French Apple Cake

This recipe is based on a classic French version my Aunt Rady was given many years ago. We’ve always called it Mireille’s Apple Cake, but really it is a pudding (in the British sense, not the American), and Rady both adapted it enough and has made it often enough that it should bear her name. Sliced apples are baked to soften and sweeten them, then baked again with Cointreau and a vanilla-scented batter topping that seeps down into the fruit, forming a light binding with a slightly chewy crust. It’s fragrant and delicious, very much at home on a Sephardic table, and one we have enjoyed in our family for decades.



5-6 large crisp apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin to yield 4-5 cups (5 cups if using a 10″ baking dish)
2 tablespoons sweet butter , cut in small pieces, plus more for buttering the baking dish
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons Cointreau

For a 9″ dish:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt

For a 10″ dish:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sweet butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt


Preheat oven to 375° F.

Peel, core, and slice the apples very thin. Layer them into a well buttered 9-10” pie dish. (For this recipe I prefer ceramic over glass).

Sprinkle the apples with ¼ cup sugar and dot uniformly with 2 tablespoons butter. Seal the dish with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated oven for 20-30 minutes.

While the apples are in the oven, prepare the batter:

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Beat the egg with ½ cup sugar until very frothy. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla extract. Fold in the dry ingredients and set the batter aside to rest.

When the apples are cooked, take the dish from the oven and remove the foil. Immediately lower the temperature to 350° F.

Sprinkle the apples with the 2 tablespoons Cointreau. Pour the batter over the apples, smoothing it with a spatula to coat the entire surface evenly.

Place the pan on a baking sheet, and bake on the center rack until the batter is puffed up and golden, 20-30 minutes. Time will vary depending on your oven, so keep a close watch to prevent overbrowning.

As it cools down, the batter will collapse slightly and cling to the apples. Serve warm or at room temperature, alone, with fresh whipped cream or ice cream (French vanilla, of course!).



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s