This Polish apple cake recipe delivers a unique cake that tastes great and will bring something new to your home. This easy cake recipe uses shortbread dough. What makes this cake (szarlotka) special is that the bottom shortbread layer is baked first, and then baked again with the apple filling. This adds a nice crispy touch to the soft apple filling.
“Szarlotka” is a variation of an apple pie; it is baked in a rectangular form and is cut to square pieces when baked. If one goes to Poland, this cake will be on the menu in every café.
I strongly suggest using a silicone baking mat or clear foil as help in flipping the dough on the top of the cake. I have to admit I was never very successful when I folded the rolled out dough and moved it on top of the cake. Nevertheless, you are welcome to try.
You have to use the right apples, for example granny smith or orange-cox are suitable. They should be a little sour and juicy at the same time.
One can enjoy this apple cake warm or cold. I prefer to eat it shortly after baking when it is warm and crispy. My son and my husband like it better from a fridge. You can serve it with whipped cream, vanilla sauce, or just plain. Enjoy this easy cake recipe for “szarlotka.”
Polish Apple Cake Recipe - Szarlotka
Shortbread recipe for the crust and top: • 450 g flour (3 cups) • 300 g butter (10.6 oz) • 150 g powdered sugar (5.3 oz) • 2 egg yolks • Salt
For the apple filling: • 1 kg sour apples (2.2 lb) • 100-150 g sugar (1/2 – ¾ cup) • 1 teaspoon cinnamon • 50 g raisins (1.8 oz) • 1 spoon vanilla sugar • Juice from 1 lemon • 1 spoon of bread crumbs • Optional: 100ml red wine
Powdered sugar to sprinkle on top
Preheat the oven at 180°C – 355°F
Prepare the shortbread dough: • Knead the flour, butter, powdered sugar, pinch of salt, and yolks to smooth dough. I recommend using the hook attachment on most mixers, but you could as well use your hands. • Divide the dough into 2/5 and 3/5 parts. • Cover the dough with plastic foil and place it in a fridge for 30 minutes. • Take the bigger part (3/5) and roll out until ¼” or thinner on a silicone baking mat. If you don’t have one, use wrapping foil. • Move the dough onto buttered and flowered rectangular form (around 15 x 13 inches). Make sure to cover the sides of the form as well. Prick the dough with a fork, bake for 15 minutes at 180°C.
Prepare the apple filling: • Peel and core the apples, cut them into thin slices* and pour lemon juice over them. • Heat up a frying pan. Spread the sugar on it and melt it to make caramel. Once it starts melting stay close to it since it burns immediately. • If you like you can add 100ml red wine. • Add the apples once you see the caramel turn golden-brown. Add the cinnamon, vanilla sugar, rinsed and dried raisins. • Cook until most of the liquid evaporates and a rough apple sauce forms.
Prepare the apple cake: • Sprinkle breadcrumbs onto the baked bottom and then spread the apple filling. • Roll out the smaller part of the dough and flip it on top of the apples** (This takes some practice; I always end up playing puzzle with the dough. It does not matter, since when it is baked, you need to sprinkle it with powdered sugar). Prick it with a fork. • Bake for around 30 minutes at 180°C – 355°F. • Sprinkle with powdered sugar and immediately cut into square pieces because it is easier when the cake is hot.
*you can also grate the apples in a machine, it takes less time, but then you need to cook them longer to evaporate most of the juice. ** If you use silicon pad or clear foil, the flipping is easy.
You can also avoid the flipping by cutting stripes from the second rolled-out dough. Make a diagonal grid with the stripes and bake as instructed above. Enjoy this apple cake recipe!
This Apple Cake Recipe comes from “Najlepsze przepisy kuchni polskiej” by Marek Lebkowski.
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