I’ve had this French apple cake bookmarked for about two years now and kept putting it off… I hadn’t actually read the entire recipe, but assumed it would be a little fussy and I’ve been all about simplicity this fall season. Once I picked it up and read through it, I was elated to see that the recipe was actually really simple to put together and didn’t require any special equipment.
This French apple cake has a dual texture going on – the bottom of the cake is packed with apples and has a custard-type texture, while the top part has a traditional cake texture. It’s not overly sweet, but it’s bursting with apples and the sprinkling of powdered sugar on top is the perfect accompaniment. I served this for dessert a couple of Sundays ago, and some folks ate it plain, some topped it with vanilla ice cream and some had it with whipped cream. I enjoyed it plain, as I wanted to really have the apple flavor and both of the cake textures shine through.
If you’ve been craving apple recipes like I have, or if you’ve gone apple picking and are drowning in bushels of apples, this French apple cake is an incredibly easy recipe that’s full of flavor and impressive enough for company.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place the prepared pan on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
Place the apple slices into pie plate, cover with an inverted plate, and microwave until the apples are pliable and slightly translucent, about 3 minutes. Toss the apple slices with Calvados and lemon juice and let cool for 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the flour, 1 cup of the granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together the whole egg, oil, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Transfer 1 cup of the batter to a separate small bowl and set aside.
Add the egg yolks to the remaining batter in the large bowl and whisk to combine. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the cooled apples. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan; using an offset spatula, spread the batter evenly to the pan edges, gently pressing on the apples to create even, compact layer, and smooth surface.
Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour into the reserved batter. Pour over the batter in the pan and spread evenly to the pan edges and smooth the surface. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar evenly over the cake.
Bake until the center of the cake is set, a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Run a paring knife around the sides of the pan and cool completely, 2 to 3 hours. Dust lightly with powdered sugar before serving.