Apple Sharlotka – Russian Apple Coffeecake – Шарлотка с Яблоками

One of my favorite really easy desserts to bake is Apple Sharlotka, which is very similar to a coffeecake, with a sponge cake texture that is full of thinly sliced apples. It’s quick to make and is a perfect dessert for brunch, with tea or anytime you want to treat your family.

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 Apple Sharlotka so often during the fall. As the days grew cooler, the warm cake-like apple dessert was especially satisfying with a glass of milk or some tea.

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 tart apples, it’s the perfect union. 

What is Apple Sharlotka?

Apple Sharlotka is very popular in the Russian cuisine and most households grow up making it, probably since apples were one of the most dependable fruit trees that actually were able to grow in the short Russian summers and could be stored for the long winter months.

It is a tender and fluffy cake with apples, generally raw apples, peeled and sliced and placed in the baking pan and then topped with the cake batter. 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 tart apples, it’s the perfect union. It reminds me of an Apple Coffeecake.

What Kind Of Apples Can You Use in Apple Sharlotka?

In this cake, you can use ANY apples. Some will bake up softer and others will remain more crisp. Granny Smith apples, the green apples, are a tart and firm apple variety and work really well in baking. These are the apples I use most often, but any variety of apples will work. You can even use apples that are starting to get soft and wrinkly – they will be perfect in Sharlotka.

How to Make Apple Sharlotka:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use butter or oil to grease 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. Spray the top of the parchment paper also. Set aside.

What Baking Pan Should Be Used For Apple Sharlotka?

I use a deep (3 inch tall) 10 inch round cake pan for this recipe. You can also use a 9 X 13 inch baking dish instead of a 10 inch round cake pan to bake the Apple Sharlotka. Another option is to use 2 (8 inch) round cake pans – in this cake just divide the apples and the cake batter in half, filling each of the cake pans. When using a smaller baking pan, you will need to bake them for less time.

Preparing the Apples

Peel the apples and slice them thinly. You can cut them longer, but make sure to slice them thinly, so that they bake through while that cake is baking. If you slice them too thick, the apples will still be crunchy in the cake. Place the sliced apples into the prepared cake pan. 

Making the Cake Batter

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until they are pale yellow and foamy, at least 5 minutes. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract to the batter. Lemon zest is another delicious flavor addition to the Apple Sharlotka. Lemons and apples pair really well together. The lemon zest gives a delicate citrus aroma and flavor to the cake.

Dissolve the baking soda in vinegar and add to the batter also. Mix to combine. Add the flour to the batter and use a spatula to gently fold it into the batter, just until the flour is incorporated. Try to keep the batter airy and avoid mixing too vigorously so that you don’t deflate the batter too much. If the batter deflates, the cake will be dense, not fluffy and light. Pour the batter over the apples and distribute evenly over the top. 

Making Sure the Apples Integrate Evenly Into the Cake

For the best texture, use a spoon, spatula or a butter knife to lift up the apples and let the batter get into the middle of all the apples, then smooth out the top. This will help the apples intersperse evenly into the cake.

You can also place half of the apples in the bottom of the cake pan, top with half of the cake batter, then add the remaining apples and top with the remains batter.

Baking the Apple Sharlotka

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 thin 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 plate or cake stand. Dust with confectioner’s sugar. You can also sprinkle it with a bit of cinnamon if you like.

How to Store Apple Sharlotka:

Store the Apple Sharlotka at room temperature, lightly covered. 

Print

Apple Sharlotka

  • Author: Olga's Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 75 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Dessert

Description

One of my favorite really easy desserts to bake is Apple Sharlotka, which is very similar to a coffeecake, with a sponge cake texture that is full of thinly sliced apples. It’s quick to make and is a perfect dessert for brunch, with tea or anytime you want to treat your family.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (room temperature)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda (dissolved in 1/2 teaspoon vinegar)
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 56 large apples ((I like Granny Smith))
  • powdered sugar (to sprinkle on top, optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use butter or oil to grease 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. Spray the top of the parchment paper also.
  2. You can also use a 9 X 13 inch baking dish instead of a 10 inch round cake pan to bake the Apple Sharlotka.
  3. Peel the apples and slice them thinly. You can cut them longer, but make sure to slice them thinly, so that they bake through while that cake is baking.
If you slice them too thick, the apples will still be crunchy in the cake. Place the sliced apples into the prepared cake pan.
  4. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until they are pale yellow and foamy, at least 5 minutes.
  5. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract to the batter. Lemon zest is another delicious flavor addition to the Apple Sharlotka. Lemons and apples pair really well together. The lemon zest gives a delicate citrus aroma and flavor to the cake.
  6. Dissolve the baking soda in vinegar and add to the batter also. Mix to combine.
  7. 

Add the flour to the batter and use a spatula to gently fold it into the batter, just until the flour is incorporated. Try to keep the batter airy and avoid mixing too vigorously so that you don't deflate the batter too much. If the batter deflates, the cake will be dense, not fluffy and light.
  8. Pour the batter over the apples and distribute evenly over the top.
  9. 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.
  10. Run an offset spatula or thin 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.
  11. Place the Sharlotka onto a serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar. You can also sprinkle it with a bit of cinnamon if you like.


Notes

How to Store Apple Sharlotka:

Store the Apple Sharlotka at room temperature, lightly covered.

This is an updated version of the Apple Sharlotka recipe that was published originally on October 22, 2012. The recipe is the same, with updated pictures and a new video. 

67 Comments

  • Natalie S

    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!

  • lena

    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

  • Tanya

    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?

    • olgak7

      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

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

      happymedley.blogspot.com

  • Alina

    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!

    • olgak7

      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.

  • Nadine

    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

      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?

      • olgak7

        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

        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.

    • Oksana

      In the end just use a spoon to gently lift the layer of apples, so that the batter would flow under and between. Or use less apples on the bottom of the pan, and insert the rest into the layer of batter on top.

  • Oksana

    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.

  • Olga M.

    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……. 🙂

    • olgak7

      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.

  • Anna

    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?

    • olgak7

      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.

  • natalya

    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!

  • Lola

    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!

    • olgak7

      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:(.

    • olgak7

      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

      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.

  • Veronica

    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!

  • Anna

    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 🙂

  • alice

    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.

    • olgak7

      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.

    • olgak7

      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.

  • Lidiya

    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 =)

  • Nicole

    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.

    • olgak7

      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.

  • Shura

    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?

  • Katya

    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.

    • olgak7

      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.

  • Yelena B

    Hi Olga,

    Hope all is going well with your beautiful baby boy. I just wanted to drop a note and let you know this is my new go to recipe whenever I have extra apples at the house. I have made in for my sisters family, my in-laws and my family. Everyone loves it. Thank you for the time and effort you put into this blog, I really love knowing that every recipe I try from here will be delicious.

    • olgak7

      That’s awesome, Yelena! This has been a staple recipe in our family for many years and I am so thrilled to hear that you are enjoying it too.

  • Lyuda

    Hi, do you think I could substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream? I have everything else at home to make this except sour cream. Thanks!

  • Olga

    Just made it…..can’t wait until it cools down a bit 🙂 so I can try it!
    It looks delish! I used only 4 apples…and turned out great so far
    Thank you so much Olga for such a great solution to use apples 🙂

  • Olviya

    I love Sharlotka! I also have 2 boys (ages 2 & 4), and remember baking this cake with my 2 year old for his birthday. We all enjoyed it. You included some great tips on how to get little ones to help out in the kitchen in your video. <3

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