German Apfelkuchen Apple Cake from the 1880s

With a hint of nutmeg and a perfect balance of sweetness, this classic recipe is the ideal dessert or sweet snack.

Apfelkuchen Apple Cake on a plate with sliced apples and cinnamon

Introducing the German Apfelkuchen, a classic apple cake recipe featured in the old cookbook, A Dessert for Every Day in the Year, submitted by Mattie Abeling. We slightly adapted the recipe to bring this Victorian-era dessert into the modern era because, for one, it’s much easier knowing what temperature to set the oven. What follows is a simple, baker-friendly set of instructions.

These recipe creators were passionate about desserts and their ability to win any man’s heart (hah!). They also understood the importance of using fresh, high-quality ingredients. However, some crucial recipe details were left out in the original version. The original recipe used 1/2 cup of yeast. We filled in the gaps to stay true to the authentic taste and essence of the Apfelkuchen—but also include essential things like flour. Appended sections are in [] brackets.

We understand baking is more science than art—but let us know how this recipe update worked out for you.

A dessert for every day in the year. Together with pudding sauces, recipes for invalids, a few miscellaneous recipes, and numerous facts worth remembering

About the Cookbook

A Dessert for Every Day in the Year by Florence E. D. Muzzy. Published in 1883.

Apfelkuchen Apple Cake on a plate with sliced apples and cinnamon

German Apfelkuchen Apple Cake

Serves: 6-8 Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )



  • [2 cups flour]
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • [1 1/2 teaspoons active] yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • Nutmeg

Apple Mixture

  • Apples
  • 1 egg
  • Melted butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar


  1. Stir up [batter] to rise overnight. [Add 2 cups of flour], 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup shortening, 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast, 1 cup milk, 1 egg; nutmeg. Makes good doughnuts also.
  2. Also, overnight prepare the apples. Pare them, slice inwards towards the core, and then slice off from outside, leaving long thin pieces. Put on sugar and cinnamon, and stir. Let it stand until morning.
  3. Then spread the batter [made from the above ingredients] on a long tin and let it rise a short time. Spread it then with melted butter and [the remaining] egg, beaten well together.
  4. Put the apfel [prepared apples] on top and bake [at 375°F (190°C) for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown].
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