A Simple French Apple Cake

Apple Cake French Normandy

This French or Normandy apple cake is a rustic beauty. Made with the goodness of six apples held together with a judicious amount of light vanilla scented cake it is also a cake that contains just a modest amount of oil and yet against all logic, tastes buttery delicious! And in a typical NQN fashion, I do a little twist on the classic Normandy Apple Cake by adding a little custard to it. I called this gorgeous cake Odette.

I saw this recipe on Jamie's Instagram account and I had to try it. Not only did I have over a dozen apples, thanks to a fruit and veg box I'm currently subscribed to, but I also wanted to eat cake. This cake is a simple beauty and definitely has a place in anyone's repertoire so I urge you sincerely and seriously to try it.

Apple Cake French Normandy

This French apple cake defies all logic:

1 - It only has a small amount of oil in the whole apple cake yet it tastes like a rich butter cake!

2- You beat in the flour and while a normal cake might get tough from activating the gluten in it, this one doesn't!

3- The best apple for this apple cake is the Pink Lady apple. Not only does it hold its shape, you get a lovely colour too. You don't have to bother peeling the apples, the pink skin becomes a feature of the cake and adds a beautiful rosy hue to the cake.

Pair this with: a cup of apple cider!

Apple Cake French Normandy

Not only does it use a lot of apples, it isn't an overly sweet cake and the entire cake uses just 1/2 cup of oil which keen bakers know is scandalously low amount of fat. So much so that I almost doubted it. I really thought that the crumb or moistness of this cake would suffer for it but I was completely mistaken. The golden, vanilla scented crumb gave no hint of its low fat beginnings. It just was perfection in an apple cake.

Apple Cake French Normandy

I added some custard powder and by some strange but lovely twist, the centre of the cake had a lovely custardy centre. It wasn't really uncooked cake - that has a grain to it. Instead it was pure, creamy custard. When I took a forkful of this to my lips, I fell deep into a sense of happiness.

Like Alice in Wonderland I fell through a rabbit hole of dreams and saw happy times. A trip to Hawaii driving through Kauai flashed up in my memory; a second later I recalled leaning back on the plane as it pushed back from the gate. I was in a deep state of happiness again. With the custard, I don't know if lightning will strike twice so if I did it again I don't know if it would happen but I'll leave the method up in case it strikes for you too. And perhaps you will dream of holidays past too.

Apple Cake French Normandy

So tell me Dear Reader, what are the moments that you remember that make you happy? Does eating food imbue you with happy memories? Have you ever tried a French apple cake?

Apple Cake French Normandy

French Apple Cake

Did you make this recipe? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott, adapted from Life's A Feast

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 60-70 minutes

  • 6 apples, cored and sliced thinly (around 16 slices per apple)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 150g/5ozs. caster or superfine sugar
  • 180g/6ozs. plain all purpose flour
  • 50g/1.7ozs custard powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 125ml/4flozs. vegetable oil
  • 80ml/2.7flozs. milk
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste

Apple Cake French Normandy

Step 1 - Grease and line a 20cm/8inch round springform tin and preheat oven to 180C/350F. Soak the apples in water with lemon juice until ready for them.

Apple Cake French Normandy

Step 2 - Beat the eggs and caster sugar well for 2-3 minutes. Add the flour, custard powder, baking powder and salt into the mixture in 2-3 lots. Add the oil, milk and vanilla to the mixture-when the beaters are lifted it should leave a ribbon of batter.

Apple Cake French Normandy

Step 3 - Take out around 1/3 of the apples and drain well and mix with the batter. Spoon into the prepared tin. Then drain the rest of the apples and place them skin side up on top of the cake. To get a little bit of custard mixture in the centre, bake for 60 minutes. Otherwise bake for 70 minutes to cook through. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with cream or custard.

Apple Cake French Normandy

Apple Cake French Normandy

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