October 30, 2009

French Apple Cake

Because I've always been a Francophile and this dessert recipe had the word "French" in it, choosing it from a long list of Apple Cake recipes was a no-brainer. The fact that the cake batter is infused with a healthy splash of Calvados (or Cognac) helped make the decision that much easier!

This is one of those special recipes that I stumbled across about 10 years ago and have held on to ever since. It is buttery and rich and truly divine. And it is a dangerous cake to have around, because once you have a bite, you'll want another.
And another. And another.

So unless I feel like living dangerously, I only make it for special occasions, when I know there will be friends and family around to help eat up every last bite. When I offer second helpings I am often met with mild protests, but they always cave in eventually!

French Apple Cake
from Bon Appétit magazine
serves 8
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled, cored, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Calvados, applejack or other brandy (I use Cognac)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides. Coat pan with sugar; tap out excess. Melt 1/4 cup butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar, water and cinnamon and bring to boil. Add apples and cook until apples are just tender, turning frequently, about 15 minutes. Remove apples, using slotted spoon, and arrange decoratively in bottom of pan. Continue boiling liquid in skillet until thick and syrupy, about 4 minutes. Pour over apples.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into small bowl. Whisk remaining 1 cup sugar, egg yolks, eggs, Calvados and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Gently stir in dry ingredients. Fold in 1/2 cup melted butter. Pour batter over apples in pan. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan 5 minutes. Run small sharp knife around side of pan to loosen cake. Turn cake out onto platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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