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Apple lovers, this recipe is for you! In all its French baking glory, this Apple Cake has an intense apple flavor, enhanced by a touch of vanilla, and the moistest texture. No spices, just apples, and a delicious buttery flavor. Very easy to make, this recipe does not require any fancy ingredients and can be prepared in under 20 minutes, the rest is just baking time. The perfect cake for cozy, fall afternoons.

Why you should try this recipe

  • Super easy to make – grate the apples, combine the ingredients together, transfer to a pan, and bake in the oven. Plus, this recipe only requires six ingredients (plus salt) that you probably already have on hand.
  • Intense apple flavor – traditionally, in France, we do not add spices or cinnamon to apple cakes. Just apples and vanilla, so the apples really shine!
  • A rustic, traditional French cake with a beautiful golden crust. To transport a little bit of the French lifestyle to your home. For more traditional cake inspiration, you can also check out my Chocolate Loaf Cake with Chocolate Almond Glaze or Lemon Ricotta Cake.

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The ingredients you’ll need

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card at the end of the post.)

  • Apples – sweet apples such as Gala, Honeycrisp, or Pink Lady are a great choice for this recipe. Avoid Granny Smith as it will make the cake too tangy, which is not what we want here.
  • Vanilla paste (or extract) -is a classic flavor in French apple cake. No cinnamon or other warm spices, just vanilla.
  • Unsalted butter – look for European-style or cultured butter on the label. These kinds of butter are higher in butterfat and will yield a better result for browning the crust. The secret to the authentic French Apple Cake flavor.
  • Granulated cane sugar – for a subtle toffee flavor. The French love baking with this type of sugar (called “cassonade”) as it is less refined than granulated sugar. You can, however, swap it with granulated sugar if you don’t have it on hand.
  • Free-range eggs – act as a binding agent for this cake.
  • All-purpose flour – for the lightest, softest texture.
  • Baking powder – for a well-risen, soft cake with a beautiful golden crust.
  • Fine sea salt – acts as a flavor enhancer.

How to make French Apple?

(Note: please see the recipe card below for the complete written instructions and measurements.)

Start by greasing and lining the pan.

  • Preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C).
  • Start by greasing an 8-inch (20 cm) springform pan with room-temperature butter.
  • Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper, the same size as the bottom of the pan.

Prepare the apples.

  • Remove the core of two apples. Using a food processor or a grater, coarsely grate the apples and set aside. You should end up with 3 and ½ cups (350 g of grated apples).
  • Remove two lateral sides of the third apple, then cut into ⅛-inch (3 mm) slices. These slices will be used to decorate the cake.

Make the batter.

  • Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine sugar and eggs. Whisk until pale and foamy, about 1 minute.
  • Add the melted butter, vanilla paste, and salt. Mix until well combined, about 30 seconds.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder. Mix over low speed until just combined (do not overwork the batter).

  • Transfer the grated apples to the mixing bowl.
  • Using a rubber spatula, gently incorporate the grated apples until combined (do not overwork the batter).

Note: The batter is pretty thick; this is normal. Grated apples will release their moisture into the cake during baking, resulting in a soft, perfectly moist cake.


Bake the cake.

  • Transfer the batter to the springform pan.
  • Place the apple slices on top of the cake: take 4 slices and create a fan shape. Line five “apple fans” around the edges and one in the center.
  • Bake for 50-55 minutes until risen, cooked through, and golden brown in color.

Note: to make sure the cake is cooked, insert a toothpick. If it comes out with moist crumbs, the cake is done!


  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove it from the pan.
  • Let it cool down completely, and serve with an optional dusting of powdered sugar. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

Nim Keys – Useful Tips

  1. In France, Apple Cakes are commonly made with chopped apples, but grated apples are also used. I find that grated apples impart a stronger apple taste to the cake, so this is what I went with.
  2. The batter of this cake is pretty thick; this is normal. Grated apples will release their moisture into the cake during baking, resulting in a soft, perfectly moist cake. Don’t worry about the cake being dry!
  3. Baking time is quite long (50-55 minutes), because of the watery apple content, which adds a lot of moisture to the cake. Make sure to check the doneness of the cake with a toothpick to ensure it is perfectly cooked through.

FAQ


How long does French Apple Cake keep?

This cake is super moist and can be kept for 4 days on the counter, covered with cling film. It won’t get dry!

Can I use granulated sugar instead of light brown sugar?

Yes! I like using light brown sugar for its subtle toffee taste and because it is less refined. You can, however, substitute it with a 1:1 ratio of granulated sugar.

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Though I have never tested it, I believe it would work by replacing all-purpose flour with a 1:1 ratio of gluten-free baking flour (choose one with added xanthan gum which replaces gluten as a binder).


Other Delicious Cake Recipes


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French Apple Cake

Apple lovers, this recipe is for you! In all its French baking glory, this Apple Cake has an intense apple flavor, enhanced by a touch of vanilla, and the moistest texture. No spices, just apples, and a delicious buttery flavor. Very easy to make, this recipe requires only six pantry staple ingredients and can be prepared in under 20 minutes, the rest is just baking time. The perfect cake for cozy, fall afternoons.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Cake
Cuisine French
Diet Vegetarian
Servings 6 -8 servings

INGREDIENTS
 

  • 3 apples about 1.3 pounds (600 g) - Gala, Honeycrisp or Pink Lady
  • cups (130 g) cane sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • ½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter melted, one stick
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (200 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Start by greasing and lining the pan.
  • Preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C).
  • Start by greasing an 8-inch (20 cm) springform pan with room-temperature butter.
  • Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper, the same size as the bottom of the pan.
  • Prepare the apples.
  • Remove the core of two apples. Using a food processor or a grater, coarsely grate the apples and set aside. You should end up with 3 and ½ cups (350 g of grated apples).
  • Remove two lateral sides of the third apple, then cut into ⅛-inch (3 mm) slices. These slices will be used to decorate the cake.
  • Make the batter.
  • Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine sugar and eggs. Whisk until pale and foamy, about 1 minute.
  • Add the melted butter, vanilla paste, and salt. Mix until well combined, about 30 seconds.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder. Mix over low speed until just combined (do not overwork the batter).
  • Transfer the grated apples to the mixing bowl.
  • Using a rubber spatula, gently incorporate the grated apples until combined (do not overwork the batter).
  • Bake the cake.
  • Transfer the batter to the springform pan.
  • Place the apple slices on top of the cake: take 4 slices and create a fan shape. Line five "apple fans" around the edges and one in the center.
  • Bake for 50-55 minutes until risen, cooked through, and golden brown in color.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove it from the pan.
  • Let it cool down completely, and serve with an optional dusting of powdered sugar. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

NIM KEYS - USEFUL TIPS

  1. In France, Apple Cakes are commonly made with chopped apples, but grated apples are also used. I find that grated apples impart a stronger apple taste to the cake, so this is what I went with.
  2. The batter of this cake is pretty thick; this is normal. Grated apples will release their moisture into the cake during baking, resulting in a soft, perfectly moist cake. Don't worry about the cake being dry!
  3. Baking time is quite long (50-55 minutes), because of the watery apple content, which adds a lot of moisture to the cake. Make sure to check the doneness of the cake with a toothpick to ensure it is perfectly cooked through.

NUTRITION

Calories: 409kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 6gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 123mgSodium: 280mgPotassium: 193mgFiber: 3gSugar: 34gVitamin A: 641IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 125mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Apple Cake, Apple Coffee Cake, French Apple Cake
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