Torta di mele, the classic Italian Apple Cake. A moist soft batter, filled with sliced apples and topped with more apples for a truly delectable dessert. Easy and quick to make, perfect family dessert.
If there is a sweet that, like a Madeleine, is able to transport me right back to my childhood, that sweet is Torta di mele, the classic Italian Apple Cake.
[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We've been compensated but all opinions are our own].
My mother's Torta di Mele
A bite and I'm there, in my mother's kitchen, cleaning the bowl where she has just made this cake. I taste the eggs, the yogurt, the lemon and the sugar. I lick that spoon and I do not think for a second that I'm eating raw eggs, my thoughts are concentrated on enjoying the moment and in anticipation of when the cake will come out of the oven. I've always eaten cakes and cookies that were hot, never patient enough to wait for them to cool off, my brother and father with me on that. And when the timer finally goes off and the cake is out, we're right there, a sprinkle of icing sugar, maybe, but it's so hot it gets sucked by the cake (well, that means that after we can sprinkle some more 😉 ), we slice it from the pan, steam coming out, but we don't care, my mother asks how it tastes and we talk funny, since it's hot and we're trying to cool it off in our mouth, chew, and talk at the same time. Good, it's so good, moist, and loaded with apples, the main star of the show. My mother smiles, we smile too, how simple things like that can make a family happy.
Simple and straightforward ingredients
- Cake Flour
- Organic Eggs
- Natural Cane sugar
- Plain yogurt
- A touch of butter
Well, ground almonds are my addition, my mother only used cake flour, but she would approve, raw almonds are a constant presence in my parents' pantry, plus I thought it would add a nice texture and a lovely flavor while reducing the quantity of the white flour, which is always good. The yogurt has always been there, to give moisture and reduce butter consumption, a true concern for my mother. The apples, macerated in a nice squeeze of lemon juice, are so many that the cake is bursting with fruit. The sugar, better if unrefined, the eggs, organic and from free-run chickens.
All ingredients I could easily find at the Italian Centre Shop, to replicate a cake that is so unmistakably Italian. I even found the package of lievito (baking powder) and the smaller package of vanillina (vanillin, kind of fake vanilla) items that may look unfamiliar to you, but scream home to me. You can substitute the vanillina with a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, by the way.
Once you make the batter, which will smell beautifully of lemon and vanilla, the next step is to grease a spring form pan (it will be easier to remove the cake without ruining the beautiful topping), spread half of the cake batter and start layering the first half of the sliced apples. You can just throw them there or arrange them in a circle, or any design you feel like doing. I did the same "design" for both layers. Then spread the rest of the cake batter and arrange the last layer of apples on top. Now, I would be more artistic, since the top will be "visible" and the cake topping beautiful. Presentation also counts. I sprinkled some maple sugar on top of the apples before the cake hit the oven, it will add some "caramelization". When the cake is done, let it cool off a bit, then add the last sprinkle of powdered sugar on top. It will be the "icing on the cake".
Layering the apples
The layering of the apples is crucial for the texture, you will find out as you first bite into it. The cake is dense and moist, sweet and juicy. The apples still keep some of their crunch that combined with the cakey batter, the "granular" texture of the ground almonds, and the sweet top, give you everything you've ever wanted in a cake.
This Torta di Mele, in my family, is hardly ever eaten on a plate and with a fork, but mostly sliced up, -maybe- laid on a napkin and enjoyed on the spot. I talked to my mom this morning and told her I was going to post the Torta di Mele today, she said: "what a great idea, I am going to make one for your dad, too!" 🙂 .
Have fun making it and eating it!
- 200 g cake flour (or 00 flour)
- 150 g natural cane sugar
- 3 eggs, organic, free run
- 4 apples (I used McIntosh and Gala)
- 1 lemon, the juice, freshly squeezed
- 50 g almond flour or ground almonds
- 70 g butter, melted
- 125 g plain yogurt (1 small container)
- 16 g baking powder (1 package Lievito Vanigliato)
- 1 package Vanillina (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 3 Tbsp warm water
- icing sugar for dusting the top
- Wash & peel apples, cut into thin slices, squeeze lemon juice on top to keep them from browning.
- Melt butter and set aside to cool.
- In a stand mixer, beat the eggs with 3 tablespoons of lukewarm water for a couple minutes until frothy.
- Add in sugar and keep mixing.
- Then add yogurt, melted butter and continue blending until well combined.
- Remove from mixer, slowly add flour sifted with the baking powder and almond flour, mixing with a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Butter and flour a 9 inch spring fold pan, making sure all sides and bottom are coated.
- Pour half of the batter into the pan.
- Layer half the apple slices on top of the batter
- Pour remaining batter on top and level.
- Decorate batter with remaining apples to finish top of cake.
- Sprinkle with maple sugar.
- Bake cake in pre-heated oven at 350° F for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove and cool on a rack.
- Remove the spring fold, and dust with icing sugar.
- Serving Size: 10-12 servings