Brown Butter German Apple Cake

Fluffy and perfectly sweet, this version of a classic is made with nutty brown butter that offers a new depth of flavor. Packed with apples and not too sweet, this cake is suitable for breakfast or dessert. Top with sweetened whipped cream and apple cider caramel!

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Servings: 12

Prep Time: 00:15

Cook Time: 00:45


3 medium apples, peeled

1/2 medium lemon

2 tablespoons 1/2 cup plus granulated sugar

10 tablespoons brown butter, cooled to room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

2 - 3 tablespoons granulated sugar


1First make the brown butter, (allow time to cool in refrigerator - about 20 minutes).

2Heat a light colored medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter and allow to melt.

3Once the butter is melted completely, turn heat down to medium. Occasionally swirl the pan or use a whisk to gently stir, to ensure that the milk solids are evenly being browned.

4The browned butter is ready when the milk solids become golden brown in color, oil slightly darkens in color, and the butter has a nutty aroma, about 2 to 3 minutes. Keep an eye on your butter! The milk solids can go from toasted to burnt very quickly.

5Immediately transfer brown butter to a heat proof bowl or liquid measuring cup. Place in refrigerator for ~20 minutes to speed up cooling time so the butter solidifies a bit to a "softened" texture.

6Now make the cake

7Peel, and quarter the apples, removing any core. Thinly slice each quarter lengthwise without cutting all the way through to the end, leaving the quarter hinged together like a fan.

8Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter, set aside and preheat the oven to 350°F.

9Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

10Grate the zest of the lemon into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use an electric hand mixer and large bowl). Squeeze the juice from the lemon half into a separate small bowl; set aside, this will be added to the batter later.

11Add the sugar and butter to the lemon zest and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the vanilla and 1 of the eggs. Beat until combined before adding the second egg. Beat until combined and then add the third egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and beat until combined.

12With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour mixture until just combined, and beat in the reserved lemon juice. Scrape down the sides with a spatula and give the batter one last mix by hand.

13Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Gently press the apple quarters into the batter, core-side down, leaving only a bit of space between each quarter. If you have any apple left over, separate the slices and insert them into any open space available. Sprinkle the top evenly with the granulated sugar before baking.

14Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan and continue baking until the cake is golden-brown and a tester inserted into the cake (not apple) comes out clean, 15 to 25 minutes more.

15Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the cake and removing the springform ring. Let cool to room temperature.

Additional Notes

The volume of batter the recipe produces does not seem like much - you may even wonder if you missed a step or forgot an ingredient! Don't worry, the batter will bubble up and rise during the baking process and result in a beautiful cake.

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