Photo credit: Sonya Sanford

This One-Bowl Russian Apple Cake Is an Easy Rosh Hashanah Dessert

An easy, comforting one-bowl cake.

Apple Sharlotka is a popular Russian and Polish apple cake that is easy to prepare and requires only a handful of ingredients. This dessert is dense with apples, but the cake surrounding the fruit is light and airy.  

Sharlotka comes from a style of cake or trifle called “Charlotte Cakes,” which are typically made with ladyfingers or sponge cake. The first apple Sharlotka is credited to a French chef, who prepared it in honor of the wife of Tsar Alexander I of Russia. While early versions of Sharlotka were decadent and complicated, over time the cake has evolved into a simple treat that can be easily baked at home. My own Ukrainian grandmother made apple Sharlotka more than any other cake, likely due to the fact that it is as easy to make as it is comforting and delicious. Along with a few apples, the batter is made all in one bowl with eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla. 

Apple Sharlotka is best made with sweet and tart Granny Smith apples, or an heirloom apple, like Winesap. When the cake comes out of the oven it will have a crisp and crackly crust on top that softens the longer it sits. Just before serving, shower the cake with powdered sugar for added sweetness on top.

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Apple sharlotka
Photo credit: Sonya Sanford

One-Bowl Apple Cake (Apple Sharlotka)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.9 from 14 reviews

This simple and delicious apple cake only requires one bowl and is the perfect treat for Rosh Hashanah.

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8-10

Ingredients

Units
  • 34 (1.5 lb/680 g) medium apples, like Granny Smith
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (220 g) sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (130 g) all-purpose flour
  • powdered sugar, as needed

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 9” springform pan with parchment paper; you can also use a 9” round or square baking pan for this recipe. 
  2. Peel and core the apples. Cut the apples into 1” pieces, about ¼”-thick. Toss the apples in lemon juice, and then add them to the baking dish. 
  3. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, or in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs and sugar. Alternatively, you can beat the eggs and sugar by hand using a whisk. Beat until the eggs are pale, fluffy and have doubled in size, about 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat for one more minute.
  4. Sift in half of the flour and salt to the egg mixture, and fold the dry ingredients into the batter. Sift in the remaining flour and salt, and fold them in until they are just incorporated. Be careful to gently fold in the dry ingredients and to not overmix the batter. 
  5. Pour the batter over the apples in the baking dish. If needed, use a spatula or spoon to smooth the batter over the top so it evenly covers the apples.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and firm on top, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for at least one hour prior to serving. 
  7. Before serving, sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar. Sharlotka can be made a day in advance and stored, covered, at room temperature, the crust will soften as it sits. 
 
  • Author: Sonya Sanford
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: One-bowl
  • Cuisine: Holiday

42 comments

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    • The Nosher

      We have not tried to freeze this cake, but it can be made a day ahead and stored, covered, at room temperature (the crust will soften as it sits).

  • Sara B Brown

    My grandma used to make a delicious apple cake for Shabbat every week. I wonder if this is the cake. I hope so.

  • Diane Pugen

    Can this be made using gluten free flour
    And if so does one have to increase the flour

    • The Nosher

      Hi Diane, we have not tested this cake with gluten-free flour but please let us know how it turns out if you do. Rachel at The Nosher.

  • Alison

    I’m also concerned that there is no oil. Was that a mistake in the recipe? Hope someone answers quickly. I want to bake it tomorrow!

  • Vicki

    I just made it for holidays. I haven’t tasted cause just pulled out of oven. I added some walnuts like handful and couple shakes cinnamon cause love cinnamon.

  • Eva Heinemann

    Came out gorgeous and tasty. I made it healthier for me with whole wheat flour and coconut palm sugar.






  • Anita Eckhaus

    I did make this cake with gluten free flour and it came out great. I used XO Baking Co flour and used 1/2 tsp baking powder.

  • Jodi

    Hello,

    I am making this cake right now however I folded in the sifter flour/salt (dividing it in half) and it did not mix well and when I poured it into the pan it was not mixed so I had to mix it gently in the pan with the apples. Can you tell me how “tall” the cake should be once cooked? I am not sure if gently folding/mixing it in the springform pan will have an impact on the cake. Thanks, Jodi

    • The Nosher

      Hi Jodi, we have a video of Sonya making this recipe on our Instagram page, which you can watch for a visual aid. Here’s the link. Rachel at The Nosher.

  • Judith Jerrier

    Maybe a few tablespoons of sour cream or vegetable oil will moisten the cake?

  • Kathie Tumin

    I was also wondering about the fact that there is no oil. Does it need some oil or applesauce? (I don’t want to add yogurt, but that might work too.)

  • Robin

    I made this recipe with gluten free flour and it was quite a hit with those who are gluten free and those who are not. Not a piece was left for tomorrow. Next time I will try it with almond flour.






  • Sue Onishenko

    This cake was delicious, easy to make and made everyone at the table happy! Definitely putting this in the regular rotation for holiday foods.






  • Fern Gale Estrow

    Wonderful cake. Have made it numerous times at this point & always a hit.






  • Robin Gutmann

    Super easy and came out exactly as shown. Unfortunately it is sweet but otherwise almost tasteless.
    I will keep this recut & make this again with
    added warm spices.






  • Marion E FINKBINDER

    I made it and served it later the same day. It was a hit! Everyone begged me to make it again!






  • Vicki

    I made for holiday. I added some cinnamon we love cinnamon and threw in walnuts. Best apple cake I ever made. Top was like a meringue. I definitely will share this recipe.

  • Robin Sena

    I made this cake with gluten free flour. I followed the recipe exactly as stated. It was loved by the GF people as well as the non GF people. Not a piece was left!

  • Michelle Saunders

    recipe looks great. Planning to make for break fast. Is the 130 grams of flour by volume (1 cup) or weight?

  • Judy

    Gluten Free:
    I made this cake gluten free using King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour. It is kosher. I did not increase the amount of flour; however, next time, I will increase it by a 1/4 of cup because the 600 grams of apples needed a little more coverage. The end result was delicious. I did not use powdered sugar on top because my family isn’t into extra sugar.

    L’Shanah Tovah






  • Stacey

    This cake is everything you said it is …. delicious, comforting, and so pretty when served on a pretty cake plate with the powdered sugar. I will definitely be making this again and for years to come
    thank you!






  • K. M.

    I made this with gf Jules flour. I’ve tried a few gf flours and this one comes out much lighter and fluffier than the others. It’s also a cup-for-cup. I also only used one whole egg and (2) egg whites because the yolk can bother me so I ended up also using about a tablespoon-ish of oil. I didn’t find it dry at all. I liked the subtle sweetness of this recipe. Will be making it for break fast and will definitely make it again. Thank you.






  • Galina Shapiro

    Our family uses two tablespoons of sour cream. But everyone’s recipe js a bit different. Just lots of experimenting and practice! L’Shana Tovah! Gmar Hatima Tovah!

  • Rene Ziegler

    I made this exactly as the recipe instructed. It came out delicious – baked it in my
    Breville Toaster Oven. So happy not to use my stove. I will be making this again and again.

    Thank you for a wonderful and so easy recipe.

  • Barbara Topf Uziel

    I made this cake just after Rosh Hashanah because I had many apples left over. I froze it and served it for break fast and it was a huge hit!! I made it in a springform pan. Next time I’ll maybe add some cinnamon and try to remember to top with confectioner’s sugar. Definitely a keeper!






  • Amy Patrick

    Delicious Fall welcome! My daughter made this the first time last night and I just enjoyed first slice with coffee this morning. The soft tart sweet apples against the crisp edges of the top are gorgeous. Might add some spices to the apples next time but the recipe is perfect without any oil. Parchment paper in a square 9″ pan worked a treat.






  • Fern Gale Estrow

    We love this recipe and no need for oil given our texture preferences. Usually use Granny Smith but have an abundance of honey crisp so will t ry those this round. Expect it will be sweeter. FYI to others, the type of apple used will impact moisture/texture. Age of apples could be a factor too.






  • Jim

    Made the cake today for the first time .
    Perfectly delicious!!!!
    Thanks for the recipe






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