This traditional French cake is the definition of simplicity. It starts with a rum-based cake batter, which is then loaded up with sweet apple chunks to ensure every bite includes a bite of apple goodness. If you don’t consider yourself a baker, or if you need an easy recipe to ease you into the world of baking, this is the cake for you. There are no fancy tools, techniques, or ingredients required — if you’ve got a whisk and a mixing bowl, you’re ready to get started. Enjoy it as an afternoon snack with tea or serve it for dessert at your next gathering with friends.
This recipe is inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s popular apple cake from her cookbook Around My French Table. She encourages bakers to use different kinds of apples in the cake, and I encourage you to do the same here. My personal favorite baking apples are Jonagold, Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, and Fuji, which all lend a sweet flavor and hold their shape nicely in the oven. I also recommend using a quality spiced rum, as it is a prominent flavor in the cake.
- Arrange a rack in the middle of the and heat oven to 350ºF. Meanwhile, coat an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray or butter, then line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Melt 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter. Peel, core, and dice 3 apples.
- Whisk 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon fine salt together in a medium bowl.
- Whisk 2 eggs in a large bowl until fluffy. Add the melted butter, 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/4 cup spiced rum, and 1 teaspoon vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Add the apples and fold until just combined.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before carefully removing from pan (loosen the sides by running a thin knife around the edge if needed first). Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Storage: The cake can be well wrapped and refrigerated for a few days, or frozen for up to 2 weeks.