Skip to Content
  • Save
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Print

Cran-Apple Kuchen

By Heather Baird
Created January 10, 2017
Apples and cranberries are baked to perfection in this German coffee cake. A festive sweet for either breakfast or dessert!
Cran-Apple Kuchen

I can never decide whether to enjoy this cake for breakfast or dessert, so I usually end up having it twice in one day. It’s a nice fruity wake-up for your taste buds in the morning; add a scoop of ice cream on top and your last course is served. Either way, it tastes like Christmas to me. No doubt it’s the cranberries punctuated by a hit of orange zest in the nut filling. Well, that, and we also try to make it on every Christmas Eve for Santa’s arrival. Santa likes Cran-Apple Kuchen–who knew! 

If you’re not familiar, Kuchen is a German coffee cake. It has a dense crust topped with nut filling and it’s usually loaded with fruit. It’s a hearty confection that improves on standing. I think it’s best the day after it’s made, but sometimes it’s rare thing to have leftover Kuchen. There are several steps to this scratch-made recipe, but it’s not much trouble to put together.

Step 1:

First, combine flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.

whisking ingredients

Step 2:

Whisk until ingredients are evenly dispersed.

whisking flour

Step 3:

Add the butter and cut in with a pastry blender. If you don’t have a pastry blender, you can use two knives or even a round cookie cutter.

cutting in butter with pastry cutter

Step 4:

Blend until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.

butter cut in

Step 5:

Combine the egg, water and vanilla extract.

whisking egg with fork

Step 6:

Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. You might not be able to incorporate all the flour, so don’t worry if it looks a little dry.

mixing wet with dry ingredients

Step 7:

Knead the dough until all the flour is incorporated and a solid dough is formed.

mixing dough with hand

Step 8:

Press the dough into the bottom of a greased 9-inch cake pan. Chill the pan of dough for 15 minutes.

dough pressed in pan

Step 9:

For the nut filling, you’ll place the nuts, sugar, flour and zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are chopped fine and the zest is evenly dispersed.

nuts in a food processor

Step 10:

Next, add the egg and butter to the bowl.

egg, butter and mix in food processor

Step 11:

Process again until a consistent nut paste is formed.

mixture in food processor

Step 12:

Spread the nut filling over the chilled crust evenly.

spreading filling on top of dough in pan

Step 13:

For the cranberry filling, mix the whole berry cranberry sauce with the orange juice in a small bowl. Mix until the cranberry sauce loosens slightly.

cranberry topping

Step 14:

Spread the cranberry filling over the nut filling, leaving a 1-inch margin around the edge of the pan.

spreading cranberry topping

Step 15:

Quarter the apples and then cut slits in them lengthwise. Cut to, but not through the cored side. If you’ve ever made hasselback potatoes, you’ll have no problem with this task!

chopping apple

Step 16:

Arrange the apple quarters cored-side-down around the outside edge of the dough crust so the apples are just touching.

laying apples on border of baked dessert

Step 17:

Now the cake is ready to bake. It takes about an hour, and you’ll know it’s done when the crust turns golden and the apples fan slightly.

apples on top
Cran-Apple Kuchen