how it would be with pears. I have pears in the house and, I think, all the other ingredients!

  6. This cake came out quite yummy. My husband asked me to bake it again, so we had two apple cakes in one week:) Hooray for apples!

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Your husband is a great eater – that makes it so much fun! I love cooking for others … thanks for reporting back, too. :)

  7. I tried the recipe and i was just wondering is the cake suppose to smell like eggs when u take it out and was is really soft. Mine didnt look as great as yours, when i took the tooth pick out it came clean but still looked like it needed some time because it looked moist. aslo do you know any alternative to apricot glaze?

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Yes, it should be pretty moist – it’s that custard that does it (and yes, it will have a bit of a custardy/eggy smell but not offensively so ;) ) As for the glaze – you could really use any jam or jelly that you like – as long as you’d like it with apples, of course. How did it taste?

  8. Looks super yummy! I’m making this right now for my German class. We’ve been studying countries in the EU and my group got Luxembourg to present. They made a video, I cook. Thanks for the great recipe!

  9. Ha! So I was going to make a plum tart for my cooking club’s Luxenbourg night… In January…. When there were no plums to be found…. So when I found this blog and after reading your intro, I knew exactly what MY plan B would be! Tasted delicious. Some of the custard settled under the cake part and just made a custard. I don’t think it was support to look like that, but it tasted just fine! Thanks for the post, it was a perfect find in a moment that could have bordered on panic!

  10. Do you think that i can make it without a food processor?
    I don’t have one :(
    Can i make it by hand?

  11. Hey i made it by hand and it turned out just fine!
    Thank you soo much for the rEcipe.
    I made it for a grade 7 french project about luxembourg.
    I served it with lemon tea from sri lanka.
    It looked as good as yours and i used marmalade and didnt put icing sugar on top.
    Also added some cinnamon to cutard fr color

  12. There is actiually an easier way to remove this from the pan. Simply cut two long strips of parchment paper and lay them across the pan in an X shape.Holdthe parchment and lift the cake out of the pan,put it onto the serving plate and peel of the parchment. a lot easier :)

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  1. […] which sounded to me like a great combination – cake planned! The recipe was adapted from here, and consists of a delicious combination of cake, topped with apples and plums, and covered […]

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