22 October 2010
In the mood for a great weekend dessert? Here's an easy and delicious French apple cake to try! This recipe, originally from Dorie Greenspan's "Around My French Table," takes the unassuming apple and elevates it to a grander level. And given our fantastic local harvest of apples that is currently available, I can't think of a better dessert to make right now.
As it bakes, your house will fill with the heavenly scent of rum and vanilla. Just take a few minutes to mix this up, pop it in the oven, and then enjoy a nice leisurely dinner...or go for a walk...or do your Fall gardening...then come back and enjoy a warm slice of this cake.
And you'll love how easy it is to mix this up. Though you'll be in for a dessert of sophisticated flavor, it won't take you very long to prep the batter and the apples (see my tip in the recipe below), and in my opinion, it's a total breeze to make compared to making an apple pie!
You might be surprised at how many apples are incorporated into the cake batter, but it actually turns out quite well; the top becomes brown and crispy, while the interior, chock full of apples, remains soft and moist. I recommend serving this with some sauce anglaise or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. And while I am only an occasional coffee drinker, I actually do think I'd make the effort to pair this with a fragrant cup of good-quality coffee. Enjoy, and happy apple-season!
French Apple Cake
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 cups apples (I recommend Fuji, golden delicious, Gala, or Pippin)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
3/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Using some of the melted butter, brush the inside of an 8-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl and set aside.
Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Slice the apples or cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks. (Note: the larger your apples, the fewer you will have to peel! And, the smaller your chunks, the less fragmented your cake will be when you cut into it to serve it.)
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk or electric mixer until they are foamy. Add the sugar, rum, vanilla, cardamom, and lemon zest and whisk to blend. Add in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it's coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and smooth out the top with the spatula.
Place the cake on a baking sheet and position it on the center rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
Carefully run a thin knife around the edges of the cake to loosen and then open and remove the sides of the springform pan. Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.
Delicious when served warm or at room temperature, with a vanilla sauce, ice cream, or creme chantilly.
Posted by erica at 3:23 PM