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
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  • 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

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*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


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  1. I made this last night and used Granny Smith apples since I did not read the recipe carefully until AFTER the cake was in the oven. It still turned out beautifully and the apples were cooked with a slight bite which is how we like it. I sliced them very thinly and baked the cake at 340. It was done in 1 1/4 hours. I also used organic cane sugar instead of regular and Calvados instead of rum. It is really delicious without being too sweet.

    1. Wonderful AE! Thanks so much for letting us know about the Granny Smith apples. We’re so glad that you like the recipe.

  2. I wanted to make this for Rosh Hoshana and I love apples on the tart side, but don’t want to run into the problem of the apples not cooking through. I’ll have Paula Red, Ginger Gold, Zestar, Sansa, Akane, and Gravenstein available at the local farm. I wonder if Gravenstein, Ginger Gold and Akane might work?

    1. Hey nakedbeet. Good on you for contemplating your apple selection so carefully. Although quite honestly, as long as you start with apples that are decent at retaining their shape during cooking, it’s more about the thickness of the apple slices than it is the type of apple. What you propose sounds lovely to me, as all are decent baking apples. If it was me, I’d go light on the Akane, though, as they tend to be rather sweet. Let us know how it goes, and happy, happy new year.

  3. 5 stars
    Oh this was sooooo good! Particularly delicious warm out of the oven—-so delicious I had to drive a slice to my mother so she could also experience it——and easily reheatable in the microwave. I used creme fraiche in the filling (maybe a low-fat version of that would work for the lady above who wanted a substitute, however, how do you substitute all the other goodies in it? It just wouldn’t be the same!!) For rum I used Captain Morgan (not the spiced one) but think next time I’ll give Goslings 151 a shot.

    One thing I found frustrating, being a European baker who is used to weighing quantities rather than measuring them, was the 11 tbsps butter. How the heck are you meant to measure accurately tablespoons of butter? I calculated it at 150g which equals 1.33 sticks (a measure I am more comfortable with and wouldn’t have required me to dash to the internet to work out quantities!).

    Still…stunning cake and it will become a regular in my kitchen——like many of the wonderful recipes you have already published.

    1. Niki, I agree, it’s like no other cake. The trick with the measurements in this recipe is that it takes precisely that amount of butter to create that texture, and so we were hesitant to change it to make it more easily measurable for those using metric. We do try to include that information when we can, and will continue to tweak recipes to accommodate that. What did Mom think?!

      1. Thanks for the reply, Renee. The texture was fine with my calculation of butter—tablespoons of a solid surely is less accurate than ounces? It’s the one thing I just can’t get my head around in US recipes. I can understand sticks, but tablespoons or cups of a solid?? Nah. Can’t fault your baking, but don’t much care for some of the measurements! Mum loved it, as did my husband and son (I didn’t tell my husband that I used his rum for the recipe, though. LOL.) Will definitely make it again, so thanks for publishing.

        1. Niki, I can’t agree with you more in terms of those pesky tablespoons. I just this afternoon tried to measure out tablespoons of frozen lard from a small tub that I keep stashed in the freezer. It wasn’t pretty what I was mumbling as I was fussing with the slippery frozen lard. Love that the drunken apple cake was a keeper, though! And lemme work on getting some proper measurements in that recipe for you….

  4. This cake looks awesome and I am definitely going to make it this weekend. My house here in CT backs up to an apple orchard so there are plenty of fresh apples to use. Do you think this cake would freeze well? I would definitely make a couple and freeze for the holidays! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and stories – I eagerly look forward to the weekly email.

    1. Marilyn, we’re thrilled to hear you’re going to make this cake—and we envy you that apple orchard! I’m a little worried about freezing the cake, for two reasons. First, this cake has a sort of unique custardy, cakey texture, and I’m not certain how that would fare if you froze it. Second, I fear the apples, if frozen, would exude some of their juices when the cake thaws, marring the cake’s lovely and unique texture. Perhaps instead you could hold a drunken apple cake-making party with your friends? Everyone comes and picks apples and makes cakes in your kitchen, then goes home with their baked good after having spent a lovely afternoon in the company of you and everyone. Sort of an early holiday gift?

      1. Sounds like a perfect idea, Renee, and we might just have to sample a few different rums while we’re cutting up all those apples to see which would be the perfect one for this cake!!! Drunken Cake, Drunken Cooks!

  5. My Granddaughter wanted to take something to her boyfriend’s home for Thanksgiving that she helped make. We made the Drunken Apple for her. I used a layer of the apples on top and sprinkled some sugar on it before baking, it just sparkled, also did the Cream Anglaise for the sauce. It looked so good! Well, last night the Dad called to rave about how they just loved it. I didn’t make one for us, but I’ll make as one of our desserts for Christmas so we can enjoy it, too. Thanks for this recipe–we both made some happy friends with this dessert.

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