All French grandmothers make an apple cake and this is the version that Xavier remembers his grandmother making. This recipe veers just a bit from what one finds upon googling ‘French apple cake’. Most don’t have cream added at the end, but X remembers well his mémère’s skimming the very fresh cream from the top of the milk and adding it to the batter. When asked about the banana in the middle, I got a ‘I have no idea but she always did it and so do I’. I rocked the boat a bit by suggesting a spread of preserves across the middle. It was delicious. And would have been even more delicious if I had had some Xavier Fig Confiture. Oh well.
It is quick. It is easy, And it is worthy of being added to your repertoire.
Xavier's French Apple Cake
- 2 LARGE APPLES Honey Crisp or Braeburn (4 cups)
- 1/2 CUP RAISINS
- 1 BANANA
- 1/2 CUP UNSALTED BUTTER (113 gms) room temperature
- 3/4 CUP SUGAR (150 gms)
- 3 TBS CORNSTARCH (24 gms)
- 3/4 CUP FLOUR (100 gms)
- 1 1/2 TSP BAKING POWDER (6gms)
- 2 EGGS
- PINCH SALT
- 1/4 CUP CREAM (60 ml)
- CALVADOS or APPLE BRANDY optional
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Peel and core apples. Cut each half into wedges then into 1/4" slices. Set aside
- Grease a 9-inch springform pan. LIne with a circle of parchment. Grease top of parchment. Set aside
- Cream butter and sugar until well combined. Add eggs one at a time. Mix to combine.
- In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine. Then stir into the egg/butter mixture just until combined. Stir in cream. Fold in raisins and apples. You will think there is not enough batter but there is.
- Spread half of batter in prepared pan. Top with single layer of sliced bananas. Top with remaining half of batter.
- Transfer to preheated 375° oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or top springs back. To finish, move to top rack and broil briefly.. Watch carefully.
- Remove from oven and splash with Calvados or Apple Brandy, if desired.
- Apple variety is important. You want an apple that will keep its shape and won't throw off too much juice. Honey Crisp is my favorite. I buy about just over a pound of apples....1 1 /4 or so.
- Omit the banana and use your favorite jam or preserves. MJ highly recommends fig spread. Just a thin layer in the middle. Spread to within 1-inch of edge so that it doesn't leak into side pan.