This classic German Apple Pancake recipe is made with simple ingredients. It has a delicate, fluffy, crepe-like texture and a custardy flavor. It is the ultimate comfort breakfast made in a Dutch oven or cast-iron pan.
We used to have a local eatery that has since gone out of business that would make German Apple Pancakes which are also known as Baby Apple Pancakes or Dutch Baby Apple Pancakes.
You can make these crepe-like, baked brunch pancakes easily in the oven using a cast-iron skillet, or traditional, enamelware dutch oven. Either way, these are easy to make and taste incredible.
What Does it Taste Like?
This German Apple Pancake has the flavors of cinnamon sugar and apple baked into a custardy, light, and fluffy pancake. The pancake and apple are caramelized from the baked sugars and butter. As a result, the bottom of the pancake becomes coated with a delicious cinnamon-sugar flavored syrup!
If you’ve never tasted a German Apple Pancake, you are missing out. In fact, this used to be my husband’s specialty breakfast that he would make us before we had kids.
If you like apple pie, you’ll most likely like this recipe!
The Downside to This Recipe
The only downside to this recipe is, it makes a mess and some dishes.
Cleaning a cast-iron pan with stuck-on caramelized sugar is a pain! It helps to fill it with hot water right after you remove the pancake and let it soak while you eat it.
My husband would use the excuse that he was soaking the pan, but in reality, he was putting it off for me--sly guy! haha!
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this Baby Apple Pancake:
- Flour – All-purpose flour works best for this recipe.
- Salt – We use Kosher salt since it is not overly salty. Use a fine grain variety.
- Sugars – Granulated sugar & brown sugar are used which sweeten the apples, and the actual pancake.
- Cinnamon & Nutmeg – A little to toss the apples in goes a long way for that spiced flavor.
- Vanilla Extract – Vanilla extract contributes to the classic custard the eggs and milk will produce.
- Butter – You will need a good amount to caramelize the apples and get that delicious buttery taste in the center of the pancake.
- Milk – We used whole milk which helps this bake up perfectly.
- Eggs – Large-sized, fresh eggs work best for the most puff and flavor.
- Apples – Granny Smith peeled, cored, and sliced thinly.
Equipment and Supplies
The following equipment and supplies are needed to make this recipe.
- 3.8-liter cast iron shallow casserole dish or a 10″ cast-iron pan
- Conventional oven
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Cutting board
- Oven Mitts
How to Make
First, start preheating your oven to 350°F.
Peel and slice the apples into half-inch thick wedges and place aside.
Add the butter to your cast iron pan and place it in the oven for 4 minutes, or until butter is just melted and pooled. Remove it from the oven with oven mitts.
Add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and all the brown sugar to the pan and mix it into the melted butter.
Mix or toss the apples with nutmeg, cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.
Add the apple wedges to the pan and place it in the oven. They will bake for as long and it takes to finish the next steps:
Add the flour and salt to a large bowl and whisk.
Pour in milk and vanilla extract. Whisk until the batter is lump-free.
Add the eggs and whisk until the custard batter is fully combined.
Carefully remove the cast-iron pan from the oven with mitts.
Slowly and carefully pour the custard batter over the apples. Carefully (with oven mitt hands) return the pan to the oven.
Bake the apple pancake for 25 minutes. The edges will puff up and be golden brown. The center will spring back when pressed lightly when it’s fully cooked. It will have some visible pooled butter in the center. That is normal.
Slice pancake and remove slices with a spatula. Enjoy warm.
While the apples bake, whisk the batter, and then remove apples from oven. Pour the custard-like batter over the apples and bake for 25 minutes.
Best Apples to Use
Granny Smith apples work best because they have tart flavor that adapts well to cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. They balance out the extra caramelized sweetness the sugar, and baked butter creates on the apples.
Best Pans to Bake It In
This can be baked in an enamelware Dutch oven, a 9″ x 13″ glass Pyrex, in a cast-iron Dutch oven, or cast iron skillet. I find cast iron to produce the best caramelization.
Be sure to fully dry your cast iron pan once it is done, and place it in a warm oven. You do not want to leave it wet since it can rust if not properly dried.
This pancake is so delicious and tastes perfect without any additional sweetness or syrups.
If you want to make this plain, without apples, simply skip the apples altogether, but follow each step. You can add in berries, syrup, powdered sugar, or whipped topping after.
The recipe for German Apple Pancake is below. If you want to double the recipe, you can cook this in two (2) 10″ or larger cast iron skillets in the oven at the same time. We have made two before with no issues.
German Apple Pancake (Baby Apple Pancake) Recipe
- 3.8 liter cast iron shallow casserole dish or a 10" cast iron pan
- conventional oven
- cutting board
- 4 tbsps. butter cubed into 4 pieces
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar divided into 2 tablespoons of each
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar packed
- 2 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, sliced
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 5 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Peel the apples and slice them into ½" thick wedges. Place tham aside.
- Add 4 butter cubes to your cast iron pan and place it in the oven for 4 minutes, or until butter is just melted and pooled. Remove from oven with oven mitts.
- Add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and all the brown sugar to the pan and mix with the melted butter.
- Mix the apple wedges with nutmeg, cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.
- Add the apple wedges to the pan. Place it in the oven and bake for as long and it takes to finish the next steps.
- Add the flour and salt to a large bowl and mix it with a whisk until combined.
- Add the milk and vanilla extract and whisk until batter is lump-free.
- Add the eggs and whisk until the custard batter is fully combined.
- Carefully remove pan cast-iron from oven with mitts.
- Slowly pour the custard batter over the apples. Then carefully return it to the oven using oven mitts to protect your hands.
- Bake the pancake for 25 minutes at 350°F on the center oven rack. When done, the edges will puff up and be golden-brown in color. The center will spring back when pressed cooked. You will see pooled butter in the center. This is normal.
- Slice the pancake and remove the slices with a spatula. Enjoy warm.