Finally, my first apple dessert of the fall! I actually had yet another pumpkin recipe in the queue but I bumped this one forward because I don’t want people to get all pumpkined out. Plus it’s delicious! What you see before you is a kuchen. Apparently, that is the German word for cake. If I had describe it, it’s more like a coffee cake in that it starts off with a sweet dough base and then is packed with juicy apple slices, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
I found the recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens (not so) New Cookbook (1981) and merged it with their revised version in Cooking for Today: Muffins and Breads (1995). What can I say? I dig old recipes. I also referred to the New Cookbook when making my fluffy pumpkin sheet cake and the softest pumpkin and chocolate chip cookies ever. Fantastic results every time!
What I love about this cake is that the cinnamon and brown sugar draws all of those tart juices out of the apples, creating a ridiculously sweet fruit filling that rivals any apple pie. Any type of apple will work, but I made this with Golden Delicious and Granny Smiths and found the latter to be far superior in terms of flavor. I think you really need a bit of tartness to counter the sweetness of the dough and topping.
As always, the full, printable recipe will be listed at the bottom of the page. But keep reading to see how it’s made!
This recipe makes two kuchen, so the first thing you want to do is prepare two 8 or 9-inch cake pans by greasing the sides with butter or shortening and lining the bottoms with some parchment. If you have spring form pans, use those! Otherwise you will have to take your time removing the cake from the pans later.
Now you’ll want to peel, core, and slice 2-3 large Granny Smith apples. Make your slices about 1/8th-1/4th inch thick. I prepared three apples but didn’t end up using all of the slices (I actually counted and had about 18 slices left over). Toss the apples in a bit of cinnamon and sugar and set aside. Feel free to squeeze in a bit of lemon juice if you want to prevent browning.
Now for the crumble topping. Simply work the butter into the cinnamon/brown sugar/flour/salt until it resembles wet sand, then set aside. It may seem like you’re going a bit out of order here, but bear with me! Once the base dough is made you’ll want the apples and topping readily available.
The next step is to heat up your milk, sugar, butter, and salt until it reaches approximately 115º F. As you can see, the butter might not be melted all the way. You want the mixture warm, but not hot or else it will kill the yeast.
Pour this mixture into a mixing bowl, add the eggs, 1 cup of the flour, and a packet of yeast (I used rapid rise but regular is fine too) then beat it on high speed for 3 minutes (I used the paddle attachment but I’m sure the whisk is fine). It’s okay if there are some lumps remaining.
Now fold in the remaining flour until you have a wet and sticky blob similar to this one. At this point you should probably go get yourself another little bowl of flower to dip your hands into, because shiz is about to get messy.
You’ll need to divide the dough in half and press it into each of your pans, creating a 1-inch or so lip up the sides (to hold the apples). This is where the little bowl of flour comes in handy. Flour up your fingers, then press the dough. Flour up your fingers, then press the dough some more. This prevents it from getting all over you. I also sprinkled a bit of flour in the pan once I was done, thinking that if the apples were too juicy it might help to soak some of it up. I don’t think it made much of a difference.
Arrange your apples around the base.
Then cover with your brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Cover both cakes with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise for approximately 40 minutes (if using regular yeast) or 20 minutes (if using rapid rise). The recipe says the dough should double in size, but to be honest it’s so little dough that I didn’t see much of a difference. It was a bit puffier, I suppose, but it’s hard to tell when it’s covered with so much apple and sugary goodness!
Pop the cakes into a preheated 375º oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until puffed up and golden brown. Don’t let the filling fool you into thinking the cakes aren’t done—just like a pie, it will thicken upon standing. Looking back I wish I would have taken these out 3-5 minutes earlier, but the end result was still delicious. Let the base be your guide! If it’s puffy and golden, get them out of the oven.
I let these cool for approximately 15 minutes before very carefully transferring them out of the pans and directly onto the cooling rack. Then let them cool for at least another 45 minutes to an hour before slicing.
Once you dig in, you’re guaranteed to become a kuchenaholic.
Look at how the brown sugar and cinnamon melts down over the apples and mingles with all of those delicious juices. The apples turn out perfectly tender with just the right amount of bite, yet the sweet dough base is sturdy enough to support all those juices without creating a soggy bottom. Heaven!
And since the recipe makes two, it’s only right to share one with a friend or neighbor. 🙂 Might make a nice bartering tool for when you need a pet sitter. Food for thought!
Until next time <3
- 2-3 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 1/2 c (310 g) flour
- 1 package yeast
- 1/2 c (4 oz) whole milk
- 1/3 c (75 g) sugar
- 1/3 c (76 g) unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 c (150 g) packed brown sugar
- 1/3 c (42 g) flour,
- 3 tbsp (42 g) unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon.
- Start out by preparing the crumb topping. Work the butter into the flour/sugar/cinnamon until it resembles wet sand. Set aside.
- Prepare the apples by tossing them in the sugar and cinnamon. Optional: add a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent browning.
- To make the base, add one cup of the flour and the yeast to a mixing bowl. Heat the milk, butter, salt, and sugar until just warm, then add it to the mixing bowl along with the 2 eggs. Beat this mixture on high for approximately 3 minutes. Afterward, fold in the remaining flour by hand.
- The dough should be very sticky. With floured hands, divide it in half and add each half to a cake pan. Press and guide the dough to the edge of the pans, then use floured knuckles to work it about an inch up the sides, creating a lip.
- Arrange the apples on top of the dough, then cover with the brown sugar/cinnamon crumb mixture. Cover both pans with plastic wrap or a tea towel and allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in size.*
- Bake in a 375 F/190 C oven for approximately 30 minutes. Allow to cool for approximately one hour (filling will thicken).
- *Rising time depends on what type of yeast you're using as well how hot your kitchen is. I used rapid rise yeast and allowed the cakes to rise approximately 20 minutes. I didn't take a before and after picture, but the difference was negligible. Regular yeast may take as long as 45 minutes.