THE ULTIMATE APPLE CAKE

Cover of "Around My French Table: More Th...

Cover via Amazon

For someone who’d rather go to the dentist than bake a cake, making the same cake two weeks in a row means:

– the cake is fool-proof;

– the cake is awesome.

Awesome indeed! It’s a bunch of diced apples surrounded by a few dollops of cake batter, that puffs and gently envelopes each piece of fruit, resulting in a dessert that’s a cross between cake and clafoutis.  Very French, very elegant, just enough decadence to turn your afternoon tea into a four-star event.

The recipe comes from a cookbook that’s been on my wish list at amazon.com since it’s released: Dorie Greenspan‘s Around my French Table.   It’s just a matter of time until I move the book to my shopping cart, the reviews are stellar!

MARIE HELENE’s APPLE CAKE
(from Dorie Greenspan)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour (110g)
3/4 tsp baking powder (about 3.75 g)
pinch of salt
4 large apples (any kind you like, mix and match)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar (145g)
3 Tbs rum (or apple schnapps, or Calvados)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick butter, melted and cooled (115g)

Heat the oven to 350F.  Butter a 8-inch springform type pan with butter and set aside.

Peel and core the apples, cut them roughly in 1 inch chunks. Reserve.

In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.   In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisker until frothy, add the sugar and whisk until smooth.
Add the rum, vanilla extract, and mix well.  Add half of the flour mixture, mix until fully incorporated, pour half of the butter and whisk to combine.   Add the rest of the flour, then the rest of the butter.

Pour the thick batter over the apples, and use a silicone or plastic spatula to mix them gently, trying to cover each piece with some of the batter.   The mixture will seem too thick, and you will be tempted to use less apples.  Do not.  Trust Dorie. Pour the mixture in the prepared pan, use a fork to level the apples as much as possible, but don’t worry too much about it.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted at the center of the cake.  Remove the pan to a rack and let it cool for 5 minutes before opening the sides.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The first time I baked this cake, I didn’t use all the apples because it seemed impossible to coat them all with the batter.  I realized my mistake when I witnessed how much the batter puffed up during baking.  On my second attempt, I used all the apples, and substituted apple schnapps for rum. We both liked the schnapps version better.  A friend of mine used Calvados and also preferred it to rum.  Either of those liquors reinforce the apple flavor. Next time I might add a little cinnamon to the batter, but this cake is pretty close to perfection as it is.

ONE YEAR AGO: Trouble-free Pizza Dough

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

100 thoughts on “THE ULTIMATE APPLE CAKE

  1. Hi Sally,
    Apples are so good right now… couldn’t be a better time for this cake. I love apple cake, and your description makes me want to bake it right now!

    Thanks!
    Michael

    Like

  2. Sally, what a great looking cake and thanks for the review. I also have the book on a wish list and I really don’t like baking so it is good to see you making the effort, I’m inspired, just for this cake.

    See you back at Cooks Talk

    Like

  3. Oh great, this after I went and bought a $6 vanilla bean to use in another apple dessert for our Grey Cup Sunday. When is it really worth using the bean instead of good quality extract?
    Bet this is an awesome breakfast dish!

    Like

  4. Hi Sally…
    Please see the questions above concerning the amount of baking powder.
    Once that’s corrected, this is a must bake cake…absolutely beautiful!!

    Like

  5. Sorry, folks….

    I am back in Oklahoma now, but without net-connections at home, so I have very limited time to devote to the internet until we fly back to LA on Tuesday

    I corrected the horrible typo – yeah, what was I thinking? 3/4 cup of baking powder is enough to explode the house! 😉 – but won’t be able to work on the printable version until tomorrow when I come back to the lab

    profound apologies!

    Like

  6. I have the Book but have not been keeping up with the Fr Fri with Dorie…but I have to say..this is one of the rare books that I know I will be cooking every recipe in it..it is THAT good…

    Like

    • One stick of butter = 8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup

      It is true that I tend to forget that in other countries butter is not sold in the stick format we have everywhere in the US. I will be more careful including extra measurements from now on…

      Hope you try the cake, it is very very VERY good! 😉

      Like

  7. This cake is excellent! I’ve made it 4 times in the past 6 weeks since I have a lot of apples from my friend’s tree. My husband just loves it. Thank you for another great recipe.

    Like

  8. I don’t know what went wrong. I have Celiac so switched the flour to gluten free but that usually isn’t an issue. My cake tasted like rum and nothing else. Could it be because I only had spiced rum in the house? Did anyone else use dark rum?
    I am so disappointed. 😦

    Like

    • Ann, sorry it did not work well for you! I cannot quite understand the overpowering of the rum, although I used a different alcohol, should not make that much difference, I don’t think.

      as to the flour substitution, maybe you could stop by at Dorie’s site and ask if she has experience with this type of adaptation? here is her website address

      http://doriegreenspan.com/

      the other thing I thought is that this cake has such a high ratio of apples to batter, that it’s important that the batter “puffs up” exactly as it should, otherwise it won’t be the same. Maybe in this type of cake some adjustments must be made when using a flour different from all purpose? Since I got your message last night, I searched around the net but could not find anyone reporting a similar problem, or using non-gluten flour, so I cannot be of much help… sorry!

      thanks for reporting back, though!

      Like

  9. HI Sally, hey that looks great, I am working my way through all sorts of different apple cake recipes at the moment and now there is yet another one. Still hoping that US baking writers will just put either ounces or grams in their recipes for us Europeans. I asked Dorrie Greenspan once if she would but she said no. One of the frustrations in buying cookbooks on Amazon uk is that the publishers never say in their blurbs, ingredients in cups only, and it’s only when you get the book that you realize.

    Like

  10. Anita, you should use vanilla bean paste/puree. It is far less expensive than a vanilla bean and just as good. I have ordered it from Cooks Vanilla, but they have gone up in price, and it is real expensive now whereas it wasn’t before. I buy the vanilla bean paste/puree from The Fresh Market here in Chattanooga, Tennessee. About $7.00 or $8.00 a bottle which lasts a long, long time! And, no shipping. Cooks charged me nearly $8.00 shipping!!

    Like

    • Thanks so much for the tip! I’ve seen vanilla bean paste for sale a few times but was not sure if it would be any good… I’ll make sure to get some when I see it again

      Like

  11. So I know this is an older post but it popped up and since I just blogged about apples – thought I’d take a look. Love the rum addition and think that a bit of honey would work well too. I might just need to give this a try. Have a great weekend Sally!

    Like

  12. I’ve been making this since it was first posted and it is a hit in my family. I think I’ve made this recipe more than 50 times…..it is a winner!

    Like

  13. as for topping once cook….mix sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the cake!!!!!! very very GOOD……regards from Italy……

    Like

  14. Sally, I am sure this is a very delicious cake and I am interested in trying it, however, I do not have rum or any apple flavored liquor in my house and I will not go out and buy some just for this cake as I do not like the taste of liquors in food. I do not drink alcohol or use alcohol at all. Do you have any suggestions or do you think it will taste okay without using that?

    Like

    • Mary, I think you can get by with any round pan. The spring pan is nice for the presentation, once you open the sides it looks very nice… but, come to think of it, this is such a traditional recipe, probably around for generations in France. They did not have spring pans, and I am sure that did not stop them from enjoying this! 😉 I would probably add a parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, and then simply cut slices as you would in a normal cake pan…. Hope you try it!

      Like

  15. Will have to try it with the mixture of sugar and cinnamon sprinkled over the cake. This is the best Apple Cake. My hubby keeps asking me to make it.

    Like

  16. I just bought a large bag of cherries–do you think they would work with this recipe or should I just search for a clafloutis one?

    Like

    • Patricia, I would look for a clafoutis recipe, in fact, maybe this one would work but I would hate to give you advice if I’m not 100% sure. I know clafoutis can be tricky, and if the balance between fruit and batter is not right, you end up with less than stellar results. It is true that this recipe produces something very similar in texture…. so who knows? It might just work perfectly well… there, no help at all from me 😉 Please let me know if you do try it…

      Like

  17. I asked about the bacardi rum earlier and you said you can just omit it but won’t this much liquid change the cake and could you use apple juice in place of the rum?

    Like

    • I would not use rum extract….it would be too strong of a taste. The cake really doesn’t have a taste of rum. If omitting rum I would use apple juice as suggested by Sally or nothing at all. I think I have to make another one this weekend….I have been hinted to…..

      Like

      • Agree – I have never tried rum extract, but it seems too powerful to me 😉

        Now “I” want to make this cake too, but my kitchen is not yet back to fully functional mode… it’s close, very close…

        Like

  18. I just made the cake, and have some comments. First, I might have used larger apples, but I think less apples would have been fine. Next, loved the idea that it wasn’t that sweet, but think it might have benefited from a big dollop of ice cream or whipped cream…just me. In fact, I like plain cream on my cobblers, and this tasted like an apple cobbler to me. Very good, will definitely make it again.

    Like

    • You and Phil both… Phil firmly believes that a cake without “something” on top or to go along with IS NOT A CAKE… 😉

      I definitely need to re-make this cake because it was one of my personal favorites… 😉

      Like

  19. Sally, I had a blast exploring your blog for Secret Recipe Club this month, and finally settled on making this cake. Am I ever glad…it is fantastic! I followed in your footsteps and made it twice in one week. Here’s what I posted, in case you’d like to take a look: http://www.shockinglydelicious.com/the-ultimate-apple-spice-cake/

    I’m thinking your Avocado Cilantro Mousse has my name written on it, perhaps for Easter. Whaddya think?

    XOXO

    Like

    • WONDERFUL! I just added a link to your site on my SRC post of today…. you made my day!

      yes, the avocado cilantro mousse is perfect for Easter….. I hope you do try it!

      Like

  20. Pingback: SRC: Bewitching Kitchen’s Avocado Orange Salad with Charred Jalapeno Dressing | Without Adornment

  21. YUM! I cooked mine in a bundt tin as I don’t have a spring pan and reduced the New Orleans rum to 2Tbsp and it is fabulous.

    Like

  22. I used Bacardi rum and it worked great. My only negative comment is this cake needs to be eaten fresh. It’s not real great after a couple of days.

    Like

  23. I believe you… I must say the cake was inhaled within hours, so we never had to test its “endurance” after baking. But I am not surprised that it would suffer a little.

    Like

  24. Pingback: [Better Than ______ ] Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls | We The Eaters

  25. I just love this recipe. I didn’t have any Apple schnapps so I used peach schnapps instead. It turned out great! This is definitely my/hubbies favourite Apple cake recipe.
    Thx again.

    Like

    • So glad you enjoyed it! It is a fantastic cake and I keep getting feedback about it, sometimes by email, but of course I much rather have comments here on the blog…. Have a great Sunday!

      Like

    • I am so sorry, but I don’t have the answer. Honestly I don’t think it would freeze well, because it is so delicate and so much apple for so little batter… but I could be wrong… worth experimenting? 😉

      Like

    • hi, Gaye… me again…. I searched the net a little bit and I don’t see any remarks about freezing the cake. It is said to be best stored at room temperature and not covered. My feeling is that you are better off not freezing it…

      Like

  26. Sallybr, I had the distinct pleasure of making and sharing this cake after you featured it in June’s IMK. (Enjoy the hiatus until September — and keep baking cakes!) Everybody LOVED it! Thanks, xo.
    P.S. Coongrats on your 7 year blog birthday — your Red Velvet cake looks fanstastic, too!

    Like

    • I’ve seen people substitute oil for butter in boxed cake mixes, but did not find any comments about this specific cake. Butter contains water, whereas oil doesn’t – you might want to compensate for that, maybe using some applesauce as part of the volume of oil? Honestly I don’t know if it would work – butter has such a nice taste for a cake like this, which is so perfect…

      I tend to be a wimp when it comes to changing cake recipes because…. I AM a cake-o-phobe of sorts… but you definitely seem like a brave baker, so maybe you should give it a try? If you do, please let me know….

      Like

  27. Pingback: Autumn Comfort Apple Cake

  28. I would LOVE to make this cake, but in Europe we don’t use cups! I’ve tried using conversion tables but it never seems to work! Now we live in a global society, could you also put your measurements in grams? All it needs it for you to take a cup of flour and weigh it!! And a stick of butter? We don’t have those either 😦
    Thanks

    Like

    • I feel your pain, and will be more careful about it in the future. Blogging is my hobby, so I don’t really have the time, energy and will power to go back and take care of seven years of recipes, especially when there are so many sources online to convert cups to grams. For instance this one is very good https://www.leaf.tv/articles/cup-to-gram-conversions/ As to the butter, 1 stick of US butter is 1/2 cup, which as the site states converts to 114g… hope this helps, and definitely go make this cake, it is WONDERFUL and worth the extra trouble to get the metric measurments… 😉

      Like

      • Hi there and thanks for your quick reply! I’ve been looking at conversion sites too, but they are all a bit different! I was recommended a good one and a stick of butter is 110g!! I know it’s only slightly different to yours (114g), but if each ingredient is slightly out the cake won’t work! I did try this cake but it seemed an awful lot of sugar (150g) to flour (90g) – with the conversion table. It really needs the recipe to be tried and measuring the ingredients in metric along the way! Impossible for 7 years of recipes, but maybe for the new ones. We Europeans find it so frustrating when we see so many wonderful recipes on US websites …. and then our hearts sink when we see the words “cup” or “stick”!!! Anyway, the cake was quite nice so I might keep “tweaking” the recipe until it comes out right.
        Thanks for the conversion table – I WILL keep trying your recipes!

        Like

        • ok, I will tell you what – I love this cake SO MUCH, I will make it again within the next month, and weigh my ingredients myself then get back to you on this

          cannot promise it will be in a few days, but I will do it for sure… 😉

          Like

            • DONE! I added the info to the recipe on the site. Did not remake the PDF, but maybe that can get you going? 😉

              plus, it gave me the opportunity to bring the cake to the department and everyone is happy…. (I do think measuring the baking powder with the teaspoon is easier, depending on the type of scale you have).

              Like

              • Hi and thank you so much!! I have tried the cake and it’s wonderful!!
                BTW, we use spoon measures in Europe, too, it’s only sticks and cups we have trouble with – I once remember trying to squash a load of soft butter into a cup and thinking “there must be an easier way to do this”!!!
                Thanks again for your time and help – this cake could become a regular favourite!

                Liked by 1 person

  29. Hi there, has anyone tried doubling the ingredients to make a bigger cake? With some recipes it works and others (for some unknown reason!) it doesn’t. I think this one could work, though, so I’m going to try it. Any suggestions?

    Like

  30. It certainly didnt come out the same height as the picture. my rose only an inch in the spring foam pan that is with the corresponding baking powder amount listed in your directions. Not moist at all. Too many apples and too thick of a batter. needed more spice and liquid added along with more baking powder for it to rise better and be more moist along with less apples . Sorry but not “Ultimate” at all

    Like

Click here to comment, love to hear from you!

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s