French apple cake

Oh, apple season, you are my favorite. And French apple cake, you are di-vine!

There are so many good things to make with apples. Pie and applesauce, of course. But also baked apple dumplings with each one cored, filled with butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar then wrapped in a shell of pie crust, and then there’s fresh, crisp apples sliced and dipped in something marvelous like this creamy caramel sauce or this amazing cider caramel. Go ahead and search for anything “apple” on the King Arthur Flour website. Amazing stuff! Apples can be baked into a million muffin, bread, or cake recipes and they’re all good. In fall, I like a good firm apple sauteed with butternut squash, onion, and potato, seasoned with rosemary, mustard and maple syrup. But maybe that’s just me.

One thing everyone in my family agrees on is this cake. Several children claimed they now want this as their standard birthday cake. It is dense, tangy, sweet, rich, and mild all at the same time. It could be accompanied by a caramel sauce, cinnamon ice cream or clotted cream, but stands well on its own, too. It’s our new favorite.

Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Generously butter an 8-inch (20cm) springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.

Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1 inch chunks.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they’re foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the cider and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it’s coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it’s even.

Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

(Recipe modified from


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