Drunken Apple Cake ~ Kuchen Borracho

This drunken apple cake, also known as kuchen borracho, is a unique dessert made with layers of creamy apple filling nestled between bands of tender, rum-spiked cake that has an almost custardy texture.

This drunken apple cake doesn’t quite resemble any type of apple cake of our childhood. It comprises layers of tender, thinly sliced apples surrounded by a not-too-sweet batter and is almost custard- or pudding-like in places. Tasting is believing.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Drunken Apple Cake ~ Kuchen Borracho

A decorative plate topped with a slice of drunken apple cake that is drizzled with cream.
This drunken apple cake, also known as kuchen borracho, is a unique dessert made with layers of creamy apple filling nestled between bands of tender, rum-spiked cake that has an almost custardy texture.
Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra

Prep 30 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
Total 2 hrs
10 to 12 slices
427 kcal
4.80 / 10 votes
Print RecipeBuy the Warm Bread and Honey Cake cookbook

Want it? Click it.


  • 9-inch (23-cm) or 9 1/2-inch (24-cm) spring-form pan, at least 2 3/4 inches (7 cm) high


For the filling

  • 1 1/2 pounds tart apples* (about 5 medium)
  • Generous 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

For the cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the pan
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 11 tablespoons (5 1/2 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • Generous 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 5 tablespoons rum (any rum will do quite nicely) or Calvados
  • 5 tablespoons cold water


Make the apple filling

  • Peel and core the apples. Cut each apple into 8 wedges and then cut each wedge lengthwise into slender slices.
  • In a bowl, combine the sugar and cream. Gently stir in the apples.

Make the batter

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Butter a 9-inch or 9 1/2-inch springform pan at least 2 3/4 inches high and dust it with flour, tapping out any excess.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a large bowl with an electric mixer or by hand, beat the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the lightly beaten eggs to the butter mixture in 4 batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition.
  • Gently fold in the flour in 4 batches, adding the rum and water with the third batch. Stop mixing as soon as the last batch of flour is incorporated.
  • Scrape 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Spoon half of the apple and cream mixture evenly over the batter, leaving a 1/2-inch plain border around the edge and smoothing the slices so they're neat and level.
  • Scrape another 1/3 of the batter on top of the apples and cream and smooth the surface, spreading the batter all the way to the edge of the pan. Spoon the remaining apples and cream evenly on top of the batter, and then top with the last of the batter, smoothing it all the way to the edge of the pan, which will be quite full.
  • Bake the cake for 1 1/2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. 
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes, then release the sides of the pan and transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool.
  • Slice and serve the cake warm or at room temperature. Your drunken apple cake will keep at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Print RecipeBuy the Warm Bread and Honey Cake cookbook

Want it? Click it.


*What You Need To Know About Selecting An Apple For This Drunken Apple Cake

To define a “type” of tart apple that’s perfect for this recipe is sort of like trying to define a particular “type” of artistic genius like Michelangelo or da Vinci. Can’t really be done in so many words. That said, some relatively common types that fall somewhere on the tartish side of appledom include Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Northern Spy, and Tydeman. Better yet, ask your local apple guy at the greenmarket—chances are you’ll end up with the perfect local variety, quite possibly something of the vintage heirloom variety. Just be mindful not to confuse “tart” with “sour.” Save the mouth-puckering Granny Smiths and Greenings for another recipe.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 427kcal (21%)Carbohydrates: 56g (19%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 19g (29%)Saturated Fat: 12g (75%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 107mg (36%)Sodium: 89mg (4%)Potassium: 235mg (7%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 34g (38%)Vitamin A: 699IU (14%)Vitamin C: 3mg (4%)Calcium: 72mg (7%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Easy to make, even easier to love, this kuchen has everything going for it—looks, taste, ease of preparation. The apples bake up into a really flavorful filling and the surrounding cake is moist inside and crispy good on the top. The rum gives it a very subtle boost. Licking the bowl is a plus for this one!

This could easily serve 10 to 12 people if you hide the cake after you serve it, otherwise guests will attack whatever is left and eat it before you can say Johnny Appleseed.

This drunken apple cake is a winner! it is such a simple recipe yet produces a dessert that looks like it comes right from the bakery and tastes wonderful. It’s not too sweet and has a nice texture from the cream. This cake is perfect for autumn and will most definitely have a place on my dessert table at Thanksgiving.

I only had a 9 1/2-inch springform pan and I was glad I used it because I needed the extra room for the apples.

Originally published October 21, 2020


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. Would an apple corer/peeler/slicer be a good tool to call into play here? I’d like to ensure my apple slices are even, and thin enough. Can’t wait to try this.

  2. The cake is in the oven right now. I used a 9.5″ inch springform pan and there wasn’t enough batter AT ALL. I sort of made do with it but I wish I’d seen the tip about the pastry bag. Even so, I don’t think there would be enough batter. Next time I’ll use a smaller pan or I’ll double the batter and cook longer. This sounds fantastic. As soon as it’s out of the oven I’ll weigh in how it turned out – maybe the batter will spread and surprise me. 🙂 If nothing else, it’s a great base for all kinds of fun desserts! Thank you!

  3. My God, this looks and sounds so absolutely delicious! I am thinking of making this cake for my son who loves apple desserts but would like your opinion on something; would a streusel topping be overkill? He loves crumb tops and would like to incorporate this into your recipe. If plausible, would you suggest adding the topping halfway into baking time? I’d appreciate any advice on the matter and thank you (most of all) for posting this recipe : )

    1. Hi JYH, I spoke with Karen Depp who made this cake and these are her thoughts: “…it is my recollection that this definitely stands well on its own and has an almost bread pudding type feel to it. I wouldn’t put anything streusel on it because that would take it in another direction. There is far and away enough stuff in it that gives it excellent flavor on its own and the texture doesn’t need any fooling with for mouthfeel. I know some folks really love their streusel and some families liked things “topped” off with something that translates to “sweeter than all the rest.” If that’s the case, I’d say give it a shot. But if they’re into apples and want to taste this compilation as an adventure in apples, try it without.”

    1. Me again, Svetlana. I consulted with someone who is a kosher cooking guru. She explained that tweaking the cake for Passover is possible by substituting finely ground matzo cake meal for the flour. The cake would probably be somewhat heavier, however. (I noted earlier that the cake is fairly dense…I’m sorry, but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the difference will be negligible or whether you’ll have a brick on your hands.) And rum is not kosher for Passover, so it would have to be eliminated or you could consider substituting a kosher-for-Passover booze. Hope this helps. Kindly let us know if you give it a twirl!

    2. Svetlana, how lovely to hear from you! We haven’t tested it as such, so I can’t vouch for it like I can the recipes we put on the site. I gotta admit, I’m a little hesitant to say go ahead because this cake has such a unique texture that’s sorta a melding of custard and cake. I’m not certain whether tweaking the ingredients would muck up the texture or, since the cake is dense anyways, wouldn’t even be noticeable. Sorry to not be of more help! I’ve asked some other folks more experienced with adapting recipes for Passover to take a look at the recipe and chime in with their thoughts, so please stand by…

  4. Hi there – two things: 1. How does this cake do when made a day before serving? and 2. Would honey crisp apples work?

    Thank you!

    1. Hello and happy holidays, Ann! The cake holds spectacularly when made a day—or even up to several days—in advance. Of course, as with most things, it’s best warm from the oven, but you can easily wrap it in foil and rewarm it in a gentle oven. As for the honey crisp apples, I’m a little hesitant to say, simply because none of our testers used them so I can’t vouch from the surety of experience, but they ought to work just fine. You’ll probably end up with a super sweet cake due to their natural sweetness, but that’s hardly a terrible thing…kindly let us know how it goes!

      1. To add to Renee’s comment, the alcohol flavour intensifies as the cake “ages”. I actually prefer it a couple of days old, slightly warmed.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

Upload a picture of your dish