French Apple Cake

Tested & Perfected Recipes

With chunks of sweet apples nestled in a tender and buttery rum cake, this French apple cake is the essence of simplicity.

french apple cake

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.

What you’ll need to make French Apple Cake

how to make french apple cake

Be sure to select baking apples for this recipe. Baking apples hold their shape when baked, so the chunks of fruit won’t turn into applesauce in the oven. Tart-sweet varietals such as Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Pink Lady, Braeburn, and Jonagold are all good options. Feel free to combine different varieties for a more nuanced flavor.

How To Make French Apple Cake

how to make french apple cake

Begin by combining the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. No need to sift; just whisk well.

how to make french apple cake

Set aside. Then, in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

how to make french apple cake

Add the eggs one at a time.

how to make french apple cake

Beat in the vanilla extract and rum.

how to make french apple cake

It will look a little grainy at this point; that’s okay.

how to make french apple cake

Add the dry ingredients.

how to make french apple cake

Mix until just combined.

how to make french apple cake

Add the chopped apples.

how to make french apple cake

Use a rubber spatula to fold the apples into the batter.

how to make french apple cake

Have a 9-inch springform pan greased or a 9-inch cake pan greased, lined with parchment, and greased again.

how to make french apple cake

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and even the top.

how to make french apple cake

Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar.

how to make french apple cake

Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, until golden and crisp on top.

how to make french apple cake

Serve warm or room temperature, plain or with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

french apple cake

You may also like

French Apple Cake

With chunks of sweet apples nestled in a tender and buttery rum cake, this French apple cake is the essence of simplicity.

Servings: 6-8
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients

  • 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) (3-1/2 - 4 cups chopped)
  • Confectioners' sugar (optional), for decorating cake

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. 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.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 in the pan. Once cool, 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.
  5. Freezer Friendly Instructions: The cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or freezer wrap. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • 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.

See more recipes:

Reviews & Comments

  • Hi Jenn. The taste was fabulous however my apple cake turned out a bit greasy & didn’t have that beautiful browned effect like yours. I used an 8×8 square pan as I didn’t have a 9″ round & baked it for 45 mins to try & get that nice color, but it turned out somewhat pale & greasy. It was cooked & the taste was lovely, but where did I go wrong?

    • — Donna on March 29, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Donna, Did you use something other than butter in the batter?

      • — Jenn on March 30, 2021
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn, I used 1/2 c butter & creamed per your instructions so maybe my oven isn’t hot enough at 350F? I bought a 9″ round pan & will try this recipe again because I want it to look like yours. Baking is such a mystery at times.

        • — Donn on March 30, 2021
        • Reply
        • I hope you have better luck the second time around! And If you’re concerned that your oven temperature isn’t accurate, here are some tips for checking it.

          • — Jenn on March 30, 2021
          • Reply
  • I baked this recipe today and it tasted amazing. I used cognac instead of dark rum & some cinnamon (as my little one suggested it to add) & it was a perfect blend of flavours. I wasn’t sure about the type of oven setting to be used & as I have a fan assisted oven i used a lower temp setting at 165´ just to not over bake & it seemed to work. I will be making this recipe again & will definitely share it with others. Thank you.

    • — Sandy on March 27, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is so good!!!

    • — Emily on March 25, 2021
    • Reply
  • Is the 9″ cake pan used in the french apple cake recipe 2″ or 3″?

    • — Ann on March 25, 2021
    • Reply
    • I think mine is a 3-inch, but either will work here is this cake isn’t very tall. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 26, 2021
      • Reply
  • This is my second time making the apple cake and it is delicious. Best recipe I have ever used❤️❤️❤️

    • — JoAnn Schilling on March 25, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious! I made this cake to take to a friend’s last night and it was a hit. In my oven which is new it took a little longer to bake -other than that I followed the recipe exactly. I used Meyers dark rum which is my favorite. I will be making this again!

    • — Judy Eklund on March 25, 2021
    • Reply
  • I really love this recipe and was wondering if I could make it with plums in place of the apple?

    • — Julie on March 23, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Julie, Glad you like this! I actually have a plum cake that’s similar so you may want to try that. Hope you enjoy if you make it!

      • — Jenn on March 23, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi! Thank you , what a lovely cake ! If one is without apples do you think well drained tinned peach slices might just work?

    • — diana mcdougall on March 23, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Diana, Glad you liked it! I think fresh peaches would work, but canned peaches would be too soft – sorry!

      • — Jenn on March 23, 2021
      • Reply

Add a Review or Question

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.