Thursday, October 28, 2010

French Fridays with Dorie: Marie-Helene's Apple Cake


This is a French apple cake and it's the easiest cake I've ever made. Really. No mixer required. This is also about half apple, half cake, so it's kind of healthy. Sort of. Something about this dessert is so comforting, so simple - and yet so decadent. The interior is like a custard, chock full of apples and laced with rum and vanilla. Sure, it looks like dessert, but just between you and me....I ate most of it for breakfast the next day.


In the story behind this recipe, Dorie explains how she tested and experimented to get this recipe just right. All she had to go on were basic ingredients ( but no measurements) from it's creator, Marie-Helene. The key was to get a variety of apples, some sweet and some tart, to get a range of flavors. I chose Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala and Jonagold. However, after testing (by which I mean tasting) the apples, I discarded the Gala. That particular apple didn't taste like anything. So I used a Honeycrisp apple I had in the refrigerator. Now there's an apple with some personality. It's my favorite for eating out of hand, and this was the first time I'd ever baked with it. It blended right in with everything and the result was apple perfection.

This recipe calls for an 8" springform pan, but all I had were 9" pans. It wasn't easy finding an 8" cake pan, but here it is. It came from a craft store and I wasn't sure about the gold finish, but it's a well-known baking brand and the cake turned out beautifully. I'm glad I looked around for a smaller pan; a larger one would have made a thinner cake and I would have had timing issues with my oven (which runs hot anyway). Let's just say that my patience was rewarded with a new pan and a great recipe with which to use it.

So here is one more reason why you need Dorie Greenspan's book, Around My French Table: It has an amazing recipe for apple cake that you can make every other day if you want to; it's that simple to create. Click here to see all the other entries for this recipe. Visit them all and get inspired to make some delicious, comforting French food.


  1. Isn't it nice when something this simple is so, so good! I love the idea of having this in the oven when I have company for dinner... Your cake looks wonderful.

  2. I was not allowed to bring the leftovers to work as I usually do with this one! Yours looks beautiful!
    Trevor Sis Boom.

  3. Your looks wonderful with the dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle of cinnamon!!! I used the 3 apples you did (before the addition of a honeycrisp - I have never heard or seen them...I will be on the lookout)

    Did you use a cake pan? I thought about doing that but ended up using my 9" springform pan but I did 1 1/2 times the recipe!

  4. Agree, nothing tastes better than a simple dessert you can eat for breakfast.

  5. nice photos. like your spiced whipped cream

  6. never read blogs when you are hungry. wow apple cake would be so good right now with a hot cup of tea... sounds perfect for the season.
    Happy Halloween