German Apple Cake

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German Apple Cake has chunks of fresh apple, lots of fall spices, crunchy pecans, and a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. This is one of the most delicious apple desserts you will ever taste so get ready for some fall baking!!

German Apple Cake


I know it’s not quite fall yet, but I’m ready for it to be here. This past week I helped both my kids get moved into their apartments for the school year. My daughter in Charleston and my son in Atlanta. And now I’m ready for the seasons to begin to change and the fall baking to commence.

German Apple Cake with cream cheese frosting


Apples, along with sweet potatoes and pumpkin are what fall baking is all about for me. I’ve never been a huge apple pie fan but I love apples in other types of desserts like Caramel Apple Pound Cake, Crockpot Butterscotch Apple Crisp, and Frisky Apple Fritters.

German Apple Cake with cream cheese frosting


This German Apple Cake is everything you could want in a fall apple dessert. The cake batter, with lots of chunks of apple, cooks up super moist with just the right amount of spice flavoring. But undoubtedly the best part is the icing!!

German Apple Cake with chunks of fresh apple

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Watch the short video below to see how easy this cake is to make!

German Apple Cake

German Apple Cake

Course: Dessert
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 16
Author: Christin Mahrlig
German Apple Cake has chunks of fresh apple, lots of fall spices, crunchy pecans, and a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. 
Print Recipe


  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups peeled and finely chopped tart apples, I use Granny Smith
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon half-and-half or milk
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract until completely combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet and stir to combine.
  • Fold in apples and pecans. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    Let cool.
  • Make frosting. Place cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat with electric mixer until smooth.
  • Add vanilla extract, half-and-half, and confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth.
  • Spread on top of cake. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home


More Apple Desserts

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Slow Cooker Apple Cobbler

Slow Cooker Apple Cobbler

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58 thoughts on “German Apple Cake

  1. I must say, I am 39 years old and I have NEVER left a review of a recipe, but this was just SO good, I had to write a review to let others know my thoughts and mini changes! I made this recipe last night as an addition to a family dinner. It was a quintessential fall dessert, with all the right flavors of the season! While I agree that it is not an authentic “German” dessert with the pecans and frosting, it was nonetheless DELICIOUS!! I made 3 small changes: I used 1 cup of brown sugar (not 2 cups white sugar as per the recipe), I used 1 cup of homemade apple sauce (in lieu of the oil as per the recipe), and I used about 6 cups of thick chunked apples of mixed variety picked from a local orchard (not 4 cups as per the recipe). Other than those small changes, this recipe was a hit! Even positively critiqued by my father, who’s 100% German. Definitely a must try! The frosting isn’t necessary, but it is not overly sweet, so it was a welcomed addition. I recommend keeping it on the side, allowing everyone to add their own frosting. This was especially good for the leftovers, which I ate for breakfast, so the frosting definitely was not needed at 7 am! I can’t wait to make this again! Happy Baking! :o)

  2. My mother, whose family was German, made this cake for us when we were young children. Like one of your other respondents, she did not add nuts nor frost the cake, but dusted with powdered sugar. I happen to like the nuts and the delicious cream cheese frosting – and the cake tastes exactly like the one she used to make – right down to the crisp top of the cake. I was delighted to find this recipe.

  3. Love this cake! German or not, it’s so delicious. I’ve made it twice in the last month and the whole fam goes crazy. Definitely adding it to my list of special holiday desserts! Thank you!

  4. I give this cake recipe top ratings, whether German or not. One of our favorites to share with family and friends. Very moist and delicious. Quick and easy to make for any occasion. Always loved by everyone!

  5. I made this for an office birthday party and it was a huge hit, very moist and jam packed with apples.

  6. Thank you very much for this recipe, I made it last Thanksgiving but I neglected to leave a comment then, I apologize for that. This was a delicious cake and my personal favorite thing out of all the dishes at that particular family get together.

    I only made a few small modifications: I reduced the sugar to one and one half cups, added a half teaspoon of allspice to the dry ingredients, and instead of frosting the cake, I made whipped cream for people to top their pieces of cake. Thanks again, I am recently craving this cake some more, time to make it again soon.

  7. Hi! Recipe looks lovely; yet, this is not a “German” apple cake by any stretch of the imagination. Pecans don’t even grow here…lol. Most recipes here that are referred to as “German” are not, they’re US American.
    If you would like a German apple cake recipe or authentic yummy German or Yiddish recipes would gladly share mine. There is never a piece left over of my afore mentioned apple cake.
    All the best from across the big pond

    1. My mom used to make to make an apple cake. We are of German descent. She never put nuts in hers & instead of frosting she dusted it with powdered sugar. It’s my husbands favorite cake. My mom passed away 9 years ago & I have yet to find her recipe.

    2. I spent 3 weeks in Germany last summer and what a wonderful country you live in. I am aware that this cake is not like the ones made in Germany. It is however one that has been made by years in the states by people who immigrated from Germany. They combined there German cooking experience with American ingredients. Since it was a cake made by German immigrants that is where the name comes from. Sorry for the confusion.

    3. I had a good friend, Holocaust survivor, who gave me a German apple cake recipe. She has passed and I have lost the recipe in moving. Would appreciate having yours.

    4. I am of German decent from both sides of my parents. My dad is 90 and loves authentic German food. Would you be so kind as to share your recipe, as I am visiting him in a month and want to make this for him and my mother. Thank you kindly.

    5. Please, please, may I have your recipe for German Apple Cake. My sister-in-law is German and I would love to surprise her with a delicious dessert of her liking.

  8. When the pantry and fridge are lean, I have a talent for creating amazing surprises for my family. This cake is divine! I was out of vanilla and used almond extract, also cut the sugar by 1/2 cup, always do. Made this in a Corning Ware oval casserole dish. It was a huge hit at a late night chili dinner and gifted one to a sick friend. I’m baking one now and my husband is thrilled. Thank you for sharing. Just awesomely delicious and good enough to fight over the last piece!

  9. When the pantry and fridge are lean, I have a talent for creating amazing surprises for my family. This cake is divine! I was out of vanilla and used almond extract, also cut the sugar by 1/2 cup, always do. Made this in a Corning Ware oval casserole dish. It was a huge hit at a late night chili dinner and gifted one to a sick friend. I’m baking one now and my husband is thrilled. Thank you for sharing. Just awesomely delicious and good enough to fight over the last piece!

  10. Instead of cream cheese frosting i made a glaze with 3/4c of brown sugar, 2Tabl. of half and half and 2Tabl. of butter brought to boil stirring constantly poured over hot cake,returned to oven for 2min.

  11. Hahaha, so , i wonder how did ‘German chocolate cake’ get it’s name & where did it originate from made with tons of Pecans!?!?
    This german apple cake sounds delicious! I will be toasting the nuts , adding raisins & variating the sugar.
    Thank you! Melinda

    1. I made the cake by the recipe for our Christmas dessert except I used 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar and 1/2 c. brown sugar and used small cubes of apple with skin on (golden delicious). It was very moist and flavorful but a bit on the sweet side, very delicious the next day. Will try cutting the sugar in half, maybe less oil but loved the amount of pecans. Between tiny cubes of apple and chopped pecans, moist cake with a variety of different chews.

      I have a very old recipe similar to this cake from a German family I know that is named “Apfelkuchen”. Do love all the German omments, too but there really is a German apple cake!

  12. I’ve been making this for 30 years. I thinly slice the apples instead of chopping them and 2 eggs instead of 3. It is still moist and delicious! The cream cheese frosting is so delicious and rich with it, too. I have made just a glaze before and it is really good like this, too. Great cake!


  14. Delightful. I made two small changes: 1) I used 1 cup white sugar 1 cup brown sugar instead of 2 cups white sugar aaand 2) I used a mashed banana instead of vegetable oil! So dense, so soft, so tasty. Also, didn’t even need the frosting, honestly.

  15. I made this cake some weeks ago. I loved it, my parents loved it and I’m preparing it again right now (that’s why I’m checking back the recipe, i didn’t took note…) It’s moist, it’s flavourful, it’s tender, very aromatic and cover in the fridge it lasts (if you don’t eat it) for more than a week. It’s fantastic, what can I say. And you can play with different apple varieties and different nuts. As I’m not very fond of frostings, it’s even easier… Thank you!

  16. I was disappointed w/the frosting. I followed the recipe exactly as printed & my frosting was not thick enough to spread like a typical frosting. It was thin & it was almost like a thick glaze. I should have added more powdered sugar but it would have been too sweet for my taste. Any ideas of what I might have done wrong? The cake itself was delicious!

    1. You’re only adding 1 tablespoon of liquid and the rest of the ingredients are solids so I don’t see how it could possibly be like a glaze. It should be very thick. Are you sure you added the correct amounts?

  17. My home cooks class made this cake today and it is very good.
    We liked it because it’s moist, holds together when served, the nuts were a nice added texture.
    Cream cheese frosting for this cake just made this cake one all of us will make for parties and potlucks.
    Make it and enjoy it! The name German Apple Cake
    Should not keep you from making this cake.

  18. a true German apple cake or not this is so easy to make and so darn good!!! Come on people chill out!!! It kinda reminds me of a carrot cake but easier to make!!! Love it!!!

  19. Made this and not what I expected. Texture is more like a cookie than a cake. Flavor is ok but won’t make again. Just not what I want.

  20. I’m sorry but this has nothing to do with a german apple cake. Traditionally we do not use cream cheese frosting and pecan nuts are very rare.
    A german apple cake has either a dough with lots of slices or Chunks of Apples on top or kinda sunken into the dough or its like a pocket with the apples in it. Its moist and i like it with cinnamon. Lots of people have raisins in it.
    Please change the Name. This is not a german apple cake.
    Thank you.

    1. Just FYI, I live in a heavily German rural area in the US and this is the cake they make. So….. while it may not be the recipe from a specific region of Germany (and every area has a different take on their foods) it is an American German Apple Cake. The addition of pecans is probably due to the fact we are heavily wooded in them. They go in everything.

      I forego the frosting though. Its sweet and rich enough without it.

  21. This recipe sure sounds delicious, but the name is somewhat confusing. This cake is anything but german. German cooking or baking hardly ever contains pecans or cream cheese frosting.

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