Sharlotka – Russian Apple Pie/Cake – Шарлотка с Яблоками

Sharlotka brings memories of chilly but sunny autumn days in upstate New York, when we would pick apples at my parents house. The crisp air filled my senses with the sweetness of the apples. Bees would be buzzing around the apples that had fallen to the ground. We filled up our baskets and pockets with apples of all kinds – yellow, red and green. There’s nothing like taking a bite from an apple that you had just picked right off the branches a minute ago.

We made Sharlotka almost every day. As the days grew cooler, the warm cake-like apple dessert was especially satisfying with a glass of milk or some tea.

Sharlotka is a Russian apple dessert that we call an apple pie, but it’s definitely not like the typical American apple pies. It’s more like a cake. Most recipes for Sharlotka use a sponge cake batter (бисквит), using only eggs, sugar and flour, but our family has always made it just a little bit differently. With the addition of sour cream and baking soda, I like this version a lot, since it makes the cake a little bit more moist. The batter itself isn’t too sweet, and in combination with the sour apples, it’s the perfect union. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. You can also use a baking spray instead of the butter/oil and flour. Spray the top of the parchment paper also. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until they are pale yellow and foamy. Add the sour cream to the batter. Dissolve the baking soda in vinegar and add to the batter also. Mix to combine. Add the flour to the batter and mix just until the flour is incorporated. Meanwhile, peel the apples and cut into small, thin pieces. Add the apples to the prepared cake pan. Pour the batter over the apples and distribute evenly over the top.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, until the sharlotka is golden, or when a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake. Run an offset spatula or butter knife around the edges of the cake pan. Flip the cake over onto a cooling rack. The parchment paper will peel right off. Flip it over right side up. Allow it to cool for about 15 minutes. Place the sharlotka onto a serving platter. Dust with confectioner’s sugar. You can also sprinkle it with a bit of cinnamon if you like.  


Sharlotka - Russian Apple Pie/Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in ½ teaspoon vinegar
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 5 large apples, (I like Granny Smith)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour a 10 inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. You can also use a baking spray instead of the butter/oil and flour. Spray the top of the parchment paper also.
  3. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until they are pale yellow and foamy.
  4. Add the sour cream to the batter.
  5. Dissolve the baking soda in vinegar and add to the batter also. Mix to combine.
  6. Add the flour to the batter and mix just until the flour is incorporated.
  7. Meanwhile, peel the apples and cut into small, thin pieces.
  8. Add the apples to the prepared cake pan.
  9. Pour the batter over the apples and distribute evenly over the top.
  10. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, until the sharlotka is golden, or when a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.
  11. Run an offset spatula or butter knife around the edges of the cake pan.
  12. Flip the cake over onto a cooling rack. The parchment paper will peel right off.
  13. Flip the cake over right side up. Allow it to cool for about 15 minutes.
  14. Place the sharlotka onto a serving platter. Dust with confectioner's sugar. You can also sprinkle it with a bit of cinnamon if you like.
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Comments

  1. Natalie S says

    Yum – this looks/sounds delicious! I am definitely going to try this out in the next few days. Do you just use regular all purpose flour? Thanks!

  2. says

    Everyone I know bake this kind of apple cake. My friend here brings it to every potluck we have, my sister in Idaho makes it, and even my mom in Missouri… it must be the very famous thing to bake this time of year. I love your recipe with adding sourcream. I will have to try it. :)
    ps: have you tried browning your butter? I found this intersting recipe, and thought that maybe you will like it too…
    http://www.cheeseslave.com/browned-butter-and-cardamom-carrot-pudding/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Cheeseslave+%28CHEESESLAVE%29

  3. Tanya says

    This might sound like a dumb question, but did you actually cut out that circle of parchment paper to fit the pan? If so, what’s the easiest way to cut it?

    • says

      Hi Tanya,
      The easiest way to cut out the parchment paper is to lay the baking pan on top of the parchment paper, trace it with a pen or paper and cut it out.

    • Anna says

      I usually just put the rectangular piece in and then when the pan is full cut the excess pieces off

      happymedley.blogspot.com

  4. Alina says

    Just made this & my WHOLE family loved it!! It was soo easy to make and yet it tasted so great! Thank you so much for the recipe, Olga!

  5. olesea says

    I start making your pie and got to the point were is nothing written about how much butter it needs to be added.

    • says

      olesya,
      There is NO butter in this Sharlotka. The only reason you would use butter is to grease the pan, otherwise, there is no butter in the actual batter.

  6. Nadine says

    After you add the flour, do you mix it with the mixer or with a spatula? When I made this pie, the dough didn’t go through the apples much if you know what i mean. When it was done, the apples were on the top with some dough in between and the rest of the dough was a seperate layer. On the picture you have i see that appleas are throught the cake (top and bottom) after its done.

    • Paula says

      I just made this recipe and experienced the same problem as Nadine (Jan 10, 2013). The batter does not go all through the apples as in your picture. What did I do wrong?

      • says

        Hi Paula,
        Next time, try using less apples. I’ve need had any issues with this recipe and I like to use A LOT of of apples in the Sharlotka, but you might want to use less apples for your cake.

      • Nadine says

        I think I beat my eggs for too long and so the dough ended up being too thick in the end. And that’s why the dough didn’t go through the apples very well.

  7. Oksana says

    We recently bought a big box of apples and its a good way to use them. I made this pie before, really yummy. Making 2 of them today, one for us and one to give away to another family. The timers going off, the pies are ready now actually. Can’t wait until they cool, so I can bite into it.

    • says

      Hi Anne!
      I don’t know anything about substituting almond meal for flour. I’ve never tried it myself. I think it would make the cake dense and hard.

  8. Olga M. says

    Great recipe – tastes pretty good. I do have a question. Was “5 large apples” a typo? After I cut up 5 large apples (not really thinking about it) there was enough apples for at least 4 of the pies……… I will know better for next time and just cut it directly into the baking dish……. :)

    • says

      Olga M,
      I actually always use 5 apples. You need a large amount for this sharlotka. If you don’t like using so much apples, you can certainly use less.

  9. Anna says

    Hi! I was wondering if it would be ok to add a certain kind of jam along with the apples. I read a recipie that used Blackcurrent jam and it looked absolutely delicious. Do you think it would work in your recipie as well?

    • says

      You know, Anna, I’ve never heard of using jam in Sharlotka. If you try it out, let me know what you think.That’s a very interesting idea. I really like Black Currant jam.

  10. natalya says

    thanks, Olyga! the best recipe of sharlotka!
    but i used less apples and a cup of sour cream. turned out great.

    P.S. great blog!

  11. Lola says

    I’ve been on a diet for the past few weeks before my prom and was unfortunate enough to find this recipe whilst half way through said diet. This looks so scrumptious – definitely the first cake I will be making and eating the day after my diet has ended! Can’t wait to try this!

    • says

      I usually store it at room temperature. It never lasts very long at our house, so I’ve never had to figure out the best way to store it for long periods of time. Sorry:(.

    • says

      I think it will be too much batter for a 9 inch pan. You may want to divide the batter between 2 (9 inch) pans. It will be a little thinner, or you can just discard some of the extra batter.

    • Diana says

      Katy,
      I only had a 9 inch pan as well and it worked out fine. I just had to bake it for a little bit longer (55 min) and it turned out great! Make sure you don’t add too much apples (I put in 4 1/2 medium sized apples), otherwise you might run out of room.

  12. Veronica says

    I made this twice and It turned out absolutely wonderful! I also added a pinch of cinnamon and 1 tsp of vanilla extract, it adds that special little touch:) the taste is sweet but not overly sweet.Thank you Olga for another wonderful recipe!

  13. Anna says

    Just want to let you know that I made this dessert in a bundt pan today- I baked it for 45 mins and only greased it with some spray and it turned out beautifully! Thanks for the great recipe :)

  14. alice says

    I made this cake twice already and both times it came out soggy. I followed all your directions and even baked it 60min+, but it still came out not done. The interesting thing is when I tested it will the toothpick and it came out clean, but once it cooled it was runny inside?! What am I doing wrong? Please advise. Thank you.

    • says

      Absolutely!
      However, I don’t think there will be enough batter to fill the 9 x 13 inch dish. You may need to make 1 1/2 or double the amount of batter.

  15. Victoria says

    I am new to your blog. This was a delicious apple cake.
    Your photos are amazing and the text is very eloquent.

    • says

      Thank you, Victoria!
      Welcome. I’m glad you stopped by and already enjoyed some cake:). It’s one of my favorites. I hope you’ll be able to find more recipes that will become your favorites as well.

  16. Lidiya says

    I made this today, and it was soooo good!!! Couldn’t wait all the way for it to get cold, so had some out of the oven with cold milk =)

  17. Nicole says

    Hi Olga made this recipe and used your instructions but are you omitting the fat? The 1/4 cup of sour cream just doesn’t seem to be enough. The cake looked fine but did not taste like much.

    • says

      Hi Nicole! Nope, that’s exactly the recipe that I use. You can add 1 cup of sour cream if you’d like, but I always make it the way it’s written in this recipe.

  18. Shura says

    Dear Olga,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful step by step instructions! Since I have found your blog I have been cooking so much more and my husband couldn’t be happier.
    I just made your sharlotka and it was a huge success with family and friends. I would like to make it again for a work party and will have to double the recipe. Question – do I double the baking soda and vinegar too, meaning dissolve 1.5 tsp baking soda in 1 tsp vinegar?

  19. Katya says

    Hi Olga,

    I made Sharlotka before from similar recipes, but they would always fall apart and not cook through, no matter how long I kept them in. The other recipes I made always separated the eggs, so you beat yolk with sugar and then white until stiff and fold them in.

    Your recipes was the first one to come out not soggy, but it was dense and sharlotka is normally light and airy. Not sure what I did, I may have mixed it for too long after I added the flour. Any advice? May be I’ll try separating the eggs next time and see if it makes a difference.

    p.s. I have tried making sharlotka with almond flour before, but it does not stick together and falls apart. May be half almon & half regualr would work.

    Thanks for the recipe. Cannot wait to try more! I miss Russian cooking.

    • says

      It’s hard for me to say, Katya. I have only used this recipe for Sharlotka, so I can’t compare it to any other ones. If you separate the eggs, then I guess the texture you’re looking for is like a “biskvit” cake, or sponge cake. This recipe has a different texture and is not supposed to be light and airy, since it’s a different batter and also because I use a lot of apples. You can certainly try using less apples and it won’t be as dense. I have never made this recipe with almond flour almond flour either, so I can’t advise you on that either.

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