Wednesday, October 21, 2015

French Apple Cake

In general, no one needs much advice. Even when requested, all anyone is searching for is sincere compassion and understanding. Phrases like "You need to" or "Why are you doing that?" can be interpreted (by stressed but fully functional humans) as arrogant and annoying. Gentle suggestions are usually okay. Attempting to boss or bend people to your will never works. Take a leap of faith, believing that people have great potential to figure it all out. In their own time and in their own way, they invariably do. Quiet support and heartfelt prayers are a good idea. Coffee and cake are always welcome too.

Since we live near several apple orchards, this cake is often on our fall menu. The coziness of apples and brown sugar lifts spirits and soothes souls. A piece of this French cake, still warm from the oven, is pure bliss

I riff on a recipe that I found in the wonderful cookbook,  Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. Dorie credits her friend, Marie Helene, as the original creator of this delicious dessert. French women have been whipping up quick apple cakes like this for centuries. They typically do not write down recipes. But Dorie discovered the magical ingredients. The cake is ultra-moist with a golden-brown top. Apples are the star. The cake has a supporting role. If you love apple desserts then this recipe is for you.   

The next time you crave comfort, make this lovely cake. Enjoy it alone or with a friend in need of cheer. Brew a pot of coffee or tea. Take a sweet respite from the busy world. You'll be happy to have this apple cake on your counter.    

French Apple Cake Recipe


Makes 6 Servings

Some Notes & Tips

The original recipe calls for dark rum. But I've swapped it for apple brandy. Rum is good too. 

When buttering the pan, the butter wrapper is a handy tool.

I use the whisk attachment of a handheld electric mixer to whisk the ingredients. 

The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without whipped cream or ice cream. Marie Helene pairs it with cinnamon ice cream. 

I store it on the counter for a day, loosely tented with foil. If I want to eat it the second day, I pop it in the fridge and warm a piece in the microwave.  


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt. I use sea salt.
  • 4 large apples. I like to mix up the varieties if I can. 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar. I use Florida Crystals Organic Brown Sugar. 
  • 3 tablespoons of apple brandy such as Calvados or AppleJack   
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

To Serve: ice cream (vanilla or cinnamon is nice), whipped cream  

  1. Instructions

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan. 

  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in  bowl.
  3. Peel the apples, remove the cores and cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.

  4. Beat the eggs until they've increased in volume and they're foamy. Pour in the brown sugar and whisk for a minute or more to blend. Stir in the apple brandy and vanilla extract. 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 after each addition. The batter will be somewhat thick. Fold in the apples so that they're coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan. Spread out evenly.

  5. Put the pan into the oven and bake for 50-60 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. Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature. I like it fresh from the oven with a little whipped cream on top.

  1. Bon Appetit!

Photo Credit


  1. Your blog is very interesting ! I am an Indian and I loved to see many Indian dishes in your blog. Also, I am learning many new recipes from your blog. I love chickpea so much and you have so many recipes of chickpea in your blog , I am so excited to try your recipes ! I am into art (painting ) and embroidery as well but not cross stitch but other embroidery. So glad to have found your blog. Keep it up !

    1. Yes, I adore chickpeas and Indian food! So happy you visited me. Thank you for leaving a kind comment. I hope you keep enjoying the recipes. Happy Cooking! xx ~ Jilly

  2. Wow, what a wonderful cake, all my children always prefer this cake. they love it very much. So at each party we we prefer only this cake.
    Some beautiful cakes relevant to this cake is also given on the site :
    Awesome Birthday Cakes
    Beautiful Anniversary Cakes