Swedish apple cake


A slice of äppelkaka with vanilla sauce

Swedish apple cake is a common dessert in Sweden and versions can be found from IKEA to fancy restaurants year-round. It’s not really a pie, but not a cake in the traditional sense either (at least as Americans would think of a cake). But in Sweden this definitely counts in the kaka, or cake category. This version uses grated apples, but you could use sliced or chopped apples instead.

Vaniljsås (vanilla sauce) is the traditional accompaniment, which it is worth making yourself to experience the superb delicate flavour, but you can use a readymade version if you are short of time. Maia Brindley Nilsson



• As there is no sugar added to the grated apple filling, avoid using cooking apples or anything too tart. (I used Kaisa apples, but any reasonably sweet variety will do.)
• Although vanilla sauce is the traditional accompaniment, whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or even dulce de leche also go well.
•  If you garnish each slice with a small sprig of freshly cut herb, it will instantly appear healthier and better for you!


190 g (1½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
3 tsp   baking powder
100 g (½ cup) sugar
1 tsp   vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
115 g (½ cup) butter, chilled
1   egg, llightly beaten
4-5   medium sized baking apples
    icing (confectioner's) sugar for dusting, optional


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F, gas 6, fan 170°C). Butter the bottom and part way up the sides of a 20 cm (8″) springform tin (pan).

Stage 2 in baking äppelkaka

2. Blend all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Dice the chilled butter and cut it into the dry ingredients using two forks or a pastry cutter. When the mixture looks like coarse meal add the egg, mixing lightly to incorporate.  Use your hands to knead the dough into a ball.  Divide the dough into three parts. Press two parts into the base and part way up the sides of the springform tin (pan), about 1 cm (1/2″).  Roll the remaining dough out between lightly floured waxed paper to form a circle large enough to cover the top of the cake. Set aside.

3. Peel, core, and grate the apples using the largest holes on the grater. If you work quickly the apples won’t brown too much. Put the apples into the springform tin (pan) and lightly press them down. Make sure none of the grated apple is touching the side of the tin because you want dough-to-dough contact when you add the top crust.

4. Gently lay the top crust over the grated apples. Press the crust down around the edges of the tin (pan) to stick the top and bottom crusts together. If any tears or holes form in the crust, carefully pinch/stretch them together.

5. Place the tin (pan) in the preheated oven and bake until golden, about 20-30 minutes. Watch it carefully because it can overbake quickly. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Finished äppelkaka after dusting with icing sugar

6. Dust the top with icing sugar (powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar), if desired. Serve at room temperature or chilled with vanilla sauce.


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