French Apple Cake or Marie-Helen's Cake
Cook's notes: One of my favorite cookbook authors Dorie Greenspan has written "Around My French Table." It is a collection of recipes from Dorie’s time in France. The book is filled with outstanding savory and sweet dishes. This apple cake recipe comes from Dorie’s friend, Marie-Helene, who is the type of cook who doesn’t like to measure ingredients. Dorie fell in love with her apple cake and asked for the recipe, but her friend couldn’t give her the exact measurements. Dorie played around in the kitchen and figured out the recipe on her own.
French Apple Cake is made with chunks of sweet apples nestled in a tender, buttery rum cake batter. It is delicious and extremely simple to make. The cake is loaded with chunks of apples. There are almost more apples than cake, which I love. Dorie highly recommends using different apple varieties so you get a little bit of everything-sweet, tart, crisp, and soft. I used Honeycrisp and Sweet Tango for this cake but Gala and Fuji could also be used. The cake is moist and can be served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. I did dare to put my own spin on it. I added cinnamon and decreased rum from 3 TB to 2 TB. I didn't want the rum taste to overpower the cake batter.
FYI your kitchen will have an amazing aroma baking this dessert.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 TB. Vietnamese cinnamon or 2 tsp. regular cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling over cake
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 TB. dark rum
- 2 sweet baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I like Honeycrisp, Fuji or Sweet Tango. )
- 2 TB. sugar mixed with 1 tsp. regular cinnamon
- Confectioners' sugar (optional), for decorating cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9-inch springform or regular cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder , cinnamon 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. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chopped apples.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly over cake batter 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar mixed with 1 tsp. cinnamon. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cake is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool until just warm. Run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan if using. Using a fine sieve, dust with Confectioners' sugar (if using). Cake can be served warm or room temperature, with or without lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.