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French Apple Cake | A rustic cake with a high apple to cake ratio!

French Apple Cake

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Marie-Hélène’s French Apple Cake is a Dorie Greenspan recipe that’s a repeat performer at my house. I have a penchant for apple desserts, and Dorie’s simple, rustic version that’s packed full of apples hits the mark every time!

Next week will be my last ever French Fridays with Dorie post. As we celebrate the culmination of our French Fridays with Dorie experience,  the focus is on a “Play-It-Again-Dorie” recipe. Our instructions were to remake and post the recipe from  Around My French Table we’ve made most, whether the original or a variation.

French Apple Cake slice on a white dessert plate

Marie-Hélène’s French Apple Cake

One of the first desserts we made for FFwD was  Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake. In fact, it was our fifth recipe back in 2010. Big chunks of apple were held together with a sweet, eggy cake dough and topped with whipped cream or a big scoop of vanilla ice cream before serving. Perfect in the fall, but easily made and adored any time of the year.

Tips for Making This Easy French Apple Cake

  • I used a variety of apples for the best flavor—though I have found Granny Smiths are still a little underdone at the end of the cooking period so if you use that variety,  you may need to cut those pieces a bit smaller. I like choosing 4 different baking apples for the most delicious flavor palate. Crisp, soft, sweet and tart!
  • Check for doneness by piercing an apple or two at the tail end of the baking time with a sharp knife. The knife should slide in without much resistance. If the apples still seem hard, add more baking time. You can always cover the pan with a little foil if you’re concerned about the top getting too dark.
  • This apple laden dessert was wonderful at room temperature, but due to our heat wave, I stored the leftovers in the fridge. I was surprised at how much the cold cake reminded me of a clafoutis, almost like a different dessert. Nonetheless, this French apple cake is one special dessert.
  • If you don’t like to bake with alcohol, feel free to leave out the rum. You can up the vanilla extract to 1 full teaspoon.
French Apple Cake on a white cake plate with a basketweave edge

The Life of a Food Blogger

You non-bloggers may be unaware of a few idiosyncrasies of us food bloggers.

#1 is that a dish must be photographed while the natural light is best. Therefore, the family learns to patiently wait at the dinner table for whatever the dish of the day happens to be. While it is perfectly styled,  the gorgeous loaded plate grows colder by the second as snap after snap is taken for the blog.

#2 is that once a recipe is made, it is rarely repeated. There is always the next blog post to think about and those Nestles’ Tollhouse cookies that were previously whipped up nearly every week, are now off limits. So when this week’s theme came up, I had to pause. Had I ever made any of the recipes from Around My French Table more than once? Well, there was the Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup when we were assigned to repeat a recipe, and I may be whipping up a chocolate treat for the second time for next week’s grand finale. But today,  I turned to this French apple cake, treasured by many in our group. It’s definitely worth a second or third stint on the table!

More Apple Cakes You’ll Love:

Used in This Recipe:

French Apple Cake

French Apple Cake

A French apple cake chock full of fruit from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield 8 servings


  • 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 dark rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled


  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350º. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the springform on it.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
  3. Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
  4. 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 rum 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 evenish.
  5. 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 deep 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.
  6. Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it's fully opened, make sure there aren't any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.
  7. Serving
  8. The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without a little softly whipped, barely sweetened heavy cream or a spoonful of ice cream. Marie-Hélène's served her cake with cinnamon ice cream and it was a terrific combination.
  9. Storing
  10. The cake will keep for about 2 days at room temperature and, according to my husband, gets more comforting with each passing day. However long you keep the cake, it's best not to cover it - it's too moist. Leave the cake on its plate and just press a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper against the cut surfaces.

The recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s magnificent cookbook, Around My French Table. If you’d like to see what recipe the other “Doristas” cooked up most often, check out the LYL section for this week on the French Fridays website.

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