“Sharlotka” is a classic Russian apple cake. In some parts of the world, it’s known as the French Apple cake. The best part? This cake only requires 5 ingredients and around 25 minutes of prep time!
Sharlotka is best described as an apple sponge cake. It’s super versatile! Pair it with a cup of coffee for breakfast, or serve it as a dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream at your next dinner party.
Sharlotka is PACKED with apples. Unlike traditional apple pie, which is heavy on the crust, this cake makes apples the star of the show. This results in a cake that is airy, soft and beautifully simple. Dusted with powdered sugar at the end, it is an absolute show-stopper.
How to Make Sharlotka
What is Sharlotka?
Most of you already have the ingredients in your cupboard to make this yummy cake. Sharlotka doesn’t even require any milk or butter! But, there is a reason for its accessibility. During the Soviet era, money was tight and cooks had to be incredibly frugal. Sharlotka was born out of the need to stretch money, while also wanting to make a dessert that is both delicious and wholesome.
History points to sharlotka being created by French cook Marie-Antoine Careme during her time working for Russian Czar Alexander I. Russian chefs simplified his much more tedious recipe to fit their budgets and resources. Now, this lovely cake is a prime example that “delicious” does not always have to mean expensive!
Apple Cake Recipes
- Caramel Apple Cake – Caramelized apples make this delicious cake ultra-moist and decadent.
- Banana Apple Bread– A “apple-y” spin on traditional banana bread!
- Quick Apple Cake – One of my mother’s signature desserts. Made in a bundt pan, it’s the perfect dessert to “wow” your dinner guests with.
Tips for Making Sharlotka
- Use a Springform Pan – Using a springform pan means no tricky flipping! This cake is quite delicate, so using a springform will circumvent any issues with inverting it and losing its shape.
- Overmixing is a No-No! – Sharlotka is supposed to be light and airy. Overmixing the batter will make the cake dense and tough. Simply fold the flour in gently to your egg and sugar mixture until it is well incorporated.
- Let your Eggs Reach Room Temperature – Pull your eggs out of the fridge about 15 minutes before your start prepping your cake. Room temperature eggs are less viscous than cold ones and beat much better. Cold eggs can also cause your cake to cook unevenly.
- Use a Hand Mixer – When beating together your eggs and sugar, speed is key in getting the perfect texture and volume. It’s hard to achieve this by hand, so use your hand mixer or Kitchenaid.
- Slice Apples Thinly for A Different Texture – If you want your cake to be a bit more uniform, slice your apples thinly. I like to slice them chunky for texture, but either way is fine!
Commonly Asked Questions
What are the Best apples to Use in a Cake?
Feel free to use any apple in this cake. If you like it sweet, use Gala, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious or Fuji apples. If you like it sour, use Granny Smith, Jonagold or Melrose apples. You can also use an assortment of different types!
How do I Serve Sharlotka?
Sharlotka can be served warm or chilled. Either way is delicious! Eat it plain, or serve it with a dollop of lightly sweetened sour cream.
Can you Freeze Apple Sponge Cake?
Freeze Sharlotka by wrapping the completely cooled-down cake in plastic wrap. Then, place the cake in a plastic storage bag in the freezer. When you are ready to indulge, remove the cake from the plastic wrap and thaw it in the fridge overnight.
Other Quick Apple Desserts
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large apples
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Wash, peal and dice apples into one inch pieces.
- Using a mixer, beat eggs with sugar, until it’s three times in volume.
- Using a spatula, fold in flour by thirds; be very gentle with the dough, to not overmix it and lose the fluffiness.
- Lay out the diced apples on the bottom of a 9 inch pan. Cover apples with cake batter, shake the pan a bit, to spread batter between each apple piece.
- Bake it at 350F for 40 minutes, check using a wooden toothpick. If the cake is ready, the dough should not stick to the toothpick.
- Once the cake cools off a little, dust it with some powdered sugar. (Optionally, you can flip the cake over before dusting with powdered sugar, but this isn't required.)
Hello Natalya, great recipe!
Do you think the sharlotka will turn out OK if I use a 8 inch springform pan instead of 9?
Hi Sasha, I think it will turn out OK. You may need to adjust the bake time slightly because the Sharlotka will be a little thicker, if that makes sense. Good luck and enjoy!
I would like to know if you can use sugar substitutes instead of regular sugar? I love your recipes. I have my whole family watching your videos. We are hangarian, slovokian, and romanian.
Hi Gail, I am so honored! Thank you very much! I have not used any sugar substitutes in this recipe but I am sure that would be fine. If you give it a try, please let me know how it turns out! I am very interested. Good luck and enjoy!
I sprayed the shit out of the the pan (and it’s a brand new non-stick pan) and the whole bottom still stuck. So frustrating! Should I be trying to remove while it’s hot or waiting until it’s cool?
Hi Ali, I am sorry you had a hard time removing it from the pan, I would definitely wait until its cooled to remove. I think that would make it easier for you. Also some oil sprays are just not great when it comes to non-stick. I have found that grape seed oil sprays counteract the non-stick.
I followed the recipe exactly, and yet, there wasn't enough batter to cover the apples (let alone to shake in between the apple pieces).
It didn't rise or nothing. This was not all together surprising seeing that there was nothing to help it the batter besides flour.
Hi Annie, I am sorry to hear that the recipe didnt turn out. I hope you give it another go, in the future. Mine usually doesnt cover all of the apple pieces either, but after it bakes, It always turns out good.
Hi Natalya, I bake cakes, pies, and breads. For a diabetic, I usually reduce the sugar to even more than 1/2 the recipe, especially when using sweet apples, like Fuji, and they come out very well & delicious. My diabetic friends love it because they can enjoy a homemade, low sugar dessert. How would a much reduced sugar affect your recipe? I’m dying to try it!
Hi Manny, I Have not tried reducing the sugar amount in this recipe. If you give it a try, I would love to find out the end result.
Hi Natalya, I finally baked your Sharlotka. I used 2 large Honey crisp and 3 small Granny Smith apples. The small Granny Smith apples seem less sour than the large ones from previous baking. I also reduced the sugar to 1/3 cup from 1 cup. The sweetness is quite satisfactory, most especially to diabetics, Even 1/4 cup would have been sufficient becsuse the Honey crisp apples are sweet. I baked the cake for 45 mins to be sure that the apples are properly cooked. I think even 48 mins would have been ok. The cake looks just like the picture you posted. We are enjoying the cake and will certainly bake it again. It’s so simple, inexpensive, with ingredients readily available. I will suggest to my niece who also bakes to try it. The taste reminds me of the Clafoutti I made before. Thanks a lot for the treat.
Hi Manny, I am so glad to hear the recipe was a success! I appreciate you taking the time to let me know about your experience. I love how you were able to make the recipe fit your needs! Enjoy!
I never like sharlotla till yesterday! My daughter used this recipe and I was like i discovered something new! So fluffy!’ She gave me this recipe and I’m going to bake today, can’t wait to see how it’s going to come out!
That makes me so happy to hear! Word of mouth is the best type of advertisement 😀 Enjoy!
Could this be made with almond flour? Trying to cut down on the carbs a little?
Hey Stella- that's a good question. Per my research, if you substitute all the flour, your cake may not rise. It's recommended to only substitute 25% of the flour with almond flour. So in this recipe that would be 1/4 cup almond flour, and 3/4 cup AP Flour. I think you'll find this article super useful regarding baking with almond flour: https://www.kingarthurbaking.…
It's a great cake! I was a bit confused on the part about flipping it over, because the top after baking has a great crunch to it and in the video it's not flipped over and in the slice pic on here it's not showing it flipped over it shows the crunchy top on top???
Hey Lori! Good observation 🙂 I did not flip the cake in the video the way the recipe says to in step 6. I used to always flip it, because it makes the cake more level/even appearance wise, but you don't *have* to flip it after baking- especially if you like the crunchier part on top. Flavor wise, flipping or not flipping it will not affect the end taste 😀
Super! I added heaps more apples and mixed them in...Didn't turn cake upside down just added apples on top and some sugar ... also added 1tsp of baking powder.
Ps i am Russian and my mum used to make it often...
You're welcome, Vika! Glad you enjoyed this yummy cake.
Забыли добавить соду гашенную уксусом
Hey dear, not in this recipe. You wouldn't need it.
My kids helped me make this recipe today for our homeschool unit as they are learning about Russia. Our Sharlotka turned out perfectly, and I was surprised at how easy it was. It received rave reviews from the kids as well as from my husband who lived in Russia when he served in the U.S. Air Force. Our favorite thing was the crispy top. And the perfectly baked apples. And the batter, which we decided reminds us of sugar cookies. We will be making this dessert again!
Wow! This is so cool. Thanks for sharing, Christen. This is one of our beloved family recipes and such a neat recipe to use to learn about Slavic cooking. So happy you enjoyed it and your family could gather around it.
Amazing amazing easy fast cake my husband ate all in the same day … thank you I love ur fast recipe they are easy and simple which is my favorite… for me I only add it 1 tsp of baking soda as my eggs and sugar did not double or triple in size 😂
Hi, I am so glad you loved the cake, thank you for your feedback!
Very yummy cake even though it didn't rise as much as yours did 🙁 and it got stuck to the pan even though I put butter everywhere. Next time will use parchment paper. I tried the French apple cake recipe and it tastes the same except yours has way less ingredients so thats why I wanted to try it. Will definitely be making this again until it's perfect:) Thanks for the recipe
Hey Lana, it might be time to replace the baking pan 🙂 It should stick if you butter the sides. You can also run a knife all around next time and it will come out easily. Thanks for sharing your feedback!
Made it today and it has a smell or raw eggs , we couldn’t eat it, beside It didn’t rise, it’s height like half of the fork nails from bottom. Is this normal?
Hey Natasha, it should be light and fluffy, maybe see the video we have, it will be helpful with the texture. Usually, when you beat the eggs the egg flavor is not there and it also depends on the eggs you use. We have had issues like that.
Why mine became soggy next day, what could I do wrong?
The apples do produce moisture so it can become a bit moist. But you can bake it for a few minutes to get that crust back. We never really have leftovers, so I haven't faced a soggy cake. 🙂
Such an easy go-to dessert recipe when I don't have much time. I've made it twice and it was delicious both times.
I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Inna! Thank you for your feedback.
How do you make sure that top comes out crispy instead of uniform like the rest of the cake.
This is my grandma’s best creation and I can’t seem to make it exactly as hers
Hey Ally, we do have a crispy top also. Maybe the apples are covering your tops and preventing the crispy layer.
Hello - if I prebake and leave it in the fridge over night, at what temperature and for how long would you put it back into the oven to reheat? Thanks!
Hi Jeanette, I have not tried doing this. But I think the same temperature and only for a few minutes to warm it up. You do want it fully bake sharlotka or it will collapse in the center. Enjoy
Second one I have made .. first one was delish.. and so easy too .. this one making for my daughter in law so had to make it gluten free so we will see ..
Bonnie I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Keep me updated on the gluten-free version, I'm sure others would be interested in knowing.
There is no baking powder or n this recipe? Also, do you line the pan, just butter, or line and butter?
Hey Andriana, no need for baking powder. Typically I don't line the pan, coat the pan with butter or oil.
Haven't tried yet, it's cooling ~ it does have a crispy though not brown top, is this typical?
Yes, it's not always brown on the top.
Just made this. Both my husband and I had to have a piece straight out of the oven. Super delicious ! What a nonfussy great recipe ! I didn't peel the apples and used a 9 inch regular cake pan with parchment in the bottom. Came out perfectly ! This is a keeper . So easy , so good.
Great solution for me because I do not have a spring pan! Will be trying this recipe today!
I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Yes I love nonfussy desserts, perfect for everyday.
Can you bake this in a bundt pan?
Hey Sonal, yes you definitely can!
This looks delicious. I will try it for sure
How come there are no Baking Powder in it?
Hey Gigi, eggs give it enough fluffy texture so we would never add any baking powder to the dough. It works well!
If you were making this recipe and decided to use homemade apple cause with pieces in it instead of 5 apples. How much of the sauce would you say I could use in the recipe?
Hey Raya, I am worried that it would weigh down the cake because apple sauce has a lot more liquid. For don't think I would recommend using it.
I am planning to make this cake. Just one note: Marie-Antoine Careme was a guy.
Dawn, thanks for pointing that out! DARN 🙂
Your metric measurements dont work. How many ounces or grams is a cup? I'm in the UK.
Linda you can buy a set of plastic or stainless steel measuring cups through Ebay or at Morrison’s in the Uk.. They are cheap. I did! I also bought the measuring spoons so no guessing now!
Thank you for the heads up. We are working on fixing the bug. Depending on the ingredient, I would suggest googling the ingredient and doing conversion like that. We are working on fixing the issue. Thank you so much!
I made this today And I’m giving it to my son and his family so I’m not sure how it will taste but it looks great! I’ve been baking for a long time and and have also done it professionally. I just added a vanilla to give it a A flavor boost 🙂 I Would post a picture of that the website does not enable me to do that.
Diana, Thank you for sharing the feedback. If you have Instagram, you can always tag me on there or we have a Facebook community group. I would love to see what you made. Enjoy your day!
This was so easy and smelled so good while it was baking! The best part is eating it!! What a wonderful dessert!
Amy, you made me smile. I agree about eating it. We love it so much, glad you did too!
4 large apples for this 9 inch pan was way way too much apples,
Hardly tasted the cake in this ! Husband and I were very
I actually use 2 apples and it was perfect. I wanted it fluffy so I added baking powder. It looked perfect in the oven but as soon as I took it out it looked wrinkly 😭.
Hey, yeah baking powder will do that. The original recipes comes out perfectly for us every time.
Hey Pat, sorry about that. Sharlotka tends to be mostly apples with a bit of cake.