Sharlotka – Recipe for Apple Cake from Scratch

This recipe for apple cake from scratch gives an incredibly delicious cake. It is a twist on the traditional Russian Sharlotka apple cake that everyone knows and loves. Moist and soft, the cake is sprinkled with ground hazelnuts and has a crumble topping on the top. A sprinkling of cinnamon gives it an awesome fall flavor.

This wonderful variation of the Sharlotka recipe comes from my second mama (MIL) and I haven’t yet gone back to my normal Sharlotka recipe after making this. Its THAT good! I hope you give it a try.

Table of Contents

Apple cake from scratch served on a plate with cinnamon and powdered sugar.


The beauty of this recipe is that most of the ingredients in this recipe are simple pantry ingredients.

Apples – This cake really works with any kind of apples, but I do like to use the more tangy ones. They give a good contrast to the sweetness of the cake.

Butter – normal, unsalted butter, whatever kind you have on hand.

Flour – normal, all-purpose flour.

Sugar – regular sugar.

Eggs – medium/large in size.

Baking powder


Vanilla extract – normal vanilla extract. Substitute with vanilla sugar (very common in Germany) if you don’t have any extract or just omit.

Hazelnuts – these should be ground or chopped finely. They are very common in Germany. If these are not as common where you live, use walnuts, or pecans, or omit altogether. Here is a link to amazon for chopped hazelnuts (non-affiliate). These might need to be chopped finer. I couldn’t find one for ground hazelnuts.

Recipe for Apple Cake from Scratch

Apples and Crumb Cake Topping

Peel and core the apples and slice thinly. Set aside.

Butter the bottom of a spring form pan and sprinkle with ground hazelnuts (I also use parchment paper on the bottom for easier clean-up).

Make the apple crumb cake topping by mixing flour, sugar and butter. “Knead” it with your hand until well mixed and crumbly. Sprinkle on the top of the hazelnuts and press down gently.

Arrange the sliced apples over the crumble and about 1/3 in. away from the edge. Set aside.

Batter for Apple Cake from Scratch

Preheat the oven to 320°F (160°C).

To make the batter, combine eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract (in this case I am using vanilla sugar as I ran out of vanilla extract). Beat everything together until the eggs are pale yellow/whitish (around 10 minutes).

Combine flour and baking powder and sift into the batter a bit at a time. Gently mix the flour into the batter using a spoon. Don’t over mix as you don’t want the air pockets in the batter to be destroyed. We need them to make this cake fluffy.

Pour the batter into the spring form pan over the apples. Spread it out evenly with a spatula (doesn’t need to be perfect, just make sure that the dough is spread evenly from edge to edge).

Bake for 60 minutes or until the cake is golden brown.

Let the cake cool a bit once it has finished baking (about 15 minutes or until it is cool enough to handle). Loosen the edges of the cake using a butter knife. Then remove the sides of the form. Let the cake cool off almost completely. Then flip it over onto a serving plate.

Cinnamon and Powdered Sugar Topping

Just before serving, sprinkle the cake with cinnamon and powdered sugar. This is optional, but gives the cake a nicer look and a nice “fall” taste.

Apple cake from scratch served on plate.

Which apples should you use in this recipe for apple cake from scratch?

Any kind of fresh apples work in this cake (don’t use anything canned), but the more tangy ones like the granny smith apples give a good contrast to the sweetness of the cake.

How do you store this apple cake from scratch?

You can keep the apple cake covered on the counter overnight or for up to 1 day. If you store the apple longer than that, it is best to keep it in the fridge as the cooked apples might start to go bad.

How can you serve this apple cake?

Serve the cake as is or omit the cinnamon and powdered sugar topping. You can also drip some caramel on the top or make a glaze out of powdered sugar and water/milk. This cake is soft and moist and does not need any type of cream added.

How do you cut apples for apple cake?

Cut the apples into halves and then peel and core them. Then slice the halves into fourths and the fourths into thin slices (or into 8ths).

Tips for making this recipe for apple cake from scratch

The most important tip I can give for making this recipe is to make sure and not over mix the batter when mixing in the flour. Mix with a spoon always going in one direction and add the flour in small increments to avoid lumps.

Sharlotka apple cake from scratch served on a plate with a kitchen towel and forks in the background.

Lastly, if you make this Recipe for Apple Cake from Scratch, make sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating here! I’d love to hear back from you and will do my best to answer and respond to every comment. And of course, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram if you make this recipe. I’d love to see the photos of the recipes you have made!

Recipe for Apple Cake from Scratch

Soft and Moist, this apple cake from scratch is a twist on the normal Russian Sharlotka apple cake that everyone loves.
Prep Time20 minutes
Baking Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: German, Russian
Keyword: Apple, Cake, streusel
Servings: 12


  • 2-3 Apples, peeled and cored
  • Ground hazelnuts
  • Butter


  • 5.3oz (150g) All-purpose flour
  • 2.5oz (70g) Sugar
  • 2.5oz (70g) Cold butter


  • 3 Eggs
  • 5.3oz (150g) Flour
  • 5.3oz (150g) Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt


  • Cinnamon and Powdered Sugar (optional)


  • Butter the bottom of your spring form cake pan and sprinkle with ground hazelnuts (just enough to evenly cover the bottom). Set aside
  • Peel and core the apples and slice thinly. Set aside.


  • Prepare the crumble by mixing 5.3oz flour, 2.5oz sugar, and 2.5oz cold butter together. Sprinkle evenly into the cake pan over the hazelnuts and press down gently.
  • Lay out the sliced apples over the crumble about ⅓ in. away from the edge. Set aside.


  • Whip 3 eggs, 5.3oz sugar, vanilla,and salt until the mixture is thick, fluffy and whitish in color.
  • Mix flour and baking powder together and sift through a sieve into the batter in increments, folding it in gently with a spoon/spatula.
  • Pour the batter into the cake pan, covering the apples.
  • Bake at 320°F (160°C) for 60 minutes. Let cool a little.
  • Flip the cake onto a serving platter and let cool completely.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon and powdered sugar right before serving (optional).

If you like baked goodies, you might like these other baked dessert recipes from my blog:


  • Monika

    Hi! It’s actually spelled “szarlotka” and it’s Polish, not Russian.
    You can check the history if you don’t believe me!
    But to be honest – this recipe isn’t even authentic to szarlotka…
    A true szarlotka has a short crust, then has a thick layer of (lightly cooked) apples and then a crumble made up of the base.

  • emkayskitchen

    Hi Monika,
    Thanks for the interesting infos. I did do a little research after your comment and I think there might be two different cakes called by this name, but with the same origin. From what I read it was developed by a chef in France either in honor of Queen Charlotte, the wife of the king of England, or the wife of Tsar Alexander I of Russia. The Polish Sharlotka definitely sounds different than the Russian one. From what I read the Russian version was simplified over time because a lot of ingredients were scarce at that time. So it is probably is not very similar to the original. I am not familiar with the Polish one as I grew up eating the Russian one:) But it could very well be more similar to the original. The recipe above is what the usual Sharlotka would be like (you will notice many Russian bloggers have similar recipes), mine just has the hazelnuts and the crumble added for a tasty twist. I hope you give it a try. It’s definitely good, even if it’s different than the original. Here are the links I used in my research:

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