Healthy German Apple Cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen)

I recently had the honour of attending a dear friend’s wedding in Singapore. And because A and J are both epitomes of global citizens, they had friends travel from all over the world to witness their special day. To illustrate this point, they had their emcees speak four different languages! What was really amazing was how all of A and J’s friends bonded so naturally in the days leading up to the wedding even though for most of us, that was the first time we had met. After making such meaningful connections, and a magical day with the lovely couple, it was very sad that we all had to fly off to our respective lives and realities. I had all these new friends in mind when I was making this cake, since a lot of them live in Germany. I truly hope A and J have a massive 10th anniversary party, because I think that’s the only time we will be able to get everyone in the same geographic location again!

Anyway, coming to the cake- I had a craving one day for spiced baked apples, and came across this recipe. Apparently, this German apple cake is famous, though I have never had an authentic one before and that is on my to-do list. Fortunately or unfortunately (I can’t decide), I was on a healthy streak when I returned from my trip, and so chose a very healthy-looking recipe. I even let Soy talk me into using her German bread flour when I said I wanted to use wholemeal flour for this cake. It definitely tasted healthy! So, this is a warning: if you want a decadent, buttery cake with a fine crumb, this is not it! This cake is dense, moist and slightly cinnamony with a healthy apple top. It made for a great mid-morning snack.

I must admit that I was unsatisfied, as the cake did not taste like what I imagined. My sister placated my misery by proclaiming that “Cakes are not meant to be healthy”. Ah well….. til she is proven wrong, then! Also, ‘versunkener’ suggests that the apples should be sunken into the cake. But of course, I thought arranging them in a rosette pattern would be prettier. Minus more points for authenticity! So I will revisit this cake one day, and in the meantime, if any of you or my newfound German friends have an authentic recipe, please send them to me!

This is also my contribution to the Fruit in Baking Monthly Mingle co-hosted by the lovely Deeba!

So what do you all think? Have you had a healthy cake that tastes good?

Healthy German Apple Cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen)

adapted from here

1 lb. apples (454 grams) Braeburn, Roma and Granny Smiths are good cooking apples

Juice from 1/2 lemon
85g honey (1/4 cup)
75g butter (6 Tbsp)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat (pastry) flour (260 grams)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon or 1 tsp. lemon zest
1 cup yoghurt
2 tbsp raisins
4 tbsp cream

Core the apples (peeling is optional) and slice thinly into moon shapes. Sprinkle with lemon juice and set aside.

Cream honey with the softened butter until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla and lemon zest (if you are using).

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.

Mix half of the flour into the creamed mixture until smooth.

Beat in 1/2 cup yoghurt into mixture. Repeat with the second half of the flour and end with the yoghurt.

Fold in half the apple slices (drain off the lemon juice) and the raisins.

Spoon the batter into a buttered and floured, 9 inch springform pan (23 cm). You could also try a 9 inch, deep dish pie pan.

Lay the rest of the apple slices on top of the cake in a rosette form. It is easiest to do this inside to outside.

Drizzle the cream over the top of the apples and bake at 180°C (350°F) for 45 to 55 minutes.

Let cool and serve with whipped cream. You can also glaze the top of the cake with some warm apricot jam, which will keep the fruit from drying out.

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  • Hannah Terry-Whyte

    The way to make healthy cakes taste good is to serve them toasted with peanut butter :) Or is that just me?

    Sounds like a lovely wedding! I’d adore an excuse like that to travel…

  • Deeba Rajpal

    Why do sisters always placate misery? Hmmm… life is! Thank you for sending this wonderful cake my way for the Mingle. I am truly fascinated by it, and also with th wonderfully arranged slice on top. PRETTY…and with German Bread Flour {thank you S}, healthy beyond belief too. Hope you have a HUGE 10th anniv bash…Cheers, and gracias again!

  • Pandante

    Ah.. this looks good. I think that, if you believe healthiness of food to be important, then healthy food tastes better. Also it’s a matter of getting used to. It’s like with brown rice and white rice.

    Healthy is not just a function of ingredients, though. For example, it is also a function of diversity of food intake. Then there is psychological health. Sometimes, one just requires a rhubarb crumble cake (my personal favorite) to heal one’s psychological ailments (mood), even though it contains a lot of butter and sugar.

    I am going to click on the Pandan Chiffon Cake now.

  • InTolerant Chef

    My german friend always makes cakes that are kinda sandy textured and very ‘crummy’. I don’t tell her I don’t like them…

  • honeyandsoy

    Hahahahahaha! I will remember your peanut butter suggestion for next time… apples and peanut butter… hmmmm…

  • honeyandsoy

    Yes Deeba, it tasted healthy beyond belief! But our household seemed to be a fan of the unhealthy :) And sisters are good like that, aren’t they ;)

  • honeyandsoy

    How philosophical! But I totally agree with the effectiveness of butter and sugar on psychological wellbeing :) And did you just make up your nickname based on the pandan cake??? :)

  • honeyandsoy

    Hahahahahaha you are funny!!! This cake is more dense than sandy though, but I think it’s more because of the bread flour. I got duped by Soy… never again!

  • Faith

    I’m sorry you weren’t satisfied with the taste of the cake…I have to say though, it sounds very healthy and I would love a big slice for breakfast! (Especially topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt…mmmm!) And even though it’s not authentic, the first thing I noticed when I looked at the cake was how pretty the apples were arranged! :)

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    I have had a cake that was healthy and tasted good recently and that was the gluten free chocolate and apple cake. But I’m mostly in agreement with your sister! ;)

  • ZMM

    Healthy and looks good too.

  • Lollcakes

    I think this cake looks wonderful Honey!

  • Cakelaw

    I think it looks very pretty with the rosette pattern on top – who needs authentic when it looks this lovely!

  • Sally2hats

    This is exactly my kind of cake. I’d favour a rustic healthy fruity one over a light delicate sponge any day. I like the arrangement on top too. Fabulous.

  • Sasa

    I live in Austria, not Germany but this looks like something my boyfriend’s mum would make – thumbs up, I say!