- 3 Golden Delicious apples (about 1 1/2 pounds)—peeled, halved, cored and cut into eighths
- 1 3/4 cups plus 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 cups (500 ml) verjus
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Crème fraîche, for serving
- In a saucepan, combine the apples, 1/4 cup of the sugar and 1 cup of the verjus and bring to a boil, stirring, just until the sugar dissolves. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are softened but not broken down, about 8 minutes. Let the apples cool in the syrup for 15 minutes. Set a strainer over a bowl and drain the apples, reserving the syrup.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan. In a bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with 1/2 cup of the sugar at medium speed until fluffy. Add the vanilla, then the eggs, 1 at a time; beat well between additions. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the milk.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Arrange the apple slices on the batter in concentric circles and press them in halfway. In a bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of the sugar with the cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over the apples. Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour, or until golden and risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, simmer the remaining 1 cup of sugar with the remaining 1 cup of verjus over moderate heat until a deep amber caramel forms, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat. Immediately whisk in the reserved apple syrup. Brush 1/2 cup of the syrup all over the cake and let cool. Remove the springform ring and transfer the apple cake to a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve warm, with the remaining syrup and crème fraîche on the side.
The cake can be covered and refrigerated overnight and rewarmed before serving.