French Apple Cake

It is apple season, and in the state of Washington, it is a wonderful thing.  The farmer’s markets have more varieties of apples than you can imagine.  There is one podcast that I listen to called SpilledMilk – and last year at this time they played a little game, Mathew read names of apples to Molly (some of which were real, some of which he made up) and she had to guess which ones were real.  It was hilarious listening to these names, and would you believe that I got most of them wrong?  That is how many varieties there are.

As I am sitting here in the airport writing this, I am wondering what is in season where I am going.  Fortunately I am going with a few people who have been there before, and they know I love food – so I am excited.  It is funny how things change – when I little, I was always so focused on the food I would get on the airplane – I could really care less about what I would eat when I landed.  Even today,  my little one commented on the food that was served on a flight we were on last year – it was disgusting, but to her, it was such a special treat.  Unfortunately for them, they don’t really serve food on the airplanes anymore – because that was definitely my favorite part of flying when I was their age.

So – I am leaving you tonight with this delicious apple cake – a Cook’s Illustrated classic recipe – it was really outstanding.  The recipe didn’t come out like it was supposed to – and I was really glad it didn’t.  This was more like an apple pudding cake – rich and delicious – perfect for this time of year.


  •  1/2 lbs granny smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 8 wedges, and sliced 1/8 inch thick crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon calvados
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • confectioners’ sugar


Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 9-inch springform pan with vegetable oil spray. Place prepared pan on rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Place apple slices into microwave-safe pie plate, cover, and microwave until apples are pliable and slightly translucent, about 3 minutes. Toss apple slices with Calvados and lemon juice and let cool for 15 minutes

Whisk 1 cup flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. Whisk egg, oil, milk, and vanilla together in second bowl until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until just combined. Transfer 1 cup batter to separate bowl and set aside.

Add egg yolks to remaining batter and whisk to combine. Using spatula, gently fold in cooled apples. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using offset spatula, spread batter evenly to pan edges, gently pressing on apples to create even, compact layer, and smooth surface.

Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons flour into reserved batter. Pour over batter in pan and spread batter evenly to pan edges and smooth surface. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar evenly over cake.

Bake until center of cake is set, toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, and top is golden brown, about 1 1/4 hours. Transfer pan to wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of pan and let cool completely, 2 to 3 hours. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar, cut into wedges, and serve.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  French Apple Cake


7 thoughts on “French Apple Cake

  1. This looks so good. I baked with my first apples today. I can’t get enough all of a sudden. Perfect timing Dawn. Enjoy your travels! I hope you have a great time, great food and great memories. Can’t wait to hear about it. :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s