What makes a “French Apple Cake” particularly French? According to a special issue of Milk Street, it’s lots of apples and only a small amount of custardy batter. You’ll bother to brown the butter and pre-cook the apples, but it’s a hands-on recipe, where no mixer is required.

Swirl the stick of butter in a skillet, and don’t dare to use a spoon (really!). Set it aside.

Ah, then the meditative process of peeling and coring the two-and-a-half pounds of apples. Make sure to use two different styles, like Granny Smith and Braeburn. I cooked my slices in the skillet for 12:30, and loved that applesauce scent.

While the cooked apple slices refrigerate for 20 minutes, you’ll mix the thick batter in a bowl by hand.

I baked my cake for 50 minutes, “until deeply browned.” The cake needs to cool for hours before you can slice and eat it. So, how does it taste? Like apples! Moist, rich, but not cakey. Think of sweet and smooth applesauce, without any tartness. A real treat, here.

Next time, I’ll dare myself to bake the “Marbled Rye Bread” from Spiced, where Dutch cocoa is what makes the dark rye dark(!). Come back to my site next week, to see this happen.