French Apple Cake is moist and buttery, studded with soft chunks of apples and the warm flavor of cinnamon.  

Slice of french apple cake on white plate

I’m not French, but I married into a French family.  My husband’s grandfather was from France, and he was quite a baker.  I didn’t know much about French food until my husband and I went to Paris many years ago.  I was in heaven — the boulangeries at every corner with their fresh baked breads and pastries, the crepe stands on every street making crepes by the order, and the quaint restaurants with their lovely prix fixed menus with the most delicious dishes ever.

French apple cake on white cake stand

As for desserts, my husband almost always went for (and still does) creme brulee in French restaurants, while I always prefer the chocolate mousse or fruit desserts with ice cream.  This French Apple Cake is the kind of cake that I love.  It’s rustic and simple to make, and it reminds me of the White Peach and Strawberry Tart that I posted a few months back.  It’s moist and buttery, with a caramelized flavor from the brown sugar.  It’s full of warm, spicy cinnamon, and those apples….oh, those apples.  Soft, flavorful chunks of Granny Smith apples that just remind you of apple pie.  Can you tell I’m on an apple kick?  Yes, I am. ๐Ÿ™‚

French apple cake on white cake stand with apple in background

I almost didn’t post this cake because I sprinkled cinnamon and brown sugar on top (with no butter…wince), so it just kind of dried up on top.  Visually, I’m not happy with how the top looks.  I told myself to quit being a perfectionist and just roll with it, so I did.  Note to all of you — don’t sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top if you don’t want you cake to look like that. ๐Ÿ™‚

I happened upon this cake when my oldest son was in kindergarten about 7 years ago.  Can it really be that long ago?  He did a small world project on the country where his family was from, so he did it on France.  Parents were to bring in a dish from that country, and I had no idea what to bring for a kindergarten pot luck outside of a baguette. ๐Ÿ™‚  I found a recipe on the Internet, and fell head over heels for it.  I’ve changed it around over the years to be a bit more cake-like.  It’s unfussy and so delicious, perfect for a nice laid back dessert or breakfast, for that matter.  Yes, I said cake for breakfast!  Who doesn’t like to do that every now and then?

Slice of french apple cake on white plate

Slice of french apple cake on white plate

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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  • 1 lb. Granny Smith apples (about 2 large)
  • 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


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" round springform pan with cooking spray.
  • Peel and chop the apples into 1" chunks.
    How to peel and chop an apple collage
  • Melt the butter in a small bowl and set aside to cool.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar vigorously until frothy, about 1 minute, hen whisk in the vanilla. Add half of the flour mixture, whisking just until incorporated, then whisk in half of the butter. Repeat with the remaining flour and butter. Fold in the apple until well coated with the batter, then pour into the greased pan and spread evenly.
  • 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. Serve warm for best results.


  • If you prefer not to use alcohol, omit it all together.
  • 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.


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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