Apple Cake Tatin

Some years ago I came across a recipe in a magazine for a cake made entirely with apples. In a clean-up later the magazine was thrown away and the recipe forgotten. For no reason I can think of, a few weeks ago, this unusual dish came back to me. I spent hours searching the internet trying to find it finally coming across an old recipe in French. This I adapted to what is now my Apple Cake Tatin.


It’s incredibly inexpensive to make, requiring just 3 ingredients, but does take time – don’t be put off by that, because the end result is extraordinary – and it’s helpful if you have a mandolin to slice the apples. The perfume from the orange zest (one of the few ingredients) and apples is sublime. Try it while there are still plenty of apples on the market if you’re in the southern hemisphere, but if you’re just coming into autumn now, you’ll have plenty of time to make this cake over the colder months.

Hope you enjoy.


Serves 8

  • 10-12 firm apples such as Granny Smith, Pink Lady or Golden Delicious (a combination of all 3 is fine)
  • 125g caster sugar, plus an extra ½ cup
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Crème fraîche, or vanilla bean ice cream to serve

In a small saucepan over a low heat make the caramel with 1/2cup sugar and 2tbsp water. When it becomes a lovely golden colour, pour it immediately into a 24cm metal cake tin swirling it around so the bottom of the tin, and some of the lower side is covered. Set aside to cool, it may crack, don’t worry.

Peel and core the apples, starting with 10, and slice them thinly on a mandolin, about 2mm thick. Mix the 125g sugar and orange zest together in a small bowl.

Place the apples into the caramel lined tin in concentric circles, pressing down firmly, and sprinkling every other layer with the sugar mixture. When you reach the top (you may need the extra 2 apples), cover with baking parchment, press down firmly again, and cover with a piece of foil. Place in the fridge overnight.

The next day remove from the fridge carefully as the apples will have released a bit of liquid. Preheat the oven to 150C, place in a deep baking dish on a tea towel, and fill with very hot water to half way up the side of the cake tin. Place in the oven and cook for 3 hours, refilling the water if necessary.

After 3 hours, remove from oven and baking dish, and let cool. Replace foil, and place in the fridge overnight.

The next day when ready to serve, dip the tin into hot water to loosen the caramel, and tip onto a shallow serving plate. Serve in individual wedges with crème fraîche, or vanilla bean ice cream.