Wednesday, August 26, 2015

German Apple Honey Cake Recipe (Versunker Apfelhonigkuchen) #FamilyRecipes

Apple season is coming - Yippee! We love heading to the orchard all summer long to pick the different fruits and apples is the fall are the best. Michigan has been having a relatively chilly weather this week so it feels like fall already!  I have started gathering some of my favorite recipes together to share with all of you to showcase this delicious and versatile fruit (don't forget to check out my Caramel Apple Cake recipe)! 

My husband is from Germany and we love to cook and bake together in the kitchen, whether they are German dishes or ones of our own crazy creations! We really enjoy having Rose help us while we cook so we can pass on our favorite family recipes - including this German Apple Honey Cake

This is a traditional German recipe called Versunkener Apfelkuchen (translates to Sunken Apple Cake) which I tweaked and added honey (honig) to the cake batter and glaze (which now makes it my Versunkener Apfelhonigkuchen). The cake (or kuchen) is not overly sweet - the honey sea salt glaze gives it a beautiful glossy look that tastes delicious. You can make this cake a day before you plan to serve it because it tastes even better the second day! I think this recipe would make Oma and Opa proud! Note - you will need a springform pan for this cake.

German Apple Honey Cake 
(Versunkener Apfelhonigkuchen)
Serves 8-12


Apple Topping:
4 small apples; halved, cored and peeled (We love using a variety of Michigan apples)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Cake Batter:
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter; softened at room temperature
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, separated
2 generous pinches of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Glaze:1/4 cup honey
Generous pinch of sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch springform with butter or a nonstick spray; line bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.
  2. Place the peeled, halved and cored apples cut-side-down on a cutting board. Use a knife to create parallel thin slices - but only cut halfway through each apple so that the apples stay intact. If you happen to cut through - just reassemble the halves on the cake. 
  3. In a medium bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and 2 tablespoon granulated sugar; set aside.
  4. For the cake batter: Beat the softened butter and 6 tablespoons granulated sugar together in a bowl with electric beaters until fluffy. Add the honey and beat until combined. Then add vanilla and egg yolks, beating until just combined. 
  5. Sprinkle salt and baking powder over cake batter, and mix for just 5 seconds, until they disappear; add flour, half at a time, mixing only until just combined (Don't over-mix the batter).
  6. In a separate bowl with clean beaters, beat the separated egg whites until stiff. Stir 1/4 of them into the cake batter, to lighten it a little and then fold in the rest in three additions. Note: It may see difficult to fold in at first because the batter is so stiff, but the batter will loosen with careful folding. Only fold the last addition of egg whites until it has mostly disappeared.
  7. Spread the cake batter in your prepared springform pan, smoothing the top of the batter. 
  8. Arrange apple halves face-down over the cake batter (You do not need to press the apples into the batter because the batter will rise around them). 
  9. Pour any extra lemon juice and sugar in the bowl over the apples.
  10. Bake the cake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. 
  11. Let rest on a cooling rack for 5 minutes and then run a clean knife around the sides of the springform pan to make sure the cake is not sticking to the pan at all and unhinge the sides. Let the cake cool completely. 
  12. Before serving the cake, warm 1/4 cup honey and a generous pinch of sea salt until it forms a thin glaze (less than 30 seconds).
  13. Brush honey-salt mixture over cooled cake and enjoy!
  14. Cake Storage: You can store the cake at room temperature before you add the honey for up to 2 days, but I would suggest keeping the cake in the fridge for longer storage and just bringing out to come to room temperature before serving.