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Easy Apple Cake: Russian Charlotte Russe Recipe

Updated on January 20, 2017
Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy writes about cooking, hobbies, and many other topics. She has published hundreds of articles online and in newspapers and magazines.

Moist, Fresh Apple Cake

Russian Apple Charlotte (Sharlotka) may look like pie, but it's considered a cake.
Russian Apple Charlotte (Sharlotka) may look like pie, but it's considered a cake. | Source

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3.8 stars from 32 ratings of Russian Apple Cake (Russian Charlotte)

Your Family Will Love This Easy Apple Cake!

Traditional charlotte russe is an elegant molded dessert set off by lady fingers positioned vertically around the perimeter (in fact, there are special pans designed to achieve this culinary piece of architecture.

A Russian Charlotte (Sharlotka), though, is much simpler to make, does not require a special pan, is delicious and is similarly impressive due to its light, airy appearance. The word "Russe" is French for "Russian," so the dessert name is slightly redundant, but no matter - the flavor will capture your taste buds, no matter what the name!

Some people refer to this dessert as a Russian apple pie because its single-layered profile, especially when prepared in a springform pan, resembles a pie. However, it requires very little flour (so does not have the carbohydrates found in pie crust) and once removed from the pan, it stands alone, like a cake.

The recipe can be made denser with fruit by adding more apples. When the eggs are beaten until very frothy, the crust or cake part of the dessert almost has the consistency of meringue.

For the best 'effect,' use a springform pan. Charlotte Russe with lady fingers can be made in a molded pan (both are shown here), but don't hesitate to use whatever baking pan you have on hand - it will still taste great!

Use Fresh Apples

Granny Smith Apples - good for apple cakes or russe recipes.
Granny Smith Apples - good for apple cakes or russe recipes. | Source

Cook Time

  • Prep time: 30 min
  • Cook time: 25 min
  • Ready in: 55 min
  • Yields: Serves eight

Ingredients

  • 3 Apples (tart, such as Granny Smith), Thinly sliced (if you have an apple corer and peeler, it will go more quickly!)
  • 1/2 Lemon, (Juice only)
  • 3 Eggs, Can use egg substiture (will not be as frothy)
  • 1 Cup (236.6 grams) Sugar
  • 1 Cup (236.6 grams) Flour, (All-purpose)
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda, Can reduce or increase amount
  • Oil or Butter, For greasing pan
  • One Charlotte Russe Molded Pan (a Springform Pan will also work!)
  • Cooling Rack
  • Optional Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, For topping

Basic Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (150 degrees Celsius; Gas Mark 4)
  2. Peel apples and remove the cores. If desired, slice into thin half-moon shapes. If you prefer diced shapes, that's fine, too. Sprinkle with lemon juice and toss to cover (the result should be a burst of tart flavor into your mouth before you taste the sweetness of the apple).
  3. Beat eggs with hand or countertop mixer until they're frothy (or whisk by hand).
  4. Add sugar gradually, mixing thoroughly so granules will blend well.
  5. Add flour and scant amount of baking soda, and combine to form batter.
  6. Generously oil or butter the springform pan (or other baking pan). If desired, arrange apples in circular layers, otherwise, place cut apples in the pan.
  7. Pour batter over apples, allowing to seep between spaces.
  8. Bake about 30-45 minutes (check at 25-30 minutes by inserting a toothpick)
  9. Allow to cool completely before removing the springform or (if baked in a skillet) turning onto a platter.
  10. Cut, Serve, and Enjoy! You'll love this moist, tender cake!
  11. If desired, top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. But this cake is so luscious, it doesn't need any extras!

Step-by-Step Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Wash, peel and core applesSlice apples into thin crescents for a visual effectSpringform pans work well for this recipeIf desired, layer slices into the pan in a decorative manner. Allow to cool on rack before releasing the spring or turning out of baking pan.
Wash, peel and core apples
Wash, peel and core apples | Source
Slice apples into thin crescents for a visual effect
Slice apples into thin crescents for a visual effect | Source
Springform pans work well for this recipe
Springform pans work well for this recipe | Source
If desired, layer slices into the pan in a decorative manner.
If desired, layer slices into the pan in a decorative manner. | Source
Allow to cool on rack before releasing the spring or turning out of baking pan.
Allow to cool on rack before releasing the spring or turning out of baking pan. | Source

Nutritional Content - One Serving

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 Slice (one eighth of total)
Calories 225
Calories from Fat81
% Daily Value *
Fat 9 g14%
Saturated fat 1 g5%
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 37 g12%
Sugar 33 g
Fiber 2 g8%
Protein 11 g22%
Cholesterol 128 mg43%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

A Delicious Masterpiece

A Russian Charlotte looks impressive, with its straight-sided profile.
A Russian Charlotte looks impressive, with its straight-sided profile. | Source

Variations for This Recipe

This recipe is given in the traditional amounts and has been a standard 'quick dessert' choice in Russia for many generations. When prepared as described here, it is very sweet (possibly sweeter than you may prefer).

If you're a fan of Downton Abbey, you may have seen elegant desserts like this one. Downton Abbey dining is done in the European tradition and the series' historians add authentic touches in the dishes served, the place settings and costumes.

A traditional version of this recipe uses lady fingers to line the pan (see the video here for tips).

How to Vary This Recipe:

You may wish to adjust some ingredients to adapt to your family's taste or for diet preferences. Here are some suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of sugar: This will change the overall texture of the cake, but it still tastes good.
  • Add a dash of cinnamon to the apple mixture or when you mix the batter. This will give it more of an apple pie flavor (but the cake tastes excellent without this addition).
  • Use egg whites or egg substitute: The end result may not be as 'light' as the original, but will still hold together and retain flavor.
  • Experiment by adding peaches or another fruit to the apple mixture. You may have to adjust baking times, or add more flour if you use moist fruit.
  • Try using pears rather than apples!

Note: Some versions of this recipe call for four eggs rather than three, or for quite a few more apples. Because the recipe has a heritage of being a standby standard, people have adapted it to fit what they had on hand or the number of people expected for dinner. Feel free to experiment and create a version you and your family will love.

Lemon Charlotte Russe

Which is your favorite? Cake or Pie?

This recipe is sometimes called cake, and sometimes pie; which do you like best?

See results

Serving Suggestions

Charlotte Russe makes a great table presentation by itself, but you can also add a few things to make it more interesting.

  1. Serve with hot coffee or hot tea. This recipe begs for a steaming cup of after-dinner coffee.
  2. Serve warm with ice cream. Yes, this is an American tradition, but I guarantee it will be a hit with any diner. This cake is delicious when still warm from the oven, and reheats well, too.
  3. Top with fresh whipped cream. Perfectly chilled and freshly whipped mounds of real cream will complement this dessert beautifully. Since whipped cream is rich and the dessert is sweet, you can cut down (or perhaps even avoid) the sugar you might normally add.
  4. Offer an after dinner brandy or liquor to guests. Since the cake is sweet, choose an aperitif that won't conflict. A fruit brandy can be used successfully.
  5. Serve with a fresh slice or spoonful of the fruit used in the recipe. If you're making the apple version. keep a few slices to one side (sprinkled with lemon juice to retain the color), and garnish the plate or top with fresh fruit just before serving. For the lemon version, a sliver of fresh citrus will look great.
  6. Sprigs of mint. Yes - that's almost a dining cliché, but they do dress up a plate!

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  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 2 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, PeachPurple - I hope you try making it - the cake is heavenly. My only warning is that it's very (very!) sweet as it is written, so you might want to adjust the sugar here and there. The apples are standard cooking apples - they are just the ones with green skins.

  • peachpurple profile image

    peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    awesome cake, never tried adding in green apples before, voted up

  • colorfulone profile image

    Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

    Marcy, I want some of this cake right now so much. I am not real big on sweets, but this just looks so delicious.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, Peggy! Let me know how your dinner party turned out!

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Hi Marcy,

    When I first commented on this recipe I had not yet joined Pinterest. Going to pin this to my cake and sweet breads board. We are having dinner guests over this weekend. I am thinking that this would be a good dessert. Also giving this a share.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Heidi! I can't wait to hear how the cake turned out for you - and I think coconut sugar would be a heavenly variation! Thanks for the info on the temp - I need to check the information I had on it and make that change here.

    Thanks for your comments! Enjoy the cake!

  • profile image

    heidi 3 years ago

    I have two in the oven now! one following your recipe, and one substituting coconut sugar and spelt flour to make it even healthier. I'm in Australia and it's a cold spring day, so apple cake sounds perfect for dessert.

    Just a heads up , 350 fahrenheit is around about 180 celcius... not 150 as stated above. that 30 degrees makes quite the difference in celcius, so it is important. :)

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, IslandBites! I hope you give the recipe a try! It's as tasty as it looks!

  • IslandBites profile image

    IslandBites 3 years ago from Puerto Rico

    Beautiful! Nice recipe. Vote up!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Oh, do let me know how you like it! I love this recipe - it's delicious and really unusual, but so simple. Now I am getting hungry for it . . . all your fault! Thanks for the comment, LCD, and hope you love this cake as much as I do!

  • LCDWriter profile image

    L C David 4 years ago from Florida

    Okay, this is going on the list for the next grocery trip. It looks too delicious! And maybe it's one I won't mess up!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Yay! I can't wait to hear how you like it, VocalCoach! It's truly delicious - I need to make it again soon, too. Thanks for reading, and for the votes!

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

    I'm heading for the kitchen with your recipe in hand. Anytime I can find an easy recipe for cake I get so excited. Thanks Marcy. Up +++ and 5*

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, Moonlake! Oh, I do hope you try this cake - it is memorable! So moist, and so easy to make.

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 4 years ago from America

    This sounds so good. I will one day want to try it. Voted up and pinned.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, StoneCircle! Oh, you are so lucky to have your own trees to use! The cake is so yummy - for your own safety, have others around to share it. Otherwise, you'll polish it off by yourself . . . trust me on that one.

    Drop by and let us know how you like the recipe!

  • StoneCircle profile image

    Susan McLeish 4 years ago from Rindge, NH

    I will be giving this recipe a go when fresh apples once again drop from the trees in fall. This sounds delicious but I am not sure it will last long enough to share with company.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Ratnaveera! Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I do hope you get to try the recipe, and I'd love to hear what you think of it if you get a chance! It is truly delicious - make certain you have others around to share it; it's addictive!

  • ratnaveera profile image

    ratnaveera 4 years ago from Cumbum

    It seems very delicious and nutritious recipe! I will try to prepare this wonderful recipe. Thank you so much for sharing this great information.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Let me know how you like the recipe, Missy - it is addictive! I plan to make it only when I have a large group to feed, or for a potluck - otherwise, I will eat it all by myself (been there; done that!).

  • Missy Mac profile image

    Missy Mac 4 years ago from Illinois

    I will try this recipe. This looks delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Ishwaryaa - oh, I hope you try this recipe! It's delicious, and quite easy. I think the next time I make it, I will leave the peelings on the apples - both to save time, and for the added nutrition. Let me know hoe you like it!

  • ishwaryaa22 profile image

    Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 4 years ago from Chennai, India

    A tasty dessert! I am very much a dessert person and would like to try this recipe. I often ate cake/pie with a dollop of ice-cream. Your instructions and variation tips are clear and helpful. Well-done!

    Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up & pinned

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Toknowinfo - so glad the recipe looks good to you! Yes, it is yummy, and I think the fall weather is tempting me to make another one very soon! It's so easy to make, and really does melt in your mouth!

  • toknowinfo profile image

    toknowinfo 4 years ago

    This sounds like a really delicious recipe. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Let us know how it works!

  • ptrg777 profile image

    Peter 4 years ago from New York

    Yes I will be careful with the sugar. I have a father that is diabetic so it can't be too sweet. But I have a bit of a sweet tooth...don't we all. ;) Thanks!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hope you enjoy it! As I've mentioned, it's quite sweet, so you may want to experiment with the level of sugar if you make it a few times. It is absolutely delicious, though - really yummy! Thanks for visiting the hub, and welcome to the site!

  • ptrg777 profile image

    Peter 4 years ago from New York

    Like the recipe and that it isn't complicated. Will be giving this a try for sure!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Unknown Spy - hope you get a chance to try this - it is indeed a yummy recipe! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  • unknown spy profile image

    IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

    Looks very delicious! This recipe is brilliant. 5 stars!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, Vespawoolf! It really is divine - very sweet, but oh-so-good! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • vespawoolf profile image

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    I look forward to trying this unique dessert. It's not only beautiful to look at...it must also be delicious!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, Peggy - and I went ahead and added more information on the eggs. As with you, I really like the fact there's no extra oil in the recipe. So unique!

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

    This Charlotte Russe looks so pretty! I was about to tell you that you left out the number of eggs in the ingredient list when I saw it further down in a text capsule. No oil or shortening, other than greasing the pan, would cut down on unhealthy fats. We have some Pink Lady apples in the house right now. It if is a very sweet dessert, the Granny Smith apples would probably be a better foil against the sweetness. Up, useful and interesting votes. Will keep this in mind for serving to company! Thanks!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Wow - so glad to hear this, Susan! I loved it as well, and I have to be certain there are others around to eat it, or I'm at serious risk of eating it all myself!

  • Just Ask Susan profile image

    Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Made this today and I wish I could rate it a 10 rather than a 5. Delicious!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
    Author

    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Mhatter - it almost seems like a secret, that's for sure! So few people have heard of the recipe. Thanks for reading and commenting - hope you try it!

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

    Thank you for this. I thought this was a secret. :))

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
    Author

    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, John - thanks for reading and commenting - and be sure to have plenty of people around to share the cake if you try it, otherwise, it's far too tempting to eat it all yourself!

  • John Sarkis profile image

    John Sarkis 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

    Hi Marcy, this looks really good. Furthermore, the recipe doesn't look complicated at all. I'll have to try this sometime.

    Thanks for introducing me to this wonderful dessert!

    John

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks for your comments, Melovy - I hope you enjoy the recipe! Try adding extra apples - mkes it even more yummy!

  • Melovy profile image

    Yvonne Spence 5 years ago from UK

    I just had to come and take a look. This looks so good. I am sure all my family would love it so I will definitely make this. I love moist cakes. I'll have cake over pie any day!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Well, so far I haven't managed to avoid guzzling - but I did hang onto a few pieces for at least three days. It's a fairly moist cake, especially if you up the apple numbers. It still holds together, even with more apples!

  • Nettlemere profile image

    Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

    It looks a very doable and scrumptious recipe. How long does it store for? (assuming you can manage not to guzzle it all at once!)

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thank you, Feisty! It's truly delicious (very sweet - fair warning!), and the texture is heavenly. Hope you enjoy it!

  • feistyfood profile image

    feistyfood 5 years ago from Northern England.

    This looks fantastic!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, K Kiss - so glad you like the recipe - hope you're able to try it soon!

  • K Kiss profile image

    K Kiss 5 years ago from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

    Thanks a lot for sharing this with us!! Shared and voted up

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

    I will give it a try!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Patty - I'm so glad you've heard of these before! I hope you get a chance to try the recipe. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

    I have not seen one of these in years, so thanks a million!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Jackie - please let me know how you like it! Wish I lived close enough to come by for a piece - it is indeed yummy! You can add cinnamon if you want, but the plain recipe is good as is. It's sweet, as I've said above, so you may want to play with it as you try it from time to time.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Ashley - I'm so glad you like the recipe - I hope you try it, and I hope you enjoy it! Fair warning - it is very sweet as given above, so you may need to adjust it. Thanks for reading and leaving your comments!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

    It just happens now and then but this is one of those recipes that looks so easy and so good I have to make it as soon as I can, and that means tonight. I know it will be so good, thank you!

  • Ask Ashley profile image

    Ask Ashley 5 years ago from California

    Mmm.....this cake/pie looks SCRUMPTIOUS! I can't wait to try it.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
    Author

    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Teaches - you must have loved using those apples teachers get! I like the recipe with even more apples than it calls for, and with perhaps a bit less sugar. Thanks for reading and commenting here!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    That's an interesting question, Austinstar - I'm not certain how Fuji apples perform in baking. The best baking apples are crisp and tart, and don't fall apart as easily when cooked. FYI - this recipe is very (very) sweet - so you will likely not notice the zest of the lemon juice. You can always leave it out (it won't hurt the recipe to leave it out), and experiment with different types of apples. Hope you find a mixture you like!

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

    Looks like a great recipe to serve to those wanting a healthier dessert. You can't go wrong making anything with apples.

  • Austinstar profile image

    Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    I'm not much of a fan of lemon juice or tart apples (long story), but I think this might work for Fuji apples. What do you think? I use apple juice instead of lemon juice.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, RTalloni - thanks for reading and for the nice comments! It is a great little recipe - I hope you give it a try

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Susan - be sure to adjust the sugar if you don't want it too sweet! Also, you can definitely add more apples to make it denser. Let us know how the family likes it.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Allie - I hope you give it a try! It's great with quite a few more apples in it, by the way!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Angela - many thanks! It's a very tasty recipe - but quite sweet!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Ktrapp - I've not heard of the clothing store, but I wouldn't be surprised! Charlotte Russe is a very old recipe, and this is a variation on it - but the store probably came along later. Thanks for commenting here!

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

    What a beautiful cake! It is mouthwateringly pretty--I love that meringue look. Am looking forward to trying this. Apple cake is a favorite of ours, but my recipes don't look this appealing.

  • Just Ask Susan profile image

    Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Wow my mouth is watering! This looks so good and easy to make. Granny Smith apples onto the shopping list so I can make this cake on the weekend.

  • alliemacb profile image

    alliemacb 5 years ago from Scotland

    This looks so delicious. I love apple desserts and I know the family would wolf this one down.

  • Angela Brummer profile image

    Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

    This looks amazing!

  • ktrapp profile image

    Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

    Marcy - This apple pie/cake looks and sounds delicious. I have never eaten, let alone heard of Charlotte Russe before, so I appreciate the great description and recipe. It really does look a little more airy than a traditional apple pie. (By the way, isn't Charlotte Russe also the name of a clothing store? Strange if it is.) Thanks again.

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