French apple cake & fall happenings

Hello and happy fall! It feels like fall in the city, it’s finally been actually somewhat chilly in the evenings. I’ve also hit the point where all I want to make is apple-based desserts…

I had a birthday and such since I posted last – C and I went up to Jenner and Sea Ranch for a few days to enjoy some quiet coast time. Took a great 9.5mi hike in Salt Point state park and ate a bunch of crab… absolutely zero complaints, it was a lovely few days away.

Also had a few fun adventures baking in airbnb kitchens – always an interesting puzzle. Maybe I should write a cookbook about how to bake when you have minimal supplies? Ha. Latest airbnb cooking lesson takeaways: a mesh strainer used as a drying rack does great double duty as a cooling rack for cookies, and you can make peach crisp on a stove/hot plate.

Let’s see, what else. I spent yesterday afternoon repotting some of my more enormous plants, which was overdue and very needed for them (root bound) and basically a workout for me, so everybody wins. Hopefully they’ll be much happier in their new digs! Probably explains why one of them had been acting up. I’d been putting it off because repotting him involves corralling all his tendrils into a pillowcase for easier maneuvering and I get soil all over my kitchen… it’s too bad no one caught this round on camera. I was literally hugging my snake plant, trying to hold the pot down with my knees while I tugged it out. Comical. Oh and I talk to them while I do it, obviously.

Have been getting some really fun fog effects lately; I never ever get tired of watching fog.

But back to cake.

This one is so simple – really, the most time consuming part is just chopping up the apples – but so delicious. It’s more apple than cake, which I love – mine is a 7″ cake and there are three large apples in it. Amazing! I only lightly adapted it from Dorie Greenspan’s recipe since I did really want to make something sorta traditional, but I think next time I do it, I might add ginger or cardamom (both of which I was out of). She has rum in her recipe too, which I 1000% would have added if I had any.

It’s delicious without though, so I’m posting my modifications here as an alternative – I used whole grain flour, and dropped the sugar content from the original. In this version, I used raw cane sugar, which is a more refined sugar than the sweetener choices I typically use, but I had some leftover from a previous project and didn’t want to waste it :)

Happy baking, and happy October!

French Apple Cake

So delicious! Only lightly adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s recipe, here. Yield: 7-8″ cake (I used a 7″ springform; it’s a flexible cake), serves 4-6ish, or two with leftovers for breakfast :) Lightly sweet, more apple than cake. Perfect for a tea time snack or after dinner dessert. Whole grain, naturally sweetened.

3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
large pinch of salt
3 large apples (if you can, choose 3 different kinds – I used fuji & granny smith)
2 large eggs
1/3 c cane sugar*
1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
~1tbsp turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

*a more refined sugar than I would typically use. It works well here, but I’d like to try subbing in maple/maple sugar/possibly coconut sugar to see about a less refined alternative

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 7 or 8″ springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl. Peel the apples, slice them finely, and then dice the slices into 1/2″-ish pieces. Just make sure they’re small! They don’t need to be even.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until they’re foamy. Add the sugar and whisk for a minute to blend, followed by the vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing after each so that you have a smooth, thick batter. With a rubber spatula, fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it’s coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and pat it down a little with the spatula so that it’s evenish. Sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a tester inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.

Run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. If you want to remove it from the bottom of the springform, let it cool a bit longer before doing so. Otherwise, the cake can be served warm, room temperature or chilled (can confirm it’s delicious all three ways); with a dollop of whipped cream, ice cream, or a splash of rum over the top. All excellent. It’s a very moist cake – more apple than cake, actually – so it’s best fresh but will keep for about 2 days, either on the counter or in the fridge. Press waxed paper against the cut surfaces for optimal storage.

4 Replies to “French apple cake & fall happenings”

  1. Made this last night with my son, subbing a couple things, and it was a hit on top of frozen cherries, tired with coconut ice cream! You’ll always be a place I turn to for fruity treats and beautiful sights! 🙏

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