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A cast iron pan containing a sliced French Apple Cake.
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5 from 5 votes

French Apple Cake

Inspired by the pastries my husband used to buy for me in college, my French Apple Cake is the perfect not-too-sweet dessert. With thinly sliced apples, in a moist, almond scented cake, you’ll believe you’re in France, without paying airfare.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: American, French
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 219kcal
Author: Cynthia


  • 4 apples such as Envy or Gala
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup 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 1/4-inch thick. Set aside.
  • Use butter or nonstick spray to grease an 8-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. 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 1 cup (2 sticks) 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. If the mixture appears curdled, spoon in one or two tablespoons of your dry ingredients and continue mixing.
  • Gradually add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with 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 1/4 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 corners of the pan.
  • Arrange remaining apple slices on top of batter in concentric circles, gently pressing them in a bit, and smoothing the batter. Scatter almonds on top. Sprinkle with sparkling or raw sugar, if desired.
  • Place in the oven and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes to an hour, 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 with a serrated knife and serve.


If you do not have buttermilk, place 2 tablespoons of sour cream in your measuring cup and add enough whole milk to equal 1/2 cup total (or 120 grams total of sour cream and whole milk.)
If you do not have raw or sparkling sugar, granulated sugar may be sprinkled on top prior to baking.
If planning to serve the cake on a platter, line bottom of the pan with parchment paper, to ease removal.


Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 179mg | Potassium: 148mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 94IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1mg