If baked French toast, otherwise known as French toast casserole and apple pie had a baby, this baked French toast with apples, cinnamon and raisins would be it. With warm spices of cinnamon and vanilla, I spiked this breakfast bake with orange liqueur to give it a grown-up and delicious boozy edge. Perfect for a lazy weekend or Sunday morning breakfast or brunch treat. You will love my overnight French toast recipe.
The fresh apples are caramelized in butter, coconut sugar and cinnamon until just starting to soften. The smell while making this reminded me of autumn. You can use any dark brown sugar such as Muscovado or Demerara if you don’t have coconut sugar. White sugar can also be used.
Coconut blossom sugar is having a huge moment in my life right now. The slight molasses and tropical flavour notes are just incredible, and I can eat it straight up. I used it in my recipe for mango and passion fruit brulee recently, and I plan on replacing other brown sugar with it in my baking going forward.
I have used store-bought raisin bread as this is readily available in South Africa. You can make your own as I have done with this easy cinnamon swirl raisin bread recipe. If you are using cinnamon bread, simply omit the teaspoon of cinnamon from the custard mixture.
Ensure the slices of bread are thick enough otherwise they will fall apart once dipped into the egg and milk mixture. Using old bread is perfect here.
What is the difference between baked French toast and bread and butter pudding?
Overnight baked French toast is very similar to a bread pudding except the bread isn’t buttered.
Bread and butter pudding generally has more milk and sugar and is served as a dessert whereas baked French toast has more eggs and is served at breakfast.
Bread and butter pudding is typically served with custard or ice cream whereas baked french toast is served with fresh fruit (berries), yoghurt and maple syrup or honey.
Tips and variations to this baked French toast recipe
- You can use any kind of enriched bread such as challah, soft french bread, or brioche (whole grain bread is not recommended).
- If you prefer, you can cut all the bread into even cubes vs cubes and slices as I have done.
- Dollop cream cheese between the bread for a creamier apple french toast casserole.
How to make French toast casserole with apples and raisins
These are a few step-by-step images of how to make this recipe. Don’t skimp on the buttery toasted pecan and brown sugar topping. This adds amazing crunch.
A few other sweet breakfast recipes you might like:
Or you might like my easy and healthy high-protein cottage cheese waffles
This baked French toast casserole is one of the most delicious recipes you can have for breakfast.
Recipe – serves 6
Baked French toast with apples, cinnamon, and raisins
For the caramelized apples:
- ½ cup raisins or sultanas or a mix of both
- 2 large apples either Granny smith apples or Pink Lady apples, peeled and cut into small pieces
- 2 Tbsp salted butter
- 2 Tbs coconut sugar or other dark brown sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
For the baked French toast:
- 1 loaf of raisin bread around 500gms / 1lb - or cinnamon raisin bread
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract or essence
- 1 Tbs coconut sugar or other dark brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp Orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau
- 2 cups milk whole milk or any % will work
- Zest of ½ and orange
- Butter or cooking spray for the oven dish
For the topping:
- ½ cup walnuts or pecans roughly chopped (use slivered almonds as an alternative too)
- 2 Tbsp melted salted butter
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp coconut sugar or other dark brown sugar – Optional
- To caramelize the apples, pour boiling water over the raisin and allow them to soak for 5 – 10 minutes. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat until bubbling. Add the apples and sauté for around 2 – 3 minutes. Add the sugar and cinnamon and cook for a further 3 minutes until starting to soften.
- Drain the raisins and add them to the apple mixture tossing to coat.
- To make the French toast bake, cut the bread into thick slices around 2 cm (1/2 an inch) thick. Cut the bread slices in half through the middle and then cut the bottom halves into roughly 6 even blocks (approx 1-inch cubes)
- Butter a 20-22cm x 30 – 33cm (9 x 13 inch) rectangular baking dish (or another shape) and spread the bread cubes over the bottom in an even layer ensuring that there are no holes and the bread covers the base.
- Evenly sprinkle the apple filling over the base.
- In a large jug or medium bowl, add the eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, orange liqueur, milk and orange zest and whisk until well combined.
- Dip the bread top halves in the egg mixture and allow to soak for a few seconds. Layer them over the top of sautéed apples to form a top layer. Pour over the egg mixture.
- Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight or allow to soak for an hour.
- When you are ready to bake, remove the soaked French toast bringing it to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes covered.
- To make the topping, mix the topping ingredients together in a bowl. Remove the French toast from the oven, take off the foil and sprinkle the topping over the bake. Return to the oven uncovered and bake for a further 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown.