Polish apple cake (Szarlotka)

Polish apple cake (Szarlotka)

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(15 ratings)

Prep: 35 mins Cook: 1 hr plus freezing


Serves 12
This traditional spiced cake is served with a cinnamon whipped cream and a dusting of icing sugar

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal398
  • fat16g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs60g
  • sugars33g
  • fibre3g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.1g
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    For the filling

    • half a lemon



      Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

    • 6 large Bramley or cooking apples



      Grown in temperate regions, apples are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. There are…

    • 4 tbsp soft brown sugar
    • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

    For the dough

    • 450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
    • 1 tsp baking powder
      Baking powder

      Baking powder

      bay-king pow-dah

      Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

    • 200g unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for greasing
    • 225g golden caster sugar
    • 3 egg yolks, plus 1 whole egg, at room temperature
    • 1 tbsp natural yogurt
    • 1 tbsp lemon zest (from the half a lemon, above)
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    To serve

    • icing sugar, for dusting
    • 300ml pot whipping cream
    • 1 tsp cinnamon



      A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…


    1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 20 x 29cm baking tray with baking parchment.

    2. For the filling, zest the lemon half and leave aside for the dough. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples, then squeeze over the juice of the lemon to stop the fruit turning brown. Put the apples in a large pan and add the sugar, 200ml water and cinnamon. Cook for 5 mins, then remove from the heat and leave to cool in the liquid (you’ll need this later).

    3. To make the dough, put the flour and baking powder in a food processor or into a large bowl and pulse or stir to combine. Add the butter and mix again until the mixture is sandy. Add the sugar, egg yolks and egg, yogurt, lemon zest and vanilla extract and mix into a dough. Tip it out onto a floured surface. Bring it together with your hands and roll it into a ball.

    4. Split the dough in half, wrap one half in cling film and freeze for 1 hr. Roll out the other dough half so that it is big enough to fill the bottom of the lined tray. With the palm of your hand, push the dough about halfway up the sides of the tray until the whole base is covered. Prick the dough with a fork and bake in the oven for about 15 mins until it is golden and lightly springy to the touch.

    5. Spoon over the apple filling, with about half the cooking liquid, then set aside.

    6. Remove the dough from the freezer and coarsely grate, as you would a block of cheese. Sprinkle the grated dough over the apples and bake for 40-45 mins until it is golden and the topping has cooked through. Leave to cool completely, dust with icing sugar, then cut into squares. Whip the cream until thick, stir in the cinnamon and serve alongside the cake.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    Dyls's picture
    19th Apr, 2020
    Made this today and was mouthwatering. To make up for the whipped cream I didn't have, I warmed it through the microwave and served with vanilla ice cream. it was good although not as good... Dobra ;-)
    23rd Feb, 2020
    No need for 6 Bramley apples for a start, and as some have stated 200ml of water is way too little for 6 apples. Also you only need 1/3 of the pastry to grate over the top as not enough for the base otherwise. I'm just making it so didn't think about the base etc. Hopefully it will be sweet enough but having read some comments already I doubt it. Shame that this recipe perhaps was not tested fully or proof read?
    Adelina Munteanu
    26th Feb, 2019
    That is a good apple pie,not cake.There are certain differences between a cake and a pie.Like here http://bit.ly/prajituricumere
    13th Jan, 2017
    This cake is impressive, delicious but also easy and fun to make. I make it quite often - hand sliced apples and neatly arranged topping for guests or a food processor version for my 17 year old son. In both cases kitchen smells like heaven.
    16th Sep, 2016
    This is an excellent desert when done properly. This recepie suggest thebramley apples when actually mc Intosh or 'szara reneta' (malus domestica, russet) is more suitable. I am also surprised that instruction has not included the raisins and vanila sugar but only the extract.perhaps this is why some find it to sharp in taste. Some people do not skin the apples as we believe under the skin there Are best vitamins.
    28th Mar, 2016
    A brilliant recipe. Worked perfectly, tasted amazing and very authentic. Just as I remember it from when I tried it years ago!
    21st Feb, 2016
    Well, first of all it's almost impossible to keep pastry walls upright without baking beads if they only go half way up the sides. The Bramley apples are way too tart for good szarlotka, and when grating the topping the pastry warms up so the grated bits clump, you need to grate it directly into the baking tin over the filling. A badly thought through recipe that will need considerable modification to be successful.
    31st Dec, 2015
    This is the most amazing apple cake! I agree it's time-consuming but it really is worth the effort. You don't necessarily need to use cooking apples either, eating apples also taste great.
    4th Jun, 2015
    This is an interesting recipe. It's not cake and not a pastry but somewhere in between. It is quite time consuming to make compared to a normal apple cake but has a very pronounced apple flavour and tastes delicious with cream. I used 6 Granny Smith apples and the amount of sugar stated in the recipe and thought it was the perfect balance.
    19th Oct, 2014
    More of a pudding than a cake but absolutely delicious! Even when completely cold mine tended to disintegrate so needed a fork and spoon to eat. I can't understand the previous comments re sweetness. I used the brown sugar to cook the apples, (I used 6 Bramleys and the amount was perfect) but I halved the sugar in the dough and it was perfect. It was a bit time consuming and I forgot the vanilla essence, think if I make it again I will try and halve the recipe and make a smaller cake.


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