German Apple Cake with Fluffy Buttermilk Frosting

German Apple Cake with Fluffy Buttermilk Frosting

This rich German Apple Cake is a classic, but I’ve topped it with tangy, fluffy Buttermilk Frosting that sends it over the top!

Have I bored you silly with Apple recipes yet? No?

Well, this German Apple Cake is ACTUALLY the co-star in this recipe. It’s true.

I have to say the Buttermilk Frosting is the lead actor here. You all know how I feel about my frosting…and to wholeheartedly admit that I have a new favorite…well, I feel like you guys should all take note.

The cake is loaded with apples, cinnamon…all the delicious players that go into an apple cake. And yes, for those of you heathens who “don’t like frosting” you can eat this cake nekkid.

Even a light coating of powdered sugar would be sufficient. But. BUT. If you want to take your life to the next level I urge you to make this frosting and slather it all up on this cake…and then on everything else in your life.

Let’s talk details…

German Apple Cake with Fluffy Buttermilk Frosting

Apples. Obvi.


Chop them. Duh.

German Apple Cake with Fluffy Buttermilk Frosting

Mix them in your batter.

German Apple Cake with Fluffy Buttermilk Frosting


Sigh, so pretty.

German Apple Cake with Fluffy Buttermilk Frosting

Then get to the important part. The frosting. The whipped, tangy, buttery, rich love of my life.

German Apple Cake with Fluffy Buttermilk Frosting

Adding buttermilk into this buttercream frosting adds a slight tang that will have you dipping your spoon into again and again.

I am mildly obsessed if you haven’t noticed.

German Apple Cake with Fluffy Buttermilk Frosting

Make the cake, yes, but definitely make the frosting.


German Apple Cake with Fluffy Buttermilk Frosting

  • Author: Cookies & Cups


  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 Granny Smith apples sliced and diced


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (if using salted butter omit)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C
  2. Spray a 9×13 pan with baking spray and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until pale in color and creamy.
  4. Add in the cinnamon, salt and baking soda and mix until combined.
  5. Turn the mixer to low and add in the flour, mixing until just incorporated.
  6. Stir in the apples.
  7. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before frosting.


  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter, salt and sugar together until combined. Add in the buttermilk and continue mixing until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Spread on the cooled cake.

Helpful tip… Out of buttermilk?

Buttermilk Substitution

SaveButtermilk Substitution


29 Responses

  1. ColleenB.~TEXAS

    Seeing this, this early in the early morning hours is making me hungry. Full of wonderful yumminess.
    I’m not much of a frosting person but I bet this would be good warmed with a dollop of cool whip on top drizzled with caramel sauce.

  2. Would it be bad manners to plunge face first into this? Oh, okay, I’ll wait until everyone else has has a slice, and then I’ll plunge. All over my face? who cares, that frosting will probably make a good moisturizer while I’m at it.

  3. iram

    I know u r probably tired of this ? But when does your cookbook get released? I have preordered it and I just am too excited to get it. Btw, this cake looks amazing.

  4. Stevie

    Hi Shelly – I rarely ‘comment’ but I just had to let you know I made this German Apple Cake today. Wow! It is WONDERFUL! and the Fluffy Buttermilk frosting? Oh my! Who needs cake? You just took a Vanilla Buttercream frosting to another level of delicioness! Genius! Can you tell I’m a fan?

  5. Chris

    I made this recipe today and it was delicious. I normally don’t like pieces of fruit in my desserts so I diced the apples somewhat finely. The cake tastes a lot like carrot cake. It must be the cinnamon and the tangy frosting. Great autumn dessert that can double as a decadent breakfast on a cold Sunday morning.

  6. Ashley

    How is the buttermilk frosting in comparison to cream cheese frosting? I wondered if they might taste similar due to the tang factor.

  7. I made this today without the frosting. I used gluten free flour. Baked it for 45 minutes. It is very moist and a little greasy and way too sweet. I will make it again and cut the sugar in half and replace 1/2 the oil with apple sauce. The frosting sounds yummy but I can imagine adding more sweet to this already overly sweet cake.

  8. Bonbon

    I wish it didn’t call for so much butter! Also, I noticed no vanilla in the recipe. The buttermilk must serve as the flavor

    1. Deb

      Mine was the same way! I’m not sure what I did wrong….anyone else have this experience? And if so, did you figure out why?

  9. Jean

    I made my fruitcakes yesterday with my old family Apple Cake recipe we have had for years which is very similar. But we mix the chopped apples and sugar and let set 45 minutes, stirring occasionally before making the cake. I added 1 lg candied cherries, 1 lg candied fruit cake mix, 1 cup each white and dark raisins. 1bag dried apricots I snipped up with scissors, 1 cup each coarse chopped walnuts and pecans and 1 mashed banana. Add what “you” like. I never liked my mother’s because of dried figs and dates. I like the dried apricots and raisins instead.

  10. Joyce

    Amy, In all this time, I am responding to your question as it doesn’t appear that anyone else did. This recipe came to my attention about 4 months ago. I tried it first in the 9X13 pan. It was wonderful! Then, a couple of weeks later, I made two layers and sliced them in half, ending up with four layers total. The frosting was adequate for all the layers and top of the cake. On the 9×13 pan, I had frosting left-over (definitely not a problem…lol) as it was used on muffins the same morning.

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