This Sunken Apple Cake (German Versunkener Apfelkuchen) is super quick and easy to make with just a few simple ingredients – The recipe is vegan, nut-free, ultra delicious and can be made gluten-free too! The perfect dessert for fall and winter!
Grandma’s Traditional German Apple Cake made Vegan
My friend requested a quick and fool-proof recipe for a sunken apple cake that’s easy to make without eggs and dairy but tastes delicious! So I created this no-fuss recipe and now she can quickly bake her favorite cake anytime! And because the cake is so well received by the rest of the family, I’m now sharing it here on the blog too!
Quick and Easy Apple Cake
To make this vegan apple cake you only need a few simple budget-friendly ingredients that you may already have in your pantry, plus a few fresh apples, of course.
For this recipe I picked small apples from the apple tree in grandma’s garden. Of course, you can also buy some in the supermarket or from the farmers market – just make sure that they are not too big and too heavy. You can choose the variety as you like. I like sweet and tart crisp apples best for apple cake.
Versatile Fruit Cake Recipe
If you don’t have apples right now or want to try something new, feel free to use other fruits like pears, plums, apricots, cherries or berries instead.
The great thing about this recipe is that it’s so versatile. Not only can you try other types of fruit, but you can also try different types of flours, milks, sweeteners or even add other ingredients like nuts, raisins, chocolate drops and much more. You can find more information about ingredients and substitutions in the following section.
Ingredients for Vegan Apple Cake
- Flour: You can use all-purpose flour as well as spelt flour or a gluten-free flour blend 1:1. Whole wheat or buckwheat flour will also work, but the cake will not be as fluffy.
- Apples: use small apples if possible.
- Applesauce: is used as an egg substitute. Alternatively, you could use another fruit puree.
- Soy milk: or other dairy-free milk.
- Raw cane sugar: or other sugar to taste.
- Baking powder mixed with baking soda.
- Vanilla extract: or ground bourbon vanilla or the pith of a vanilla bean.
- Cinnamon: or other autumnal and winter spices to taste.
- Salt: a pinch for flavor.
- Oil: e.g. butter flavored canola oil (Alba oil) or avocado oil, sunflower oil or liquid coconut oil.
- Lemon juice: by the way, acid also helps the leavening agent to react better, resulting in a fluffier cake as it rises better during baking.
How to make German Apple Cake using this quick and easy recipe!
As always, I recommend checking out these step-by-step instructions and the recipe video first. The you’ll find the full recipe with exact measurements in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Cut apples and make the batter
First, cut the apples in half, core them and slice them thinly. I usually leave the skin on but feel free to peel them. Next, sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Then add sugar and salt and mix everything together.
Now add applesauce, soy milk, oil, vanilla extract and lemon juice and stir until just combined to form a batter. Pour the batter into a springform pan, smooth it out and place the sliced apples on top.
Step 2: Bake apple cake
Brush the apples with a little maple syrup or sprinkle with a little sugar to prevent them from drying out and losing their shine. Bake the apple cake at 356 °F (180 °C) for about 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out almost clean. Then allow to cool completely.
Step 3: Decorate apple cake
After cooling, you can garnish the cake with pomegranate seeds, cranberries and powdered sugar if you like. Apple cake also goes well with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and Vegan Caramel Sauce. Enjoy!
Tips for Vegan Baking
- Sift dry ingredients beforehand to avoid lumps. This also helps the ingredients combine better, so you don’t have to stir the batter as much, which results in a fluffier cake that rises better.
- If you want a moist apple cake, don’t bake it too long. If you insert a toothpick into the center of the cake (in a place without apples), it should come out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached).
- Let the cake cool completely after baking to make it easier to slice. Otherwise it may fall apart quickly because a freshly baked eggless cake is always very fluffy and crumbly.
- The easiest way to cut sunken apple cake is by using a bread knife with a wavy blade. That way you can easily cut through the apple slices.
- If you love warm apple pie, you can warm up your piece in the microwave for a few seconds before eating it. By the way, this will also make the cake even fluffier!
Apple Cake Recipe Variations
- If you like nuts in your apple cake, you could replace 3/4 cups of flour with 1 cup almond flour or ground hazelnuts. However, you could also fold some chopped walnuts, pecans, raisins or chocolate chips into the batter.
- Instead of applesauce, you can also use the same amount of mashed bananas, soy yogurt, pumpkin puree, or 1 flaxseed egg (1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water, then let swell for 5 minutes).
- As mentioned above, you can also use other fruits such as pears, plums, apricots, cherries or berries.
- Feel free to add a cinnamon streusel topping, or sprinkle sliced almonds or other nuts as toppings over the cake before baking.
How long does freshly baked apple cake keep?
You can store leftover apple cake covered in the refrigerator for 5 days. Before eating, simply reheat briefly in the microwave or preheated oven to make the cake really fluffy, soft and moist again!
Can you freeze this cake?
Sure! It’s best to wrap the individual cake pieces tightly in plastic wrap first, then place in a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze. If needed, simply remove the desired number of pieces and thaw.
This Vegan Sunken Apple Cake is:
- Quick and easy to make
- Can be made gluten-free
- Moist and fruity
- Soft and fluffy
- Very tasty!
- Perfect as a snack or dessert with a cup of coffee or tea!
More vegan apple cake and apple pie recipes
- Vegan Apple Pie
- Apple Cake with Cinnamon Streusel
- Apple Custard Cake
- Chocolate Apple Crumble Cake
- Crustless Apple Cake
- Apple Carrot Muffins
- Apple Crumble
- Mini Apple Pies
- Apple Turnovers
- One Bowl Apple Cake
- Apple Blondies
- Apple Hand Pies
- Frangipane Apple Tart
If you try this easy German apple cake recipe, feel free to leave me a comment and a star rating! And if you share a photo of your delicious cake on Instagram or Facebook, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your creations! Happy baking 🙂
German Sunken Apple Cake (Easy & Vegan)Author:
- 2 ⅓ cup (280 g) all-purpose or spelt flour or gluten-free flour, *see notes
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp tsp baking soda
- 1 pinch of salt
- ½ cup (120 g) raw cane sugar or other sugar to taste
- 3 tbsp (45 g) applesauce *see notes
- ¾ cup (180 ml) soy milk or other dairy-free milk
- ½ cup (120 ml) neutral oil e.g. butter-flavored canola oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, or liquid coconut oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- juice of ½ lemon
- 4-6 small apples
- pomegranate seeds
- powdered sugar
- vegan caramel sauce
*Note: Check out the recipe video as well as the tips + step-by-step pictures above!
- Preheat the oven to 356 °F (180 °C). Lightly grease the sides of a 9.5-inch (24-cm) springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper (*as shown in the step pictures or in the video above).
- Cut the apples in half, remove the core and slice thinly. Set aside.
- Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl. Then add sugar and salt and whisk together.
- Add applesauce, soy milk, oil, vanilla extract and lemon juice and stir until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it out. Place the sliced apples on top and brush with a little maple syrup or sprinkle with a little sugar (so they don't dry out and lose their shine).
- Bake the apple cake for about 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out almost clean. Then allow to cool completely.
- Garnish with pomegranate seeds, cranberries and powdered sugar if you like! Serve as it is or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and/or Vegan Caramel Sauce on top. Enjoy!
- Flour: Instead of all-purpose or spelt flour, you can use a gluten-free baking flour blend 1 to 1. Whole wheat or buckwheat flour will also work, but the cake won’t be as fluffy. You could also mix flours.
- Extras: If you like, you can add chopped walnuts, pecans or raisins to the batter. As a topping, you could sprinkle crumbles (cinnamon streusel) or slivered almonds over the cake.
- Applesauce: or another egg substitute.
- Storage: leftover cake can be stored covered in the refrigerator for about 5 days. Before eating, simply reheat briefly in the microwave or oven to make the cake really fluffy, soft and moist again!
- Lots of helpful baking tips, ingredient notes, and more information about the recipe are mentioned in the blog post above!
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