This cake is by far my most favorite apple cake. It’s such a simple cake to make with very few ingredients but the end result is a spectacularly moist and moreish dessert. Plus, any dessert that calls for browning the butter, is a must eat in my book! Unlike other more complex French pastries and desserts, this cake looks fancy but requires only beginner baking skills and you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry and fridge. I’ve adapted this French Apple Cake recipe from Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street and changed it slightly by adding a pinch of cinnamon to the apples and by using less sugar than what the recipe calls for. I also don’t drink alcohol so I made do with a squeeze of lemon juice (or orange) instead of brandy. I’ve made this delicious fail-proof cake many times before, but decided this time around to use some monk fruit, the low calorie sweetener, in place of some of the regular sugar, just to cut down a bit on the amount of unhealthy simple sugars. The original recipe calls for the use of tart apples, like Granny Smith, which I don’t like, (therefore never have around) so I only used the sweeter tasting Gala apples. If you’re using sweet apples, the 7 tablespoons of sugar in the batter, will be more than enough. Because the cake is almost incredibly custardy in consistency, it’s best eaten warm BUT you do need to wait an hour or two after it’s finished baking before you eat it. Leftover cake should be covered, stored in the fridge and (optional) re-heated for a few minutes in an electric oven. A bit of barely sweetened whipped cream on the side would take a slice of this perfect cake to the top!
French Apple Cake
Prep Level: Easy
7-8 apples (can all be of a sweet variety like Golden Delicious, Gala, or a mix of sweet apples and tart apples like Granny Smith) peeled and cut in ¼ inch slices
Pinch of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of lemon or orange juice (optional)
8 tablespoons salted butter
¼ teaspoon all spice
7 tablespoons sugar divided (I used 2 tablespoons monk fruit sweetener and 3 tablespoons white sugar in the batter)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Heat the oven to 375 F. Butter and flour a 9 inch springform pan. In a skillet on medium high heat, melt the butter. Move the pan/butter around occasionally until it begins to foam and turn a golden brown color. It will take a couple of minutes only and you will smell the yummiest nutty aroma ever! Pour (don’t use a spatula or clean the skillet and what’s left of the butter) the brown butter in a bowl and mix in the all spice. In the same buttered skillet add the sliced apples, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of white sugar, and citrus juice if using. Cook the apples, stirring occasionally for about 10-15 minutes. Transfer the apples to a plate and cool down in the fridge for 15 minutes. In a large bowl whisk the eggs, sugar (5 tablespoons white sugar or 3 tablespoons white sugar and 2 tablespoons monk fruit sweetener) and vanilla. Pour in the brown butter. Next, add the flour to the bowl and sprinkle in the baking powder. Stir the mixture with a spatula until smooth. The batter will be thick. Add the cooked apple slices and mix to coat them with the batter. Spread the cake batter in an even layer in the greased pan, sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of white sugar and bake on the middle rack for about 30 minutes or until the surface is nicely browned. Leave the cake to cool for two hours before cutting and serving. The surface should have a nice crust and the cake should be moist and custardy.