I made that!

One more apple cake before spring

Posted in All Sugar All The Time, Celebrating with Cake! by brandi on March 26, 2012

I know it’s spring. I know that rhubarb is popping up around town and the last thing you want to hear about is apples. But I’ve got to get this one out before it completely slips away, because this is the cake I want to eat every day. The original recipe came from Dorie Greenspan and took a few tweaks to get to the place I really wanted it to be. We served it at our apple harvest dinner in November, but it took me until the final night of the dinner before it was just right. And by just right I mean the cake I’ve had in my mind for years now, with the hopes of one day discovering (thank you Dorie, for getting me so close). It has a crispy, caramelized crust and a custardy, pancake-like inside that’s held together by giant chunks of sweet apples. We had it on the menu at Delancey for a month or so, with a dark vanilla bean caramel and a healthy sprinkling of Maldon salt, and it was a bit dangerous having it around all the time. It wasn’t our biggest seller, I’m assuming because it shared the menu with some of my more popular citrus desserts. But that secretly made me so happy, since it meant there was commonly a slice left over for me at the end of the night. And now that we’re switching over to rhubarb shortcakes, I miss that little cake. But the good news is that it’s a batter that can literally be whipped together in under 15 minutes.

It bakes for a while though, about an hour to develop that crust and slightly dry out the custardy interior.

Probably the hardest part is waiting for it to cool, since it has this habit of falling completely apart if you un-mold it too soon.


3.75 oz AP flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 lb 2 oz chopped apples

2 large eggs, room temperature

6 oz sugar

1/2 vanilla bean

3 TBSP apple cider

4 oz unsalted butter, melted

unrefined sugar for sprinkling

– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter an 8-inch springform cake pan and line it with parchment paper. Sprinkle unrefined sugar on the sides of the pan and tap it around.

– Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.

– In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they’re foamy. Rub the vanilla bean seeds into the sugar and add to the eggs. Whisk until well blended. Whisk in the apple cider. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it’s coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it’s even. Sprinkle the top of the cake with unrefined sugar.

– Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 30 minutes.

– Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.

– Eat with a generous dusting of Maldon sea salt. And caramel and whipped cream if you’ve got it.


38 Responses

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  1. Sophie said, on March 26, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Bookmarked and waiting to make this on the weekend. YUM.

  2. mgn said, on March 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Looks so good! You have a tiny typo in the second sentence. hee hee

  3. Amrita said, on March 26, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    I’m trying to imagine how it would do with a cream cheese frosting or some plain whipped cream. But I doubt it needs any additional adornment with all the apples in it.

  4. Debbie said, on March 26, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    mmm mmm mmm …. this looks delish!

  5. A Plum By Any Other Name said, on March 27, 2012 at 3:40 am

    This makes me particularly happy A. because I love custardy cakes B. because I live in Boston and can’t make it to Delancey. Though, I’m not quite sure it is safe to have it around my apartment either … regardless, thank you for sharing this!

  6. thekalechronicles said, on March 27, 2012 at 6:09 am

    I am not a big fan of cake, but I like apples and custard: I’ll be trying this when apple season arrives in August — with the caramel and without the salt. Thanks.

  7. Ryan said, on March 27, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I was sad to see that dessert go! My advice is to not skip the salt, it doesn’t take much and it makes the dessert.

  8. chefconnie said, on March 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Absolutely beautiful.

  9. Lauren said, on March 28, 2012 at 9:47 am

    OK, I feel like I’m missing something ridiculously obvious, but what does “2 large eggs, RT” mean? Obviously I specifically mean the “RT” part — I get what “2 large eggs” means 🙂

    This looks AMAZING and I might be making it tonight.

    • brandi said, on March 28, 2012 at 11:28 am

      Hi Lauren, RT meant “room temperature”. It was a quick post and I didn’t slow down to change it to civilian speak!

  10. Helen said, on March 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Read this recipe and made it for dinner with a friend. Delish! I added just a bit of fresh ground nutmeg, ground cloves and cardamon to the custard; also baked it in a 9″ cake pan that I liberally buttered and sprinkled with raw sugar. No problem with serving once it was room temperature. Thanks for a great recipe.

  11. Trina said, on March 29, 2012 at 5:35 am

    This sounds great! Which Dori Greenspan cookbook is it from?

    • lovemcm said, on September 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      I believe it’s from “Around My French Table.”

  12. Juicer said, on March 29, 2012 at 9:16 am

    This looks incredibly good. I’ve never had a cake like this one but I’m sure it will be wonderful.

  13. The Grazer said, on April 12, 2012 at 2:05 am

    I often make apple cake, but never thought of eating it with maldon sea salt and caramel! wow, sounds bloody lovely!!

    Anna x

  14. Elizabeth said, on April 13, 2012 at 4:58 am

    YUMMY! Man, does that look good. I love your site. I have to ask, although I suspect that I’m just overlooking the obvious, do you have a “Recipes” listing? I’m new to your site and want to just have a look at everything available, at a glance? Thanks for info!


    • brandi said, on April 13, 2012 at 5:10 am

      Hi Elizabeth, unfortunately I don’t, because I haven’t figured out how to add it :). One day!

      • Elizabeth said, on April 13, 2012 at 8:25 am

        Okay, thanks. I’ll just peek through as I have time, and continue from this point forward! I haven’t the foggiest idea how to do such a thing either, but the other food blogs all (or mostly all) do it, so it’s possible ~ no doubt really time consuming though. Anyway, I’ll be watching daily. Thanks again.


  15. elizaraxi said, on April 16, 2012 at 9:55 am

    I haven’t seen rhubarb anywhere yet, and I have apples at home. This makes me exceedingly happy! Dessert tonight, yay!

    • elizaraxi said, on April 16, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      Update: I just ate a piece of it warm. Simply amazing. I’m going back for seconds. Thank you, Brandi!!

  16. christina said, on April 16, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I’ll be making this for my boyfriends mother’s birthday this weekend – looks SSOOOOOO GOOD!


  17. kaleighaubry said, on April 23, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I’m never disappointed by an apple cake.

  18. saucycooks said, on April 25, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    This looks scrumptious and it reminds me of the gooey, caramelized baked apple pancakes I used to make my kids when they were young. I am going to try this AFTER swim season!!

  19. Victoria said, on May 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm


    I’m new to your blog. What a great job you do! I made your apple cake for a birthday at work today and it was a huge success. And, such an easy cake no sifting, or separating of eggs. A really easy process with a great result. I didn’t have the salt you recommended but I did have some very nice French finishing salt and it was terrific. It does make the dessert. I gives the final cake a nice sophistication without being at all fussy. Like another poster I used sugar in the raw to coat my spring form pan and on top. It worked great and gave a nice carmel-ly appearance to the cake. I have another cake in the oven right now. I’m baking this one for Mother’s Day dinner. What could I do? I have more carmel sauce!

  20. Ann said, on June 11, 2012 at 6:21 am

    Looks amazing thank you, and thank you from a UK reader for weighing in ounces; much easier for my brain. This is getting cooked tonight, with some sad apples lazing in the fridge – they don’t know how lucky they are!

  21. Kitchen Devil said, on June 14, 2012 at 11:35 am

    OMG! That cake looks brilliant! I’m going to try it in the next two weeks! Thanx for the idea!

  22. Ally said, on July 3, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    I’m not sure if this is a dumb question but, what kind of apples should i use for this recipe?

  23. leigh said, on July 6, 2012 at 4:25 am

    what happened to you? I love your recipes.

  24. SwedeandSavory said, on July 19, 2012 at 12:22 am

    I like the custard idea!, looks like it would be very moist, yum!
    btw, I thought we might trade recipes! This is for an apple tart that is so delicious!

  25. Katie said, on August 3, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Come back and post more! I miss reading your great site.

  26. […] going to destroy your freshness and turn you into cake.  And I have just the cake for you, an Apple Custard Cake that’s been on my mind for months, just waiting for you, sweet little apples.  I don’t […]

  27. kjh said, on August 11, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    make something eeeeeeeelse, pleeeeease?

  28. Samuel Jeffery said, on October 1, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious! I’m based in Korea these days and it’s extremely hard to find yummy apple based desserts 😦

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  30. […] of sigh-worthy food, I made this apple cake with this cheater’s caramel sauce last weekend, and then we ate it ALL, just the two of us. […]

  31. Laura L said, on November 19, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    I was just reading Dorie’s version of this. Why the decision to use apple cider instead of rum? Does it pump up the apple flavor? Love your blog, Brandi.

  32. hadley said, on December 18, 2012 at 8:29 am

    I just made this last night and MAN was it easy! It smelled awesome. We are eating it today at work at 1 p.m……it’s going to be a long morning.

  33. hadley said, on December 21, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Yep, twas good!

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