Sharlotka or Russian Apple Cake

Sharlotka is one of those dishes that I’m lucky enough to have found out about from my Russian friends, most specifically my dear friend Alexey (he of the Shashlik fame). This is his favorite cake and perfectly timed for his fall birthday. He graciously sent me his mother’s recipe, but I haven’t had a chance to try it yet (this fall’s apple season for sure!) since I need to translate it from the Russian, or more specifically, from the metric. I’ll post that recipe as soon as I’ve tried it. The recipe below is one I cobbled together from various sources. It’s still very good.

For the uninitiated, Sharlotka is Russian apple cake, named it is said, after the beloved daughter Charlotte of its creator. Basically, it is like a sponge cake (so no butter or oil) with apple slices mixed in. It’s very sweet I find (probably to make up for the lack of butter, oil etc.) so it’s best to use nice tart apples for a lovely contrast. The good news is that it’s much lighter than your average cake, very much a sponge cake in that regard. It doesn’t go as far as regular cake so make extra if you’re feeding a crowd. I would not ice this cake, but would cover it in powdered sugar if you feel it needs decoration. It goes without saying that the perfect accompaniment is a hot cup of tea on a fall day, preferably from your samovar if you have one…

PS My version has totally inauthentic spices added. I love the spices because I’m a spicy kind of girl and have a hard time in general making a sweet apple product that does not involve either cinnamon or allspice. However, to be more authentic, leave them out.

Serves 4-6

Kid Friendly Tasks: Stirring


  • 6 large sour style apples (like Granny Smith)
  •  3 eggs
  •  1 c sugar
  •  1/4 c sour cream
  •  3/4 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1/2 tsp vinegar
  •  1 tsp vanilla extract
  •  1 c flour
  •  1 tsp cinnamon
  •  1/2 nutmeg
  •  1/2 tsp allspice


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 inch cakepan
  2. Peel, halve and core your apples. Chop into thin slices. and put them in the bottom of your cake pan.
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar until thick ribbons form. Beat in vanilla, sour cream, baking soda mixture, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Pour into pan over apples.
  4. Bake for one hour or until tester comes out clean. Allow to cool completely and then remove from pan. Dust with icing or sugar.




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