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French Apple Cake

Tart and tender apples with a splash of rum in a custard-like base makes the perfect French Apple Cake.

French Apple Cake |

As promised, no chocolate recipe today even though some of you commented and emailed to keep bringing the chocolate.  I would like to thank you so very much for those lovely comments and emails.   :-)  For that reason, I do have a drool worthy one for you in store very very soon.  So keep an eye out for it later this week.

You see the impressions on the sides of this cake?  Yea, this is the pan that I was referring to when I stated that my attempt to make the Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake with a graham cracker crust completely failed.  I was determined to make SOMETHING in this pan and was not giving up until it was done.  So I got down on my knees, crossed my fingers and toes, as I peeked at the oven door window every 5 minutes (like that was really going to do anything) just hoping this cake would pull through.  Luckily, it did.

French Apple Cake |

French Apple Cake |

Initially I was apprehensive baking a cake in a 2-inch-high tart pan.  The original recipe called for a springform pan and to use vegetable oil to coat.  I thought, “Nuh-uh, I rather use my baking spray with flour” because that’s what I’m used to.  Plus, as just mentioned, I was going to make this crimped pan work on something!

Glad I did it.  I love the way the “crust” turned out but most importantly, the cake itself tastes amazing.  Talk about having a custard-like tart cake!  It’s definitely one of a kind.  The Granny Smith apples remained juicy, tart and tender.  And the secret to a tender apple is to precook them in the microwave prior to baking.  It makes for a less crunchy bite (which is undesirable for a cake) and it becomes extremely easy to cut.  There’s no fancy shmancy cake décor going on here either.  Sprinkle powdered sugar and you’re good to go!   Because of this cake’s simplicity, I will definitely be making it again!

French Apple Cake

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: 9-inch round cake

?Tart and tender apples with a splash of rum in a custard-like base makes the perfect French Apple Cake


  • 1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 8 wedges, and sliced 1/8-inch thick crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon rum extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg + 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • confectioners' sugar


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 9-inch springform pan or 9-inch removable bottom tart pan with vegetable oil and lightly dust with flour. Note: baking spray with flour can be used. Be sure baking pan is at minimum 2 inches deep. Place pan over a foil lined baking sheet; set aside.
  2. In a large microwaveable bowl, precook apples on HIGH for 2 minutes. If apple slices snap when bent, reheat for an additional minute. Note: readiness is determined if slices are pliable.
  3. Spray or lightly brush lemon juice and rum over apples; toss to ensure slices are coated.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, lightly beat 1 egg, oil, milk and vanilla.
  6. Gradually add dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix until well blended and no visible flour pockets are present. Set aside 1 cup of batter in a small bowl.
  7. Whisk in 2 egg yolks to the remaining batter, gently fold in apples. Pour in baking pan.
  8. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour to the 1 cup batter mixture. Pour over batter in pan and spread evenly towards the edge.
  9. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon granulated sugar over cake.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes, rotate baking pan 180 degrees and bake for additional 30 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake (not apples) comes out clean.
  11. Allow to cool to room temperature about 2 to 3 hours. Lightly dust top of cake with confectioners' sugar. ENJOY!


1 tablespoon of rum extract was substituted for the original recipe's 1 tablespoon Calvados.

Store cake in fridge. Serve at room temperature.

French Apple Cake adapted from (p.262) Cook's Illustrated Baking Book.

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50 Responses to French Apple Cake

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  1. This looks lovely and reminds me of an apple cake I made years ago out of Dorie Greenspans “Around My French Table” cookbook. To this day it’s flavor still haunts my mind (in a good way). Your photos are gorgeous too! I really need to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Thanks Renee! I can’t believe I didn’t know of this book. I looked it up and now I want to get it! I’m glad to know my photos enticed you to want to try it. :)

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