Come fall, I always look forward to baking with apples, and this cardamom cognac apple cake is my new go-to for autumn apple baking.

Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

I am so happy to be sharing this french style apple cake with you guys. The recipe comes from the incredible Athena Calderone and her new cookbook that’s out today, Cook Beautiful. If you are unfamiliar with Athena’s work, I highly suggest you take a look at her blog, Eyeswoon. There you will find beautifully photographed recipes, tablescapes, and stories. I have followed Athena for years now and it’s her love of food and creating beautiful things that has kept me drawn in. Her passion always shines through and that’s what I love most.

When I first got my hands on her cookbook a couple of weeks ago, I had to open it up immediately and skim through. I was blown away at first glance. It is simply stunning and I appreciated so much the amount of photos and writing that went into creating the cookbook. As a cookbook author myself (that is so weird writing that out…), I know all too well how much work goes into creating a beautiful book, and I can say with confidence that Athena created a five-star, beautifully crafted cookbook.

When Athena asked me to share a recipe from Cook Beautiful, I had a pretty difficult time choosing just one to share, but in the end, my love for fall baking gave in and I decided on this apple cake. And trust me, it was one of my better decisions because this cake is all too delicious.

Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Not only is it delicious, this cake is simple, moist…almost bread pudding like, and not overly sweet.

It. Is. So. Good.

The batter is a simple mix of flour, eggs, buttermilk, etc…the basics when it comes to cake. What makes this cake stand out however, is the addition of buttermilk, cardamom, and cognac. The buttermilk is what makes the cake almost pudding like. It’s not traditional in french style apple cakes, but it really kicks the cake up a notch.

The cardamom and cognac add a little touch of spice and flavor, but don’t overwhelm the sweet Honeycrisp apples.

And speaking of those apples, I love that this cake recipe uses Honeycrisp apples. Most apple cakes use a bland variety baking apple, but I always love the way Honeycrisp apples bake up…and okay, they are also totally my favorite apple!

Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

I have now made this cake twice and both times it’s been incredible. The second time around I added a touch of cinnamon because I just love the combo of apples and cinnamon too much. If you’re into cinnamon, add a pinch or two, it’s delish.

I served this cake warm, right out of the oven, but it’s great at room temperature too. Most importantly though? Be sure to generously dust your cake with confectioners sugar before serving. No exceptions.

This is the perfect thing to whip up just about any day of the week, but today is looking like a pretty good day to me. I always love baking up something sweet midweek to keep things fun!

Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Lastly, before I go, I just want to give you guys a head up that there will be no Wednesday post tomorrow. As mentioned in Sunday’s Favorites post, we are finally launching the blogs redesign that we have been working on now for months. So excited to give HBH a fresh new look!

It takes a bit of time to implement the new site design, and there might be some glitches in the process, so I decided not to post tomorrow, just in case we have any issues. I will be back on Thursday though, with a whole new layout and brand new Instant Pot recipe!!

Already so excited about it.

In the meantime, let’s all bake up this delicious apple cake.

Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories Per Serving: 247 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cognac (Calvados, rum, or bourbon work well too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 3 medium Honeycrisp apples
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
  • confectioners sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place a piece of parchment paper into an 8-or 9-inch cast iron pan and grease with butter.
    2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt. In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Whisk in the granulated sugar, cognac, and vanilla extract. Pour in the buttermilk and whisk to combine. 
    3. Peel, halve, and core 2 1/2 of the apples, then cut them into 1/2-inch-thick cubes. Reserve the remaining half apple (unpeeled, and cut into 1/4-inch slices) for the top. 
    4. Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined, then gently fold in half of the melted butter. Repeat with the remaining flour and butter. Gently fold in the cubed apples, reserving the slices. Transfer the batter to the pan and arrange the apple slices in a circular pattern on top of the batter. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake until the cake turns a deep golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55-65 minutes. Transfer the skillet to a cooling rack and let sit for 5 minutes. The cake may be served warm or at room temperature, directly from the skillet; whichever you choose, be sure to dust with confectioners sugar before serving. 

Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

And don’t forget to order a copy of Cook Beautiful. You will love it. Promise.

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Comments

  1. I’m so excited to attempt this lovely looking cake. But I have a question. If I were to want the cake to look like most of the pictures, with the stacks of apples fanned out, should I assume half an apple per stack (or whatever I should be calling those lovely apple fans?)

    Thanks so much for your inspired and inspiring work here, Tieghan!
    Best wishes,
    John

    1. Hey John,
      Yes, that is correct, you can just follow the recipe as is:) I hope you love the cake, let me know how it turns out! xTieghan

  2. The photo shows more than just 1/2 apple, sliced, with the slices standing, rather than flat on top, as instructed.

    1. Hi! Yes, some of the photos show more apple slices, because that is just how I made it. In the original instructions it states to put them as they are in photo 3. Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hi Annika! I have not tried it GF, but most people use cup4cup to change around the recipe! Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    2. Hi Annika! I have never made this with GF flour so I can’t really say how it will turn out. If you do try it, I recommend Cup4Cup flour. Please let me know if you have any other questions and how it turns out. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  3. 4 stars
    This was very good, and super easy to throw together. I heavily greased my parchment with butter and it had a really delicious, almost crispy exterior. The smell of the cognac and cardamom was amazing. This will be a go-to for more casual parties and cozy nights in. The only reason I’m not giving it 5 stars is because I try to reserve those for the things that are so over-the-top amazing. This is still fabulous though.

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