Light, fluffy and studded with tender chunks of apple, this French Apple Cake will be a fall favorite!  It’s made with a few simple ingredients and is one of the easiest cakes you’ll ever make!

french apple cake dusted with powdered sugar

**This recipe was originally published in October 2013. The text, recipe and photos have been updated.

My son did a project on his french family heritage for his kindergarten class 13 years ago, which included bringing some french food to share with the class.

Aside from a baguette, I couldn’t think of anything that would appeal to kindergarteners, so I scoured the internet for ideas. I found a French Apple Cake recipe and it became an instant favorite.

Over the years I’ve made the recipe my own, and I make it countless times each fall when apples are at their peak.

french apple cake on a cake stand

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • The cake is light and fluffy, with tender chunks of apple and the flavors of bourbon and vanilla.
  • There is no special equipment required — not even a mixer! It’s truly one of the easiest cakes you’ll ever make.
  • It’s rustic yet elegant, and perfect for any occasion.
  • This versatile cake is great for brunch or tea with a light dusting of powdered sugar, or for dessert with whipped cream or ice cream.

Recipe ingredients

This French apple cake recipe takes only a few simple ingredients as shown below:

french apple cake recipe ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Apples. Baking apples such as Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Jonagold, Golden Delicious and Honeycrisp are the best apples to use in this cake recipe as they will hold their shape well.
  • Butter. If you’re following a dairy free diet, the butter may be replaced with your favorite oil.
  • Bourbon. Traditional French apple cake is made with dark rum, but I chose to use bourbon because I love the flavor. Brandy is also a great option — simply use what you have on hand!

How to make this recipe

French apple cake takes minimal prep, no special equipment, and is one of the easiest cakes you’ll ever make!

How to make french apple cake process collage 1
How to make french apple cake process collage 2
How to make french apple cake process collage 3
How to make french apple cake process collage 4
  1. Melt the butter in a small bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar vigorously until frothy, then whisk in the bourbon and vanilla.
  4. Whisk half of the flour into the dry ingredients just until incorporated.
  5. Whisk half of the butter into the mixture until combined.
  6. Whisk in the remaining half of the flour, followed by the remaining half of the flour.
  7. Fold in the apple chunks until well coated with batter.
  8. Pour the batter into a greased springform pan and spread until smooth.
  9. Bake for 40 minutes or until lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove from the pan. Run a knife around the perimeter of the cake before removing from the springform pan if necessary.

FAQ’s


Can I use a different type of pan?

If you don’t own a springform pan, you can certainly use an 8 or 9″ cake pan. Grease the cake pan well, and line the bottom with parchment paper and grease again for best results.

If using a cake pan, there’s no need to remove the cake from the pan prior to serving.

What kind of apples do you use for apple cake?

Baking apples such as Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Braeburn, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp and Jonagold are best as they hold their shape well.

I enjoy Granny Smith apples in this recipe for their flavor, but your favorite variety or combination will be great as well!

Should you peel apples for apple cake?

I prefer to peel the apples for this French apple cake as the peel would add a chewy texture that would interfere with the lightness of the cake.

How long will apple cake keep?

This cake will keep in an air tight container at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

slice of french apple cake on a plate

Recipe notes

  • The bourbon may be substituted with rum, brandy or your favorite alcohol.
  • Serve this French apple cake recipe with a light dusting of powdered sugar and vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream if desired.
  • I highly recommend using a springform pan with removable bottom for this cake, but if you don’t have one on hand, use an 8 or 9″ cake pan sprayed well with cooking spray, line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the parchment with cooking spray as well.
  • Store leftover cake at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
french apple cake on a plate topped with whipped cream

More apple recipes you’ll love

Did you make this recipe? If so I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and rating below or snap a photo and tag me @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

french apple cake dusted with powdered sugar

French Apple Cake

French Apple Cake is light, fluffy and packed with tender chunks of apple. It's rustic yet elegant and is one of the easiest cakes you'll ever make!
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Granny Smith apples about 2 large, peeled and chopped into 1" chunks
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon substitute with dark rum or brandy
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" round springform pan with cooking spray. Melt the butter in a small bowl and set aside to cool.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
    How to make french apple cake process collage 1
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar vigorously until frothy, about 1 minute, then whisk in the bourbon and vanilla.
  • Whisk in half of the flour just until incorporated.
  • Whisk in half of the butter until just combined.
    How to make french apple cake process collage 2
  • Whisk in the remaining half of the flour, then the remaining half of the butter.
  • Fold in the apples until well coated with the batter.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
    How to make french apple cake process collage 3
  • Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove from pan, using a knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan if necessary. Serve and enjoy!
    How to make french apple cake process collage 4

Notes

  • The bourbon may be substituted with rum, brandy or your favorite alcohol.
  • Serve this French apple cake recipe with a light dusting of powdered sugar, vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream if desired.
  • I highly recommend using a springform pan with removable bottom for this cake, but if you don’t have one on hand, use an 8 or 9″ cake pan sprayed well with cooking spray, line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the parchment with cooking spray as well.  
  • Store leftover cake at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Powdered sugar, whipped cream are not included in the nutritional information as they are optional.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g, Calories: 287kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 71mg, Sodium: 217mg, Potassium: 93mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 25g, Vitamin A: 445IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 45mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

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