German Apple Streusel Coffee Cake
This traditional German Apple Streusel Cake is a buttery vanilla cake with a layer of apple streusel in the middle, topped with more crunchy cinnamon streusel. The streusel is an addictive mix of brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, flour and ground pecan or walnuts. Sit down with a tea or coffee and enjoy a slice of your majestic creation. It’s a great choice to impress others for afternoon tea.
Here is a traditional German Apple Streusel Cake recipe. It’s a buttery vanilla cake with a layer of apple streusel in the middle, topped with more crunchy cinnamon streusel. What is streusel you ask? It’s a mix of brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, flour and ground pecan or walnuts. This recipe has several steps so it can be time-consuming. Once you sit down with a tea or coffee and enjoy a slice of your majestic creation it’s all worth it. It’s a great choice to impress others for afternoon tea.
GERMAN APPLE STREUSEL CAKE
Makes one 23cm round cake Difficulty: Medium
One 23cm (9 in) Springform Pan
Stand mixer / electric mixer
4 egg yolks
160g (6 oz) Sour Cream
1 ½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
200g (7 oz) Plain Flour
200g (7 oz) Caster Sugar
170g (6 oz) Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature
½ teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Bicarbonate Soda
1 pinch salt
Streusel Filling and Topping
72g (2.5 oz) Brown Sugar
26g (1 oz) Caster Sugar
113g (4 oz) Pecan nuts (or Walnuts)
1 ½ teaspoons Cinnamon powder
65g (2.3 oz) Plain Flour
57g (2 oz) Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature
½ teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1 Granny Smith apple
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 fan-forced; 350F). Line the base and sides of the springform pan with at least two layers of baking paper. Use non-stick spray to stick the paper to the pan.
Either use a knife or food processor to chop the pecan nuts into small pieces. Add the pecan nut pieces to a bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, caster sugar and cinnamon until evenly combined. Set aside 110g of this mixture for the streusel filling of the cake.
To the remaining pecan nut and sugar mixture stir in the cake flour. Stir in the soft butter and vanilla until all the mixture is evenly coated. You can rub the butter through with your fingers if it helps. Set this aside as the streusel topping of the cake.
Peel and core the apple. Cut the apple lengthways into slices about 5mm thick (1/4 inch). Set aside.
In a small bowl stir together the egg yolks, vanilla, and roughly ¼ of the sour cream. Set aside.
To the bowl of an electric mixer add the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate soda and salt. Use a paddle attachment to evenly mix the dry ingredients together. Add the soft butter and sour cream. Beat together on low speed until the butter and cream are mixed in, then beat on medium speed for 90 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
With the beater on low speed add the egg yolk mixture one-third at a time. Beat for 20 seconds after each addition.
Set aside about half of the cake batter. Scoop the remaining cake batter into the springform tin and smooth the top. Ensure the batter spreads to the edges of the tin. Sprinkle the streusel filling evenly over the top. Place the apple slices in a single layer over the filling. Scoop the rest of the cake batter over the cake and spread it gently to the edges. Finally sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top.
Check the oven has reached the correct temperature. Set your kitchen timer for 55 minutes. Place the cake on the middle rack of the oven. Bake until the middle of the cake springs back when lightly touched, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Baking time is 55 to 65 minutes approximately. If the streusel topping begins to over-brown place a sheet of aluminium foil over the top of the cake.
Remove cake from the oven. Let it cool in the pan. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan after you remove it from the oven. Remove the sides of the tin once the cake is cool. Do not attempt to invert the cake. The cake can be removed from the pan base if you have some firm cardboard of the same diameter to slide under the cake as you remove it.
- A springform cake tin is essential. Due to the streusel topping, this cake cannot be inverted to remove it from a normal pan like conventional cakes.
- The original recipe uses Cake Flour. It’s a softer and finer flour than regular Plain Flour. I’ve included a conversion for making your own cake flour but if you can’t be bothered, regular Plain Flour will work just fine.
- If using a food processor for the pecan nuts be careful not over-process them into a nut-meal or paste. The pecan pieces should be about the size of popcorn kernels.
- This cake is prone to burning, especially on the sides, because it takes a long time to bake. It’s important to line the base and sides of the cake pan at least twice with baking paper to prevent the crust from becoming too brown.
- The baking time is tricky to juggle here. The centre of the cake needs to full bake which takes up to an hour, but the sides and top of the cake are prone to burning. You also don’t want to wait until the cake starts to shrink from the sides of the pan in the oven, as it’s at risk of being over-cooked too. Monitor the cake from 45 minutes onwards and check for doneness every 5 minutes. To prevent the top from burning place foil on it. The double layer of baking paper helps protect the sides from heat. Bake until the middle is just
- It’s not a disaster if the cake is a little burned in the end. These tips are for perfection seekers, but the cake still tastes great if it sinks a little in the middle, or the batter isn’t evenly divided, or the streusel is too fine, or the edges are a little crispy.
- This cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Recipe adapted from The Cake Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum