french apple cake with powdered sugar on top

French Apple Cake from Janie's Mill

Emil Hristov

The lovely photo above is of the traditional French Apple Cake made by Pastry Chef Cati Molnar of Robert et Fils, a neighborhood restaurant in Chicago.

It’s a simple recipe, typical of French provincial home cooking, and is delicious plain, or with crème fraîche, for breakfast or dessert, or any time at all!

For the cake:

1 cup Janie’s Mill Silky Smooth Pastry Flour (120 g)

1 ½ tsp Baking powder (6 g)

2 large Eggs (100 g)

¾ cup + 2 tbsp Sugar (150 g + 25 g)

1 ½ tsp Salt (6 g)

3 tbsp Dark rum (42 g) *

*Brandy, whiskey, or bourbon can be substituted for the rum. For an alcohol free option, use 4 tsp vanilla extract (19 g) and increase crème fraiche to a full ½ cup (113 g).

Scant ½ cup Crème Fraîche (99 g) *

If you don’t have Crème Fraîche on hand, you can just use sour cream, or make your own by stirring 1 Tb buttermilk into 1 cup heavy cream. Put it in a glass jar and leave it on the counter at room temperature, partially covered, for 8 to 24 hours or until it’s as thick as you like. Refrigerate any extra for up to two weeks.

4 tbsp Butter, melted, warm (56 g)

Apples 4-6 large, peeled, thinly sliced (600 g)


  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter an 8” round or square cake pan and line it with parchment paper.

  2. Whisk the flour and baking powder together and set it aside.

  3. In a stand mixer or large bowl, whisk the eggs with ¾ cup sugar and the salt until it forms a soft ribbon.

  4. Whisk in the rum and crème fraiche.

  5. Fold in the flour mixture, and then the melted butter, just until it forms a smooth, even batter.

  6. Gently fold in the apple slices until they are completely coated in batter.

  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle evenly with 2 tbsp sugar and another pinch of salt.

  8. Bake 45-60 minutes or until set and lightly browned. The cake will sink slightly in the center as it cools.