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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.

  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x



3 apples (about 1.3 pounds or 600 g) – Gala, Honeycrisp or Pink Lady

⅔ cups (130 g) of light brown sugar

3 free-range eggs

½ cup (one stick or 115 g) of unsalted butter, melted

2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

¼ teaspoon of flaky sea salt

1 and ¼ cups (200 g) of all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder


Start by greasing and lining the pan.

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

Prepare the apples.

  1. 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).
  2. Remove two lateral sides of the third apple, then cut into -inch (3 mm) slices. These slices will be used to decorate the cake.

Make the batter.

  1. Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine light brown sugar and eggs. Whisk until pale and foamy, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the melted butter, vanilla paste, and salt. Mix until well combined, about 30 seconds.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder. Mix over low speed until just combined (do not overwork the batter).
  4. Transfer the grated apples to the mixing bowl.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, gently incorporate the grated apples until combined (do not overwork the batter).

Bake the cake.

  1. Transfer the batter to the springform pan.
  2. 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.
  3. Bake for 50-55 minutes until risen, cooked through, and golden brown in color.
  4. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove it from the pan.
  5. Let it cool down completely, and serve with an optional dusting of powdered sugar. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea or coffee.


  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.
  • Author: Ninon Michels
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 50
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Oven-Baked
  • Cuisine: French
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: French Apple Cake, Apple Cake, Apple Coffee Cake