I was craving something sweet this January and decided to make the cake I’ve had my eye on for a little while now- Dorie Greenspan’s French Apple Cake. The ingredients couldn’t be more simple, but in true french fashion, includes a copious amount of butter and alcohol, which is really all one needs in one’s life. (If one wants to die by the age of 35).
But to be honest, the decadence of the pastry is cut by the tart, firm apples that make up nearly the entirety of the cake. The batter is merely a binding mixture to hold all the luscious baked apples together in one piece. So you can really feel *kind of* healthy eating this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…? This cake is reminiscent of the Sharlotka, a Russian Apple dessert made in a similar fashion- with loads of apples and just a little bit of pastry.
The cake is beautifully soft, tender, brimming with fruit, and so so so moist. (Sorry). The original recipe called for dark rum to flavor the cake, but as I didn’t have dark rum I decided brandy would be an okay substitute.
And I do not regret this decision.
The brandy made this cake A++ in the flavor department and you can taste the boozy flavor throughout every bite. (But if you trust Dorie over myself- and I would be only moderately offended by this- feel free to use rum and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed). So if you’re like me and can only commit to dieting for approximately 1 week (the 1st week of January) and at this point have decided all bets are off in the resolution department, let this be the cake for you.You won’t regret it, I promise.
Barely adapted from Dorie Greenspan on Epicurious
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 4 large apples (I used Honeycrisp), peeled, cored, and diced in 2-inch pieces.
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons brandy (original recipe calls for dark rum)
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 tablespoons of butter, melted, and cooled to room temperature, plus extra for greasing pan.
- Confectioner's sugar, for garnishing (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease an 8-inch round cake pan with softened butter. Dust with flour.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a larger mixing bowl add eggs. Whisk with a hand-whisk until eggs are light and frothy.
- Add sugar and whisk until just combined.
- Add brandy and vanilla, and whisk until everything is incorporated and sugar is mostly dissolved.
- Next pour in about half the flour mixture. Whisk until just incorporated.
- Add half the melted butter and mix.
- Repeat with remaining butter and flour.
- Finally, add apple chunks and fold in gently with a spoon or spatula.
- Bake for about 55-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs.
- Let cool, in the pan, on a baking rack.
- Once cooled, slide a knife around the edges of the cake and invert to remove completely from the pan. Invert again so the cake is top-side up, and dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.