sliced sharlotka cake on cake plate
Cakes,  Quick and Easy

Sharlotka Apple Cake

Jump to Recipe

Sharlotka was always a staple dessert in my family growing up. And there is no mystery why – it only has 4 main ingredients, is naturally dairy free, and always turns out so fluffy and delicious. It is essentially an easy spongecake batter with sliced apples. This is the first cake I ever learned how to make!

As a first generation Canadian to Russian immigrants, I always wondered why this was such a staple and nostalgic dessert within the Russian community. Sharlotka (apple cake) stems from hard Soviet times where everyday desserts were scarce. The original Soviet recipe used stale rye bread and fruit slowly morphed into this apple cake that we know and love. It makes sense as to why this dessert is so popular. It is an easy one-bowl recipe, with only a few frugal, staple ingredients. This is a classic example of Soviet women’s ingenuity in the face of hard times.

I like to bake my sharlotka in a Bundt pan (it turns out just as great in a regular round pan too); dusting with powdered sugar before serving with tea. I always revisit this recipe whenever I need to make a quick dessert and have apples on hand.

two slices of sharlotka on a plate with a spoon

Check out my other recipes

Preparation

  1. Sharlotka starts off with preparing the apples. If you’re going super authentic, you would want to use the Antoshka variety, but it is so hard to get in North America. Granny smith and Northern Spy are baking apple varieties that will work very well. Essentially, you are looking for a hard and tart apple variety that will help balance the sweetness of the sponge. Peel, core, and slice the apples. Set them aside as you get started on the batter. Don’t worry if they become a little brown while they sit, this won’t be noticeable in the final product.
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Prepare your 8″ cake pan or Bundt pan by greasing it with oil or a little butter, and sprinkling some flour to coat all of the insides. This will ensure the cake releases from the pan.
  1. Start the batter by beating the eggs and sugar on high in a stand mixer or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer. Beat until the mixture becomes very light and increases in volume. This takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on your stand mixer or beaters. Once the mixture falls of the whisk or beaters in ribbons that hold their shape for a few seconds, it is ready. It is important to beat the eggs and sugar well enough because they act as a leavening agent, keeping the sponge light and airy.
  1. Fold in the flower, salt, and lemon zest (or vanilla extract) on the lowest setting or with a spatula until just combined.
  1. Fold in the apples and pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Alternatively, arrange the apples on the bottom of the pan and pour the batter directly over. Give the pan a few taps to eliminate any air pockets.
  1. Bake for 60 minutes, checking at around 55 minutes. It is ready once a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If you do the skewer test and it comes back very moist, try again in another area – you may have hit an apple piece.
  1. Cool the sharlotka in the pan for about 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack, or slice and serve while still warm. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
apple cake out of the pan sprinkled with icing sugar

Tips for Success

  • Do not over bake the sharlotka as it will dry out
  • Adjust the amount of apple to your liking. I find that 5 medium apples result in a delightfully moist cake.
  • Serving ideas: Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream or whipping cream.
  • Store at room temperature, wrapped or in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
cross section of apple cake

Happy baking! xx

Did you make this recipe? I would love for you to rate this recipe and hear what you think in the comments!

Share your creation on Instagram and tag @flouringkitchen

sliced sharlotka cake on cake plate

Sharlotka Apple Cake

Mary
This traditional apple cake recipe is sure to become a staple in your easy desserts collection. Sharlotka is a one-bowl recipe with only four main ingredients. Naturally dairy free too! An easy sponge cake with apple pieces has never been more delicious.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Russian, Slavic, traditional
Servings 8 people

Ingredients
  

  • 5 medium apples preferably a hard and tart variety like granny smith or northern spy
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 cups all purpose white flour
  • 1 lemon zest, grated Optional. Can substitute with 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the apples: peel, core, and slice the apples.
    5 medium apples
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Prepare your 8" cake pan or Bundt pan by greasing it and sprinkling some flour to coat all of the insides. This will ensure that the cake releases once baked. Place apples inside prepared pan.
  • Beat the eggs and sugar: With an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat the eggs and the sugar until the mixture becomes very light and increases in volume. This takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on your stand mixer or beaters. Once the mixture falls of the whisk in ribbons that hold their shape for a few seconds, it's ready.
    4 eggs, 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • Fold in the flour, salt, and lemon zest (or vanilla extract) on the lowest setting or with a spatula until just combined.
    ¼ tsp salt, 2 cups all purpose white flour, 1 lemon zest, grated
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove air pockets.
  • Bake for 60 minutes, checking at around 55 minutes. It will be done once a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If you do the skewer test and it comes back very moist, try again in another area – you may have hit an apple piece.
  • Cool the cake in the pan for about 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and let cool some more or slice and serve while still warm. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Notes

  • Traditionally, the apple pieces are arranged on the bottom and the batter is poured on top. Give the pan a few taps on a countertop to remove air pockets before placing in the oven.
  • Serving ideas: Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream or whipping cream.
  • Store at room temperature, wrapped or in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Keyword apple, Cake, dairy free, easy, Fluffy, one bowl, Spongecake

Did you make this recipe? I would love to hear what you think in the comments!

You can also share your creation on Instagram and tag @flouringkitchen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating