Inspired by the almond croissants my husband used to buy for me in college, my Easy Apple Cake with Almonds is the perfect not-too-sweet dessert. With thinly sliced apples in a moist almond scented cake, you’ll feel like you’re in France, without paying airfare.
I'm not French and I have no adorable story of eating French Apple Cake in a cafe in Paris with a cute boy. I just saw a picture of an Apple Cake with Almonds all over the top somewhere on social media and thought, "This reminds me of the almond croissants The Boy used to buy me in college." Then later, while working at the bakery, we served a French Apple Cake, much like this one and it brought back those memories all over again.
And yes, I know there aren't apples in almond croissants, but the color of the cake with the almonds and powdered sugar on top of it, made a connection in my weird little brain. Once that connection was made, I had to make this cake. It became a thing. So, here we are.
❤️ What you'll love about this Apple Cake with Almonds
- Easy - Takes 20 minutes to get into the oven. Less, if you have coffee first!
- Delicious - Buttery, soft, and moist cake
- Fruity - Layered with slices of tender apples
- Good anytime - Can be eaten warm from the oven or at room temperature for an after school or late night snack
- Keeps well - Lasts for days on the counter
None of that hard-to-find ingredient nonsense for me! If you don't have any of these ingredients, you can find them easily at the market and get started making your apple cake!
See recipe card below for quantities.
Note: A classic French Apple Cake is traditionally made with rum. We are a no-alcohol family so I don't cook or bake with it at all. I think the generous amount of apples and almond extract make this cake special enough that you won't even miss the rum.
Before starting your apple cake with almonds, you want to be sure to select apples that bake well. Good baking apples hold their shape when baked, so that their texture doesn't turn mushy in the oven and leave your cake soggy. Tart-sweet apples such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, McIntosh, and Jonagold are all good options.
Gala, Fuji, and Red Delicious apples tend to have with a grainy or soft texture when baked and can lose their subtle sweet flavor. While great for an after-school snack, I would steer clear of them for cooking and baking.
This Apple Cake with Almonds calls for 3 medium apples, about 250 grams after peeling, coring,and slicing. The recipe is pretty flexible and a little more or less apple won't do any harm, so don't fuss over the exact amount. I used pink lady this time, but feel free to use whatever combination of good baking apples you have on hand.
I never want a food sensitivity or lack of an ingredient to keep someone from making one of my recipes. Here are just a few substitutions you can make.
- Flour - Although I haven't used it in this cake, King Arthur Flour has a great gluten free flour that I have used in other baking recipes with great success.
- Buttermilk - If you don't have buttermilk you can substitute with an equal amount of plain yogurt. If you use Greek yogurt, you may need to thin it out with a bit of milk.
- Almonds - Feel free to replace with your choice of nut, or in the case of an allergy, skip the almonds and replace the almond extract with vanilla.
- Apples - To be fair, it is an apple cake, but you can replace the apples with an Asian pears or quince if you like.
Here are a few ways to play with your apple cake, if you're feeling frisky:
- Spiced - Swap out the almond extract for vanilla and add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg and ginger to your dry ingredients for a Fall apple harvest vibe.
- Traditional French - If you want a more traditional French Apple Cake, feel free to add up to 2 tablespoons of dark rum to the batter in place of the almond extract.
- Crispy sugar topped - Some French Apple Cake recipes call for all of the apples to be incorporated into the batter and for a generous amount of sugar (about 2 tablspoons) to be sprinkled over top before baking.
How to line a round cake pan
There are plenty of times that serving a cake straight out of the pan is fine. Most of the time actually. But sometimes you want to remove the cake for serving or for frosting or for giving a cake away. If your cake has a nut or streusel topping, you can't just tip it out onto a rack or you'll lose most of your topping. Those times, you need an easy way of removing the cake from your pan without making a mess of things.
You'll need 2 sheet of parchment paper. First, along the long side of one piece of parchment paper, cut 2 strips about 2 inches wide. Next, trace a circle on the other piece with a marker or pencil. Use scissors to cut inside the line to make yourself a circle.
Spray your pan with nonstick spray and lay your two strips across the pan and up the sides. Spay the strips with nonstick and lay your circle in the bottom of the pan. Spray the circle with more nonstick. To ensure that your parchment strips don't fall into your cake while baking, use all metal binder clips (no plastic parts) to hold them to the edge of the pan.
Start by preheating your oven to 350°F. If you want to serve your cake right out of the pan, spray the interior with non stick spray and set aside. If you want to remove your cake from the pan for displaying and serving, follow the instructions above to prepare your pan.
Step 1: Whisk flour with baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Step 2: Then, in the bowl of an stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Step 3: Beat in eggs, one at a time, then almond extract, and beat mixture about 2 minutes, or until creamy.
Step 4: With your mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with half of the buttermilk, mixing after each addition. Do not overmix. Some flour streaks should still be visible at the end.
Step 5: Slice apples in half. Use a melon baller, or spoon, to remove the core. Peel with peeler or sharp paring knife.
Step 6: Using a mandoline slicer, or sharp knife, slice apples very thinly, about ⅛ inch thin.
Step 7: Remove bowl from stand mixer and add most of the apple slices to the batter, leaving about ¼ of them to place on the top.
Step 8: Gently fold the apple slices into the batter. It's okay if some of them break.
Step 9: Transfer the batter to your prepared pan smooth the top with an offset spatula, making sure there is batter in all the edges of the pan.
Step 10: Arrange remaining apple slices on top of batter in concentric circles, gently pressing them in a bit, smoothing the batter afterwards.
Step 11: Scatter sliced almonds on top of the cake.
Step 12: Sprinkle with sparkling or raw sugar, if desired. Granulated sugar is also fine.
Step 13: Place in the oven and bake at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean, the top has browned, and the apples no longer feel firm when pierced with the tester.
Allow to cool in the pan until just warm, then transfer to a rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve in the pan, or remove from pan and transfer to cake plate. Slice and serve.
Yes you can. I always use unsalted butter so I can control the amount of salt in my recipes, but if you don't have it, use salted and leave the salt out of the recipe
There is such a high apple to cake ratio in this recipe, that it is difficult for them to sink, however, slicing them very thin allows them to "float" on top of the batter. I use a mandoline to slice my apple ⅛ inch thick, but if using a knife, go as thin as you can.
This cake keeps very well covered at room temperature for up to 4 days. The powdered sugar topping will dissolve into the top of the cake, but you can always sprinkle more when serving.
There are so many apples in this cake, it's almost impossible for it to dry out, even after 3 to 4 days. True story: I made this cake for breakfast one day and then I went away for 3 days. My husband had a slice later that day and forgot to cover it. When I got home from my trip, the cake was still moist!
Easy Apple Cake with Almonds
- 3 (250 g) apples such as honeycrisp or pink lady
- 1 ½ cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter plus more for greasing the pan
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 2 large (100 g) eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- ½ cup (120 g) buttermilk
- ¼ cup (25 g) untoasted sliced almonds
- Raw or sparkling sugar optional, for the top before baking
- Powdered sugar optional, for the top after cooled
- Peel and core apples; slice ⅛-inch thick. Set aside.
- Use butter or nonstick spray to grease an 9 inch cake pan or 10 inch cast iron skillet. If you plan to remove the cake from the pan for serving, line bottom of the pan with parchment paper and lay long strips across to use as handles to remove. Heat oven to 350°F.
- Whisk flour with baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or large bowl with a hand mixer, beat granulated sugar with ½ cup of butter for 3-4 minutes, until lightened in color and fluffy in texture.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time, then almond extract, and beat mixture about 2 minutes, or until creamy.
- Gradually add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with half of the buttermilk, mixing after each addition. Do not overmix. Some flour streaks should still be visible at this point. Fold most of the apple slices into the batter, leaving about ¼ of them to place on the top.
- Place batter in prepared pan and press and smooth with an offset spatula, making sure there is batter in all the edges of the pan.
- Arrange remaining apple slices on top of batter in concentric circles, gently pressing them in a bit, smoothing the batter afterwards. Scatter almonds on top. Sprinkle with sparkling or raw sugar, if desired.
- Place in the oven and bake at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean, the top has browned, and the apples no longer feel firm when pierced with the tester.
- Allow to cool in the pan until just warm, then transfer to a rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve in the pan, or remove from pan and transfer to a plate.
- Slice and serve.
The nutritional and caloric information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It does not assert or suggest that readers should or should not count calories, and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s or doctor’s counseling.