My love for fruit-filled cakes is undeniable – whether they are a Tatin or a simple classic cake. And of course, you’ve probably noticed that I have a particular fondness for apple cakes. In the North of France, where I was born and raised, apples are abundant year-round and they are the star of many local desserts (like this sweet Apple Flan) or drinks (like the cider and Chouchen from Brittany and the Calvados liquor from Normandy.)
So it’s no surprise that today’s recipe focuses once again on the beloved apple. Although this one comes with one exception, as it is not exactly French, but from the beautiful Belgian region of Flanders.
Flanders is a Dutch-speaking region of Belgium, but its cultural traits are actually quite similar to the ones you will encounter in the North of Franc -, especially its cuisine. A very comforting and homely cuisine, featuring earthy beer-based stews, like the lip-smacking Carbonnade ,and lots of sugar-rich desserts, like the Sugar Pie or this delicious caramelized apple cake. (people from Hauts-de-France and Belgium are both well known to have a -very- sweet tooth).
This recipe is from Julie Andrieu’s new cookbook “La Meilleure Facon de Manger”. Well known in France, Julie Andrieu is a savvy French cook and TV host with a great knowledge of French cuisine, yet with a very down-to-earth attitude. She knows exactly how to forage for the best ingredients and beautify them in simple, everyday recipes. Her new cookbook gives you handy tips and delicious recipes to make the best use of everyday ingredients and pantry staples. If you read French and are looking for classic French-flavoured recipes – but with a fresh twist to it – this book is for you.
This is a great Winter recipe for a cold and snowy afternoon. I loved its simplicity and rustic-ness, which created a delicious cake with different layers and flavours to it. The base layer is a simple cake batter, filled with softly baked apple clusters, and topped with a delectably sweet caramel.
As per usual with a French Apple Cake (well, a Belgian Apple cake to be more precise here), there is no use of cinnamon or other spices (which is more of an American-style flavour profile). The French usually let the apples shine on their own (like in this cake) or with the help of a little caramel.
To balance with the sweetness of this cake, I have chose a mix of different apple varieties (including granny smith apples which hold a nice acidity, even when baked) and added oat flakes into the top caramel (which also created a nice crunch all around).
If you try this Caramelized Apple Cake let me know! Leave a comment or share a photo using #pardonyourfrench on Instagram.
Caramelized Apple Cake from FlandersPrint This
For the batter
3 tbsp vegetable oil
4g baking powder
40g almond powder
For the topping
3 larges apples (700g), a mix of varieties
100g salted butter
80g brown sugar
40g quick rolled oats
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large mixing bowl, mix all the batter ingredients together. Pour into a greased 9’ pie dish.
Peel the apples and cut them in quarters. Stick them into the batter, forming a circular pattern.
Bake for 30 minutes. Take out of the oven (do not turn off the oven) and set aside on a cooling rack.
For the topping, melt together the butter and sugar. Sprinkle the rolled oats all over the cake and pour the caramel on top.
Bake again for 20 minutes, until the cake’s top is golden and bubbling.
Let cool to room temperature (or refrigerate for 2 hours) before enjoying.