Apples are one of those fruits that you won’t become bored to bake with. They always give your cake or pie a balanced mix of sweetness, sourness, and – most certainly – a wonderful taste.
Apple pies are popular all around the world, and many countries or regions have their own traditional recipes. This cake’s home is the Rhineland in Germany.
This region is famous for its wine production. A particular type of white wine grape that’s well-known in this area is Riesling, a premium drink with a fresh, fruity, and elegant taste.
More important is that Riesling is a wine with a high ratio of acidity, comparable to an apple. A great part of it actually consists of malic acid, which makes it the perfect alcoholic beverage to combine with apple cake.
Traditionally, this cake is prepared with Riesling. But, if you like, you can also use another type of white wine, or even apple juice if you want it to be completely alcohol free.
With two pounds of juicy apples in your cake and a glaze of thickened juice or wine in between, it might just become one of your new favorite apple recipes.Print
German Riesling Apple Cake
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 8 slices 1x
A delicious German dessert that combines sweet Riesling wine and fall apples.
- 2.5 cups all-purpose flour (300 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (5 grams)
- 1 stick + 2 tablespoons salted butter, cubed, at room temperature (140 grams)
- 8 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided (100 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (2.1 grams)
- 1 large egg
- 2 pounds apples (908 grams)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 16 fluid ounces Riesling*, divided (500 grams)
- 3 rounded tablespoons cornstarch (25 grams)
- Place the flour and baking powder into a bowl, stir to combine, and set aside.
- In another bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and 2 tablespoons sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, and stir to mix until combined.
- Add the flour mixture in three batches, and stir to combine completely between each addition. Bring the dough together into a ball with your hands, and flatten it to form a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Peel, core, and cut the apples into small cubes. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and toss to coat, to prevent browning.
- In a small bowl, combine about a third of the wine with the cornstarch and vanilla extract, and whisk until smooth.
- Place the remaining wine and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the starch mixture and continue to stir. When it reaches a boil for the second time and has begun to thicken, remove from the heat.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (convection 300°F) and grease a 10-inch springform pan.
- Press the chilled dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Prick the dough several times with a fork.
- Spread the apples in the pan in an even layer, and pour the wine glaze on top so the apples are fully covered.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until the cake has cooked through. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before removing from the pan and serving.
You may substitute any type of sweet white wine or 100% apple juice for the Riesling, if you wish.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 90 minutes
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: German
Keywords: apple cake, white wine, apple
Be sure to allow your butter to warm up to room temperature, as this just makes working with it so much easier. It’s also best to prepare this cake one day in advance, as the glaze needs to thicken completely before serving.
This recipe is for a 10-inch springform baking pan, or it can be made in a 10-inch cast iron frying pan.
Craving a more chocolatey German cake recipe? Give our black forest cake or chocolate layered baumkuchen tart recipes a try!
If you can’t get enough apples, try more of our favorite recipes:
Originally posted March 25th, 2015. Revised and updated August 9th, 2018. Photos by Nina-Kristin Isensee, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Nina-Kristin Isensee
Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.
29 thoughts on “Raise A Toast To The German Riesling Apple Cake”
This cake looks definitely tasty! I wonder if you can alter this recipe and use other kinds of fruit. I think it would work!
Thanks for the idea!
I think you could definitely have a try. I could imagine that it works with raspberries or other red fruits in combination with grape juice or a fruity red wine too – and you’d have a nice red glaze!
Not to sound overly snobby here, but how does this really differ to apple pie? The ingredients are roughly the same, and yes there’s no alcohol in the American dessert, but if we were to talk about the non-alcoholic version of this cake, it sounds (and looks) like one version of the pie.
Nonetheless, this would taste great with icecream I’m presuming. How long does it keep in the fridge?
Well, I would say – as JoanMcWench below has mentioned – that there is no crust on top of the cake. It might have similar ingredients but the special, local feature of this cake is actually the use of the type of wine in combination with the apples.
I would say you can keep it up to three days. Although I have no personal experience as it has always been eaten up before.
If I can address the comment above mine: Crust makes the pie. Cake has a lighter fluffier spongy texture. Covering it in fruit doesn’t necessarily make it a pie or tart. It’s the starch texture, I would say.
We’ve had quite an abundance of German dessert recipes here on Foodal just recently – I feel spoilt! I love all types of apple cake and this would be fantastic served with vanilla ice cream or even just thick pouring cream.
This looks really good. I’ll have to try making this the next time all of the family gets together for a big meal like Christmas or Thanksgiving,
Looks pretty nice. I never had this, looks like it’s not as common in the south of Germany. It certainly does look different to traditional apple pies (to reference comment higher). To be honest though, I miss the absence of “normal pie crust” in Germany.
You’re right. There is no similar pie crust in Germany as in the US. Although we have a kind of “apple jalousie” with a cover on top, but this is rather soft too.
I love traditional apple pie! It’s definitely one of my favorite desserts. However, more than not, the crust is too dry for my taste. This recipe looks like it may alleviate that problem. I’m definitely going to give it a try! Thank you for the recipe!
Then this one’s right for you 🙂 Due to the juice/wine glaze and the many apples, the whole thing is really juicy and fruity. Especially if you’re not into cakes that consist largely of dough.
Never indulged in a german riesling apple cake before, looking scrumptious, mouth-watering still 😉 …effects of a sweet tooth are beginning to work their way in, i need some level of restraint 🙂 …i won’t promise that i’ll have time to bake this cake this week, i’ll have to look up an appropriate day for this, but its definitely on my mind to make/bake it 🙂
Keep dazzling us with your amazing cake treats @Nina-Kristin Isensee, we can’t get enough 😉
Thank you 🙂 I will be looking out for other nice recipes to share!
Have fun baking – and especially eating the cake whenever you have the time 🙂
Currently, my only apple recipe is applesauce, and now I think I’ve found another. This looks and sounds absolutely delicious. I love the combination of the apples and the glace layer, and I have the perfect tart pan to make this in, so I’m going to try making this recipe.
This looks absolutely delicious! I sort of want to saunter over to the liquor store to get Riesling so I can make this right now. I’ve never seen or heard of vanilla powder though, would pure vanilla extract be a reasonable alternative?
I’ve never liked the chunkiness of the apples in apple pies I’ve had, and I find that the thin crust doesn’t work well with the large mass of goopy apple in the middle. This will be a great alternative with the cake under the apple, and the apple cut into smaller pieces (like in the picture). Ooooh, and the glaze will seep into the cake and keep it moist too! Can’t wait to try this!
Thank you, it is one of my favorite apple cakes. I also like, that there is less dough than in other cakes and it keeps really moist!
And sure, pure vanilla extract is definitely an alternative. I am not sure about the dosage, but I suppose 1/4-1/2 teaspoon should be fine, too.
I am sure you are going to love it!
The crust looks beautiful and almost like a graham cracker crust. Interesting take on an apple recipe…I never have tasted a cake that almost reminds me of a pie….it looks so moist. I can always find a way to make a new apple recipe, they are always a staple in my home.
The crust is indeed a wonderful base for the fruity filling. This has always been one of my favorites, that’s for sure. If you love apples and if you enjoy moist and juicy apple cakes, this one’s a hit 🙂
Hi, thanks for posting the recipe.
Just a quick question, what type of apples do you prefer to use for this recipe? 🙂
Happy that you like it! I like to use a mix of some sweet and more acid varieties for a balanced flavor. As the cake is already sweet by nature, I like adding some sourness through the apples. But, in general, all crispy and juicy ones (no mealy/floury fruits) work fine, I have no preference concerning one special sort.
Enjoy making it!
Are the ingredient measurements of ounces (oz.) by volume or by weight? For instance, is 4 oz of sugar equivalent to a 1/2 cup?
Hi Rachel, the measurements of ounces are by weight. Here in Europe, it’s usual to measure like this, so your conversion from oz to cup would be right like that. Enjoy baking!
Oh my, this sounds wonderful! I’ve always preferred the texture of a cake to that of a pie, and it’s nice to see a dessert like this. I would never have thought of using wine in an apple cake, but it sounds like it would give it a delicious taste. Like one of the other posters, I think this would be good with ice cream. I think someone else asked about using other fruits, and I think this would be nice with a mixture of apples and peaches.
How would you adjust this for using a cast iron skillet? Thanks!
Melt butter in your skillet on the stove over medium heat, then fill with your cake batter and bake at 350°F. We haven’t tested this so I’m not able to give an exact bake time, but you’ll want to adjust the time down- start checking around 30 minutes for doneness. Let us know how it turns out!
I tried this using 3 oz of corn starch, which I measured carefully. My glaze turned almost into the consistency of jello and never went back to liquid during baking. Wanted to make sure that weight is correct.
This recipe didn’t exactly work for me. I think I used too many apples and didn’t let the sauce thicken enough because it never gained enough structure to actually remove it from the pan. If I was going to try this again, I would go with a thin apple layer and really let the sauce thicken up. The crust is more like shortbread than cake, but not as sweet or as soft.
Going to try this today. I have so many recipes for Apfelkuchen that I want to try something different. I wish we could have the weights in metric for those of us living in Europe so I wouldn’t have to convert.
Also, I wondered if you used German “baking powder” or do I have to use my dwindling American baking powder? (Believe me there is a BIG difference).
Thanks for your message, Deb. I find it’s much easier to measure accurately for baking when weights are provided as well. The recipe card has been updated.
You are absolutely right that German baking powder or Backin is single-acting as opposed to the American version, which is double-acting. Unfortunately I have been unable to reach the original author of this recipe. Because Nina’s recipes also typically used fresh European-style yeast which we worked together to convert to active dry measurements, I would be more inclined to assume that she also used the single-acting variety of baking powder. Most of the Apfelkuchen recipes that I have compared this with online actually use a higher ratio of American baking powder to flour than this one does.
We will add this recipe to our list for testing and will be in touch with you as soon as we have an update available. If you test it with the German type in your own kitchen, please let us know how it turns out!