German Apple Streusel Sheet Cake

Last updated on December 31st, 2017

 Apple Streusel Sheet Cake is so easy to make from scratch and tastes amazing! A simple but so flavorful German apple cake that’s topped with the most delicious cookie-like streusel.

Apple Streusel Sheet Cake is so easy to make from scratch and tastes amazing! A simple but so flavorful German apple cake that's topped with the most delicious cookie-like streusel.

Apple Streusel Sheet Cake is made with fresh apple chunks and topped with crunchy German streusel. German streusel is different from an American crumb topping. It’s more cookie-like on top and soft on the bottom where it meets the cake. It’s my favorite topping for cakes and muffins!

The filling of this cake is a mixture of fresh apple chunks and apple sauce which guarantees a moist cake even on the next day! Many crumb cakes in Germany are made with yeast dough and are more on the dry site. But this cake is made with a shortbread dough and so much easier to make. No need to let the dough rise! Just press it into the pan, top it with the apple mixture and scatter the streusel with your hands on top and you are done!

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Apple desserts like this are perfect for fall but I make them all year round! This easy-to-make apple cake is a great dessert for potlucks and parties. I serve it still warm with a big scoop of ice cream or cold from the fridge. Everyone loves this easy apple dessert!

Apple Streusel Sheet Cake is so easy to make from scratch and tastes amazing! A simple but so flavorful German apple cake that's topped with the most delicious cookie-like streusel.

Tips and tricks for making this Apple Streusel Sheet Cake

  • I like to use Elstar or Jonagold apples for this recipe but Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, or Pink Lady would work, too.
  • You can use granulated sugar or brown sugar for the streusel topping. I prefer granulated sugar! Brown sugar is not common in Germany, you can’t get it in any German grocery store so if you want to make authentic German streusel use white sugar.
  • No need to press the crumbs onto the cake, they will melt while baking and stick together!
  • I recommend refrigerating the cake after it is completely cool. It keeps fresh, covered with plastic foil, for a few days in the fridge. The cake tastes great cold and will hold its shape better.

Apple Streusel Sheet Cake is so easy to make from scratch and tastes amazing! A simple but so flavorful German apple cake that's topped with the most delicious cookie-like streusel.

The secret of extra delicious German Streusel is to make them bigger. Use your hands and rub the dough between your fingers, press the smaller crumbs together and sprinkle them over the cake.

Apple Streusel Sheet Cake is so easy to make from scratch and tastes amazing! A simple but so flavorful German apple cake that's topped with the most delicious cookie-like streusel.

Looking for more Streusel-topped desserts?

Apple Streusel Sheet Cake is so easy to make from scratch and tastes amazing! A simple but so flavorful German apple cake that's topped with the most delicious cookie-like streusel.

Tools used for making this Apple Streusel Sheet Cake

9 x 13 inch Pan with Lid: I love this baking pan! It comes with a lid so it’s easy to transport baked goods or casseroles and it’s super easy to clean, everything slides right off. I use this pan for all my 9×13-inch cakes, bars, and casseroles.
Stand Mixer: The most beautiful appliance in my kitchen! I own it in the gorgeous Ice Blue but the new Imperial Black one is my current favorite color.
Vanilla Extract: This is my favorite vanilla extract. I also love their vanilla sugar for recipes where I don’t want to add more liquid.
Applesauce: I like to use this applesauce for my German Apple Cake because it is unsweetened but if you like your cakes more on the super sweet side you can also use sweetened applesauce.

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Apple Streusel Sheet Cake is so easy to make from scratch and tastes amazing! A simple but so flavorful German apple cake that's topped with the most delicious cookie-like streusel.
4.8 from 5 votes
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Apple Streusel Sheet Cake

Apple Streusel Sheet Cake is so easy to make from scratch and tastes amazing! A simple but so flavorful German apple cake that's topped with the most delicious cookie-like streusel.

Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 12
Author Julia

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour divided (500g)
  • 1 1/2 cups butter divided (340g)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (70g)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 apples
  • 1 1/3 cup applesauce sweet or unsweetened
  • 1 tsp lemon zest freshly grated
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup granulated or brown sugar (100g)

Instructions

  1. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan and preheat your oven to 350F (180C).

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) butter, 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla extract, 2 cups all-purpose flour and egg. Beat until everything is incorporated. Spread the dough onto the baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the fridge while you make the apple and crumble layer.

  3. Leave the remaining 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) butter on the kitchen counter to get to room temperature.

  4. Peel and core the apples and chop them into small chunks. Mix the apple chunks with the lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon and apple sauce. Set aside.
  5. For the crumb topping: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the remaining soft 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) butter with 2 cups of flour and 1/2 cup sugar (see Note 4). The mixture will be crumbly.

  6. To assemble the cake, spread the apple mixture onto the dough layer. Then use your fingers to crumble the crumbs on top. Press some crumbs together to form bigger crumbs, you don't want the crumbs to be too fine.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes until the crumbs are lightly golden.
  8. Let the cake cool off completely. It will be a little bit soft while hot.
  9. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

Apple Streusel Sheet Cake is so easy to make from scratch and tastes amazing! A simple but so flavorful German apple cake that's topped with the most delicious cookie-like streusel.

Apple Streusel Sheet Cake is so easy to make from scratch and tastes amazing! A simple but so flavorful German apple cake that's topped with the most delicious cookie-like streusel.

27 Comments

  • Kari

    Made this cake this week and it’s unbelievably good! It keeps getting better over time too. I didn’t have applesauce on hand but had some homemade cranberry sauce left over from Thanksgiving so replaced the applesauce with that and it turned out absolutely delicious (and I got rid of all my cranberry sauce too! Can’t wait to make it again with applesauce next time. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe.

  • Rose

    Hi i have two questions.
    Can i double the recipe? And can i make it the day before, refridgerate then bake at dinner time?
    Many thanks!
    Rosemary

    • Julia

      Hi Rosemary! Yes, you can double the recipe. I often bake this cake a day in advance, leave it in a cool place overnight and serve it on the next day. But I have never tried to prepare it a day in advance and bake it on the next day, I think the apples would turn brown overnight. If you want to serve it warm, you could just heat up the baked cake for a few minutes in the oven before serving. Happy Holidays!

    • Julia

      I like to use Elstar or Jonagold apples for this recipe but Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, or Pink Lady would work, too. – Julia

  • chris

    Hi I have a question so it’s a total of 3 sticks of butter for the whole recipe or 3 sticks for the dough and 3 sticks for the topping?

    • Julia

      Hi Chris, it’s 3 sticks for the whole recipe. 1 and 1/2 stick are used for the dough and the other 1 and 1/2 sticks are used for the crumb topping. – Julia

    • Julia

      Hi, Betty! Yes, you can freeze the cake. I prefer to cut it in slices before I freeze it. I hope you like the cake as much as I do! I wish I had a slice right now with some ice cream. Have a great weekend! Julia

    • Julia

      I haven’t made this cake in a glass dish yet but I’m sure you can use a glass dish. Glass pans will hold their heat much more effectively than metal pans. I think the usual advice for using a glass dish is to grease the dish well, bake at 25°F less, and check the cake a bit earlier. – Julia

  • iolana sawyer

    Hi Julia,

    -btw my grandfather was german and I love german bake goods!
    Thank you for this recipe 🙂 I am very excited and will try and make this today and will let you know how I did. My two sons love dutch apple pies but i love trying new and easy recipes all the time. I love the fact that you have shared this recipe to the T…..ingredients and pics ! I haven’t tried apple sauce in my apple pie before so I would like to try your recipe!
    Have a good one! I’m off to the store to buy all my ingredients 🙂

  • Robert Peterson

    My apples came out still with some crunch to them. Is that what to expect? I kind of expected them to be more of a mushy texture

    • Julia

      Sorry that the cake didn’t come out as you expected, Robert! The texture depends on the apples you use and how small you cut them. I like mine to still have a little bit of crunch and not be completely mushy. If the filling would be too mushy the cake wouldn’t hold its shape when you cut into it.

  • Amy

    In the first part of the recipe for making the dough, is the butter softened or cold?
    I see that you Stated to soften the butter for the crumbles however.
    But wasn’t sure about the dough. Cold it soften butter?
    Please let me know ASAP .

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