Sunday, December 4, 2011

French Apple Cake {It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas}


Other countries are lucky to have snow so they can enjoy a beautiful white Christmas. People pick the perfect pine trees and fill them with lights and ornaments to bring a festive cheer to their homes. Huge red stockings hang by the fireplace and a traditional mouth-watering Yule Log cake waits on the table.

Though we have none of that in the Philippines, Christmas is still the most anticipated event of the year. It could possibly be the longest and merriest in the world, starting as early as September and ending in the first week of January. Western and Filipino traditions merge together during Christmas season. Children and grown-ups sing carols from one house to another and even inside the jeepneys (public transportation). Though made of plastic and not real pine trees, homes and shopping malls boast of the most wonderful christmas trees, colorful star lanterns and all other sorts of decorations. People exchange gifts and cards at home and at work. Children believe that Santa Claus will give them what they ask for during Christmas if they behave well.

Since most of the country is Catholic, Filipinos also have a tradition of going to church at 4:00 AM for 9 consecutive days that we call Simbang Gabi (Night Mass) from the 16th of December leading up to the eve of Christmas and then families enjoy breakfast together after every mass, eating native food that you only see prepared during Christmas season. On Christmas eve, there is so much food on the table you feel like you are eating at a buffet-style restaurant. Christmas is truly a time for families to be together and celebrate.

But I had my hands full the past few weeks with a friend's wedding and a class that I haven't really had the chance to start enjoying the Christmas season. I haven't bought any presents yet so I will be doing some last minute, frantic Christmas shopping! Oh boy, I almost can't wait for all of this to be over. I am really looking forward to my long holiday vacation with nothing to think about.

So in the meantime, here is my take on Marie Helene's little French Apple Cake by Dorie Greenspan. I LOVE apples and all desserts with apples in it! I was a bit skeptical at first when I saw that the recipe had rum but the marriage of vanilla, apples and rum was pure heaven. The flavor of the rum was subtle yet provided this little, "je ne sais quoi". The cake was moist and almost custard-like, with a texture like a clafouti. Pair it with vanilla ice cream or cinnamon whipped cream, then you have a real winner.


MARIE HELENE'S FRENCH APPLE CAKE
recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan, stumbled upon at Kirbie's Cravings


3/4 cup + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3 very large apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1-inch chunks
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp rum
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line an 8-inch round pan with removable bottom with baking or parchment paper. Wrap the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil.

Sift and whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.

Whisk the eggs in another bowl until foamy, then add the sugar. Whisk until smooth and incorporated. Add the vanilla and rum. Mix well.

Alternately add the flour and butter in two batches. Mix well and gently after each addition to have a smooth batter.

Fold in the apples with a spatula. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly with a spatula.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

Since the cake is really moist, it is best to keep it uncovered or lightly covered at room temperature. I have also found out that it tastes better if you heat it quickly in the microwave for a few seconds before eating.

NOTE: Someone posted a message about the number of eggs to use in the recipe. I would like to apologize for causing confusion with a slight typo. The recipe calls for 2 eggs, not one. I made the correction and updated the recipe.




UPDATE: I've noticed that this recipe has received a lot of attention so I was inspired to do sort of a "spinoff" from the French Apple Cake. 

APPLE RUM BREAD PUDDING WITH
BUTTERSCOTCH RUM SAUCE
Click on the photo for the recipe.





19 comments:

  1. Thank you for stopping by my blog :)

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  2. I found this post though Pinterest. The photo was so beautiful that I just had to come here to read the recipe! Love it! And love your site :-).

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    It's called RecipeNewZ (with Z) - http://recipenewz.com

    I hope you get a chance to visit and to share some of your delicious posts with our viewers. It would be a pleasure to have you on board :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, RecipeNewZ :) It would be my pleasure to join your site!

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  3. I have a springform pan that I've used for cheesecakes...if I use this, do I still need to line the pan with parchment paper? Thanks! Looks great!

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    1. Kristine, I am not the original author, but I wanted to suggest that you do still line the pan if you want to remove it from the base.

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  4. Hello! This looks delicious, but I do have a question. Is one egg all that the recipe calls for? You talk about "eggs" but there is a one in the ingredient lest.

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    1. Hello Cooks Quest,
      Thank you for noticing the slight typo in the recipe. I would like to apologize for causing confusion. The recipe calls for 2 eggs, not one. I also corrected the recipe already.

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  5. I have made this three times now, it is always a huge hit and gets rave reviews from everyone . I even varied it up and used fresh peaches instead of apples and it was amazing. Thanks for the recipe I am making this one of favorite things to bake.

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    1. Hi Jerry! It's been raining here nonstop (bummer) but that's the best thing I've read all day. Honestly happy you liked the recipe. =) Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Darn IT! I have a 9" spring form pan NOT an 8" one! It will just make a thinner cake, right (and take a shorter amount of time to cook)???

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    1. Hello Natural Expressions!
      I think it's okay to use a 9" pan but you might need to bake it for a lesser amount of time probably about 40-50 minutes, maybe you can check at 45 to see if it's done or not. The cake will also be a little bit thinner, yes. Hope you enjoy the cake! :)

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  7. Can I replace the rum with something else?

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    1. I haven't tried with anything else other than rum but I suppose you can use brandy or bourbon. It will probably change the taste a bit.

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  8. Mmh looks divine! I love apples, any cakes with apples mainly... but this one must be amazing!

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  9. What kind of rum did you use? and any advice on the type of apple used? maybe a golden delicious instead of green?? I'm just want to get this right because I ate this all the time when I lived overseas and I'm hoping it'll bring back memories :)

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    1. Hello rose.breedveld,
      I used a local brand of rum called Tanduay but you can use whatever rum you have there. The apples I used were reddish Fuji apples. I'm not sure if I remember it correctly, but the original recipe from Dorie Greenspan suggested to use a mix of different types of apples (sweet & tart) so you can appreciate the combination of flavors in the cake but in the end, it's really up to you. I hope this helps! Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  10. Hi! Thank you for the recipe! I just made this cake today and the cake was almost falling apart when I cut it. I did everything the recipe asks for and I even left the cake in the oven for 10 more minutes. I wonder if it's because the apple - batter ratio is a bit off. A lot of apple pieces and almost no batter to hold it together? (I used three big apples, like in the recipe) Anyway... my husband loved the cake!

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  11. how does this keep in fridge if i make today for a friday function, can i keep in fridge

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