Tasty French Apple Cake


I don’t know what it was but last weekend I was totally into baking things in cake pans. I made a quiche (well, that was in a pie pan) but then also this cake. Oh! I remember why now, I have this new ginger apple hair conditioner that I have been using that smells so good. It totally made me want to bake something apple-y. Then I found the recipe for this cake and there you go.

Okay, originally, the topping recipe called for white sugar. I decided to do it with brown sugar for fun. Oh, it was fun. I also added walnuts and at the advice of many posters at the Food Network site, I increased the oven time a little bit.

The original recipe said to use “baking apples” — I opted for a mix of apples. I also found that 3 apples was quite enough, once sliced up. Speaking of which, slice the apples thinly, into wedges, like you were making an apple tart. They will bake up really nicely stacked up — you will “ooohhhh” and “ahhhhhh” once you cut into the cake!

Tasty French Apple Cake
Adapted from the Apple Lady Apple Cake in the Paris Cookbook by Patricia Wells
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup 1% or 2% milk
3 – 4 large apples, cored,peeled,and cut into thin wedges — I used 2 gala and 1 Pacific Rose apple

The Topping
1/3 packed brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and set it aside. A regular 9-inch cake pan worked for me. I buttered and floured well (actually, I used Pam for baking!) and I had no problem getting the cake out. You’ll just need to flip upside-down onto a plate and then flip again onto another plate to get the right side up. More on that later…


In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir to blend. Add the vanilla extract, eggs, oil, and milk, and stir until well blended.


Add the apples and stir to thoroughly coat them with the batter. Your bowl will contain mostly apples, covered with a bit of batter.


Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake until fairly firm and golden, about 35 minutes.


Meanwhile, prepare the topping: In a small bowl, combine the sugar, egg, and melted butter, and stir to blend. Set it aside.


Remove the cake from the oven and turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. Pour the topping mixture over the cake and sprinkle with the walnuts.


Return the cake to the oven and bake until the top is a deep golden brown and the cake feels quite firm when pressed with a fingertip, about 15 minutes. After 10 minutes take a peek and make sure the brown sugar is not burning.


Mine was fine, but I was a little worried. Also, make sure you are baking the cake in the lower-middle of the oven and not a rack near the very top of the oven. Transfer the cake pan to a rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.


Then run a knife around the sides of the pan, and release and remove the springform side, leaving the cake on the pan base. Or, after running the knife along the edges, put a plate over the top of the cake and flip onto the plate. The cake will be upside down. Take another plate and put that on top of the cake and flip again. The cake should now be right-side up on the 2nd plate.


Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into thin wedges. Very good with a little vanilla frozen yogurt on top while still warm!

18 Replies to “Tasty French Apple Cake”

  1. I enjoy perusing your blog to see the foods you cook. I don’t know that I would have the time or money to buy a lot of the ingredients. However, I really enjoyed the photos of the Apple Cake and have been looking for a cake that is mostly apple slices. Do you think a spring form pan could work for this recipe? How do you go about planning out what to cook and shopping so that you have some of the ingredients already available.

  2. Rosa: Thanks! πŸ™‚
    burgeoningfoodie: Hi! Thanks. Glad you like the pipcs of the apple cake. A springform pan would work perfectly! That’s actually what you’re supposed to use, so it will be much easier (no flipping)!
    I basically cook for the blog on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights so I plan out earlier in the week for what I want to make and go grocery shopping once a week. πŸ™‚

  3. Definitely use brown sugar! The cake looks and sounds delicious, Michelle. You are a wonderfully creative person! Edie

  4. You are killing me with these tasty recipes. This definitely looks like something I ate when I lived in Paris.
    In a few months when I’m off my diet, I am making this!

  5. Hello again and thank you for the welcome. Did you hand slice your apples or do you have a mandoline?

  6. edie: Well, thank you! πŸ™‚
    Christy: YOu really should. It is so easy and good!
    Jennifer@SSL: Thanks!
    burgeoningfoodie: I hand sliced. Thin but not like paper-thin, completely exact or anything. Just relatively thinly, by hand! πŸ™‚

  7. i’ve been holding off on placing an amazon order b/c i couldn’t decide if i *really* needed a 9″ springform pan. i think i do after seeing this cake. do you think a dusting of powdered sugar would work in place of the topping? i’m not really a fan of brown sugar (weird, right?)?

  8. Grace:
    The original recipe called for white sugar — so you could totally use that instead of brown sugar.
    Or, you could just skip that step, as you suggest. I would maybe lower the oven about 10 degrees and keep it in the oven maybe 10-15 more minutes then. Let it cool, and then sprinkle with powdered sugar & maybe some toasted walnuts… Give it a try! Let me know if it works πŸ™‚
    Or, not that I’m thinking about it more, keep it at 400 to start, keep it in there for 30 minutes, then turn it down to 350 and give it 10-15 more minutes. Just check it periodically to make sure the top is not getting too dark!

  9. Thank you, thank you thank you! I’ve been searching for this recipe for years. Sadly my mum passed away 6 years ago and she used to make this french apple cake all the time. I was convinced I would find the recipe amongst all her cook books and cuttings but it wasn’t there and I’ve been trying to find it ever since. There are some versions of it published but not this one that is done in 2 stages with the crunchy, chewy, gooey delicious topping that I so fondly remember. Funnily enough it is my daughters 1st birthday tomorrow (she’s also half-french courtesy of her wonderful father) and I was looking for a suitably french cake I could make and know that everyone would enjoy (she absolutely loves apples) and I have finally found it. Thank you so much.

  10. Nichola: You are very welcome! I hope it is just like the French cake you remember so fondly and happy birthday to your daughter! πŸ™‚

    1. It was a big success with everyone and yes it was exactly how I remember my mum making it. Thank you so much again. πŸ™‚

  11. While perusing my cook book for a good dessert recipe with apples I saw an old newspaper clip featuring this recipe from Patricia Wells cookbook. I made it and Wow, it is sooo good. It is very easy to make, it has a delicious topping…very very french.
    ‘Tis the season to cook with apples, they are so cheap right now and so many varieties available. I used a mixed of honey crisp, rome and Granny Smith.

  12. Hi this recipe is the best! Having a limited supply of cake pans I took a chance on a bunt cake pan…. It worked! The apples were sticking up but by the time it cooked it looked just like the photo recipe! thank you so much!

  13. Rhaiza: That sounds delicious!
    Ricky: Glad it worked and you are very welcome! That’s my approach to baking too – it’s okay to experiment. Even if it doesn’t work all the way, it will still be delicious! Thank you for reminding me that I need to make this again soon! πŸ™‚

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