With chunks of sweet apples nestled in a tender and buttery rum cake, this French apple cake recipe, courtesy of Jenn Segal of Once upon a Chef, is the essence of simplicity.
When this baking a French Apple Cake, or any any dessert with apples, such as apple crisp, apple pie, or apple cobbler, it’s important to use apples suitable for baking. Baking apples hold their shape when cooked, 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 great options. Feel free to combine different varieties for a more nuanced flavor.
HOW TO MAKE FRENCH APPLE CAKE
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ⅔ 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 ½-inchcubes (I like Honeycrisp, Fuji or Granny Smith) (3½ – 4 cups chopped)
- Confectioners’ sugar (optional), for decorating cake
- 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.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- 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.
- 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.
Freezer Friendly Instructions: This French Apple 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.
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