Russian Grandmother’s Apple Pie Cake: A cross between an apple pie and an apple cake, this recipe is a easy and impressive one to make and it’s even more delicious to eat!

Side view of the inside of a slice of Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie Cake. The cake is filled with baked apple slices and wrapped in a soft cake on the top and bottom.

My weeks seem to fly by now that they are marked by my Tuesday TWD blog entries and recently, I feel like all I’m doing is looking forward to my weekend baking and Tuesday blogging…not that there’s anything wrong with that….

So this week’s recipe comes from Natalie over at Burned Bits. And I must say that this was a great choice!! This was an easy recipe to put together and turned out simply delicious!

I halved most of the recipe; the only part I did not halve was the cinnamon and sugar mixture. We like our apple desserts sweet and I knew that half of the original amount would not be enough to cut through some of the apple tartness.

Since I baked the pie-cake in an 8×8 inch Pyrex dish, you would think I cut the baking time down but ummm…well, I didn’t. I baked it for 65 minutes and covered it with aluminum foil during the final 25 minutes after I realized that it was browning too quickly. Surprisingly, it wasn’t overcooked but next time I’ll remember to adjust the baking time so as to avoid any potential mishaps.

Top view of the inside of a slice of Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie Cake. The cake is filled with baked apple slices and raisins and wrapped in a soft cake on the top and bottom.

Oh, and just to note, I slit the top as instructed but since Dorie speaks of the dough as being “self-healing” the slits self-healed themselves and I wasn’t able to gauge doneness by checking if the apple filling was bubbling up through the slits – I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who came across this issue either.

I know that some of my fellow TWDers had a fair amount of trouble with the dough being sticky and mostly likely with the help of a miracle, my dough wasn’t at all sticky. It was soft, yes, which is what Dorie said it would be like and I did have to use all of the flour the recipe called for but sticky it was not. Thank goodness.

Side view of the inside of a slice of Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie Cake. The cake is filled with baked apple slices and wrapped in a soft cake on the top and bottom.

I have to admit that I was nervous about the dough turning into cake though. I mean, when you bake a cake, you use batter not dough but I suppose there was enough baking powder in the recipe to cause the dough to rise enough so it was a relief when I took my first bite.

It was SO GOOD!! It’s a beautiful combination of apple pie and well…apple cake. 🙂 I served the pie-cake with vanilla ice cream and dropped a few Heath toffee bits on top of the ice cream to add a little texture.

To see how everyone else did with their pie-cake this week, check out the growing blogroll on Tuesdays with Dorie.


Recent TWD Recipes: Snickery Squares, Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits, Almost-Fudge Gâteau

Next Week’s TWD Recipe: Brioche Raisin Snails as chosen by Culinary Concoctions by Peabody


Side view of the inside of a slice of Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie Cake. The cake is filled with baked apple slices and wrapped in a soft cake on the top and bottom.

Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie Cake

Yield: 12 to 16 servings

Russian Grandmother's apple pie cake is a mix between an apple pie with raisins sandwiched between 2 layers of cake. It's a fantastic and impressive cake to serve to fall guests...or to keep all for yourself.


For the dough:

  • 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 ¼ - 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:

  • 10 medium apples, all one kind or a mix (like Fuji, Golden Delicious and Ida Reds, Cordland, or Gala)
  • Squirt of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Sugar, preferably coarse sugar, for dusting


  1. To make the dough: Working with a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer and a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes more. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the baking powder and salt and mix just to combine. Add the lemon juice - the dough will probably curdle, but don't worry about it. Still working on low speed, slowly but steadily add 3 ¼ cups of the flour, mixing to incorporate it and scraping down the bowl as needed. The dough is meant to be soft, but if you think it looks more like a batter than a dough at this point, add the extra ¼ cup flour. (The dough usually needs the extra flour.) When properly combined, the dough should almost clean the sides of the bowl.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each half into a rectangle. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or for up to 3 days. (Do Ahead: The dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; defrost overnight in the refrigerator.).
  3. To make the filling: Peel and core the apples and cut into slices about ¼ inch thick; cut the slices in half crosswise if you want. Toss the slices in a bowl with a little lemon juice - even with the juice, the apples may turn brown, but that's fine - and add the raisins. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together, sprinkle over the apples and stir to coat evenly. Taste an apple and add more sugar, cinnamon, and/or lemon juice if you like.
  4. To assemble and bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375° F. Generously butter a 9x12-inch baking pan (Pyrex is good) and place it on a baking shee tlined with parchment or a silicone mat.
  5. Remove the dough from the fridge. If it is too hard to roll and it cracks, either let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes or give it a few bashes with your rolling pin to get it moving. Once it's a little more malleable, you've got a few choices. You can roll it on a well-floured work surface or roll it between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. You can even press or roll out pieces of the dough and patch them together in the pan - because of the baking powder in the dough, it will puff and self-heal under the oven's heat. Roll the dough out until it is just a little larger all around than your pan and about ¼-inch thick - you don't want the dough to be too thin, because you really want to taste it. Transfer the dough to the pan. If the dough comes up the sides of the pan, that's fine; if it doesn't that's fine too.
  6. Give the apples another toss in the bowl, then turn them into the pan and, using your hands, spread them evenely across the bottom.
  7. Roll out the second piece of dough and position it over the apples. Cut the dough so you've got a ¼ to ½ inch overhang and tuck the excess into the sides of the pan, as though you were making a bed. (If you don't have that much overhang, just press what you've got against the sides of the pan.)
  8. Brush the top of the dough lightly with water and sprinkle sugar over the dough. Using a small sharp knife, cut 6 to 8 evenly spaced slits in the dough.
  9. Bake for 65 to 80 minutes, or until the dough is a nice golden brown and the juices from the apples are bubbling up through the slits. Transfer the baking pan to a cooling rack and cool to just warm or to room temperature. You'll be tempted to taste it sooner, but the dough needs a little time to rest before cutting into it. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


adapted from Baking: From My Kitchen to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

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Leave a Comment

  • March 11, 2008 at 11:06 AM

    The top of your pie-cake looks gorgeous! My slits “self-healed” as well.

  • March 11, 2008 at 11:38 AM

    I ate mine with ice cream too! Soooo good!

  • March 11, 2008 at 12:11 PM

    Your pie-cake looks awesome. I love how your made little rings instead of slices. Gorgeous!

  • March 11, 2008 at 12:33 PM

    Looks absolutely delicious! And you have made my day!

  • March 11, 2008 at 12:58 PM

    Your pics are magazine perfect! The toffee bits on the top sound WONDERFUL!! Great idea!

  • March 11, 2008 at 1:03 PM

    The top looks so cute!

  • March 11, 2008 at 1:19 PM

    We had custard, until know you are the only one with apple rings 🙂

  • March 11, 2008 at 1:20 PM

    I meant until now, great work!

  • March 11, 2008 at 1:28 PM

    Well done! Your pie/cake looks delicious!

  • CB
    March 11, 2008 at 1:39 PM

    I feel the same way. I think my new favorite day is Tuesday. Your pie-cake looks so yummy. I love the circular apple slices… Great job! 🙂

  • March 11, 2008 at 2:33 PM

    I love the way your sliced your apples and your crust is simply gorgeous!

  • March 11, 2008 at 3:54 PM

    Looks perfect! I love the way you sliced your apples too. Beautifully done!

  • March 11, 2008 at 4:32 PM

    Looks delicious! I love the way your apples look ad your crust looks wonderful!

  • March 11, 2008 at 6:05 PM

    I like the way you sliced your apples. Your pie-cake looks amazing!

  • March 11, 2008 at 7:04 PM

    Your pie-cake looks delicious. I could tell at a glance from just the top that you did apple rings. I guess mine was one of the few, if not only one, that bubbled as predicted.

  • March 11, 2008 at 8:02 PM

    Looks great! And that turquoise plate is awesome too!

  • March 11, 2008 at 9:19 PM

    Love the sliced apples! They really make for a very pretty slice of pie. It looks like it tastes wonderful! Great job!

  • March 11, 2008 at 10:47 PM

    Your top crust is truly beautiful

  • March 12, 2008 at 12:07 AM

    Gorgeous, and I’m so glad you liked it!

    I feel like I’m structuring my whole week around TWD, but I love it 🙂

  • Annie
    March 12, 2008 at 5:25 AM

    Wow, Tara! I’ve read too many of these TWD updated in my Google Reader and this is definitely the prettiest version I’ve seen. Yum! Oh, and You Make My Day back!

  • March 12, 2008 at 7:11 AM

    I adore how the top came out with all the browned circles, that just looks adorable. Great job with this, it looks super-tasty!

  • smellslikehome
    March 12, 2008 at 7:17 AM

    Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments! I only assumed when Dorie said to peel, core and slice the apples that everyone’s pie-cake would turn out like mine and I’m really surprised to see that I’m the minority. lol Everyone else’s pie-cakes look absolutely fantastic and I’m almost finished going through the full list. Can’t wait til next week!

    Ally and Annie – Thank you SO MUCH for the You Make My Day honor!!! I’m really humbled. 🙂

  • March 13, 2008 at 12:20 AM

    I love how the top of your cake looks! Must have gotten that way because you did apple rings instead of slices? My slits self healed too (that sounds really disgusting when talking about a delicious pie-cake) but I could see some bubbling on the side.

  • March 13, 2008 at 3:15 AM

    I love how the apple rings made that shape in the dough.

  • zakia6
    March 13, 2008 at 4:34 PM

    your dessert looks delicious. i love the way you sliced the apples. and how when you cut a slice they look layered. great!

  • March 13, 2008 at 7:32 PM

    my slits closed up as well too but i just reopened them part way through the baking process 🙂

    i love how you made rings instead of slices…and your crust looks beautiful

  • March 14, 2008 at 1:44 PM

    This looks beautiful! Great job!

    Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll! 🙂

  • March 15, 2008 at 5:08 PM

    For a minute, I totally thought you designed the top crust to make those perfect circles. Then I realized it was from the apple slices. My crust browned pretty quickly as well. I made the turnovers, so it browned even quicker. One way I have found to prevent overbrowning before baking time is complete is to throw a piece of foil over the area that is browning too quickly.

  • March 25, 2008 at 1:42 PM

    Oh wow that looks amazing

  • October 21, 2009 at 6:03 AM

    […] Russian Grandmother’s Apple Pie-Cake […]

  • Maureen
    September 28, 2017 at 10:51 AM

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. My grandfather was a baker from Poland. We use to chase him around the kitchen trying to get the recipe for his apple cake. This is the closest apple cake to it! It is absolutely delicious! The cake disappeared in a day in my home. Thanks again.

    • Tara
      October 6, 2017 at 8:37 AM

      This is such a wonderful story to hear, Maureen! I absolutely love how some food is so heavily rooted in our memories. So glad this cake was a big hit for your family. 🙂