Breakfast and Brunch, Cakes, Pies & Tarts, Dessert

Torta di Mele (Apple Cake with Olive Oil)

Nicoletta September 27, 2019

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Torta di Mele (Apple Cake with Olive Oil) is the apple cake of my childhood, one of the few ones my mom would make (and still does). It is made with olive oil and milk instead of butter, a lot of chopped apples, and not much batter, just enough to bind the apples and envelope them in deliciousness.

Song of the day: Every Little Thing She Does is Magic – The Police

Torta di Mele (Apple Cake with Olive Oil)-whole cake on a board

Freshly picked apples from a neighbor’s tree, peeled, chopped, and tossed in lemon juice are the stars of this simple, rustic Torta di Mele (Apple Cake with Olive Oil), scented with lemon-flavored olive oil, cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla. 

 

 

Happy Birthday To Me

Tomorrow will mark my 51st birthday. They say time flies when you’re having fun, and I surely was having a blast, because it seems yesterday that I was in my mother’s kitchen, waiting for a freshly baked Torta di Mele to come out of the oven.

Torta di Mele (Apple Cake with Olive Oil)-whole cake on a board with apples

My mom’s Torta di Mele

My mom would always make Torta di Mele with oil (peanut or olive) and never with butter, which I never saw in our fridge and which she avoided like the plague. The other ingredients would be milk, sugar but not too much, eggs, lemon juice and zest, flour (never weighed but always added “by eye and feel”), and baking powder. She would not add cinnamon, or vanilla, let alone cardamom, simply because she would not have them, thinking they are not a pantry staple.

She would bake Torta di Mele in a rectangular pan, the chopped apples in the batter (and not artistically arranged on top), no sugar sprinkled on top, nor icing sugar after. I would take care of the bowl, my finger fast to clean the batter before she could see me. Those minutes in the oven seemed interminable, until finally, out of the oven the Torta would come, and she would cut a square for each of us. We would eat it with our hands like we still eat crostata or other rustic cakes like these. No-fuss, no plates, and especially no fork.

Torta di Mele (Apple Cake with Olive Oil)-slice in hand

The Flavors of My Childhood

Torta di Mele would taste like home, like most of my mom’s other -few- baked goods: never too sweet, very lemon-scented, filled with fruit, unpretentious, sincere. 

My Torta di Mele (Apple Cake with Olive Oil)

I tried to stay tried and true to my mom’s Torta di Mele, however, I took some liberties.

  • Among the main ingredients in common (flour, eggs, milk, olive oil, sugar, and baking powder), there is an array of fragrances and spices which I have come to love and that have become a staple in many of my baked goods: lemon of course, but also vanilla, cinnamon, and cardamom. You will be surprised -or maybe not- to see how amazingly they pair with apples. 
  • The second difference is that I used a large round springform pan because I prefer round cakes to angular ones. Nonetheless, one thing they both have in common. That Torta di Mele has to be a low cake, with just enough batter to ‘hug’ a lot of apples. 
  • Lastly, I sprinkled the cake with raw cane sugar before it hit the oven, a step my mother would have surely skipped. It gives such a nice texture, though, and since the cake has a few tart elements, it also brings a delightful sweetness.
How I tackle the making of a cake
  1. I first read the ingredients and all the steps of the preparation, right to the end. Make notes on the side if I want to make some adjustments.
  2. I have all the ingredients ready in ramekins/small bowls so that the preparation is smooth and I don’t have to stop to weigh or go get that particular ingredient. 
  3. For a simple cake like this one, I grab two bowls, a whisk, and a spatula, and divide the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in the other. Then, gently, fold the wet into the dry.
  4. In the case of a cake that involves apples (or pears, or any fruit that browns in contact with air), like here, I chop the apples not too soon in the preparation, put them in a bowl and toss them in lemon juice (it helps prevent oxidation).

Torta di Mele (Apple Cake with Olive Oil) as my birthday cake??

As I said, tomorrow will be my birthday, and Loreto has big plans for me for the whole weekend. We ordered a cake from a famous local bakery we love, The Art of Cake, and I asked for a semi-naked Pumpkin Spice Cake with cream cheese icing. Pretty simple. In fact, you might remember I don’t like icings and frostings on cakes. For that matter, I would have gladly put a candle on my Torta di Mele and called it a birthday cake 🙂 .

Torta di Mele (Apple Cake with Olive Oil)-slice on a plate

As a usual practice, I shared my  Torta di Mele with neighbors, friends, and family. I wasn’t sure about their reaction since it is a little different than the typical apple pie. However, after a few minutes from the delivery, my cell phone buzzed and the messages I received warmed my heart: “Beyond good. Thank you!“; “That piece of cake was yummy, thank you!“; “Thank you for the yummy dessert. Amazing“. Loreto said it was “like candy and dessert all in one bite. The crust with that remarkable texture and the cake and apples a comfort and delectable treat.” He may be biased but his lip-smacking was a good indication that he truly enjoyed it.

Share the love. Our motto.

Enjoy, if you make it.

Song of the day: Every Little Thing She Does is Magic – The Police

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Torta di Mele (Apple Cake with Olive Oil)-slice in hand

Torta di Mele (Apple Cake with Olive Oil)

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Cakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Torta di Mele (Apple Cake with Olive Oil) is the apple cake of my childhood, one of the few ones my mom would make (and still does). It is made with olive oil and milk instead of butter, a lot of chopped apples, and not much batter, just enough to bind the apples and envelope them in deliciousness.


Ingredients

  • 56 medium-size apples
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, for the apples
  • 200 g flour type 00 (or all-purpose)
  • 130 g raw cane sugar + more for sprinkling on top of the cake
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 80 g olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 Tbsp milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C) and butter a 26 cm (10 in.) springform cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, pinch of salt, cardamom, cinnamon, and baking powder. Mix well with a whisk.
  3. Use an apple slicer to core and divide the apples into slices. Remove the skin and cut each slice in half. Place the chopped apples in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice.
  4. In a medium bowl, add the eggs, the olive oil, vanilla, and milk. Beat well.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir briefly with a spatula to combine.
  6. Before it is all combined, add the chopped apples and fold in.
  7. Pour the apple batter into the prepared pan, spreading and smoothing the thick batter with the spatula.
  8. Sprinkle the top with raw cane sugar (optional).
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is nice and golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack before removing from the springform pan.

Notes

As for the olive oil, I used half the amount of a ligth extra virgin olive oil and half of a lemon-flavored olive oil, from Evoolution, a local brand. If using only regular mild olive oil, add a grating of lemon zest to the batter.

For a taller cake use a smaller pan.

The cake keeps in an airtight container for a couple of days without losing its beautiful moist texture.

 

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Torta di Mele (Apple Cake with Olive Oil)-slice in hand

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16 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply Matt - TotalFeasts September 29, 2019 at 12:58 am

    I love apple cakes, just love them. I imagine that with the olive oil it adds a really good flavour, and the whole thing looks perfect to go with a nice coffee!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta September 29, 2019 at 9:02 am

      Thank you, Matt! We shared it with many people and they all loved it. It is so simple but the flavors are so bright!

    • Avatar
      Reply Becky October 22, 2019 at 8:56 am

      Made this cake today. The recipe was so easy and perfect. Is there any chance you have the nutritional information.

      • Nicoletta
        Reply Nicoletta October 22, 2019 at 4:19 pm

        Thank you for the feedback! Sp happy you loved the cake! Unfortunately we don’t have the nutritional info. We would have to install a plug in that does that. Will se what we can do in a near future.

  • Avatar
    Reply Chef Dennis October 1, 2019 at 1:50 am

    I’ve been craving for an Apple recipe this Fall season and this Torta de mele Apple cake is just so perfect that it made me drool. I really love this. Will definitely make this for my family.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta October 1, 2019 at 9:14 am

      Thank you! It is such a great cake to showcase beautiful apples. Very simpe to make and delicious.

  • Avatar
    Reply Elaine Benoit October 1, 2019 at 9:07 am

    I love a great apple cake and this looks fantastic! I saw it was your birthday and also saw you had an awesome celebration! I’m going to be making your cake for my sister’s birthday next month!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta October 1, 2019 at 9:15 am

      Thank you! Yes, it was my birthday and I had a wonderful time. Hope you make it and everybody loves it the way we do!

  • Avatar
    Reply Rebecca Blackwell October 2, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    I made this cake this morning with the intention of serving it for dessert later tonight. My husband and I couldn’t wait to try it and ended up eating so much of it we don’t need lunch and might not need dinner either. 🙂 It’s so delicious. Thank you for a great recipe!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta October 2, 2019 at 1:53 pm

      So glad you tried it! It’s that good😊. So simple and fast to make, you can whip up another one 😊.

  • Avatar
    Reply Sharon October 4, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    This is a great dessert for fall with all the apple flavor and spices. It would be a great afternoon treat with a cup of tea.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta October 4, 2019 at 8:22 pm

      Thanks! It is! And it goes so well with tea or coffee!

  • Avatar
    Reply Tammy October 6, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Happy Birthday! I hope you had a beautiful day 🙂 This is a perfect cake to celebrate with. It’s just a lovely seasonal treat. I wish I could have a slice right now!

  • Avatar
    Reply Veronika October 6, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    My all time favorite Apple Cake! I never tried to make it with olive oil but it sounds really good! Saving the recipe)

  • Avatar
    Reply Jo October 6, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    How soft and moist that apple cake looks! You can’t miss having some apple cake in fall and this recipe is so easy and perfect. Saving the recipe

  • Avatar
    Reply Aline October 6, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    OMG!! This cake looks incredible!! Perfect for the season and so easy to make. I’m saving the recipe to make it next weekend! I can’t wait!!

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