A traditional German recipe, this gluten-free baked apple pancake is something I grew up eating – the recipe comes from my great-grandmother and my mom made it often when I was small. You can make it with buckwheat flour as outlined in the recipe (the older style farmer’s pancake) or with spelt or plain flour for a more modern version.
You can also cook the batter on the stovetop and make something like a thick, hearty crepe. That’s how I often make it, especially when I’m looking for a quick dessert. Fill with applesauce rather than baking the apples into the batter.
Either way, it’s a filling, hearty dessert or lightly sweet breakfast. Eggs play an important role in this recipe and can’t be omitted – if you want a GF American pancake recipe made with baking powder, try my vegan banana buckwheat pancakes instead.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Buckwheat flour: for the lightest (gluten-free) pancake, use light or sifted buckwheat flour. Whole-grain, or a mix of the two, can be used for a higher-fibre option. Spelt, plain flour, or other gluten flours like einkorn and kamut can also be used. Don’t try subbing coconut or almond flour here.
- Milk: I always use oat milk, but almond milk or another type can be used, and of course dairy milk works. Don’t use canned coconut milk.
- Coconut Oil: use refined coconut oil to avoid any slight coconut flavour. You can substitute vegan or dairy butter in equal amounts if preferred.
- Apple: use a good baking apple that isn’t too tart here, as you want it to keep its shape during baking. I like cox or boskoop. Feel free to use two apples, especially if they’re rather small.
Step by Step
Step 1: whip the egg whites into soft peaks and set aside.
Step 2: beat the egg yolks and remaining liquid ingredients in another bowl until frothy.
Step 3: add the oil and apple slices to a pre-heated pan and place back into the oven.
Step 4: mix the flour into the egg yolk mixture.
Step 5: fold the egg whites into the batter.
Step 6: carefully remove the hot pan from the oven.
Step 7: pour the batter into the pan, levelling into an even layer.
Step 8: bake until golden and puffy.
The pan and the oven must both be well preheated to bake the pancake. Cut the apples in advance and have them ready to add or you’ll be in a bit of a pickle when it’s time to pour the batter into the pan. I always add the apples to the pan while I’m making the batter so they have a bit of time to soften, but this is optional.
A German pancake varies slightly from a Dutch baby in that it’s typically baked in a casserole dish rather than a round pan (though I always use a cast iron pan, as pictured), and uses less fat. The eggs are also whisked separately which results in a different texture. A Dutch baby is, of course, not Dutch at all, but a linguistic variation of Deutsch, a recipe brought by Germans who moved to America, adapted to American food preferences and availability over time.
Whether you peel the apples or not is personal preference. Some apples have a thicker, hard skin and should be peeled, but generally you don’t need to take the extra time to do so.
How to Store
Storage: after baking, leftovers can be kept in a sealed container at room temperature for a day or two. This is best the day it’s made.
Freezing: I don’t recommend freezing the baked pancake, but if you choose to fry them instead, the pancakes can be frozen without filling. Thaw as usual and warm slightly in a pan before serving.
- Whisk like mad: the egg whites must be whisked into soft peaks, with no remaining liquid white, in order to fold in correctly. This is what makes the pancake so fluffy. You can use an electric mixer as I did for the video here.
- Sweeten after baking: this recipe doesn’t have much added sugar, only a bit of honey, and is sweetened primarily by the added apple. If it’s not sweet enough for you, add maple syrup or cinnamon sugar when serving rather than mixing sugar into the batter.
- Don’t over-bake: the centre should be slightly custardy when the pancake is finished, not baked all the way through. The edges will be quite golden and crisp when it’s ready but look for a middle that still jiggles a bit, or else the pancake will be dry.
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German Baked Apple Pancake
- 2 large eggs room temperature (or 3 small eggs)
- 120 ml non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional
- 50 grams buckwheat flour
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
- 1 large apple cored and sliced
- Heat oven to 200°C (400°F). Put the pan in the oven to pre-heat while the oven heats up (I use a 20cm cast iron pan).
- Separate the eggs and place the egg whites into a mixing bowl. Whisk or beat until soft peaks form. Set aside.2 large eggs
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the egg yolks, milk, honey, and vanilla. If using electric beaters, I usually mix the honey with the yolks first but this doesn't matter.2 large eggs, 120 ml non-dairy milk, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add the buckwheat flour and cinnamon and whisk to combine. Gently fold in the egg whites to form a fluffy, light batter.50 grams buckwheat flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Carefully take the hot pan out of the oven and add the coconut oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the apples to the pan, then pour the batter overtop. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden. The middle should still be a bit wobbly when it's ready.1 large apple, 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- Remove from the oven and carefully flip the pancake out onto a large plate or serving dish. Serve immediately.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This post was first published in December 2014. It has been updated most recently as of January 2023.