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French Apple Cake Recipe

If you are looking for a simple dessert that’s easy to bake and delicious, this French Apple Cake is the perfect recipe for you.

Our french apple cake looks and tastes just like the classic french apple cake with one exception.  Instead of measuring out the flour mixture and all the things that go into a moist cake, we’re using a french vanilla cake mix.

Everything else is the same, simple ingredients that includes eggs at room temperature, dark spiced rum, and delicious tart apples.

I love apple dessert recipes and we have so many recipes that use a variety of apples at Pie Lady Bakes 

vertical image of partly eaten slice of french apple cake on white plate green apples and remainder of cake in background

Tips for Making your French Apple Cake 

  • Line your baking pan with a circle of parchment paper
  • In a medium bowl sift the cake mix.  This will make the cake batter light and fluffy, and will give your cake a bakery style quality. See our boxed cake mix hacks for more tips on this! 
  • Always bake with eggs at room temperature. This makes the eggs fluffy, and makes for better mixing. 

Ingredients You Will Need..

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 box Duncan Hines French Vanilla Cake Mix (or other brand is fine too)
  • 3 medium apples (I use whatever I have on hand, but Granny Smith or a variety of tart apples is fine)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • Powdered sugar to sprinkle on the cake after it is baked. 
Slice of French apple cake and image of whole French apple cake with text for pinning

Recipe FAQs

I don’t have spiced rum, will regular rum do?

Sure it will and that’s what we use here in this recipe. Some french apple cake recipes call for apple brandy too.

Can I use sweet apples instead of tart apples?

Absolutely. It’s what I love about apple recipes in general. Use your favorite apple or whatever is on sale at your grocery store! golden delicious or granny smith apples are my faves. Just make sure they are fresh apples.

Can I freeze the french apple cake for later?

Yes you can! I recommend wrapping it in plastic wrap and then wrapping it again in aluminium foil.  It should keep for about 3 months that way.  Or you could slice it up in smaller sections to enjoy whenever you want.

whole french apple cake on white plate with cake server and green apple to the side

How to make the best …

Prepare your baking pan. I use a regular layer cake pan (9”round) instead of a springform pan

Grease it well with unsalted butter and line it with a circle of parchment paper and grease the top of that (you can use butter cooking spray too)

Peel, core and slice up your apples and set them aside.

Melt the unsalted butter in a small bowl.

Sift the cake mix into a medium bowl. 

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk, add the melted butter, dark rum, spices. You really don’t need an electric mixer for this recipe.

Stir in the dry ingredients being careful not to over mix.

vertical pin image of french apple cake

Gently fold in the sliced apples.

Using a rubber spatula, spread batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top of the batter.

Place the cake on a rack in the middle position of your oven rack for 45 to 55 minutes until it is golden brown and a straw comes out clean.

Cool the cake on a wire rack.

Place a large plate on top of the cake and invert it to get it out of the pan. Then repeat this so that you get the lovely rounded top with the cooled apples poking through!

When ready to serve, sprinkle confectioners’ sugar or add a scoop of ice cream!

This delicious cake is elegant enough to grace any french table.

slice of french apple cake on white plate

An apple dessert that’s perfect for brunch

This rustic cake is the best french apple cake recipe and I know it will become your favorite too! It’s one of the easiest cakes I’ve baked in a while. If you love it as much as I think you will please give it a 5 star rating and leave a comment below! 

overhead image of french apple cake with slice cut and ready to serve green apples in background
Yield: 8

French Apple Cake Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

A delicious moist cake that easy to make, packes with sweet juicy apples, and flavored with rum and yummy spices.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (to be melted)
  • 1 box Duncan Hines French Vanilla Cake Mix
  • 3 medium apples (I use whatever I have on hand, but Granny Smith or a variety of tart apples is fine)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • Powdered sugar to sprinkle on the cake after it is baked.

Instructions

Prepare your baking pan. I use a regular layer cake pan (9”round) instead of a springform pan

Grease it well with unsalted butter and line it with a circle of parchment paper and grease the top of that (you can use butter cooking spray too)

Peel, core and slice up your apples and set them aside.

Melt the unsalted butter in a small bowl.

Sift the cake mix into a medium bowl. 

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk, add the melted butter, dark rum, spices. You really don’t need an electric mixer for this recipe.

Stir in the dry ingredients being careful not to over mix.

Gently fold in the sliced apples.

Using a rubber spatula, spread batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top of the batter.

Place the cake on a rack in the middle position of your oven rack for 45 to 55 minutes until it is golden brown and a straw comes out clean.

Cool the cake on a wire rack.

Place a large plate on top of the cake and invert it to get it out of the pan. Then repeat this so that you get the lovely rounded top with the cooled apples poking through!

When ready to serve, sprinkle confectioners’ sugar or add a scoop of ice cream!

Did you make this recipe?

Be sure to tag me @pieladybakes or use our hashtag! #pieladybakes xo

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Hi there, I'm Judy, it's awesome to meet you! I'm a writer, master pie baker and I've been helping people reach their personal and career goals for over 30 years.   I believe everyone should experience the joy of creating old fashioned recipes, just like Mom or Grandma used to make. And I also help you to create those memories for you and your family with Simple, Delicious, Wholesome recipes that you can learn to make. We also help you discover that Simple Living isn't just a concept.  It's a state of mind. Comforting food and Simple Living. It's all here. You can read more on my About page!

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