Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake (An Apple A Day, Have It In Cake)

Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake (An Apple A Day, Have It In Cake)

I have been eyeing Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake for awhile and finally found the perfect occasion.  A New Year’s Eve gnocchi party hosted by friends Pam and Paul.  I could hardly show up empty-handed when they were going to teach me how to make gnocchi.  I love gnocchi, feathery light pillows of pasta dough, a dish I have only when dining out.  That was about to change.  Yes, HOMEMADE gnocchi, so excited. If I bring dessert maybe I’ll get to take some home!

This apple cake is homey, reminiscent of a rustic country dessert, the perfect ending to our gnocchi dinner.  The cake comes together quickly. Dorie suggests using a variety of apples for flavor and texture.  I used a combination of Fuji, Mutsu, Jonagold and Golden Delicious. The batter made of butter, flour, eggs and flavored with vanilla and rum serves to bind the apples together. The apples are the star and definitely shine in this cake.

The cake can be served warm or at room temperature.  Served with whipped cream or ice cream, I’m sure I’ll get extra gnocchi to take home.


Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake (An Apple A Day, Have It In Cake)


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 large apples (if you can, choose a variety)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled


  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
  • Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they're foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it's coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it's evenish.
  • Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it's fully opened, make sure there aren't any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.
  • The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without a little softly whipped, barely sweetened heavy cream or a spoonful of ice cream.
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