German Apple Streusel Cake with Brown Sugar Mascarpone Cream

September 30, 2018
7 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

This cake is reminiscient of one that my neighbor shared with me years ago. We used to visit each other, each bearing wedges of warm cake or pie, and chat for hours over mugs of strong black coffee. The base of this cake stays soft and tender from the apples, while the outside develops an almost caramelized, craggy crust that is cookie-like in texture. Whenever I make this cake, I remember crossing through our sun-dappled backyards as summer transitioned into autumn, and the stories my neighbor would tell me about baking through the seasons in Germany. —Laura Edgerton

What You'll Need
  • For the apples:
  • 4 sour apples (such as Granny Smith), washed, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • The zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or the juice from half the lemon
  • 2 tablespoons granulated cane sugar
  • For the crust/streusel topping, and mascarpone cream:
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I like to be generous)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 8 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons light brown sugar
  1. For the apples:
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the chopped apples, lemon zest, juice, and sugar. Set aside.
  1. For the crust/streusel topping, and mascarpone cream:
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, both sugars, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Add the butter, eggs, and vanilla. Use a spatula to gently combine all of the wet ingredients into the dry. The mixture will be very thick.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350*F. Coat a 10-inch round cake pan generously with nonstick spray and lightly dust the pan with flour, tapping out any excess. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Use your fingers to press about two-thirds of the dough into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the prepared pan, creating a little lip all around the edge. Pour the apple mixture evenly on top of the dough. Crumble the remaining third of the dough over the apples, creating streusel crumbles.
  5. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan around halfway through the baking time, until the apples are toothpick-tender, and the streusel topping is a deep golden brown. Let cool in the pan until easy to handle, then carefully invert onto a serving plate.
  6. Top each slice with Brown Sugar Mascarpone Cream. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, mascarpone cheese, vanilla extract, and light brown sugar until smooth and creamy.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

8 Reviews

[email protected] November 11, 2022
1 out of 10, do not recommend. I made an adjustment on the size of the pan and adjusted bake time based on reviews and it came out perfectly fine however, most importantly, this taste like lemon pledge. Even if I put the lemon pledge flavor aside, it’s just lackluster. Keep moving, don’t make it. Let us all here save you some time and effort.
AI October 13, 2022
I also had discrepancies with this recipe and I followed it to the letter. The 10” recommended pan was way too big…I switched to a 9” springform and still had barely enough dough to cover the sides and crumble top. I also had to bake at 375 degrees for an hour and 15min to get the top to brown and apples cooked. Meanwhile some of the sugar from the apples seeped through and burned in places because it wasn’t fully contained on the sides without enough crust. Also, there was too much apple filling….I only used 3 large apples’ worth. And I would have used some sweeter apples, the combination of granny smith’s and all the lemon zest and juice made for an extremely sour flavor. I was hoping this would taste similar to a dutch apple cake that I have had in Amsterdam (similar construction) but sadly I am very disappointed with how it turned out and I made it specifically for company.
Martin November 17, 2018
First off, the cake pan measurement has to be off. When I started putting the dough into the 10 inch pan, I saw there was no way I was gonna reach the rim with the dough, not to speak of the fact that the apples would only reach up to maybe half the height. So I greased a 9 inch springform and it worked better. Still not enough apples to fill it up, but enough so it looked decent.
Second, the apples are way off. I don't know what did it, cause I tasted the apple filling before putting it in the oven and it was oh so good, but once baked for 40 minutes, they had a really strange, unpleasant taste. Like all the yumminess of the lemon was gone and all that was left was the bitterness. The dough was ok, but nothing to write home about. I'd say it tasted very Christmasy, maybe too much so.
Also, where are all the pictures that used to accompany contest winners and runner ups? It's like they've given up on this site and its members.
Tasoni April 8, 2019
Just baked this in a 12-inch x4 pan. I needed to substitute coconut milk for the eggs and sour cream. The dough came 3/4 way up. I initially peeled, cored and sliced about 10 - 12 variety of apples. I added stir fried pecans and hazelnuts (pumpkin pie spice) to the apples with a tad of some of the leftover coconut milk. (about 1/4 cup)
The pan I used has a thick side and bottom, so the cake cooked a good hour and fifteen minutes. It resembles a delicious deep dish apple crumb pie, the crumbs lightly browned so beautifully. Living abroad, I have had to correct everything to Centrigrade. So the cake cooked at 250 C.... perfect medium delicious cookie crust....without the eggs... Thank you for such a delicious recipe
Laura E. April 13, 2019
Wow, the coconut milk substitution sounds wonderful, as well as the toasty nuts! I agree, the deliciously cookie-like crust is one of my favorite parts of this cake. So glad you enjoyed it!
Susan S. November 4, 2018
I made this cake yesterday. The baking time seems way off to me. My cake never really browned until it was in the oven for well over an hour. The cake was beautiful and flavorful, but a bit dry - perhaps because of the extended baking time? Has anyone else had trouble with the baking time?
Laura E. November 8, 2018
Hi Susan, I haven't had to go past the 45-minute mark when I've baked it, but it could be that our oven temps vary slightly. If you try baking the cake again, you could try tenting it with foil during the last 15 minutes of baking, to help retain the moisture. Let me know if that helps. I'm so glad you gave the recipe a try!
Laura E. November 1, 2018
I have this cake in the oven again this morning, and it makes the whole house smell like fall. My girls like to add other toppings like whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. I'm always pleasantly surprised when this cake actually gets even more tender as it sits for a couple of days. (P.S. a wedge of this cake makes an awesome handheld breakfast.)