This cake is not my own recipe. But I wish it was. It is simply amazing.
My mother used to make a Dutch Apple Cake as I was growing up and it was a firm favourite. In all the moving over the years, we have been unable to locate it and sadly any google searches I’ve conducted, followed by recipe testing has not revealed a suitable substitute.
I saw this French Apple Cake in my BlogLovin’ feed a few days back and book marked it for immediate attempt*. I knew it wouldn’t be the same as the other one because obviously France and Holland are not the same place and their take on food is quite markedly different, but I just had to give this a go.
Family morning tea scheduled for Sunday morning at Mama’s and I had the perfect occasion for making it. I did the naughtiest thing ever in not reading the entire recipe through before beginning it’s creation, but I was pressed for time and because I was unwilling to put my novel down any sooner, I was down to the wire in it’s prep and cooking before having to get myself and three kids out the door. After I mixed it in it’s required steps and finally spread it into the greased tin, I read the sentence that set a state of doom in my bones:
“Leave to cool completely for between 2 to 3 hours before serving”.
The cake was scheduled to be removed from the oven at 10.35am, required cooling on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes and we were scheduled to arrive at 11am for morning tea. My maths skills are seriously lacking, but I do know enough to know that there is no two to three hour window in that sequence of events.
We enjoyed cheese and crackers, slivers of Magic Slice, some delicious cookies, Carrot Cake muffins, friands, sliced cucumber & carrots, hummus and pesto, sipped on tea and slipped into easy conversation. After a couple of effortless hours chatting and chasing kids and chatting some more, we realised it might finally be time to slice into the French Apple Cake patiently cooling on the bench.
Let me tell you, this cake is not going to win any beauty pagents. She’s a humble looking thing, but what she lacks in beauty, she more than makes up for in texture and flavour. The base is soft and almost custard-like, punctuated with luscious chunks of granny smith apple. The top is cake like, sporting a sugar crusted coat that gives dimension and a bite that you don’t realise you miss in the base, but fully appreciate when you reach this level of the strata.
Served with softly whipped unsweetened cream, the marriage of these delicate flavours is truly perfect. It’s a light cake, its flavours are subtle, it’s sweetness muted. It is the kind of cake that you can eat all afternoon, which is what I actually did, and you can finish with another slice for dessert with zero guilt and never once feeling as though you’ve over-eaten. Now that I’ve put that into words, I’m not so sure it’s a good thing! Gym here I come!
Next time I plan on adding some lemon zest into the top layer. A fragrant addition of lemon would add magic I’m sure.
Let me know how you find it. I am trying to find an excuse to make it all over again. I’ve thought about this all day and have decided it’s pretty much up there with my favourite kind of sweet treat.
* I used Bacardi instead of Calvados but next time I think I’d use Appletons Rum. I also don’t have a microwave, so I placed the apples in a fry pan over medium heat, added 1/4 C water and covered with an inverted plate. I drained off the liquid before adding the alcohol and lemon juice.