Polish Apple Cake

Green apples


Maya23K/Getty Images 

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
253 Calories
15g Fat
27g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 253
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 108mg 36%
Sodium 267mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 4g
Calcium 129mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Polish apple cake—placek z jabłka (plaht-SEK zhe YAH-boo-kah)—and Polish cheesecake—sernik (SEHR-nik)—are two of the most frequently seen desserts at Polish tables. There are hundreds of recipes for both. This is a traditional apple cake beloved by many.

The Polish version of apple pie is known as szarlotka. But this is truly a cake—placek z jablka literally means "flat cake with apples." Other versions of Polish apple cake are made with a shortbread base, but this one uses a more standard homemade cake batter. It is easy to make and once you have enjoyed it made with apples you can try versions that substitute plums, peaches or nectarines to good effect.

Unlike many spiced apple desserts, this recipe has no cinnamon or nutmeg. Instead, the only spice is cloves added to the top.


  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar (divided)
  • 4 ounces butter (room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 large apples (peeled, cored, and thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 3 tablespoons butter (cold, cut into pieces)
  • Optional: powdered sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Lightly coat a 13-by-9-inch pan with cooking spray. Heat the oven to 350 F.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and 3/4 cup of sugar. Add 4 ounces softened butter, milk, and eggs. Beat it with a hand mixer or on a stand mixer at medium speed for 4 minutes.

  4. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan, then layer on half of the thinly sliced apples. Spoon all but 1/2 cup of the remaining batter over the apples, covering them completely.

  5. Place the remaining apples on top and dot the reserved 1/2 cup batter over the apples.

  6. Cut the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the cloves into 3 tablespoons cold butter and sprinkle this over the unbaked cake.

  7. Bake about 40 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean. Note that you will be sticking the toothpick through the apple layer, so it can be a bit confusing as to whether you are seeing uncooked batter or apple juices.

  8. Let the cake cool in the pan so the apple juices will be reabsorbed to create a moist cake.

  9. Sprinkle the top of the cake with powdered sugar, if desired, and cut it into 12 squares.

  10. Serve the apple cake and enjoy!


  • You can use any apples for this recipe, including any windfalls or less than perfect fruit from your own apple trees. The fruit will be hidden inside the cake and will taste just as good when cooked with spices. In fact, mixing the varieties of apples can also give your cake more interest. For example, Honeycrisp and Granny Smith are tart and crisp, while Gala and Fuji are sweeter.
  • The cake is wonderful by itself, but a dollop of whipped cream or a small scoop of vanilla ice cream might accompany it to good effect.
  • This is an easy cake to take to a potluck, tailgate party, or family gathering. You can transport it in the baking pan rather than needing a cake taker and there is no icing to get marred along the way.
  • The apple cake keeps well at room temperature. Keep any leftovers covered so it doesn't dry out and it should be good for up to five days. Be aware of any mold developing, which indicates you took too long to finish it off.