Dorie Greenspan’s Simply Delicious French Cake with Heirloom Apples …

October 17th, 2011 § 7 comments

Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake from Dorie Greespan’s Wonderful Book of Recipes, Around My French Table

I awoke this past Sunday morning with a kitchen full of heirloom apples from Scott Farm Orchard and nothing more important to do than brew a pot of coffee and bake a special birthday cake. No problem, right? Well, I suppose it would have been, were I not the easily distracted type. But of course, that’s exactly how I am. First, I noticed that the light in the garden was incredible, so I had to throw on a bathrobe and tip-toe across the lawn to take a few pictures. This inevitably led to squirrel watching, alpine strawberry picking, pumpkin collecting and hydrangea blossom gathering. Then, back inside, there was a flurry of flower arranging and spontaneous tabletop decorating. You know how one thing will lead another … 

Heirloom Fruit on the Sun-Striped Kitchen Table (iPhone Photo)

Suddenly I remembered that I needed to reschedule an afternoon appointment, and so began the emails. When I glanced up —startled by a squawking trio of blue jays as they hopped about the golden foliage outside my window— I noticed it was nearly eleven o’clock. In the modern world, this sort of behavior might be diagnosed as attention deficit disorder. I call it relaxing, and it was really quite wonderful. It’s been weeks since I’ve had an unscheduled day like this —free to follow each and every whim— and I totally loved it. When I finally settled down on my kitchen stool —leafing through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table— sunlight had warmed the tabletop, and the sweet scent of ripe fruit filled the air. What a delightful way to spend an October morning …

Beech Leaves Turning Copper (Fagus grandifolia & Tsuga canadensis)

And Blushing Hydrangea Blossoms (H. paniculata ‘Limelight’)

And Blue Jays in Golden Halesia (H. tetraptera, the Mountain Silverbell)

My friend Jennifer has been raving about Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake —from Dorie Greespan’s wonderful book of recipes, Around My French Table— for nearly a year now. And just last week, Jen reminded me of Dorie’s recipe again when she happened to mention that she’d baked this delicious dessert to share with her husband on their anniversary. I love Dorie Greenspan’s books —as well as her fantastic blog, which you can visit by clicking here— and I’ve been wanting to give this recipe a try since  Around My French Table arrived on my doorstep last fall. But the cake specifically calls for four divers apples (Dorie’s French friend, Marie-Hélène’s way of saying different kinds), so I waited until autumn arrived again to try it with fresh, heirloom apples. And this weekend, with a special birthday cake to bake and Scott Farm apples in season, I finally found the perfect opportunity to use one Calville Blanc d’Hiver, one Belle de Boskoop, one Ashmead’s Kernel and one Bramley’s Seedling heirloom apple  …

Fruit in the Kitchen and Passing Showers in the Garden

I Love Looking Outside While I Play Around in the Kitchen. Sometimes, At This Time of Year,  I’ll Spot Foraging Turkey or a Red Fox on the Hunt, But Most of the Time, I just Admire the Autumn Colors …. 

Apple Cake, Ready for Baking!

Fresh from the Oven: Golden, Warm, Fragrant Apple Cake. I Wish Your Screen Could be Scratch and Sniff

Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake from Dorie Greenspan’s Cookbook Around My French Table

Ingredients:

¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
4 large heirloom apples (different kinds)
2 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
3 tablespoons rum (dark)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons melted butter, cooled

Directions:

Set oven rack to center brackets. Preheat oven to 350° F and butter an 8 or 9 inch round, spring-form pan.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together until blended.

Peel and core four apples of different kinds, and cut them into chunks roughly 1-2″ in size.

Whisk eggs in a medium bowl until they foam. Slowly add sugar and whisk a bit longer until well blended. Add the vanilla and the rum and whisk some more. While continuing to whisk, slowly add half of the dry ingredients. When absorbed into the batter, add half the melted butter. Repeat until all butter and flour mixture are smooth and well blended. Slowly fold in the apples using a spatula. Be sure all apples are completely coated with bater.

Push the apple batter (it will be very thick) into the buttered pan,

Place the pan on the center rack and bake approximately one hour, checking the cake toward the end of the baking time. Remove when the top is golden brown, and when an inserted knife pulls clean from the cake.

Cool for five minutes, then loosen the cake from the sides of a pan with a butter knife. Slowly open the form and let the cake cool to room temperature before serving. You can use a spatula to release the bottom of the cake from the form, or use a wax string. Place a serving dish on top of the cake and carefully invert.

Serve with homemade whipped cream or ice cream.

A Delightfully Unusual, Autumn Birthday Cake

All Heirloom Apples in This Post are from Scott Farm Orchard, Vermont. Stay Tuned for More Heirloom Orchard Mania this Week, Including Heirloom Apples for Cooking and Eating, Unusual Fruit, and Recommended Fruit Trees for Home Gardens

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§ 7 Responses to Dorie Greenspan’s Simply Delicious French Cake with Heirloom Apples …"

  • Victoria says:

    I agree; this is a DELICIOUS recipe. I particularly like using four different apples!

  • Michaela says:

    @ Victoria – Hello there! Made me smile to see your name in the email box! Hope you are well, enjoying autumn and LOTS of apple cake! xox Michaela

  • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Hi Michaela, Boy I’ve got my smell-o-vision cranked up to high on this one… dark rum ‘n butter apples with undertones of vanilla? And all of that golden-browned loveliness around the edges? And then whipped cream and MORE vanilla? Oh YUM! I swear, I must’ve died and gone to heaven!! Recently bought a bushel of “C” Grades and been looking for something else to make with them: thanks so much for this! xo D

  • Jen says:

    Hey Shella,

    So glad you finally made this beaut of a cake! I used four different heirloom apples, too. Delicious! I sweetened the whipped cream with a touch of maple syrup instead of regular sugar. So many great recipes in that book.

    Happy Fall!

    Jen

  • Michaela says:

    @ Deb – It really is divine. I’ve yet to hear any disenchanted reviews. It’s my new autumn favorite!

    @ Jen – Isn’t this book a treasure trove? I’m so glad I have a copy. And your idea of maple syrup in the whipped cream sounds divine indeed! ;) xo

  • Eileen says:

    If i leave out the rum, should i add more vanilla (or something else)? If so, how much?Can’t wait to try this out! Thanks!

  • Michaela says:

    Hi Eileen, In my opinion, the rum is pretty key to the flavor of this version of apple cake. If you don’t have rum, or artificial rum flavoring, then you could add more vanilla (which of course still contains alcohol, unless you use artificial vanilla), and the quantity is a matter of taste, but I might start with something like a teaspoon or perhaps two. There is a similar recipe on this site —without rum— for Rustic Heirloom Apple Squares, which are sometimes called apple ‘brownies’. That recipe can be made in a round pan as well. There are so many versions of this cake. I would encourage you to experiment. You can even add raisins, to give it more of a strudel flavor. Have fun! ;) M

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