Vera’s Apple Kuchen Apple Cake

Makes one 17-by-12-inch cake

From “Jewish Soul Food” by Janna Gur. Copyright © 2014 by Janna Gur. Excerpted by permission of Schocken Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


For the dough:

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2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

3/4 cup lukewarm milk

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, melted

For the apple filling:

5 pounds tart baking apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled and cored

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 egg white (optional)

For the glaze:

1 egg yolk


1. Prepare the dough: Mix the yeast, sugar and milk in a bowl; let stand for a few minutes until the mixture starts to bubble.

2. Place the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the melted butter and yeast mixture, and knead for 5 to 6 minutes to a soft, shiny dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and knead briefly by hand. If it feels sticky, add a little bit of flour.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 17-by-12-inch baking sheet.

5. Punch down the dough and knead briefly on a well-floured work surface. Divide the dough in half and roll one piece to a rectangle the size of the baking sheet. Line the pan with it.

6. Prepare the apple filling: Grate the apples on a coarse grater and squeeze out the juice. Add the sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Taste the apples and adjust the sweetness/acidity by adding sugar and/or lemon juice. To make the filling a little more stable, stir in the egg white (if using).

7. Evenly spread the filling on the dough.

8. Roll out the remaining dough to a rectangle the size of the baking sheet and place it on top of the filling.

9. Prepare the glaze: Dilute the yolk with a little bit of water and brush the surface of the dough. Using a fork, make a crisscross pattern on the glaze.

10. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the cake is golden brown. Cool and cut into squares.  The cake will keep up to four days in a tightly covered container at room temperature.