This Apple Cake Recipe is perfect for fall! Yeast dough is brushed with cinnamon butter, topped with fresh apple slices and glazed with honey and pine nuts.
This Apple Cake is inspired by the traditional German yeasted apple sheet cake my Grandmother used to make when I was little. She always made a big sheet of yeast cake for family gatherings. One-half of the sheet topped with streusel and the other half with apples. I loved this cake growing up!
It’s probably my favorite kind of German apple cake even if it takes a bit more time to make than my German Apple Streusel Sheet Cake or my Covered German Apple Cake. So if you’re not the biggest fan of baking with yeast than you could try one of these cakes instead! All three are delicious!
So today I want to share my version of my grandmother’s cake which is perfect for chilly fall days! My yeasted apple cake has a flavorful homemade cinnamon butter under the fresh apple slices and is brushed with a Mediterranean-inspired honey and pine nuts topping when it comes out of the oven. This is what my fall dreams are made of!
Pine nuts are one of my favorite ingredient in salads or in quiches like here in my Spinach Quiche with Cheese and Pine Nuts but they also make a tasty topping for sweet treats – a great alternative to walnuts or almonds!
The topping on this Apple Sheet Cake tastes like heaven! The combination of different flavors and the sweet cinnamon butter under the apples which infuses the dough makes a star out of this “normal” apple cake recipe.
The bottom of this cake is light and fluffy, so be prepared for a soft and sticky dough, it’s worth it! The dough needs to be rolled out quite thin about 0.2 – 0.4 inches high because it will rise in the oven. I find it easier to spread the dough out with my hands than to use a rolling pin.
This apple cake is especially good when it’s still warm!
Apple Cake Recipe with Cinnamon Butter
For the dough:
- 2 1/2 tsp Instant Yeast
- 1/2 cup milk, lukewarm, 120ml
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, 240g
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp butter, room temperature
- 1 egg, large
- 1 pinch of salt
For the cinnamon butter:
- 1/2 stick butter, 55g, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp sugar
For the apples:
- 5 medium apples
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
For the topping:
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped (optional)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp butter
- Pour the lukewarm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm (90°F) milk. Cover and let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- On low speed, add the sugar, flour, butter, egg and a pinch of salt and knead until a soft dough forms about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands for one more minute. Sprinkle the dough with a little bit more flour if it's too sticky.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover and let the dough rest at a warm place for 40 minutes or until about doubled in size.
- Make the cinnamon butter: Mix the soft butter, sugar, and cinnamon until fluffy with a handheld mixer or a fork.
- Prepare the apples: Peel, core, and slice the apples (1/2 inch thick). Mix with lemon juice.
- Grease a 9x13-inch baking sheet. With floured hands spread the dough evenly about 0.2 to 0.4 inch high.
- Spread the cinnamon butter on top of the dough, then arrange the apples on the dough like you see in my photos.
- Cover the cake with a clean towel and let it rise for about 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C).
- Bake the apple cake for 25-30 minutes.
- While the cake bakes make the topping: In a small, dry frying pan, toast pine nuts until they are golden and give off a light fragrance. Add honey, butter and the chopped rosemary (optional), lightly heat the mixture, then turn off the heat. Spoon this mixture evenly over the cake whilst it is still hot.