When is an Apple Cake not really a cake? When it's mostly apples! That's what I love about this recipe from Canadian Living's "Sweet and Simple" cookbook. Have lost count of how often I have made it. Unless you have pie crusts ready in your freezer - this is the fastest way to get a stunning apple treat on the table.

As I write this, southern Ontario is predicting a somewhat low yield apple crop because of the Sping rains and their impact on pollination. With record breaking high heat at the end of September, apple growers are now claiming that the fruit is not ripening as it should, and the crop may be a bit late. Nonetheless, the apples are coming. Dust off your apple recipes and consider giving this easy one a try!


The cake is mainly thinly sliced apples that emerge from the oven almost as a set custard. It's described as "French-style". Google 'french apple cake', view the "Image" results and you'll see some variations. In some cases, the top of the cake is more smooth and cake-y, without the clear definition of apple slices. See Notes (below).

Use (almost) any apples you have on hand - and the recent trend is to combine different apples. Exceptions: Macintosh alone can be a bit mushy; and Red Delicious seems to get a thumbs down for baking - and even eating!

If you're a regular visitor here - you know my fav is Honey Crisp!



Getting Ready:

  • preheat oven to 425 F
  • melt, then cool, butter
  • bring eggs and milk to room temperature
  • grease a 8-9" springform pan
  • cut parchment paper to fit pan (see Notes)
  • mix dry ingredients
  • mix wet ingredients
  • prepare apples

By now you should have preheated your oven and prepared the pan - grease it and line the bottom with a parchment paper circle. (Check out the easy way to make a parchment circle. ) You'll see that I have prepping the apples as step 3, just before everything is combined. Why? I like to prep as much as I can first, and only then prepare the apples so that they don't sit for too long (and begin to turn brown).

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 TB baking powder
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt

Whisk these dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

1/3 cup milk
2 eggs
2 TB butter melted and cooled
1/2 tsp vanilla

Whisk together wet ingredients.

These will be added to the dry ingredients, but first prepare the apples.

4-5 baking apples (about 900 g)

Peel, core and quarter the apples, then slice thinly (1/8"). I've done the slicing using a mandolin, but have settled on slicing by hand - it actually seems to be fastest.

IMG_8241-rustic-apple-cake (2).JPG

Pour the mixed wet ingredients over the combined dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Gently fold in the apples and then transfer the mixture into the prepared pan. Use an off-set knife or a spatula or spoon to gently pat the mixture down. You want to ensure there are no air pockets and that the top is a flat arrangement of apple slices.

Bake in a 425 F oven for 40-45 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes.

Run a knife around the edge and release the spring-form. Let the cake cool some more before serving dusted with icing sugar.

I find this cake to be best when served soon after cooling. If serving much later, or serving leftovers the next day - warming it up in an oven is best; second best is the microwave.

Notes and Tips...

  • Parchment Paper Round - check out this video on how to easily make a round.
  • Apples - use any baking apple or a combo and be sure to clean them.
  • Lemon - these are sold with a waxy coating - be sure to clean before zesting.
  • Variation: America's Test Kitchen - uses more flour and milk to yield a layer of cake over a custard-apple base. They also microwave the apple slices first, and add some Calvados.
  • Variation: Doris Greenspan - shares a recipe from an expert source. It too has a more cake-like top - and the addition of rum. Check out blogger friend Mardi's photo journey making this!
  • For KB Recipe Attribution Practices please click here.

<== Questions or Comments about this recipe? Visit the Recipe Q. C. page - looking forward to hearing from you!

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