Recipe Review: French Apple Cake Recipe by Once Upon a Chef

I love the idea of an apple cake but until I saw this recipe, I did not know a 'french apple cake' existed.


I have been trying to find an apple cake that is light, fluffy and has a strong apple flavor. This is what I was looking for when i found this recipe.

French Apple Cake

I found this French apple cake by 2 am after a long and stressful day. This recipe has over 220 reviews and most of them are good reviews.  The next day, I went to the store to grab some apples. I made this recipe twice in one day. Here are the results I got after making the French apple cake recipe from Once upon a chef.

French Apple Cake

  1. Making the recipe as directed
  2. Grating instead of chopping the apples
  3. Leaving out the sugar topping on the apple cake
  4. Reducing the number of apples in the recipe

Making the recipe as directed

This French apple cake recipe is easy to make. All the ingredients are things you may have in your pantry.  I baked this cake in an 8 inch round pan and while the author said to use a 9-inch pan, I chose not to.I made this change because some recipe reviewers complained about the flatness of the cake.

I creamed the butter and sugar but when i added the eggs, the batter curdled. I followed the instructions and baked the cake as directed. 

The result was a moist, flavorful and very light cake that rose slightly. The rum used in this recipe complimented the flavor of the apples.

I used red gala apples and the apples were soft after the cake was baked.  The apples were big so i felt the using 2 large apples was too much. I decided to try the recipe again with less apples.

Four out of the five people that tasted this apple cake enjoyed it immensely.

French Apple Cake

Reducing the number of apples in the recipe

The french apple cake recipe calls for 2 large apples. After making the first cake with 2 apples, i used 1½  apples for the second cake. I cut the apple into smaller chunks as well. I can honestly say that i prefer the cake made with less apples.

The ratio of apple to cake batter was much better and the light crumb texture of the cake was more obvious. This cake was liked better than the first apple cake.

Grating instead of chopping the apples

Boy... was i wrong. In the comment section of the recipe, some one said they grated the apples and the outcome was a nice cake. I also felt like grating the apples would provide a finer and even lighter cake. I grated 2 apples and baked as directed. The result was a dense french apple cake pudding.

 The flavor was amazing and i imagine that eaten warm with ice cream, this would make a fabulous dessert. The crust of this variation was beautiful, buttery and a little chewy. If you want a pudding textured apple cake, i recommend grating your apples.

Leaving out the sugar topping on the cake

When i baked this cake for the first time, i sprinkled some sugar on the cake before baking. I found that the sugar in the apples and in the batter were enough and the topping was not necessary. The cake with the topping was sweet and i was careful to not use too much sugar.

 Subsequently, i chose not to include the topping. The result has been moderately sweet french apple cakes. If you prefer the sweeter desserts, you should top the cake with a little sugar.

Do i recommend this recipe?

Yes! This recipe is one that you should try. If you can, do not leave out the rum or pure vanilla extract. I used an almond rum the last time i made this cake and the flavor profile of this dessert was amazing. This cake can be made by even amateur bakers.

Overall, i like the original recipe but with a reduced number of apples. If you prefer a custard like or pudding like apple cake, you should use more apples. If you want a taller cake, you should use a 7 inch pan and increase your baking time.

I think you should go over to Once upon a chef, grab this recipe, bake it and serve it with ice cream (vanilla or caramel) or a little whipped cream.

Tips for making this recipe

  • Use a liquor or spirit of your choice when making this recipe. If you do not like rum, try something else that you feel will compliment the flavor of the apples.
  • If you prefer soft apples in your apple cake, use a softer variety of apples to make this recipe. You could also cook your apples in  a tablespoon of butter and sugar for a few minutes. This will soften the apples slightly before baking.
  • Cut your apples into smaller chunks if you prefer a cakey french apple cake.
  • Do not throw away the apple peel and cores from making this recipe. Put the peels and cores in a mason jar, fill the jar with brandy, rum or vodka to make your own apple spirits. You can drink it or bake with it.  

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