Russian Apple Cake with Sour Cream: a soft and tender 5-layer cake filled with a sweet and tart apple and sour cream frosting! If you love moist, fork-tender, melt-in-your-mouth cakes & apple desserts, this baby is for you!
Russian Apple Cake with Sour Cream
Hey babes!! Today I’m here to share with you this delicious Russian Apple Cake recipe! No, ⏤ it’s not Apple Sharlotka (the super popular upside-down apple cake from Russia), this one is an ultra soft layered apple cake with a velvety apple & sour cream frosting!
It’s sweet, it’s tart & it melts in your mouth!
If you love super moist cakes & apples, you *HAVE* to try it! It’s very easy to make & a great baking project for the weekend (don’t let those 5 layers scare you!!)
Also, if you’re familiar with Russian cakes, this apple cake is similar to Medovik tort (Russian Honey Cake) or Napoleon tort (Napoleon cake) *BUT* it’s made with apples instead!
Why you’ll love Russian Apple Cake:
- It’s soft & fork-tender!
- Super moist.
- Sweet & tart!
- Easy but fun to make.
- Filled with a delicious apple & sour cream frosting!
- It’s unique ⏤ take a well-deserved break from apple pie!
How do you make Russian Apple Cake?
As usual, the full recipe + instructions will be in the recipe card down below but this is what to expect :).
Since this cake is a bit different from regular Western cakes (are those even a thing lol), I’ll also provide step-by-step pictures & more details in the following paragraphs!
- Cook the apples in a skillet over medium heat! Add some water, lemon juice, cinnamon & sugar, then simmer until soft!
- To make the apple frosting: puree the apples until smooth, add in vanilla sugar, sour cream & butter, then mix until smooth! Chill your apple frosting in the refrigerator!
- To make the cake: add sifted flour, baking powder & cold butter to a food processor, then pulse until crumbly. In a separate bowl cream the egg & sugar together, then add the egg mixture to your flour mixture & mix until a dough starts forming! Knead or mix the dough until soft, then wrap it in plastic wrap & pop it in the refrigerator to chill!
- How to bake the cake: divide the dough into 5 equal pieces, roll out each piece into an 8-inch disc, poke it with a fork & bake, then use a knife to trim each layer into a 7-inch disc. Save the trimmings, bake them until toasted & grind them into crumbs!
- To assemble the cake: place the first layer on a serving plate, then spoon 2-3 tbsp of apple frosting onto the center & use a spatula to spread it evenly, repeat this process ending the last layer with apple frosting! Press the sides with the reserved cake crumbs! Chill the cake, slice & serve!
The Apple Frosting
Let’s get started! The apple flavor is *ALL* in the frosting & this frosting is actually kinda similar to apple butter. So think of apple butter & then add sour cream to that ⏤ sweet, tart & velvety, *SO* good, right?!
To make the apple frosting, peel & dice your apples, add them to a large skillet, add in some water and simmer for 5 minutes, then add in some lemon juice (to keep them from turning brown), sugar & cinnamon, cover the skillet with a lid & cook for 15-20 minutes or until soft!
Using a food processor, puree the apples until smooth, then add in some vanilla sugar, butter & sour cream & mix until smooth! Taste test!!!! This is your apple frosting! Feel free to add more sugar for a sweeter frosting or a few drops of lemon for a tarter frosting!
This frosting is just SO good!!! & I love how you can easily customize it to your own taste by adding more sugar or lemon juice! Don’t forget to chill it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours!
Meanwhile, make the cake layers!
The Cake Layers
Let’s talk cake layers! This cake is pretty similar to other Russian classics like Medovik or Napoleon tort, this means you’ll make a cake *DOUGH* instead of a cake batter lol!
Making the cake layers is very simple & fun! All you need is (sifted) flour, butter & baking powder. Add your ingredients to a food processor & pulse until a coarse crumb mixture starts to form. Transfer the ingredients to a medium bowl & set aside. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a pastry cutter, a fork, or a grater to do this!
In a small bowl, cream the egg & sugar together! Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix until a dough starts to form! Knead the dough until soft, then form it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap & pop it in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour.
Divide the chilled dough into 5 equal pieces, use a floured rolling pin to roll out each piece into an 8-inch disc, poke each disc with a fork to keep it from puffing up in the oven, then bake each layer at 390F until golden!
Don’t worry about getting the edges to look pretty because we’ll trim them off & use the trimmings to decorate the sides of the cake!
Using a knife, trim each baked layer into a 7-inch layer, save the trimmings, bake them until toasted & then use a food processor to grind them into fine crumbs!
To assemble the cake
Time to assemble your cake!! Assemble the cake on your favorite flat serving plate or cake stand. Simply place the first cake layer in the center of your plate, then spoon 2-3 tbsp of apple frosting in the center & use an off-set spatula to spread the filling evenly!
Alternate layers of cake & frosting ending with a frosting layer! Use a spatula (or your hands) to press the sides of the cake with your reserved crumbs. Chill the finished cake for 3-4 hours or overnight, slice & enjoy!
If you want to decorate the top of your cake, here’s what I used to decorate mine: extra sour cream, sliced apples, cinnamon sticks & walnuts! I like to keep things simple (& easy lol)!
Here she is!!!
HAPPY COOKING LOVES!! I hope you’ll love my Russian Apple Cake With Sour Cream as much as I do!
PS: Please leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating ⭐️ if you make it! I LOVE hearing from you! 💘
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Russian Apple Cake with Sour Cream
For the Apple Frosting
- 17.5 oz apples peeled, cored & diced (about 3-4 large apples)
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
- 6.3 oz sour cream room temperature
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter softened
For the Cake Layers
- 2 cups all-purpose flour sifted
- 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 stick + 2 tbsp unsalted butter cold, diced
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- In a large skillet over medium heat add the diced apples, lemon juice & water. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Add in the white granulated sugar and cinnamon, mix, cover with a lid and simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes or until the apples are soft. Turn off the heat and allow the apples to cool down a bit before moving onto the next step.
- Add the cooked apples to a food processor and pulse until completely smooth. Transfer the pureed apples to a medium bowl, add in the vanilla sugar, sour cream, and butter. Mix until completely smooth. If you get a few lumps in the frosting you can use a food processor or an immersion blender to get rid of them! Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, make the cake layers. Add the sifted flour, baking powder, and cold butter to a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the egg and sugar together until fluffy and light yellow in color. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix until a dough starts forming. Knead or mix the dough using a wooden spoon or a spatula until soft, form it into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 395F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the chilled dough into 5 equal pieces. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out each piece into an 8-inch disc (it will be very thin), don't worry about getting the edges to be pretty, you'll trim them off! Poke it with a fork to keep it from puffing up in the oven. Bake each layer for 6-7 minutes or until golden.
- Use a knife to trim each baked layer into a 7-inch disc. Save the trimmings, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them until brown and toasted (5-10 minutes). Using a food processor, grind the trimmings into fine crumbs and set them aside.
- To assemble the cake place the first layer on your favorite cake stand or flat serving plate, then spoon 2-3 tbsp of apple frosting in the center of the cake layer and use an off-set spatula or a butter knife to spread the frosting evenly. Alternate cake layer and frosting ending with a frosting layer. Use any leftover frosting to smooth out the sides of your cake, then press the sides of the cake with the reserved crumbs (you can use the back of a spoon, a spatula, or your hands to do this).
- Chill the cake for 3-4 hours or overnight before slicing & serving! Enjoy!! Keep any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.