Ukrainian apple sponge cake (sharlotka or yabluchnyk) is an inexpensive and easy-to-make dessert. It’s my family’s favorite recipe.
This traditional Ukrainian apple sponge cake, also known as Sharlotka or Yabluchnyk, is, in my humble opinion, the ultimate Queen of apple pies!
Despite the simple and budget-friendly recipe, this dessert is pure bliss! With its light and fluffy texture, it melts in your mouth, creating a truly heavenly experience.
When you take it out of the oven, get ready to be enchanted by the irresistible aroma of baked apples and cinnamon that fills the air.
If you ask me what apple Sharlotka tastes like, I would say that it shares some similarities with Eve’s pudding. However, while both desserts feature apples as a key ingredient, the main difference lies in their textures and preparation methods.
Eve’s pudding has a distinct layered structure with stewed apples and a sponge topping, whereas Ukrainian apple sponge cake is a simpler, single-layer dessert with sliced or diced apples mixed into the batter.
Eve’s pudding tends to have a softer and more pudding-like consistency, while Yabluchnyk has a lighter and more cake-like texture.
If you’re a fan of apple-based desserts, then you absolutely must try this rice Zapikanka. And if you’re in the mood for some authentic Ukrainian sweets, you can’t miss out on the traditional honey cake.
Why you will love this yabluchnyk recipe
Sometimes (or rather, often in my case… LOL), you just crave something sweet, delicious, moist, airy (with a hint of crispy crust if possible), and fruity. And it’s even better when you can make this delightful treat using ingredients that are always in your fridge. It’s like creating magic out of almost nothing… Have you ever experienced that kind of craving?
If you are not alien to such a whim, I’ve got some exciting news for you! Do you happen to have two or three ripe Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apples in your house? That’s fantastic! All you need is a cup of flour, a cup of sugar, two tablespoons of good mood, and a pinch of free time. Put in just a little effort, and you’ll have the most delicious Ukrainian apple sponge cake (Sharlotka) ready to enjoy!
This simple 6-ingredient yabluchnyk will be your savior when you’re in the mood for a quick and delicious homemade sweet treat. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!
- If you’re new to the world of baking sweet pies, then this Ukrainian apple cake is an ideal starting point for you! It’s so easy to make – simply mix the batter ingredients using a mixer or whisk, add the fruit and cinnamon, give it a good stir, and pour the mixture into a baking pan. After that, just pop it into the oven, and let the magic unfold!
- Apples can be enjoyed any time of the year, making this dessert a fantastic choice that isn’t limited by the seasons. Whether it’s a sunny summer day or a cozy winter evening, you can easily whip up this delicious pie and enjoy its comforting flavors.
What is apple yabluchnyk or sharlotka?
Sharlotka or Yabluchnyk is the easiest and most delicious Ukrainian apple cake that simply melts in your mouth. This dessert can be prepared quickly with just six simple ingredients, and the best part is, there is no butter in the recipe!
This soft sponge with apple filling has been incredibly popular in numerous Slavic countries for centuries. In fact, many people consider sharlotka to be their national recipe.
Don’t mix up Ukrainian Sharlotka with Polish Szarlotka because they’re actually quite different. The Polish version is like a fantastic combination of cake and pie. It’s made with a yummy shortcrust pastry base and topped off with a delightful crumble topping. So, it’s a whole different treat to enjoy!
I always make sure to add a touch of cinnamon to this cake because apples and cinnamon are an absolutely fantastic pair! Trust me, it’s a combination that never disappoints.
This apple dessert doesn’t demand any special culinary skills. However, if you want the best result, just follow a few simple tips:
- Make sure your eggs are at room temperature. Take them out of the fridge at least 15 minutes before you start preparing the batter.
- Keep in mind that the baking time can vary depending on your oven. Through my culinary adventures, I’ve had the opportunity to bake in various ovens, and let me tell you, each oven has its own unique character. Even at the same temperature, one oven may bake the fruit pie faster while another may take an extra 5-10 minutes. So, it’s always a good idea to check the readiness of your sharlotka using a toothpick.
- The amount of cinnamon in this recipe is entirely up to your preferences. Personally, I adore this spice, so I add a generous tablespoon. If you’re not a fan of cinnamon, don’t worry! You can still make a delicious yabluchnyk without it. Simply substitute cinnamon with some vanilla extract for a delightful twist of flavor.
- Before pouring the batter into the baking dish, don’t forget to grease it with butter and sprinkle it with flour.
Which apples are the best for this apple sponge?
Any variety of apples works well for this dessert, including Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, and more. Personally, I prefer using sweet and ripe apples for this recipe. However, if you prefer a slightly tart flavor, you can also use tart apples. The choice is yours!
And here’s a little tip: you can even mix different varieties of apples together to make the taste even more delightful and rich. It’s a winning combination that you won’t want to miss!
What baking pan should I use for this pie?
Any good non-stick pan will work: round, square, rectangular, or even triangular if you’re feeling adventurous with your pie shapes (haha!). Whether it’s made of silicone or metal, it will do the job. Personally, I often use a springform pan to bake this sweet pie. Once the cake is ready, allow it to cool, and then gently run a thin spatula around the edges to help loosen it. This will make it much easier to remove the cake from the baking pan.
(my baking dish is 9 inches (22cm) in diameter):
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup flour. Use simple all-purpose flour
- 1tsp (rounded) baking powder
- 3 large apples. Choose large ones, more fruit = more taste
- 1Tbsp cinnamon (optional, but it will add a heavenly taste to the sharlotka)
How to make a Ukrainian apple cake
1. Beat the eggs with the sugar (it’s crucial to beat them thoroughly) until well combined and frothy.
2. Add the flour and baking powder to the mixture and mix until fully incorporated.
3. Cut the fruit into cubes. Add cinnamon if desired.
4. Add the apples to the flour-egg mixture, mix well, and pour the batter into the greased and floured baking dish.
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and bake the cake for about 1 hour until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy the delicious sharlotka with a cup of tea!
If you don’t have baking powder, you can use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar as a substitute (which is commonly used in Ukrainian baking). Simply add ½ tsp of baking soda and ½ tsp of white vinegar (or lemon juice) directly to the batter. Don’t worry if the batter foams up like a small volcano, it’s normal as carbon dioxide is released. However, the reaction won’t last long, so once you add both the vinegar (or lemon juice) and baking soda to the batter, stir well, and promptly place the apple sponge in the oven.
You can store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, that is if you can resist the temptation to eat it before then!
Whether you call it Ukrainian apple sponge cake, Yabluchnyk, or Sharlotka, this delightful dessert is guaranteed to win you over. Serve it with a dusting of powdered sugar and savor every bite.
watch the video recipe
Yabluchnyk or Sharlotka (Ukrainian apple sponge cake)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp (rounded) baking powder
- 3 big apples
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon optional
- Beat the eggs with the sugar (it's crucial to beat them thoroughly) until well combined and frothy.
- Add the flour and baking powder to the mixture and mix until fully incorporated.
- Cut the fruit into cubes. Add cinnamon if desired.
- Add the apples to the flour-egg mixture, mix well, and pour the batter into the greased and floured baking dish.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and bake the cake for about 1 hour until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy the delicious sharlotka with a cup of tea!