Gedeckter Apfelkuchen Recipe – Covered German Apple Cake

Like so many other foods in Germany, you won’t find just one recipe for German Apple Cake. Personally, I now keep three different recipes in my back pocket, because you never know… the apple cake must fit the occasion after all! Apfelkuchen mit Streusel vom Blech (Apple Streusel cake in a Pan) for everyday and Versunkener Apfelkuchen (sunken Apple Cake), is a more traditional Apple cake that bakes up fairly quickly both come to the table often in my household. Still,  I grew up eating my mother’s Gedeckter Apfelkuchen Recipe (Covered Apple Cake), so this fabulous cake that resembles pie fits into the space closest to my heart and stomach. She baked it for Kaffeeklatsches at our house, and it always got eaten FAST! A covered Covered Apple Cake takes more time, and you will need to give it just a bit more attention, but every bite reminds you that the effort was worthwhile.

apple cake

Making the cake is straightforward. A rich and buttery cake dough lines the bottom and sides of the springform pan, and then softened apples fill the center. Top the apples with a layer of rolled out cake dough, and bake. You end up with two layers of flakey pastry and a tart sweet filling of apples (and raisins). From the side, the slice of this Apple Cake resembles a piece of pie. (Which has me racing to my food history books, to search for a connection. I’ll get back to you when I find it). As for Apples… you need lots of Apples. I used 7. (Some recipes call for 2 KILOS!  the 7 apples peeled and sliced weighed in around 1.4 kilos… and measured out to 8 cups sliced). My mother always adds raisins. As a child I picked them out…as an adult I can grudgingly admit that they do belong in the cake (but you CAN leave them out, or replace them with dried cranberries).

gedeckter apfelkuchen recipe

Now, before you start worrying that Gedeckter Apfelkuchen requires fancy ingredients or complicated equipment… STOP… the only essential piece of equipment you need is a 26cm Springform Pan. (Removing the cake from a standard cake pan with regular sides would end in disaster. Trust me on this.) When I reached out to my mom for the recipe, she told me she cut hers out of magazine 50 years ago, in the days before Thermomix, Microwave, Food Processors or Computers. Apples, Flour, Knife, Springform Pan, Cookpot, and Oven will cover it. I’ll walk you through it.

Gedeckter Apfelkuchen Recipe

gedeckter apfelkuchen recipe

Gedeckter Apfelkuchen Recipe - Covered German Apple Cake

A Gedeckter Apfelkuchen belongs on every Kaffeeklatsch table. With delicate pastry on top and bottom, and a delicious filling made from LOADS of apples (and a few raisins), your cake will vanish in no time! Read the instructions through carefully before starting... and check out the photos I've posted below for clarity.  Guten Appetit!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Cuisine German
Servings 12 -16


Cake dough- Ruhrteig:

  • 2/3 cup 150 gr Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup PLUS 1 Tablespoon 100 gr Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 cup 300 gr All Purpose Flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • pinch Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Bread Crumbs

Apple Filling:

  • 6 or 7 Apples I used a mix of Granny Smith and Honey Crisp approx 8 cup peeled, cored and sliced. (approx 1.3 kg)
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon 100 grGranulated Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup 50 gr Raisins


  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/4 cup 125 gr Powdered Sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)
  • Grease a 26 cm Springform Pan… set aside

Cake Dough:

  • Put the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl. By hand or machine, beat 2 to 3 minutes until combined.
  • Add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat to combined.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, and pinch of salt. Beat until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.
  • Lay a sheet of plastic wrap (or foil) on the counter. Pour the dough onto the wrap. Then wrap the dough up, shaping it into a loaf shape. Place in the refrigerator to cool until you finish preparing the apples. (This can be done a day in advance)

Apple Filling:

  • Peel, core, then slice the apples. For coring and slicing, I use a special cutter, but you can just slice them with a knife.
  • Place a large saucepan over medium-low heat on the stove.
  • Add the apples, lemon juice, sugar, raisins (if using), cinnamon, and ¼ cup water. Cook the apples until they being to soften. This might take 5 to 10 minutes. Stir to keep them moving around. You don’t want applesauce; you just want the apples soft enough that a knife inserted goes in easy. Be careful that they don’t burn, just stir occasionally until things settle in.
  • When the apples start to get soft, turn off the heat, and let the apples cool while you work on the dough again. (This can be done a day in advance)

Filling the Cake Pan:

  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Break off around 1/3 of the dough, and set aside.
  • Use your fingers to break up the rest of the dough, and press it in to the bottom and around 1 ½ inches up the side of the prepared baking pan.
  • It will seem like it’s not enough dough. It really is. Be patient, press it out. Make sure to cover the whole bottom…then go up the sides. Even it up as well as possible.
  • Sprinkle the base of the dough with bread crumbs.
  • Now add the apples. DON’T just dump them in!
  • Use a spoon to transfer the apples (and raisins) to the pan. You might notice a lot of liquid at the bottom of the pan. Transferring a few Tablespoons of this is fine, but you don’t want a soggy cake. Level the apples as well as possible. You can always take a few apple slices out of the cake and just snack on them

Make the top:

  • Roll out the remaining dough into a disk that will cover the cake. The best way to do this is place the dough between 2 pieces of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Roll it out. Lift the paper away occasionally to let it stretch.
  • Once the disc of dough is large enough, remove a piece of paper, and flip the dough onto the cake. Then remove the other paper. Fiddle with it until it covers everything. If there is extra dough around the edge, use it to patch holes.
  • Tuck the top dough until it connects with the sides. I find that a butter knife works well for this.
  • Once it’s completely covered…


  • Bake the cake for 50 minutes. It will be nice and brown on top.
  • Remove from the oven, and let cool in the pan on a rack.
  • After 15 minutes, run a knife around the edge to make sure nothing sticks, then loosen the springform.
  • Mix up the glaze. Combine the lemon juice and powdered Sugar. Stir until smooth.
  • Let cool 5 more minutes…Tighten the springform then top with the glaze. (The ring will keep the glaze on top of the cake). Use a spoon or pasty brush to cover the whole cake.
  • Once the glaze sets, remove the springform sides, and let cool completely.


Regarding Apples-
I used 7 apples, 5 regular sized Granny Smith apples and 2 smaller Honey Crisp apples. The flavor comes out tart... which I love... but not SOUR. The apples get mixed with sugar, to take the edge off.
That said. You can try different apples to make this work for you, or a different combination. Or add a bit more sugar. 
You do have a chance to taste the filling before it goes into the cake.
A Gedeckter Apfelkuchen can be made ahead and stored,covered, in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Let it come to room temperature before serving. 

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Baking this Gedeckter Apfel Recipe- Step by Step

It’s always a good idea to read through a recipe and make sure you understand what you are doing before you get started. Personally, I understand better when I can see it. I’ve added a few pictures to clarify what the instructions mean, and to show that none of the steps are really difficult. Just take them in order, and you will have a successful bake.


Beat together the ingredients for the dough, then wrap it in plastic wrap. 
This goes into the refrigerator to cool while you prepare the apples.

apple cake

Peel, core, and slice the apples.
I used mostly Granny Smith with a few Honey Crisp, because I like tart. Feel free to substitute your favorite baking apple. 
It looks like a lot of apples… and it is. I did lose a few slices along the way when my Tech Guy wandered through the kitchen looking for a snack. 
The apples will ‘cook down’ a bit. 


German apple cake


While the apples are cooling, take 2/3 of the dough, and start pressing it into the bottom and up the sides of a springform pan a bit at a time. It will feel like there isn’t enough. There is. 

apfelkuchen recipe


Just press and add, and before you know it, it will look like this (you can make the top edge look neater)


gedeckter apfelkuchen recipe


Sprinkle the dough with a few spoonfuls of breadcrumbs to help absorb extra moisture. Spoon the apple filling into the pan. 
There will probably be liquid in the saucepan… just leave it there. You want the apples and raisins, extra liquid will just make a mess.
A little that travels along with the spoon is fine (the crumbs will help). You want the filling sort of level with the top edge of the dough.
A little dome is ok, it will settle down during the baking. If there is just WAY too much, keep that out, and enjoy it as a snack.

gedeckter apfelkuchen recipe

Put the last 1/3 of the dough between to layers of waxed paper to roll out. 
The paper makes it easy to transfer the disk of dough without juggling.

apple cake

Pull the top paper off of the dough disk, then lay the dough side over the filling. 
Remove the other paper.

gedeckter apfelkuchen recipe


Tuck the top dough so that it connects to the sides. 
I use a butter knife to press it together a bit. 

german apple cake

Bake for 50 minutes
Let cool a few minutes in the pan, then run a knife carefully around the sides (in case it’s stuck)
Then remove the ring and let it cool a few more minutes

versunkener apfelkuchen recipe

Put the ring back on the warm cake, and spread the top with the lemon-powdered sugar glaze.
Let cool in the ring until the glaze firms up.
I prefer to put the glaze on with the ring, because I just want it on top. If you like it to drizzle down the side, you don’t have to put in the ring.

versunkener apfelkuchen recipe


Let cool completely

gedeckter apfelkuchen recipe

Slice and serve

gedeckter apfelkuchen recipe



12 thoughts on “Gedeckter Apfelkuchen Recipe – Covered German Apple Cake

  1. The description say „mix lemon juice and baking powder“ for the glaze. I believe that should be powdered sugar.

  2. I really appreciate your emails and all your wonderful information. Thank you for these awesome recipes. can’t wait to try them! I just made my mother’s Apfel Steusel Blech Kuchen. However, I used coconut oil instead of butter & my family loved it! It’s a good vegan option.

    1. Oh! great idea. I’ve always been hesitant to try vegan baking. I’ll give your method a try

    2. I have made the apple cakes and veganized them. There is vegan butter available by Violine and for the eggs there is Just Eggs, flax meal and egg replacer. The doughs turned out great and nobody was the wiser

      1. I really do need to learn more about Vegan baking. Thanks for letting me know.

  3. Hi Karenanne,
    I am planning on trying this recipe, it looks so delicious! Are you aware of a apple cake using vanilla pudding (made with heavy cream possibly)? My Aunt Annemarie made an incredibly delicious apple cake using I am pretty sure a vanilla pudding filling. The base was cake like, much like you use in this apple cake recipe. Then she would fill, using a square cake pan, a rich vanilla pudding into the cake/crust layer. Then she would place sliced apples across the top of the cake, and bake. This cake was always served cooled. It was very delicious and unfortunately my Tante did not leave us a recipe! My mother and her sisters grew up in the Saxony area of Germany, and my family is lucky to know how to prepare many of their German recipes! However, not this one special cake unfortunately! If you have any idea of what this cake might be, please share your knowledge! Thanks so much, Alice.

  4. I have made this covered apple cake, but totally veganised it, by usin vegan margarine, flax seed ( ground) just with the given ingredients. Came out excellent. It has to be good , because I am German too and ate this cake often.

    1. Good to hear your adjustments worked! Hopefully other vegan bakers will see this.

  5. This sounds recipe sounds delicious and I will definitely have to try it. Without the raisins!
    Glad to hear that there’s someone else who picked the raisins out when she was a child (I still do!).

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