Buckwheat and Apple Cake (Schwarzplententorte)

September 30, 2013
5 Ratings
  • Serves 8
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!). —Emiko

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Marina D Polak
    Marina D Polak
  • ctgal
  • fo
  • sarabclever
  • frances

24 Reviews

chabruzz October 17, 2021
This cake is lovely! Great texture and flavor. So glad I found this recipe!
Marina D. October 11, 2019
I went with the weight in grams. Cake was a bit dry and did not rise. Where did I go wrong?
ctgal September 29, 2017
I'm not sure what I am missing after reading all these comments. The cake color is perfect, but I too think it's dry. And not sweet enough for my taste. Perhaps I didn't use enough jam? I think whipped cream might help too. Unfortunately, I am not going to make it again, even though it was easy and gluten free, which I need.
hlcadieux November 7, 2016
I second the forgiving nature of this delightful cake. I realized too late that the apple saved for this recipe had been consumed as a snack, so added a bit (scant half cup, maybe) of unsweetened, homemade applesauce. Seemed to work well, though I will make this again with the grated apple to compare. It also dealt with 5-10 minutes of over baking, resulting in a lovely crust, while maintaining a moist, springy inside. I do find this to be slightly sweet for my taste. It's the kind of cake I'd like to eat for breakfast or for an afternoon snack, but with the stated amount of sugar, it tastes like dessert. Overall a beautiful cake that I am sure to make over and over again! Thank you!
Lisa October 29, 2016
This recipe is really easy to make, nutritionally sound and truly delicious. Worked well first try for a novice. I used dark buckwheat which is grounded from buckwheat seed with hull. The light one Emiko used is from hulled buckwheat seed which is better for making cakes. I served it with fig butter and Strauss vanilla ice cream. Thank you for yet another great recipe that is simple enough to make.
Kace S. January 1, 2016
This is a very forgiving cake. I accidentally added the eggs *after* the dry ingredients and I also discovered that the cake wasn't through baking, only after slicing it in half. Oops! I popped both halves back into the oven for an additional 10 minutes at 350F until they were done and continued on as instructed. The cake would probably be more moist if I hadn't had to do that, but even with those gaffes, it is delicious. The buckwheat gives it a nice, nutty taste--almost like poppyseed. The color is more of a brown with Bob's Red Mill buckwheat, not grey. This cake makes me think back to our trip to Süd Tirol. :)
fo November 20, 2014
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!
Emiko November 21, 2014
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 :)
sarabclever September 2, 2014
Made this weekend--definitely a hit and stayed moist even when left out all day!
Robyn April 7, 2014
Could I substitute the butter for coconut oil and the sugar for coconut sugar?
frances March 24, 2014
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 :)
Tanya_O February 11, 2014
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
Emiko February 11, 2014
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! ;)
megabals January 28, 2014
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.
Emiko February 11, 2014
Thanks for clarifying on the different flours you can get there!
Marina D. October 11, 2019
Thank you for this comment.
Petite F. November 28, 2013
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!
Emiko November 28, 2013
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!
kaczbird November 4, 2013
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!
Emiko November 4, 2013
Thanks for the feedback!
kaczbird November 4, 2013
Hello! This cake is in the oven as I write so no verdict yet on the flavor or 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!
vvvanessa October 10, 2013
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.
Emiko October 11, 2013
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!
Emiko November 4, 2013
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!