French Apple Cake | #cake #french #apples

A Weekend Treat: French Apple Cake

Posted on January 26, 2013

This French Apple Cake is a family favorite. I love apples and honestly never get tired of them since there are so many varieties to choose from.

I usually stick with pink lady or honey crisp. Giulia loves the granny smith and the golden delicious. Adrian always goes for the Jazz variety.

Apples from the market

Apples from the market

Needless to say we end up with a basket full of apples. For a quick bite we slice them up and grab a spoon of peanut butter but on occasions we bake them into a French Apple Cake for a weekend treat.

What’s nice about this recipe is that you can make it with ingredients easily on hand. It’s also been interesting to me that I apparently always have dark rum on hand.

If you like to bake I would suggest getting a bottle of Dark Meyers Rum and put it right next to the Grand Mainer for adding that special kick to your desserts.

This cake is authentically French there is no cinnamon to be found. But I will tell you the rum really makes this French Apple Cake pop so don’t skip out on that one!

French Apple Cake in spring pan

French Apple Cake in spring pan

French Apple Cake Recipe
Serves 8
Write a review
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
What you will need
  1. 1 ½ cup (204g) flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 4 to 6 regular size apples (a mix of varieties of what you have on hand)
  5. Note: If you want the ratio to be apples to cake then use 6 apples, if you want it to be more cake to apples then use 4 apples.
  6. 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  7. 1 ½ cup (250g) sugar
  8. 4 tablespoons dark rum
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. 12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) (170g) butter, salted or unsalted, melted and cooled to room temperature
Steps to Prepare & Bake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven.
  2. Heavily butter an 8- or 9-inch spring form pan.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Peel and core the apples, and slice them into wedges.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy then whisk in the sugar, then rum and vanilla.
  6. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, and then gently stir in half of the melted butter
  7. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the butter.
  8. Fold in the apple slices until they’re well-coated with the batter.
  9. With a spatula scrape the batter into the prepared spring form pan and smooth out the top so it is even.
  10. Bake the cake for 35 minute to 1 hour (This will vary depending on your oven).
For The Feast
Serving: I like to serve this cake a la mode. (warm cake with a scoop of ice cream).

Test it out by inserting a toothpick into the center to check if it comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, and then run a knife around the edge to slowly to loosen the cake from the pan before you spring it out. Next carefully remove the sides of the cake pan, making sure no apples are stuck to it. This cake is truly wonderful and I am sure you will love it.

What Others Are Saying

  1. Rick Smith March 10, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Looks great! I wonder about substituting Sweet Vermouth for the Dark Rum?

    • Carrie Pacini June 16, 2013 at 10:10 am

      I think the Sweet Vermouth would work too.

  2. Carol Benew June 16, 2013 at 9:31 am

    I will heat the cake up and serve it a la mode.” What does that mean??
    A la mode means ‘fashionably’. That makes no sense to me.

    • Carrie Pacini June 16, 2013 at 10:11 am

      Hi Carol, in the United States “a la mode'” means to serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I’ve updated the recipe so it’s clear. Thanks for asking about it.

  3. Pat August 20, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Wfhat can be substituted for the alcohol?

    • Carrie Pacini August 20, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      I would just use more vanilla in place of the dark rum.

      • Gail January 15, 2017 at 11:58 am

        I used some eggnog instead of the dark rum (which I didn’t have.) It was a hit. I also added a bit cinnamon to the apples before adding them to the batter and into the egg-sugar mixture before mixing it with the flour. It was very subtle.

        • Carrie Pacini January 15, 2017 at 3:02 pm

          It Sounds Great!

    • sarah August 31, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      There is also rum extract…I have used that when baking before. But a little goes a long way, as usual with extracts, so be careful or its will overwhelm the entire thing.

      • Carrie Pacini September 3, 2013 at 9:59 am

        Thanks Sarah for that insight!

        • Stephanie Waibel August 28, 2015 at 8:07 pm

          Can you say how much rum e tract to use?

          • Carrie Pacini September 3, 2015 at 2:10 pm

            Hi Stephanie, Not sure if you already figured this out but I would try 3 Tablespoons of a Rum Extract for the cake.

    • kkk-k-k-elly November 22, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      just use rum. G-G-G-Golly!

  4. Zelda September 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    I made this tonight for dessert. The taste was great however the recipes calls for 6 large apples and i used 5 and it was too much.Not a good ratio of cake to apple. I will try it again tomorrow with less

    • Carrie Pacini September 9, 2013 at 7:24 am

      Hey Zelda, the cake batter will be less. It’s there to coat the apples and then bakes up around them into this cake. I like to load mine with apples but you can definitely use less. I will add a line in the recipe about the range of apples. Also I’ve noticed how large the apples are in the stores lately. I will make a note to just use the regular size apples because the large ones are jumbo size and way too big for this recipe.

  5. Eve October 10, 2013 at 1:59 am

    Thank you! Made this tonight and it’s amazing! I didn’t have the rum so I added half a teaspoon of maple extract. Easy recipe, my only issue was the bake time was quite a bit over a hour. Other than that it was Perfect, will be making again. Whole family loved it. Thanks again.

    • Carrie Pacini October 10, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      Perfect, I know the bake times can vary from oven to oven and also the weather can make a big difference too!

      • Eve November 28, 2013 at 2:19 am

        I never think of the weather! I really should though, I live in Washington state. I’m actually making this again for thanksgiving tomorrow. Thanks again for the great recipe!

  6. Emma November 26, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    I made this last night and it was totally the hit of the dinner party. I used six apples and it was great, definitely wouldn’t go less, would very much consider going up to seven. Yum!

    • Carrie Pacini November 28, 2013 at 10:05 am

      Hi Emma, I am so glad it was a hit!

  7. Jenny December 25, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    I added in another 1/2 cup of almond flour and it made the cake less moist, plus taste better!

    • Carrie Pacini January 2, 2014 at 10:34 am

      Great idea Jenny! I use that trick in my blackberry tart to soak up the moisture from the fruit.

  8. reneá January 2, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Can’t wait to taste this cake! It’s in the oven now, was out of rum so I used Drambuie(scotch with spiced honey), figured I’d give e it a shot!

    • Carrie Pacini January 3, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      Hey Renea, I’m interested to see how it went with the Drambuie!

  9. Lena January 6, 2014 at 1:20 am

    Carrie, thank you for a simple, mouthwatering recipe! I didn’t change anything, and the cake came out perfectly delicious. I’ll be making it again for sure!

    • Carrie Pacini January 8, 2014 at 8:07 am

      Thanks Lena!

  10. Ashley February 9, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Considering making this for a dinner party–in advance. Any insight on how well it freezes? If so, how to reheat it? Or if not to freeze, how to store until the evening if baked ahead in the morning?

    • Carrie Pacini February 9, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      I’ve made the French Apple Cake the day before and warmed it up the next day. I stored it in the refrigerator. I don’t have any insight to how it freezes but the day before worked out great! I hope this helps you for your dinner party.

  11. Lígia Dias March 23, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Hi Carrie!
    Thank you so much for the recipe :)
    I didn’t put the rum (I didn’t have any) but it came out really ‘yumi’! A recipe to keep and repeat ;)
    Best wishes

    • Carrie Pacini March 24, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      Hi Ligia! Glad you enjoyed the French Apple Cake!

  12. June Trumper April 25, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Made this for the second time today, really delicious, and the rum makes all the difference. I used six apples this time, and there is still room for more, so size does matter ! Will be making this recipe a lot. Thanks.

    • Carrie Pacini April 25, 2014 at 9:16 am

      Hi June, so glad you like it. The rum does take it up a notch :)

  13. Alison June 18, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    I’ve made this cake several times over the past year or so, and it is a HUGE hit with my friends. Whenever there’s a potluck, birthday party, or other occasion, I always get requests for apple cake! In fact, I’m making a couple for a friend’s wedding this weekend. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  14. Chloe Crabtree August 13, 2014 at 7:22 am

    This sounds AND looks delicious! I have added this to my recipe file! I plan on sharing this on Celebrate and Decorate on Monday. Visitors will have to click over to your blog to get the recipe, I hope it helps them discover your wonderful blog!

    • Carrie Pacini August 13, 2014 at 7:27 am

      Thanks Chloe for the kind words!

  15. Cheryl S. September 8, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Hi Carrie: Greetz from Nova Scotia, Canada. I just made this cake. I used 5 apples and it took just under an hour to bake, I used Kraken Black spiced rum (that was all that was in my Dad’s liquor stash). I had a handful of chopped pecans hanging around and I threw them in. The cake turned out moist, heavy, a beautiful color, but it just lacked something. Perhaps it was the apples I used, however the apples didn’t turn mushy and the slice I had looked picture-perfect. The cake just lacked flavor. Could it be that I am so used to apples with cinnamon? I don’t know. I will make this cake again and try it with Granny Smith apples. Making the cake was a breeze.

    • Carrie Pacini September 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      Hi Cheryl, What type of apples did you use? If you are used to cinnamon then add it and let me know how it goes. It’s one of my favorite cakes to make since it’s quick, easy and tasty.

  16. Cheryl S. September 9, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I used Gala apples. They had absolutely no taste. I went down to the Annapolis Valley today and and got some fresh Graevnsteins…I think I will try them in your recipe along with a whisper of cinnamon and a smidge of nutmeg. I really liked the fact that this cake was just so easy to make. Will keep you posted. Thanks for a dynamite recipe.

    • Carrie Pacini September 9, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      I usually use Cripps Pink also known as Pink Lady Apples. I bet the Gravensteins will be good especially if they are fresh!

  17. Sheila September 19, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    A truly wonderfully delicious apple cake. This is a keeper.

    • Carrie Pacini September 25, 2014 at 5:49 am

      I think so too Sheila, one of my favorites.

  18. catalina October 25, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Hi !
    I made the cake today and used orange juice instead of the rum; also added the zest from one lemon and used Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/2 inch chunks. Amazing citrus flavor and the cake is a hit in my book.
    Thank you :)

    • Carrie Pacini October 29, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      YUM! Catalina, your combination sounds like a winner to me. Honestly this is one of my favorite cakes that I can pull together quickly. I really love that you experimented with it.

  19. Kathy Johnson November 23, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Has anyone tried adding raspberries? I have been trying to find a delicious apple/raspberry dessert but don’t want to do the traditional crumbles.

    • Carrie Pacini November 24, 2014 at 12:03 am

      Hi Kathy, I’ve added all types of berries to this. It turns out wonderful.

      • Donna September 10, 2015 at 9:42 pm

        I would like to add strawberries with the apples Carrie. What would the ratio be?

        • Carrie Pacini September 11, 2015 at 6:13 am

          Hi Donna, If I were adding strawberries to this recipe I would probably start with 10 -12 (med to small) strawberries cut in halves. I would fold them into the mix gently. Let me know how it goes. Thanks, Carrie

  20. jeszica March 31, 2015 at 5:18 am


    Made this today and came out perfect! But what are your suggestions for storing leftover cake ?

    • Carrie Pacini April 1, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      I like to store the French Apple Cake in the fridge.

  21. maria haskell September 25, 2015 at 6:06 am

    hi carrie,

    just looking for a recipe to use up the load of apples i had and found yours! sounds great, so u will be glad to know that it’s in the oven as i write this. i added a bit of vanilla from the pod plus a bit of the extract plus the dark rum… hmmm looks really good. anyway, thanks for inspiring me today.

    • Carrie Pacini September 25, 2015 at 6:58 am

      Hi Maria, Sounds great, hope you love it :)

      • Maria Haskell September 28, 2015 at 6:12 pm

        Its the most delicious apple cake I’ve ever tried. I love baking and here in England we are used to the cinnamon thing but this is going to my recipe notebook. It is gorgeous. Thank u again for sharing! Xxx

        • Carrie Pacini September 28, 2015 at 10:15 pm

          Thanks Maria for your lovely comment. I so glad you enjoyed the Apple Cake.

  22. SMR October 12, 2015 at 3:22 am

    Re: Rum
    This is the first recipe for this cake that I’ve seen that calls for rum. Calvados appears to be more common – which makes sense, as it’s both French and made from apples. I have a few friends who swear by applejack (an American version of apple brandy), though I imagine the average French baker would gasp in utter horror to hear such a thing.
    I’ve used really strong apple juice (or reduced apple juice) in place of Calvados – or even sparkling apple juice (again, really strong). The point of the brandy is to highlight the apple flavor without making it too sweet, so if I don’t have a good, tart juice available, I just leave it out.
    On the other hand, rum is basically distilled molasses, which is drawn out of brown sugar, which goes nicely with apples, so I can see how this recipe could work.

    • Carrie Pacini October 13, 2015 at 6:13 am

      You can omit the rum and then you have a classic French Apple Cake but honestly I couldn’t help it and ended up adding the rum. I really love how it turned out. I actually just made it with peaches the other day and it was a hit with my guest.

  23. Pilar October 12, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Hi Carrie, have you tried this using almond flour?

    • Carrie Pacini October 13, 2015 at 6:14 am

      Hi Pilar, I haven’t used almond flour for this recipe just all-purpose.

      • NIDIA SVARE November 3, 2017 at 9:00 pm

        I’m made it using bob red mills 1 to 1 gluten free flour and changed nothing else, and you would never be able to tell!! My favorite recipe.

        • Carrie Pacini November 5, 2017 at 4:33 pm

          That’s great to hear! Thanks for letting me know.

  24. Scott C October 13, 2015 at 11:53 am


    After getting tired of making Jewish apple cake, I did a search and found your site and this recipe. I’m so glad I did! The only alteration I made was using spiced rum (that I had on hand) rather than dark rum. It was delicious! Thank you for the recipe. I may never make another Jewish Apple cake again.

    • Carrie Pacini October 13, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Oh Good! I really love this cake too and as I mentioned in the comment this morning I made it with peaches and it was delicious :)

  25. Cathy October 18, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Can I make this ahead and freeze the cake?

    • Carrie Pacini October 21, 2015 at 8:40 am

      Hi Cathy, I haven’t tired that with this cake but you can give it a shot!

  26. GIOVANNI PIZZOFERRATO November 12, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Hi Carrie, this cake is over the top, Best of the BEST, Thank you, Giovanni.I have a question, could I use, peach or pear or berry medley for the fruit?

    • Carrie Pacini November 15, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Hi Giovanni, I recently used peaches and loved how it came out. Just be mindful of fruit that tends to hold water. It could change the profile of the cake a bit but it will still taste great.

  27. Mary November 15, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Hi Carrie, thank you so much for this awesome cake recipe, just wanna mention that I used dewars whiskey instead of rum and it is jaw dropping delicious! Not to mention I only had brown sugar in the house so used that instead and had to use safflower oil instead of butter. I reduced the amount of oil to 9 tablespoons… you have saved my family from missing german apple cake in hawaii!!

    • Carrie Pacini November 18, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Hi Mary! That sounds awesome! I will have to try dewars next time :)

  28. Shuba Silvadas November 9, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Hi Carrie, hello from Malaysia. Tried making your french apple cake and it turned out delicious and disappeared in no time :) Thank you for the recipe. You are right, the rum really made a difference. I found it a bit sweet, but everyone else didnt seem to mind the sweetness. Could i make this with brown sugar? And if i want to make it less sweet, how much sugar should i use for brown as well as white sugar.

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