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

Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake | @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 have kept me drawn in. Her passion always shines through and that’s what I love most.

I first got my hands on Athena’s cookbook a couple of weeks ago. Immediately I just had to open it up and skim through it. I was blown away at first glance. It’s simply stunning. I appreciate so much the number 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. 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. 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 | @hbharvest
Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake | @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 apples. But I always love the way Honeycrisp apples bake up…and okay, they are also totally my favorite apple!

Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake | @hbharvest
Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake | @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 | @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 blog 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. Therefore, 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 | @hbharvest

If you make this Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories Per Serving: 427 kcal

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



  • 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. 
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Cardamom Cognac Apple Cake | @hbharvest

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

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  1. 5 stars
    Loved it! The cardamom can be perceived a bit “potpourris-y” so be prepared for that. I used Grand Marnier as my cognac and the little bit of orange it imparts was lovely. Followed the recipe to the letter otherwise and it was beautiful!

  2. 5 stars
    So good! Used bourbon instead of cognac and still worked well. Not too sweet but just enough. Very easy to put together. Paired it with some caramel/vanilla gelatto. Will definitely make again.

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. I like that it wasn’t too sweet, was easy to toss together, and looks so beautiful! I’m already excited to eat more in the morning with my coffee. Thank you!

  4. 4 stars
    Very easy and great fall flavors. I only had a 10” skillet so mine was a bit thinner, but really good! Served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

  5. 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,

    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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. I just made this cake for the first time today – it’s so delicious but it didn’t rise much and was maybe a little too moist….any suggestions?

    1. Hey Becky, did you change anything about the recipe? In general this cake is not meant to rise much and is very moist. Not sure you did anything wrong! Maybe bake slightly longer if it is too moist? Hope this helps! xTieghan

  9. Could this one be prepped ahead of time and then put int he oven for a Thanksgiving dessert or do you think it would be best to fully bake ahead of time and then warm?

    1. Hey Nicky! I have not tested it, but I do think you could make the batter, then keep in the fridge and bake when ready to eat dessert. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much and happy Thanksgiving! xTieghan

  10. 5 stars
    Made this for a Valentines Day potluck. It was a hit. Everyone loved it and it was gone fast. Several coworkers said they appreciated that it was not too sweet. I used good butter (Kerrygold), used half granulated sugar and half Muscovado light brown sugar and added a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. It is a moist and bread pudding like and a very different taste than what is usually expected of cake in the US which I appreciated. Very sophisticated dish. You won’t regret making this!!! Will definitely make again and again!!