What Is French Apple Cake
French Apple Cake is really a lot of apple with a little bit of batter joining the apples together, baked till tender then a sugary, butter topping finishes off the cake. It’s more of a crustless tart than a cake, and perfect for serving after a hearty meal.
This French Apple Cake recipe is from Patricia Wells, an American cookbook author and teacher, who has lived in Paris for years. The story goes that Wells asked a Parisienne stall holder selling apples from her family orchard for a recipe.
This is her resulting French apple cake recipe. It’s a homely recipe, typical of French provincial home cooking. Delicious served cold with some Quick No Churn Vanilla Bean Ice cream, or hot with a Super Simple Creme Anglaise (custard).
At a Glance This Is What You Need To Make French Apple Cake
We grew up surrounded by apple orchards so consequently apples featured heavily in our dessert repertoire. Although this particular cake recipe wasn’t about in the day, it would have been snaffled up, had it been.
All In One Apple Cake
This French Apple Cake is a little winner. You’re simply making a batter and coating the apple slices with the batter and baking for 30 minutes then pouring a little topping made with egg, sugar and butter that bakes till its golden and a little crunchy on top. Super easy and delish! 😄
What Apples Are Best For Apple Cake
We used Granny Smith apples that are moderately sweet with crisp flesh, fresh from the orchard of our friend Carol. You can use whatever apples you like, but some apples contain more moisture than others, so the cooking time won’t be a constant.
When it comes to baking, the best baking apple varieties maintain their structure. The slices hold their shape and don’t go all mushy.
There are lots of other varieties that you can use such as:
- Fuji – sweet and juicy
- Pink Lady – balance between tart and sweet
- Golden Delicious – firm, with a mild sweet flavour
- Jazz – crisp and sweet
- Honeycrisp – honey-sweet and tart flavour
- Jonagold – tangy sweet flavour
Hot Tip # 1
Using a mandolin makes short work to slice the apples, but a sharp knife will do the job. Try to get the apple slices as thin as possible.
Hot Tip # 2
The batter for French Apple Cake is quite thin and the best way to make sure each slice of apple is coated is to use your hands to rub the apple slices ensuring that each slice is covered in the batter.
The topping of melted butter, sugar and an egg mixed together sets to a thin crunchy golden topping that really finishes off the cake beautifully.
How To Store French Apple Cake
French Apple Cake is best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Before serving remove cake from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature for an hour or so.
Can I Freeze French Apple Cake
French Apple Cake can be frozen. Wrap the cooled cake in plastic film then wrap in alfoil. Freeze for 6-8 weeks. Take cake from freezer and remove alfoil and place on a plate in the refrigerator still covered to thaw overnight. Bring the cake to room temperature for an hour or so, removing plastic wrapping just before serving.
If you’d like to serve it warm unwrap the cake and preheat oven to 160c (320f) and pop the cake on a baking sheet for around twenty minutes. You’re not looking for the cake to be piping hot just simply to warm the cake if you don’t want it cold.
Watch How To Make French Apple Cake
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Don’t forget to rate this recipe and let us know what you thought when you make these fabulous French Apple Cake in the reviews below.
French Apple Cake
French apple cake is really a lot of apple with a little bit of batter joining the apples together, baked till tender then a sugary, butter topping finishes off the cake. It's more of a crustless tart than a cake, and perfect for serving after a hearty soup or stew.
- lightly butter a 22cm (9 inch) cake tin and line base with baking paper
- 1/2 cup plain (all purpose) flour
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
- 1/3 cup full cream milk
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 large apples (about 1 kg / 2 pounds) cored, peeled and cut into thin slices - see notes
- icing sugar to dust - optional
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 1 large egg, beaten lightly
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- preheat oven to 200c (400f) bake not fan
- in a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt
- add the vanilla, eggs, oil and milk and mix till well combined
- add the apple slices and using your hands mix the apple with the batter so as to coat each individual slice of apple
- pour into the prepared pan and bake on the centre shelf for 30 minutes - pop a timer on
- in a small bowl combine the egg, sugar and butter and stir to blend then set aside
- when the 30 minutes for the cake is up, remove cake from oven
- pour topping mix over the cake and spread the topping evenly over the apples
- return to oven for 20 minutes until some of the apple slices are tinged golden
- remove cake from oven onto a wire rack
- run a knife around the sides of the pan and allow to cool
- turn cake out onto a plate and then turn onto an airing rack so the top of the cake is once again upright
- dust with icing sugar
- serve at room temperature
- We used Granny Smith apples fresh from the orchard of our friend Carol. You can use whatever apples you like, but some apples contain more moisture than others, so the cooking time won't be a constant.
- Slice apples as thin as possible
Amount Per Serving Calories 205Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 69mgSodium 233mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 0gSugar 29gProtein 2g
Nutritional information provided here is only intended as a guide.
This apple cake is AMAZING! I added a bit of apple cake spice to the flour and a teaspoon of apple essence with the vanilla. It was OMG DELISH! Forgot to take photo before we ate the lot but will definitely be a favourite to make. Thanks for such a great recipe, I’m in heaven!
Hi Barb, we think it’s amazing as well. Especially when it’s really just a little batter holding a whole load of apple slices together. We like the apple essence addition. Thanks for stopping by, regards, Jo and Jen
Please let me know at what temperatures I should bake the cake and if I should use resistors or ventilator in the oven
Hi Kristine, the cake bakes at 200c (400f), on bake, not fan bake. Love to hear how you like it. Regards, Jo and Jen
Thank you for the kind assist
Welcome Kristine, happy we could help. We would love to hear how you enjoy the cake. Jo and Jen
I love the taste and the fact that it uses so many apples 🙂 when coating the apples in the batter, I mixed in one apple at a time, while slicing them, and this way I didn’t need to use my hands. It’s a nice trick learned from an Italian colleague for mixing pasta with sauce evenly.
Hi Patricia, great idea! Definitely give it a go next time we make this delicious cake. Regards, Jo and Jen
DELICIOUS !!!!!! I did cook a little longer, because the cake at 30 minutes at 400 f., still kind of soft,
I baked for 30 minutes and cover with the sugar, and baked again maybe for another 30 minutes
Good with ice cream, or whipping cream for the diet
Hi Eliana, so glad you enjoyed our French Apple Cake. Thanks for sharing. Jo and Jen
p.s. perhaps the apples you used had a higher water content or as we know, ovens can vary dramatically. Fortunately, this cake is very forgiving and you managed with the help of a couple of tweaks to produce a gorgeous cake. Well done you.
I wonder if i could make it ahead and freeze it for the holidays to have one less item to worry about?
Hi Berenice, we’re so pleased you loved this little winner of a cake. We’ve not frozen it but we think it would probably freeze well as it’s more of a crepe batter that holds the apples and you can freeze crepes successfully. We’d love to hear from you if you do freeze the cake. Or maybe make it again and freeze a slice to check it out. Kind regards, Jo and Jen
This cake was absolutely delicious and so easy to make especially when the food processor cut up all of the apples for me! Thanks for sharing it!
Hello Maia, we’re delighted that you enjoyed this delicious cake. Thanks for commenting, regards, Jo and Jen
Cake turned out perfect and really good will make it again
Hi Theresa, so glad you enjoyed the French apple cake and for rating it. Jo and Jen
Thank you for this recipe; I cannot believe how ridiculously easy to make! Perfect dessert to make when you decided to make a more elaborate entree. I made one today, I have to wait for tomorrow to taste it… I can hardly wait! It smells and looks delish!!!
Hi Isabelle, glad you love the simplicity of the French Apple Cake and we are sure the wait will be worth it. Enjoy! Jo and Jen
What is “full cream milk” pls? Is it cream, milk? Thanks
Full cream milk refers to whole milk or milk that the cream hasn’t been removed from. Unlike skim milk or diet milk which have a higher water content because most of the cream has been removed. Hope this clears up any confusion.
Jo and Jen
Great cake….but i did it in and 8inch cause i don’t think i had enough batter for a 9 – as it hardly rose.
I would even do it in a 7inch
Hi Carmella, so pleased you enjoyed the cake. It’s not meant to rise, as we say it’s really a whole lot of apple held together with a little batter. Regards Jo and Jen
The feedback saounds very good! But unfortunately my father has an apple and pear allergy. Is there a way to use other fruit like berries? (Maybe you could coat them in starch to release less water?)
Juliane, after doing some research we think that the berries would make the batter wetter than it should be, even if you coated them in starch as you suggested. Sorry, we can’t help you with good news. Jo and Jen
Can half and half be used instead of whole milk?
Hi Margarito, half and half is a mixture of equal parts whole milk and cream. We can’t see a problem if you were to use this. All the best, Jo and Jen
Beautiful cake, I enjoyed baking and eating this very much. You have a lovely food blog, which I also enjoyed perusing.
Thanks Grace, it is a lovely cake and we’re so pleased you enjoyed it. Appreciate you taking the time to look at our blog and comment. Kind regards, Jo and Jen
I made it today. It was delicious!
Light, moist and perfect.
In the dough I added 1/2 teaspoon of speculaas spice (mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, aniseed, white pepper, coriander, ginger, cardamom)
In the topping instead of melting butter I made beurre noisette (brown butter) – gave it nutty flavor.
My small family ate it all. I like how easy this recipe is and what a great results I got.
Thank you for sharing.
Hi Anelya, love that you added the speculaas spice, and the beurre noisette is a great idea. Thanks for commenting. Regards, Jo and Jen
Hello. Is a tablespoon of baking powder a typo? Seems excessive.
Hello Elizabeth, yes the correct amount is 1 tablespoon of baking powder. Love to hear how you enjoy the cake. Regards, Jo and Jen
If it’s not meant to rise why so much baking powder?
Hi June, good question! We have directly followed the recipe from Patricia Wells and that is her quantity. Hope you enjoy this delicious dessert. Regards, Jo and Jen
It says “full cream” milk, but the video seem to be using something thicker like yogurt?
Hi Maria, it is definitely full cream milk used for the recipe. It’s a great little cake and we hope you enjoy making, and eating it. Regards, Jo and Jen
I love this apple cake recipe because as it should be, its almost entirely apple with very little batter holding it together. Its moist, almost like a pudding…apple forward and so delicious. The crispy topping makes a perfect contrast to the moist cake.
Hi Nina, it’s a little winner isn’t it. We love it too. Thanks for commenting, regards Jo and Jen
Can you use gf flour?
Hello Antonette, we’ve not made the recipe using gluten free flour which typically absorbs more moisture than plain flour. Perhaps add a little more milk to compensate. Let us know how it goes for you. Kind regards, Jo and Jen
This apple cake was beautiful to look at and delicious. A simple recipe with an elegant look. I’ll make more to give as Christmas gifts.
Hi Elizabeth, so pleased you enjoyed the French Apple cake. We think it’s a ‘winner’ too. Thanks for commenting. Regards, Jo and Jen