French apple cake combines rich, buttery batter with the sweetness of fresh apples and a crisp topping. Dusted with powdered sugar and served with a dollop of whipped cream, it’s a simple yet elegant treat perfect for any occasion.
When it comes to dessert, there’s something comforting about a cake full with apples. But we’re not talking just any apple cake—this is the easy French Apple Cake Recipe you’ve been searching for. Trust me, with its delicate blend of simple ingredients and robust apple flavor, this cake is bound to become a staple in your dessert repertoire this fall!
Traditionally enjoyed during the apple season in France, this cake is the perfect addition to any special occasion or holiday gathering. If you are looking for more holiday desserts, make sure to check out my Pumpkin Cheesecake and Pumpkin Bundt Cake.
For this cake, each ingredient serves a specific purpose. The butter and sugar combine to provide moistness and sweetness, while the room-temperature eggs and milk make the cake batter smoother. The choice of apples is crucial—I recommend honey crisp for their vibrant apple flavor. Finally, sliced almonds in the topping add that extra crunch.
- Butter, room temperature: Using room-temperature butter ensures even mixing for a smoother batter.
- Sugar: Regular granulated sugar works well, but you can also experiment with brown sugar for a caramel-like flavor.
- Eggs, room temperature: Again, room-temperature ingredients help to achieve a smoother, more homogeneous cake batter.
- Vanilla extract: A high-quality vanilla extract enhances the overall flavor.
- All-purpose flour: Sift the flour before using to avoid lumps and make the cake lighter.
- Baking powder: This acts as the leavening agent, giving the cake its rise.
- Salt: Just a pinch is used to balance the sweetness.
- Milk, room temperature: Ensures the batter mixes evenly.
- Honey crisp apples: These apples are sweet and a bit tart, perfect for this cake. Feel free to use Pink Lady or Fuji apples as alternatives.
- Sliced almonds: These give a delightful crunch and nutty taste.
*See recipe card for quantities.
Step by Step Instructions
Check out the step-by-step photos as a guide for the best French Apple Cake recipe.
Prepare the Oven and Pan: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. This is crucial for easy removal of the cake later on.
Prepare Dry Ingredients: In a medium size bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. This is your flour mixture.
Cream Butter and Sugar: In a large mixing bowl, cream together room-temperature butter and sugar using an electric hand mixer until well combined and fluffy.
Add Eggs and Vanilla: Beat in eggs and vanilla extract until well incorporated.
Combine Ingredients: Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the large mixing bowl. Beat until just combined. Add milk, and beat until the cake batter is well mixed.
Fold in the Apples: Gently fold in cubed apples into the cake batter using a rubber spatula.
Pour and Bake: Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top of the batter with a spatula. Bake in the middle position of the oven for 20 minutes.
Prepare Topping: While the cake is baking, prepare the topping. In a small saucepan, melt butter and sugar.
Prepare Topping: Remove from heat and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in eggs and vanilla extract.
Add Topping: After 20 minutes, pour the topping evenly over the top of the cake.
Continue Baking: Return to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
Add Almonds: Sprinkle sliced almonds on top and bake for another 3-5 minutes, or until almonds just begin to turn golden brown.
Cool and Serve: Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack. Once cooled, run a sharp knife around the sides of the bowl and remove the cake from the pan. Dust with powdered sugar.
Tip: When preparing the cake, make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature for a more consistent and better-textured result. This is especially important for ingredients like butter, eggs, and milk. For best results, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to gently fold in the apple chunks will help distribute them evenly throughout the batter.
Slice the cake and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. The cake can also be refrigerated and served cold. To serve it cold, let it cool completely then chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour.
- Dairy-Free: Replace milk with almond or oat milk and use a plant-based butter.
- Add spices: For an extra kick, add a teaspoon of cinnamon or 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg to the batter.
- Nut-Free: If you are nut-free, you can skip the sliced almonds.
- Options for Toppings: Top the cake with whipped cream, crème fraîche, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a more decadent finish.
- Rum-Infused: Add a splash of rum to the cake batter. This not only elevates the flavor but also pairs wonderfully with the apple.
- For this French apple cake recipe, a 9-inch springform pan is ideal, as it makes it easier to remove the cake without damaging its delicate texture. I use this springform pan which I highly recommend.
- This is my favorite stand mixer and hand held mixer.
To maintain its moistness and texture, wrap the cake in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Unfortunately, due to the moist nature of the apples and the delicate cake structure, this recipe doesn’t stand up well to freezing. Therefore, it’s best to enjoy this amazing cake while it’s fresh.
- It’s essential to grease the pan and line both the bottom and sides with parchment paper for easy cake removal and to preserve its delicate texture. This extra step can make a big difference in how effortlessly the cake comes out of the pan.
- After pouring the cake batter into the prepared pan, it’s crucial to smooth the top of the batter with a spatula for even baking. When you add the topping, make sure to pour it slowly and evenly, covering the entire surface of the cake. Don’t rush the cooling process; allowing the cake to cool in the pan ensures easier removal and a more refined texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Honey crisp apples are highly recommended due to their balance of sweetness and tartness. You can also use Pink Lady or Fuji apples as good alternatives.
Yes, a hand mixer will work just fine. The key is to make sure your wet ingredients are thoroughly mixed into a smooth texture.
Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container. It should stay fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days.
The French apple cake can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days when wrapped in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container. It’s recommended to enjoy it within this timeframe to experience the best texture and flavor. Unfortunately, this particular cake doesn’t freeze well.
The almond topping adds crunch and flavor, but you can omit it or substitute with another nut of your choice, such as walnuts or pecans.
If you make this recipe, take a photo and tag #bakedambrosia on Instagram and Facebook so that I can see your creations and feature them on Instagram! To stay up to date with the latest recipes, follow Baked Ambrosia on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. ♡
French Apple Cake
- 6 tbsp butter room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 2/3 cups flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup milk room temperature
- 17.5 oz apples peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4-5 medium apples)
- 10 tbsp butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 oz sliced almonds
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until combined.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beating until just combined. Add the milk, and beat until well combined.
- Gently fold in the cubed apples into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes.
- While the cake is baking, prepare the topping. In a small saucepan, melt butter and sugar. Remove from heat and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Whisk the eggs, and vanilla extract.
- After 20 minutes, pour the topping evenly over the cake. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle sliced almonds and bake for 3-5 minutes, or until almonds just begin to turn golden
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack. Once cooled, run a sharp knife around the edges and remove the cake from the pan. Dust with powdered sugar. Slice the cake and serve with whipped cream. Cake can also be refrigerated and served cold. To serve cake cold, let cool completely then chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Photography by Ashleigh Scott