This gorgeous cake was unanimously crowned the best of the best from this year’s Readers’ Choice Week recipe submissions. We love the simple method to get that professional shingled look without having to layer each individual apple slice. Make sure the butter is truly room temperature, or it will be difficult to bring the dough together. Read more about the family story behind the cake, which was passed down (in memory! Not written down!) through three generations, beginning with one resourceful German grandmother. It’s also known as Versunkener Apfelkuchen, meaning German apple cake.
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature, plus more for pan
- ¼ cup plain fine breadcrumbs
- 1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3 Tbsp. apricot preserves
- 3 medium, firm apples, such as Pink Lady or Honeycrisp
- 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- Unsweetened whipped cream (for serving)
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease bottom and sides of springform pan with butter, then coat with breadcrumbs, tapping out excess.
Whisk granulated sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, salt, and 1 cup flour in a large bowl. Create a well in the center and add egg, vanilla, and remaining ½ cup butter. Using a fork and working in a circular motion, stir until dough starts to form large clumps. Using lightly floured hands, knead very gently in bowl until dough comes together in one large, soft mass (you may need to add a little bit of flour to dough to keep from sticking to your hands).
Still using lightly floured hands, press dough into bottom of springform pan, then press into an even layer with the bottom of a dry measuring cup or mug, sprinkling a little flour over dough if it starts to stick to measuring cup. Spread apricot preserves in a thin layer over surface of dough with a small offset spatula.
Peel and quarter apples. Cut core out of each quarter and arrange apples flat side down on cutting board. Make thin parallel crosswise slices in each quarter, taking care not to cut all the way through so apples stay in one shingled piece. Arrange apple quarters in concentric circles over entire surface of dough, trimming to fit if necessary (you may have a few extra pieces).
Bake cake, rotating pan halfway through, until apples and crust are golden in color, 55–60 minutes (apples will not be completely tender, but that’s intentional). Let cool 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, place powdered sugar in a small bowl. Gradually pour in lemon juice, whisking constantly until a thick but pourable glaze forms.
Remove sides of springform pan. Lightly brush top and sides of cake with glaze. Let cool completely before transferring to a platter. Serve with whipped cream alongside.