Delizia Alle Mele (Apple Cake Delight) is a crowd-pleaser thanks to its dough similar to a shortcrust pastry and a delicious filling of thinly sliced apples. Perfect for any occasion: breakfast, a healthy afternoon snack, or the dessert for your Sunday family meal. It is a simple dessert to make, where the apples are the absolute protagonists.
Song of the day: Perfect Symphony - Ed Sheeran (with Andrea Bocelli)
The fact that this cake is called Apple Delight is no overstatement. It is truly delightful in its simplicity, and it is one of those desserts that you can whip up in a short time and make you look like a professional baker.
Here's how to make Delizia Alle Mele (Apple Cake Delight), a fragrant, irresistible cake that will win you over at first bite.
I made this cake in my parents' kitchen, to have as the dessert for our Sunday lunch. We like to finish a good family meal with something sweet and espresso coffee but we do not like anything too heavy, too sugary, or too refined. Hence, simple, rustic desserts, better if they involve some fruit, are most welcomed.
This Delizia Alle Mele (Apple Cake Delight) checks all the boxes. It is mildly sweet, it has a big quantity of apples, it seems pretentious, but in reality, it is just another version of a crostata.
My mother's recipe books
The recipe comes from one of my mom's handwritten recipe books and we were excited to make it. Those notebooks (she used my notebooks from when I was in school) are filled with 'homey' recipes of uncertain origin (family, friends, cookbooks, newspapers, tv shows, who knows?). Some are very vague, some more detailed, but almost all missing important information, like the oven temperature, the size of the pans, the baking/cooking time, some of the quantities, some steps in the preparation. Depending on my mood, I laugh about it with my mom or I get really irritated, lol.
The recipe for this Delizia Alle Mele was quite complete, it only missed the size of the pan. Consequently, I used my 24 cm springform pan but had leftover dough and apples so I also baked a smaller one.
I translated the recipe, with some minor adjustments, and here we go.
What kind of apples?
I used Renette apples. They are slightly sour, a bit lemony, aromatic, and with a juicy, firm flesh that keeps well when baked. They are good on their own, but also used to make apple strudels, cakes, pies, or paired with savory dishes.
Thinly sliced apples make a difference
Thinly sliced apples cook more evenly, are more flavorful, and have a more interesting texture to the palate. I drizzled them with lemon juice to keep them from browning. You can use a mandolin to slice them, paying attention to your fingers. I am not very good with any kind of blades. Loreto always fear for my fingers every time I use a knife, lol. I suggest to start slicing the apples at the end of the 30 minute resting time of the dough, to prevent oxidation of the slices.
There's yogurt in the dough
The dough is similar to short pastry with the difference that it contains plain yogurt. I had already used sour cream to make the pastry for Haskap Berry Hand Pies and loved it. Here, it makes a pastry that is in between a pie and a tart: tender, buttery, and just a bit crumbly, which marries so well with the moist apple filling.
Use what you have
I usually bake according to what I have in my fridge and pantry, and when I bake in my parents' kitchen, hardly ever with fancy ingredients, or tools. It is a lovely but basic kitchen, definitely not a baker's kitchen.
When checking about the flour, I found mostly flours that my mom uses to make homemade pasta, plus some unrefined, stone ground flour, and whole wheat flour. No white, all-purpose, or 00 flour in sight.
Thus, the rustic look of this Apple Cake Delight which uses a blend of stone ground flours and whole wheat flour, plus some beet sugar instead of granulated sugar, all contributing to the darker color and coarser texture of the dough. Which we loved by the way...
Oh, I was forgetting, I also reduced the quantity of the sugar to sprinkle on the apple slices. The recipe calls for 200 g of sugar, divided: 80 g in the dough, 120 g for the filling. I used less sugar for the filling, you decide how much sugar, and what kind, you want to use.
The buttered springform pan worked great. The cake released without any effort and it looked quite nice. Many Italian cakes are recognizable from the dusting of powdered sugar (zucchero a velo). You see the package on the side of the picture, waiting to be opened and sprinkled with a sieve on the top.
Can we taste it yet??
The time has come when we can finally slice it and taste it. It was afternoon, so my mother made some tea to go with it while my father and brother were impatiently waiting for me to slice the cake. The cake slices beautifully. The crust is soft yet crumbly. That thick filling of thin apple slices infused with the sugar and dots of butter is rich, moist and mildly sweet.
Beautiful and unsophisticated, this Delizia Alle Mele (Apple Cake Delight) is comforting like a warm hug. If you want to experience a homely taste of Italy, give this cake a try and let us know how you liked it!
Song of the day: Perfect Symphony - Ed Sheeran (with Andrea Bocelli)Print
- 3-4 apples, depending on the size (I used 3 Renette apples)
- 450 g flour (I used white whole wheat flour, the recipe calls for white flour)
- 180 g sugar, divided (the recipe calls for 200 g of sugar. I reduced the sugar and used beet sugar)
- 1 egg, organic, free-range
- 150 g butter at room temperature + more to top the apples
- 125 g plain yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 organic lemon, the zest for the dough, the juice for the apples
- 16 g baking powder (1 sachet lievito vanigliato)
- pinch of salt
- powdered (icing) sugar, for decoration (optional)
- On a work surface, mix the flour with 80 g of sugar, then form a well.
- Pour into the center of the well the egg, the cubed butter, the yogurt, the salt, the vanilla, the grated lemon zest, and the baking powder.
- Work everything with your hands until you obtain a smooth dough. Shape it into a ball, wrap it in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel and cut the apples into thin slices. Squeeze the lemon onto the apple slices (it prevents cut apples from browning).
- Divide the dough in half and on a lightly floured surface roll out the first half in a thin sheet with which you can line the bottom of a round pan (26-28 cm), going up a bit on the sides (I used a springform pan, lined the bottom with a round piece of parchment paper and buttered the sides).
- Prick the base, then spread the thinly sliced apples onto the base. Sprinkle the remaining sugar and a few pats of butter on the apples.
- Roll out the second half of the dough and cover the apples with the second layer. Seal the edges with a fork.
- Bake at 350° F (180° C) for about 30-40 minutes.
- Let the cake cool, then dust with powdered sugar (if using).
You can also use a rectangular pan 27 x 40 cm and cut the cake in squares.
You can use a food processor to make the dough: in a food processor add the flour, 80 g of sugar, grated lemon zest, vanilla extract, cubed butter, salt, yogurt, egg, and baking powder. Pulse to mix until a smooth dough is obtained.
The prep time includes the resting time in the fridge.
I rolled out the dough in between two pieces of parchment paper, lightly floured, so it did not stick to the work surface or the rolling pin and it was easier to work.
It lasts for 3-4 days stored in a cake dome.
- Prep Time: 50 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Dessert, Cakes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: apples, cake, pie, dessert, Italian, tea time, yogurt, egg, lemon, vanilla
I love baking and kneading dough because it takes me to a happy place in my soul.