I still have yet to go apple picking this year (in a couple of days, hopefully!), but I have been buying up the local apples like crazy from farm stands. One of my favorite ways to showcase the gorgeous fall apples is in apple cake – this French apple cake could not be any easier! It comes together within minutes, but the final cake is so delicious that your guests will think you’ve been baking all day.
Every year, I always convince myself that I like Golden Delicious apples, and I don’t know why I always forget that I hate the texture of them – a little too soft and mealy for my taste! I think I just like the pretty golden color of them, but I’m really a Crispin or Jonagold girl when it comes to eating them fresh! I ended up using this year’s batch of Golden Delicious apples for this cake, and it actually transformed the apples completely so they’re totally melt in your mouth. Much better than how they are when they’re fresh! I kept the peels on since the apples are so soft, which I think really helped them hold together a little better. If you’re using a stronger apple with a heavier peel, you may want to peel them!
The recipe I used to create this cake comes from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table (that’s an affiliate link, FYI), and I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed in a recipe of hers. I have most of her cookbooks, and I love to just flip through them, putting post-it notes all through the pages of recipes I want to try. I slightly healthified this, of course, because I always do, but it still has a bit of butter and sugar (and rum!) – it is a cake after all! I think I made a gluten free version of this a couple of years ago when we were in our first apartment, but I ended up dropping it on the floor before we even got to taste it! Sad day that was. If you need a gluten free version, you can check this buckwheat apple cake for something slightly similar, although I think you could also substitute buckwheat flour into this cake recipe 1:1 with no issues (I have yet to try it, so I can’t make any promises).
Since this is such an easy, no-fuss apple cake, I thought the pictures should go along with that – just the cake on a plain black background, no props, nothing fancy – to really show you its beautiful simplicity. You don’t need fancy techniques to make a delicious dessert or brunch treat – just a bowl, a whisk, and some lovely fresh apples. I know I’d be perfectly happy for someone to make this cake for me!
One thing I have to admit that I added that makes it decidedly less French: cinnamon. I just couldn’t help myself. What’s an American to do with an apple dessert without cinnamon?! You can leave it out, if you’d like to keep it authentic, but I promise, the addition of cinnamon is definitely worth it. 😉
What kind of cake do you like to serve for guests?
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp liquid stevia (or 1/4 cup sugar)
- 3 Tbsp rum
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
- 4 large apples, cored and peeled or unpeeled, chopped into 2 inch chunks
Preheat the oven to 350ºF, and generously butter a 9-inch spring form pan. Place it on top of a parchment lined baking sheet (to catch any overflow if necessary - mine did not need it).
In a medium bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon (if using) together. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until they're foamy. Add the sugar, liquid stevia, rum, and vanilla extract, whisking until well combined. Add half of the flour mixture, stir, add half of the melted butter, stir, and then add the remaining half of flour and melted butter. Stir until smooth. Gently fold in the apples until they are coated with batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared spring form pan, and smooth out as best as you can with a spatula. Bake at 350ºF for 50-60 minutes, until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan before sliding a sharp knife around the edges of the pan to make sure the edges have all released. Remove the sides of the spring form pan, and allow to cool until it is just slightly warm. Serve and enjoy!
adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table