22 October 2010

French apple cake for the Fall

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.


Susan said...

It's been cold here today. The first snowflakes blew down .. . and my zinnias were frosted last night. Time to clear away the gardens and hunker down in a warm spice-scented kitchen ... tomorrow is baking day! This cake has inspired me to do something with apples! Thanks!

Happyhealthpad said...

Yummy, i never tried this french apple cake recipe and i think the ingredients here are not so expensive maybe im going to try this one.

Unknown said...

I love apple desserts! Thanks for posting this.
I'll need to give it a try. Have you come across any good recipes for apple bread or apple coffee cake type of recipes?

erica said...

Hi Tim, I haven't made apple bread before, but I have a great coffee cake recipe here that incorporates fruit, and I think it could work really nicely with apples too! (http://www.apricosa.com/2009/12/dessert-for-crowd.html)

Anonymous said...

What a neat looking cake! I love how many apples there are actually in the cake. Great Pictures, too!

Prerna@IndianSimmer said...

This thing is just perfect! I have loads of apple in my fridge and I'm so tired making fruit leather! Love the recipe! Thanks for sharing! And you have a gorgeous space around here!

the Junkie book said...

yum yum yum yum. lemme see if this blobs in here. and did you really tuck in that huge chunk of cake all by yourself????!!!!

the Junkie book said...

oh yes it's come!!! i'd posted the previous comment early in the day.

erica said...

Hi Thoma--yay! so glad it's working now :)

ThatsHowIRoll said...

Wow! I'm not going to miss this one. Looks divine and I can't wait to try it.

Anonymous said...

Oh - this looks so yummy!

I bet it does smell awesome as it bakes.

Anonymous said...

Looks beautiful - great pictures! I love apple desserts, particularly this time of year!

Anonymous said...

Doubled the recipe and made two yesterday. It was a huge hit with my guests. I had some rum from St. Lucia which I used and it gave the cake an exceptional flavor. Outstanding recipe. The second cake is in my freezer for another day.

mummy2mum said...

Hi Erica, I love this recipe! I'm always looking for ways to get my kids to eat extra fruit whilst feeling as if they're having a treat, and this cake achieves this perfectly! I'm featuring your blog and this recipe in a Recipe Road Test which is a weekly feature that I run on my blog. My family review a recipe for its suitability for inclusion as a healthy lunchbox treat. If you want to pop over and check it out I'd be delighted to hear from you. Will be published to the blog on Friday.

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