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
Adapted From MARIE-HÉLÈNE'S 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