The summer after my junior year in college, I worked in Paris as an au pair for a family with three little boys. My host mother, Valerie, was a pharmacist by day and bon vivant by night. She was always entertaining and would frequently enlist my help in the kitchen once the kids were in bed. Baking was her specialty and I can still picture her standing over the sink, coring and peeling apples for her French apple cake. I didn’t think to get her recipe back then, but this cake made with chunks of sweet apples nestled in a tender, buttery rum cake is pretty close to what I remember. Like so many French home baking recipes, it is the essence of simplicity.
Begin by combining the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
No need to sift; just whisk well.
Set aside. Then, in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time.
Beat in the vanilla extract and rum.
It will look a little grainy at this point; that’s okay.
Add the dry ingredients.
Mix until just combined.
Add the chopped apples.
Use a rubber spatula to fold the apples into the batter.
Have a 9-inch springform pan greased or a 9-inch cake pan greased, lined with parchment, and greased again.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and even the top.
Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar.
Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, until golden and crisp on top.
Serve warm or room temperature, plain or with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
My Recipe Videos
French Apple Cake
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling over cake
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons dark rum
- 2 baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I like Honeycrisp, Fuji or Granny Smith)
- Confectioners' sugar (optional), for decorating cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch springform or regular cake pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray. If using a regular cake pan, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and grease again.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Using a handheld mixer with beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and rum. Don't worry if the batter looks grainy at this point; that's okay. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chopped apples.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and even the top. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool on a rack. Run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake. If using a springform pan, remove the sides. If using a regular cake pan, carefully invert the cake onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, then gently flip the cake over and place right-side-up on a platter. Using a fine sieve, dust with Confectioners' sugar (if using). Cake can be served warm or room temperature, plain or with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
- Per serving (8 servings)
- Calories: 279
- Fat: 13g
- Saturated fat: 8g
- Carbohydrates: 35g
- Sugar: 22g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 3g
- Sodium: 66mg
- Cholesterol: 77mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.