Easy French Apple Cake

French apple cake
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.

French apple cake ingredients on a marble bench

The 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 is a homely recipe, typical of French provincial home cooking. Delicious served cold with some honey ice cream or hot with a custard.

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, but it would have been snaffled up, had it been.


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.

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.

French apple cake slice served off a white plate
ready to eat!

The batter

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.

Watch How To Make French Apple Cake


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What’s your favourite apple cake recipe? We would love to hear from you in the comments below when you make French apple cake.

French apple cake
Yield: 10 serves

French Apple Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

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
  • meanwhile prepare the topping
  • 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
  • cool
  • dust with icing sugar
  • serve at room temperature
  • enjoy!


  • 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.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving Calories 0Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g


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  1. 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!

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      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

  2. Kriistine Sideris says:

    Please let me know at what temperatures I should bake the cake and if I should use resistors or ventilator in the oven

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      Hi Kristine, the cake bakes at 200c (400f), on bake, not fan bake. Love to hear how you like it. Regards, Jo and Jen

      1. Kristine Sideris says:

        Thank you for the kind assist

        1. Recipe Winners says:

          Welcome Kristine, happy we could help. We would love to hear how you enjoy the cake. Jo and Jen

  3. 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.

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      Hi Patricia, great idea! Definitely give it a go next time we make this delicious cake. Regards, Jo and Jen

  4. 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

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      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.

      1. Loved it.
        I wonder if i could make it ahead and freeze it for the holidays to have one less item to worry about?

        1. Recipe Winners says:

          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

  5. 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!

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      Hello Maia, we’re delighted that you enjoyed this delicious cake. Thanks for commenting, regards, Jo and Jen

  6. Cake turned out perfect and really good will make it again
    Thank you

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      Hi Theresa, so glad you enjoyed the French apple cake and for rating it. Jo and Jen

  7. Isabelle Schmitt says:

    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!!!

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      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

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