Torta di Mele {Apple Cake}

torta di mele 2

It’s the weekend. Let’s have some cake!

Here’s a recipe for a classic(ish) Italian torta di mele ~ apple cake. Unlike American apple cake, which seems to me more of a spice cake with an afterthought of apples tossed in, this cake is about the apples. They make up most of the filling, bound by a small quantity of batter. The baked cake has a tender crumb and apples in every bite.

There are variations of this homespun cake all over Italy. The main ingredients are few and simple: flour, sugar, eggs, milk, butter (or oil), baking powder and lemon zest. And apples, sliced or diced. I top mine with a crumb mixture of butter, sugar and chopped walnuts or sliced almonds, which gives the cake a little crunch.

There are lots of other lovely apple cakes and desserts floating around out there in the ether. Here are a few that caught my eye:

A stunning torta di mele from EZy Cooking & More

A beautiful apple strudel from Italy On My Mind

A fabulous FrOnch apple gateau from Sippity Sup

A comforting meringue-topped rice pudding with apples from Life’s a Feast

A gorgeous apple harvest bread from Cake Duchess (whom I had the pleasure of finally meeting NYC last week!)

If you have a link to a favorite apple recipe, please share it in the comments. The more the better. Have a sweet weekend, friends.

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Torta di Mele {Apple Cake}

A simple homespun cake that is nevertheless fit for company. I use a mix of apples to magnify the apple flavor: Suncrisp, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious ~ that I get from the Twin Springs Fruit Farm stall at my local farmers' market. Use your favorites or whatever catches your eye at your local farmers' market or apple orchard.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half or whole milk
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 apples, cored and peeled, quartered, and cut crosswise into thin slices
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • Confectioners' sugar for serving

Instructions

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8-inch springform pan with oil. Fit a piece of parchment into the bottom of the pan and lightly oil the parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, egg, half-and-half, lemon zest, 1 cup sugar, and the vanilla extract. Beat with a whisk or hand mixer to blend thoroughly. In a separate bowl, gently toss together the apple slices and lemon juice.

Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Gently fold in the apples. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. In a small bowl, combine the walnuts or almonds, 2 tablespoons sugar, and the butter. Mix with your fingers until everything clumps together. Distribute little bits of the topping evenly over the cake.

Bake until the topping is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Use a sharp knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan. Remove the ring from the pan and allow the cake to cool to room temperature. Invert it onto a plate, remove the springform bottom and peel off the parchment. Re-invert the cake onto a serving platter. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

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54 Responses to Torta di Mele {Apple Cake}

  1. Sippitysup October 24, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    This is a beauty. Thanks for linking MY (well, Anne Willan’s) Gateau. GREG

    • Domenica Marchetti October 24, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

      My pleasure, Greg.

      • sandra knapp November 3, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

        I have looking for the recipe in various sites; and all I could find were pictures, but no recipe. Thank you for posting the recipe. I love to bake; right now I’m baking a French apple cake from a recipe I found on Life’s a feast….so glad I found both sites.

        • Domenica Marchetti November 3, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

          Sandra: I, too, am glad you found both sites. I love Jamie’s blog and I can attest to the fact that she is a wonderful person. Be sure to check out the other blog she writes, called Plated Stories. It’s photographed by her friend Ilva Beretta. Gorgeous! Enjoy baking lovely apple cakes. Cheers, D

  2. Rosa Mayland October 24, 2014 at 11:18 am #

    Very tempting! A wonderful autumn treat.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. bettyannquirino @Mango_Queen October 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    Oh I love Torta di Mele. I first heard about it from Chef Dennis Littley of Ask Chef Dennis who did shared it via a guest blog post a while ago. Since then, I’ve baked this apple cake for a gazillion times. Even when I travel to the Philippines to visit family, I have baked Torta di Mele at my cousins’ homes. It’s so easy to bake, anywhere in the world! Here’s my latest recreation where I sinfully added a topping of dulce de leche caramel : http://asianinamericamag.com/2012/09/torta-di-mele-apple-cake-with-caramel-and-were-moving-to-a-new-address/

    • Domenica Marchetti October 24, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

      So glad you shared this link, Betty Ann. Sounds out of this world with the caramel topping. Cheers, D

      • bettyannquirino @Mango_Queen October 26, 2014 at 11:30 pm #

        Thanks, Domenica. Re-read your recipe and I’m baking this one asap. The thought already has me drooling 🙂

  4. cristina October 24, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

    Looking forward to trying this delicious apple cake! May have to make time this weekend…gorgeous!

    • Domenica Marchetti October 24, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

      Thanks Cristina. I find it’s best on the day you bake it, and then the morning after. It makes a great breakfast cake with a cup of tea or coffee (my personal preference).

  5. italyonmymind October 24, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    That is a lovely torta (and thanks for sharing the link to our traditional family apple strudel).

    • Domenica Marchetti October 24, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

      I’ve been wanting to make strudel, Paola. I’ve never tackled homemade strudel pastry. It’s about time, I think.

  6. jamielifesafeast October 24, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    Oh and you know how we love apple cakes and desserts! Husband especially will love this and now I know what I’m baking this weekend! It is gorgeous! And thanks for linking to my apple rice pudding! xo

    • Domenica Marchetti October 24, 2014 at 10:36 pm #

      Yes, I DO know that. You have many wonderful recipes on Life’s A Feast. The rice pudding with apples looks so homey and delicious. I was thinking of making it but maybe using farro instead of the rice. xo

      • jamielifesafeast October 25, 2014 at 9:06 am #

        Oh farro (which I love!) would be interesting! I am curious now to see how that would turn out. And do use whole milk for the recipe. I used lowfat (all we had in the house) and I would have liked it creamier. I am going to pick up the apples for yours today!

  7. Elvira October 25, 2014 at 5:07 am #

    Cara Domenica, thank you for linking to my mother’s torta di mele! In Italy this is the type of cake they call “dolce di credenza”, cakes without creams and that can be left in a cupboard (credenza) or on the counter lasting long without going bad. It’s my favorite type because of the simplicity and I love how you top yours with a walnut crunchy crumble….it makes it even more delicious. Have a nice weekend <3

    • domenicacooks October 25, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

      I love this bit of information Elvira. Thank you for letting us know.

  8. Connie October 25, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    Just pulled out of the oven!

  9. ciaochowlinda October 25, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    Domenica – So many apple cake recipes to try and this one is on my list to be sure. It has a homey, comforting feel to it. I’m partial to apple strudel, but not the kind with the thin phyllo type pastry. I like this kind that I eat in the Val Gardena and someone there from a restaurant where it’s perfection, gave me their recipe: http://ciaochowlinda.blogspot.com/2010/02/strudeling-through-val-gardena.html

    • Domenica Marchetti October 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

      Linda, thank you for this link. Your photos of the Dolomites are spectacular. I have yet to visit that part of Italy. It’s on my list! And I love your strudel exploration. Can’t wait to try your recipe.

  10. jamielifesafeast October 26, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    Domenica, I just made the cake… it took much longer to bake mine (an hour or more if I remember clearly) but yowzers is this cake delicous!!!

    • Domenica Marchetti October 26, 2014 at 11:39 am #

      This is so interesting, Jamie. I make a similar cake with plums in summer, and it takes 45 minutes to bake. The apple cake took 50 minutes (at 375 degrees F/ 190 degrees C) but was definitely done by then, pulling away from the sides of the pan. But it’s good to know about the variation. I might add a little note in at the end of the recipe just in case.

  11. Adri Barr Crocetti October 26, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    Beautiful. I just love apple cakes, but this one is a cut above.

    • Domenica Marchetti October 28, 2014 at 10:54 am #

      Thank you Adri. I was going to post a photo of the cake before it was sliced but I thought this shot was much prettier.

  12. paninigirl October 27, 2014 at 2:38 am #

    I love a good apple cake and will definitely try yours. I like the addition of nuts.

    • Domenica Marchetti October 28, 2014 at 10:55 am #

      Thanks Janie. I’ve made it with walnuts and also with almonds. Delicious either way. Might have to try some crushed hazelnuts next…and maybe pears in place of the apples. BTW, I’ve been enjoying your dispatches from Italy.

  13. Chiara October 27, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    quando si porta in tavola una torta di mele tutti corrono per avere una fetta, è proprio il dolce che piace a tutti, bella ricetta Domenica !Buona settimana

  14. marcellina October 30, 2014 at 2:29 am #

    Delicious torta! I know what I will be making this weekend!

    • Domenica Marchetti October 30, 2014 at 7:33 am #

      Welcome, Marcellina! Thanks for reading and for your comment. Enjoy the torta. I may have to make another one this weekend, as ours is long gone by now. Cheers, D

  15. Frank Fariello November 3, 2014 at 9:03 am #

    Since you asked for it, here’s my torta di mele recipe, which is practically identical to yours!:

    http://memoriediangelina.com/2012/10/28/torta-di-mele-apple-torte

    I guess great minds really do think alike. 😉 Love your photo, btw.

    • Domenica Marchetti November 3, 2014 at 9:40 am #

      Frank, I think some of these recipes are in our DNA. Truly! Just popped over to look at your recipe. Sounds delicious. I love that Italian apple cake really is about the apples. Thanks for sharing the link.

  16. Tracy November 3, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    An apple cake that I really must try. I’ve made Roberto’s mother’s recipe here and there throughout the years (it was a requirement to learn it along with some of her other “recipes”). Wanted to let you know that I purchased your wonderful soups and stews book today. Can’t wait to dig into it this fall/winter.

    As a side note, Nancy from Good Food Matters is having a cookbook signing for her new book (Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook) on November 23 at Vigilante Coffee in Hyattsville, Md (suburb of DC). Not sure if that’s within driving distance for you, but wanted to pass along the info just in case.

    • Domenica Marchetti November 4, 2014 at 10:53 am #

      Tracy, I’m so glad you mentioned this. I am not familiar with Nancy and will look up her site. Her book sounds right up my alley and also that of my sister site, American Food Roots. And it would be wonderful to meet you as well. Thanks, D

  17. Maria Capdevielle November 3, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

    This looks yummy! I want to try it! Another amazing cake is Bolzano Apple cake. The recipe is in Italian (I got it from a friend):
    BOLZANO APPLE CAKE
    per teglia 34 x 34

    Ingredienti
    200 gr di zucchero (anche meno)
    3 uova intere
    1 cucchiaino di estratto vaniglia o i semini di mezza bacca di vaniglia
    150 gr di burro fuso fatto raffreddare
    120 gr di farina
    1/2 bustina di lievito in polvere tipo Paneangeli
    180 ml di panna fresca liquida (per versione light usare latte o met‡/met‡ o yogurt)
    1 kg di mele (Boskop o Renetta) ñ se si vuole il contrasto acidulo usare Granny Smith

    Procedimento
    Montare le uova con lo zucchero e la vaniglia. Aggiungere il burro fuso e la panna e incorporare bene. Aggiungere la farina setacciata con il lievito. Mescolare velocemente. Sbucciare le mele e tagliarle a fettine sottili (mandolina). Aggiungere le mele all’impasto e mescolare bene. Versare l’impasto in una teglia quadrata (34 x 34) imburrata e infarinata e cuocere a 180∞ per 45 minuti circa (a met‡ cottura girare la teglia). Una volta fredda, spolverare di zucchero a velo e tagliare in quadratoni. Servire tiepidina

    • Domenica Marchetti November 3, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

      Maria ~ grazie tantissimo per aver condiviso la ricetta per la tua torta di mele. Penso che con la panna e il burro fuso dovrebbe essere buonissima. La proverò’ senz’altro.

      For those who don’t speak Italian, Maria has shared a recipe for an apple cake from Bolzano. Here’s the translation:

      200 g (or less) sugar
      3 eggs
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      150 g melted butter, cooled
      120 g flour
      1/2 packet levieto Paneangeli (1 tsp baking powder)
      180 ml heavy cream (or milk)
      1 kilo apples

      Beat the sugar with the eggs and vanilla. Add the butter and cream and mix well. Sift the flour with the baking powder and add to the egg mixture. Peel the apples and slice thinly (with a mandoline if you have one). Fold the apples into the batter. Pour the batter into a greased and floured large baking pan (13 x 13-inch) and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, rotating the pan from back to front halfway through. Let cool. Before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares.

  18. Brooks November 11, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    Domenica, in a word: sublime. The accessible ingredients, and easy preparation delivers flavor which is magical, really. My family had nothing but raves as we devoured slice after slice, and the scrumptious memory of it is still with us. Similar to Jamie, this is now our favorite go to for apple cake. Thank you for sharing the recipe, and the inspiration!

    • Domenica Marchetti November 11, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

      Brooks, this is so nice to hear. Thanks for stopping by and for making the cake. It makes me happy to know your family enjoyed it. I love the picture you posted of it on Google+ ~ so pretty with the decorative sugar dusting!

  19. lizzygoodthings November 11, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    Domenica, this is just beautiful! I am so fond of apple cake and feel I must bake this soon… would you mind if I did blog my version and link back to you?

  20. Domenica Marchetti December 6, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

    Liz, thank you for sharing the link. The apple cider cake sounds delicious, especially with that coconut topping. And perfect for this time of year (on this side of the world). Cheers, D

    • lizzygoodthings January 13, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

      Thank you, cheers too! Buying apples today : )

  21. sillygirl December 28, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    I tried this recipe last night – even shared a piece with my neighbor and all of us think this is the best apple cake recipe ever. There is nothing that should be changed about it – just perfect. Thank you for sharing it!

    • Domenica Marchetti December 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m Just now polishing off a delicious apple tart at a bakery called Mrs. London’s, in Saratoga Springs, NY. that would be pretty good competition! Love a good apple dessert. I’m so glad you enjoyed the cake. Cheers!

      • sillygirl December 29, 2014 at 10:10 am #

        I sent the link to several friends too – I have tried various pastries in Europe and I still say this is the best!

  22. lizzygoodthings January 21, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

    Hi Domenica, I have posted my version of your beautiful torta… I used macadamia nuts and macadamia oil… the cake is superb! Thank you for allowing me to share xo

  23. Fernando Targino August 26, 2015 at 8:53 am #

    Thanks from Brazil for this recipe!

    • Domenica Marchetti August 26, 2015 at 10:10 am #

      My pleasure Fernando. Thank you for writing ~ it makes me happy to know that someone in Brazil has found my site!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 10 Favorite Reads of Italy this week: - BrowsingItaly - October 31, 2014

    […] Torta di Mele (Apple Cake) by Domenica Cooks – With cooler temperatures, it’s the perfect time to start baking again and apple cakes are one of my favorite tea time treats. Here’s another recipe from Domenica that will keep you warm this winter. […]

  2. How to make Torta Di Mele, Italian Apple Cake by Domenica Marchetti - December 27, 2014

    […] found this Torta Di Mele recipe by Domenica Marchetti of DomenicaCooks.com and marveled at how easy it was to bake such a beauty. […]

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