Szarlotka (Polish Apple Cake)

A delicious and easy-to-make Polish apple pie on a delicate and crispy shortcrust pastry. For extra crispness, a part of the butter can be replaced with lard (a secret ingredient in Polish grandma’s apple pie recipes). This is the best recipe for a Polish szarlotka and I dare say that this might be the best apple cake you’ve ever tasted.

Szarlotka (Polish Apple Cake)

Recipe by Anna BembryCourse: DessertCuisine: PolishDifficulty: Simple


Prep time


Baking time


Resting time



Delicious and easy to make – THE iconic Polish apple cake.


  • Apple filling
  • 1.5 kg / 3.3 lbs apples

  • 5 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Shortcrust pastry
  • 300 g / 10.6 oz all-purpose flour

  • 250 g / 8.8 oz of cold butter (you can replace 50 g / 1.8 oz of butter with 50 g / 1.8 oz of lard)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 5 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar

  • 1 egg

  • Garnish
  • Confectioners’ sugar


  • Prepare the apple filling: Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut the apple quarters into small cubes and place them in a pot with a wide bottom or in a deep skillet. Add sugar and cinnamon and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until apples are soft and begin to fall apart. Set aside to cool down.
  • Prepare the shortcrust pastry: In a large mixing bowl combine flour with baking powder, sugar, and vanilla sugar. Add the cold butter, cut into cubes and combine all ingredients into a uniform dough, either kneading by hand or using a mixer. Toward the end, add the egg and work in until fully incorporated. The dough will be very soft and sticky.
  • Divide the dough in half, wrap both halves in plastic food wrap, and place in a freezer for about 15 minutes.
  • Baking: Adjust the oven rack to a middle position and preheat the oven to 355 F / 180 C. Line a 9in springform pan with parchment paper. Take one half of the dough out of the freezer and cut it into slices. Place at the bottom of the baking pan and press with your fingers to cover the entire bottom of the baking pan and blend in the edges (scroll down for pictues). Spread the apple filling on top.
  • Remove the second half of the dough from the freezer and coarsely grate, as you would a block of cheese, directly over the apples. Bake for 50 minutes until it is golden and the topping has cooked through. Leave to cool down then dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm or cold, with a scoop of whipped cream or plain.

The making of szarlotka in pictures.

Szarlotka – THE iconic Polish apple cake.

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