Buckwheat and Apple Cake (Schwarzplententorte)

By • September 30, 2013 17 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a simple, gluten-free cake, made wonderfully moist and dense with buckwheat, almond meal and grated apple, filled with tart lingonberry jam and topped with a veil of powdered sugar. Known as schwarzplententorte in German or torta di granosaraceno in Italian, this is a very traditional recipe from Alto Adige in Italy's most northern corner. It's most commonly eaten for breakfast together with a big mug of caffe latte, or as a morning or afternoon snack.

The simpler version of this recipe is without the apple (it can easily be eliminated from the recipe without changing the other proportions), and the oldest versions of this recipe use only the buckwheat flour, with almond meal (usually made by grinding whole almonds, skin on, in a blender) being a modern addition that adds to the dense crumb of this cake. Obligatory is the filling of lingonberry jam (also known as mountain cranberries) -- you could substitute cranberry or redcurrant jelly if you can't find this jam, but if you do want to seek it out, try Ikea (lingonberry jam is also a national staple of Sweden!).

Serves 8

  • 1 cup (250 grams or 2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (250 grams) sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups (250 grams) buckwheat flour (this comes in light or dark, so be aware the choice will affect the color of your cake)
  • 2 1/4 cups (250 grams) almond meal, skins on if possible
  • 1 apple, peeled and grated
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 7 ounces (200 gr) lingonberry jam (redcurrant or cranberry jelly can also substitute)
  • 1/2 tablespoon icing sugar for dusting
  1. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks and beat until pale and creamy. Add the buckwheat, almond meal, grated apple and the scraped seeds of the vanilla pod until just combined.
  2. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold in, bit by bit, into the batter until well combined and pour batter into a greased and lined round baking tin (10 inch diameter).
  3. Bake in a medium oven at 350ºF for about 50 minutes or until the cake is deep golden brown on top and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. When cool enough to handle, remove cake from tin and slice in half lengthways. Spread the bottom layer with the lingonberry jam and replace the top layer. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar.

More Great Recipes: Breakfast & Brunch|Cakes|Desserts|Breakfast

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Comments (17) Questions (0)


10 months ago fo

Hi there. I am curious, how many grams of apple does this cake take? There are huge apples, and tiny apples, and all sizes in between. Any help is appreciated. If anyone counted the grams they used, I would love to know. Thank you!


10 months ago Emiko

I used an average/medium-sized apple (i.e. not huge, not tiny!). I didn't measure it in grams but I'm sure a little over or under is not going to dramatically change the outcome of the cake if you're using what seems like a good, medium-sized apple! Hope that helps :)


about 1 year ago sarabclever

Made this weekend--definitely a hit and stayed moist even when left out all day!


over 1 year ago Robyn

Could I substitute the butter for coconut oil and the sugar for coconut sugar?


over 1 year ago frances

Being GF I LOVED this cake. Great contrast between textures and flavours. I did find the cake to be a bit dry, nothing adding whip cream too couldn't fix :)


over 1 year ago Tanya_O

I've just made this cake. I can only say YUMMY! And who cares that the cake is brown-grey in colour? By the way the cake is dense but NOT dry. It is an unusual rustic cake. For sure will make it again. P.S. Halve the recipe and it will be perfect for 19-20cm (7,5 to 8 inch) baking tin


over 1 year ago Emiko

Thanks for the feedback - I'm with you, the colour shouldn't matter, it IS a buckwheat cake after all so not unusual to see it grey! ;)


over 1 year ago megabals

You can purchase both light and dark stoneground buckwheat flour in both Canada and the US...I first made this cake with dark buckwheat flour (which is a grey colour in its raw form) and it was way too dry and very grey in colour. Making it with light buckwheat flour makes a world of difference.


over 1 year ago Emiko

Thanks for clarifying on the different flours you can get there!


almost 2 years ago Petite fee

Just made this cake for Thanksgiving and it definitely has a dark color from the buckwheat and i could not get my eggs to fluff so flat cake. Yucky!


almost 2 years ago Emiko

The eggs are the most important part as it's the only way the cake rises! The dark colour from buckwheat is totally normal, don't worry!


almost 2 years ago kaczbird

Just tasted the cake and it is really lovely, although much greyer in color than the cake pictured above! Nice and moist, very dense and with a wonderful nutty flavor. Thanks so much for this recipe!


almost 2 years ago Emiko

Thanks for the feedback!


almost 2 years ago kaczbird

Hello! This cake is in the oven as I write so no verdict yet on the flavor or texture...but...my batter was definitely very grey, from the buckwheat flour. My thought is that perhaps the buckwheat flour available to you (in Italy or Australia), Emiko, is a lighter shade. I don't think any amount of free range yellow yolks (and mine were too) could overcome the grey-ness of american buckwheat flour. Next time you are in the states, check it out!


almost 2 years ago vvvanessa

This cake is really tasty with a texture that's dense but not gummy or hard. I have to admit I was a little worried that I would deflate the egg whites folding it into such a thick batter, but the cake rose just fine.

I'm curious, though, as to why the cake in the photo is so blond. Mine is definitely the brown, speckled color of buckwheat.


almost 2 years ago Emiko

Thanks for the feedback. It could partially be my photos, but I used organic, stone ground buckwheat for this cake and peeled almonds for the almond meal - but the most traditional recipes are darker as the almond meal should be made with almonds with the skin on so you have the speckled dark brown, which actually dominates the colour of the cake more than the buckwheat!


almost 2 years ago Emiko

I had another thought about the colour of the cake that I realised probably had the biggest effect - I use organic, free range eggs that have a very deep golden/orange coloured yolk. Seeing as this cake calls for 6 of them, I'm sure now that this is what's given the cake that golden blonde colour!