I made this cake around the time Dorie Greenspan's "Around the French Table" came out, a book that has not once disappointed me. A book you must purchase if you haven't already. I've written about Dorie Greenspan several times already and there's good reason for that.
She's a true francophile who writes recipes for the everyday person but works with the top professionals. Her recipes turn out. Every time. How many times can you say that about someone else? In any case, the reason why I baked this cake for my dad's birthday is because he expects me to bake him a cake every year, even if he doesn't admit it. His birthday falls right after Christmas, and by then we've run out of gift ideas (he always asks for lottery tickets and socks, and well, that's boring.) And finally, my father prefers fruit-based cakes to sugary confections with heavy frosting. So, Marie-Helene's apple cake it was. You can find the recipe here. I don't think he reads this blog so I'm not giving away any secrets
So, how did it turn out, you're apt to be wondering by now. Well, my sister called me to demand "What the heck is in this cake? It's amazing!" The cake, well, it looks somewhat homely. My camera skills are partly to blame for the appearance, admittedly. But the depth of flavours more than make up for that.
Substitutions: None. I did follow the recipe's instructions to use four different kinds of apples, though I can't remember what they were.
Would I make this again? I think I would. But in apple season. Perhaps to take on a picnic, or to bake for your family to eat throughout the weekend when the mood overtakes them, because it's the kind of cake that tastes even better the next day.
Grade: Four-and-a-half stars out of five. Simple. Delicious. Classically French. You can make it with ingredients you have on hand. And yet it won't taste like anything you've made before.