Saturday, November 20, 2010

Twice removed French Apple Cake

I've been experimenting a lot with apples lately.You see, my husband only likes apple desserts. I am not joking.

I've baked chesescakes, chocolate-cheesecakes, cupcakes, pound cakes and red velvet cakes. The response was always just lukewarm. Nope, actually the response was pretty darn cold. And even though I tell him he HAS to PRETEND to be excited  (cos no cook likes a lackluster response), I get nothing more than a, "Yeah babe, it's tasty". At best.

Hungry for validation, I decided the only way I was going to elicit some enthusiasm was to cook what the man liked. Trying to get him to like what I cook obviously has not worked...

Hence my experiments with apples. I bought a dozen Granny Smith green apples and a half-dozen Fuji reds. I meant business.

Last weekend I made an apple crumble. Turned out ok but the crumble wasn't as crusty as I wanted it. But, guess what? I (or rather the dessert I was holding) was greeted with an ear-to-ear smile ... AND a request for seconds. Whoa. The force is strong in this one after all ...

Encouraged, I began thinking of my next project.

I usually visit my bookmarked cooking blog sites for inspiration or ideas and I just happened to click on David Lebowitz's site and would you believe it, his most recent post was on a French Apple Cake. Chance? I don't think so. The recipe he featured was an adaptation of Dorie Greenspan's. She's another of my favourites. Once again: Chance? Nope. I had to make this cake.

This cake will dispel any notion you may have of French cooking: that its complex, difficult, inflexible, too rich or whatever. The recipe for Dorie's French Apple Cake is not only so easy, its uncomplicated. Use four apples she says, doesn't matter which variety.In fact, mix them up if you will. How much easier a recipe get?

So that's what I did. Even though I had plenty of the same variety, I used two Granny Smiths and 3 Fuji reds (3 because they were significantly smaller than the greens). You don't need much else: butter, a little sugar and some flour. Oh. and baking powder, salt and eggs. That's it. The texture of the cake is very moist. So moist you may think it's pudding. Doesn't matter, its just delicious.

Oh. I almost forgot. The cake did the trick and was devoured by the man. But truth be told, making this cake was so satisfying,  it didn't really matter what the reaction was!  Validation? Nope, don't need it ... :)

French Apple Cake
From David Lebowitz, adapted from Dorie Greenspan

3/4 cup (110g) flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
4 large apples 
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
3 tbsp dark rum
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
8 tbsp (115g) butter, salted or unsalted, melted and cooled to room temperature

Preheat the oven to180C, make sure the rack is in the center of the oven. Heavily butter a 20-23cm (8 or 9 inch) springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Peel and core the apples, then dice them into 3cm or so pieces. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy then whisk in the sugar, then rum and vanilla. If you are not using rum (but, why?), add another portion of vanilla. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, then gently stir in half of the melted butter. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the butter.

Fold in the apple cubes until they’re all well-coated with the batter. Transfer them into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top a little with a spatula.

Bake the cake for 45 mins to an hour or until your tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake for about ten minutes before you loosed the edges and remove the sides of the springform pan. Serve with crème fraîche or ice cream!!


  1. Oh, R and I love almost anything apple too. (The latest was pork n apple pie, yums.)

    I highly recommend this Scandinavian Apple Pie:

    The topping is still crispy half an hour out of the oven - so goooood!


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