Apples are the star of the show in this lightly sweetened Italian cake. A perfect dessert for fall when apples are at their best.
I was sent a copy of A Family Farm in Tuscany to review. I was excited to review it because I fell in love with Tuscany when we had the pleasure of visiting a few years ago. It really is a magically land. San Gimignano was one of our favorite hill towns. It’s almost like taking a step back in time.
Sarah Fioroini, the author, is also chef, cooking instructor, sommelier, and manager of their family farm near historic Sam Gimignano. They host guests from all over the world in their quaint farm house. We ate amazing food when we were in Tuscany and I’m looking forward to going back one day. Maybe we can even stay at Fattoria Poggio Alloro and take a cooking lesson or two.
In addition to the delicious seasonal recipes, it’s also a delightful book to read. She details the history of the family and the San Gimignano area. The book captures the beauty of Tuscany, so it’s a feast for the eyes as well. A perfect coffee table book when it’s not with you in the kitchen.
This cake is not loaded with sugar nor fat. It lets the apples shine through. Sarah recommends using apples with a soft flesh, such as Golden Delicious apples. I decided to add a simple cinnamon glaze to sweeten it up for my crowd, but I hated hiding that gorgeous golden brown color.
Torta di Mele (Apple Cake)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole milk
- 2 ½ tablespooons butter melted
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 3 medium apples about 1 ¾ pounds, peeled, cored and cut into ⅛ inch thick slices
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat oven to 350º. Butter and flour an 8-inch springform pan, tapping the pan to remove excess flour; set aside. (I used a 9-inch springform pan and sprayed the pan with cooking spray with flour.)
- Combine the eggs and sugar in bowl of electric mixer. Beat at medium-high speed for 5 minutes, or until pale lemon yellow in color and thickened. Gradually add the flour, milk, and butter stopping to scrape down sides of bowl after each addition. Beat at low speed until each ingredients is blended, then increase speed to medium high and beat for 3 minutes. Add the baking powder and vanilla and beat an additional 2 minutes to blend well.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the apple slices vertically, with the core side down, in concentric circles in the batter, beginning with the outside edge of the pan and continuing to the center. The arrangement of the apples should resemble a rose in full bloom.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 50 minutes (mine was done in about 40 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and apples are lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the springform pan.
- While cake is cooling, whisk together powdered sugar, cinnamon and water to create a thin glaze.
- Remove the sides of the springform pan and drizzle cake with glaze. Serve warm if desired.
If you’re interested in reading about our trip to Italy for our 30th wedding anniversary, I posted a trip report on Fodors.
More apple recipes you might like:
Baked Apple Cinnamon Sugar Donuts, Barbara Bakes
Cinnamon Apple Candy Cane Kolache with Cinnamon Drizzle, Barbara Bakes
Apple Pie Popovers, Doughmesstic
Loaded Apple Cider Oatmeal Muffins, How Sweet It Is
30 Apple Cider Recipes for Fall, Amanda’s Cookin’
Cooking With Chopin, Living With Elmo is hosting a World Tour Blog Hop October 29th through November 2nd featuring recipes from A Family Farm in Tuscany.
I made this cake over the weekend as I was looking for a nice dessert that was not overly rich and sweet. This certainly fit my requirements. It actually would make a great brunch cake. I wish more of the people who have made comments here were people who actually made the cake rather than comments about it looking good. Unfortunately I put a bit too much credence into the photos rather than taking the time to read the recipe directions. Since your photo shows the apples laid on their side, and not inserted vertically, core side in, that is what I did. But I had cut them into the stated 1/8″ thick slices so I ended up with way, way too many apples. I ended up trying to press them into the batter in the end because I knew there was no way the batter would come close to enveloping the apples. Your version may have worked better because you can see you used larger than 1/8″ slices. I also used a 9″ pan (I can’t imagine trying to jam all those apples into a smaller pan), but I ended up cooking mine for 55 minutes (my oven was even a bit hotter than 350). It was nearly impossible to check for doneness because you cannot get a toothpick through the apples. The cake was a bit overdone around the edges, but the center near the apples was a bit damp. I also had trouble with the glaze. The 1 T of water was not nearly enough for the 1 C of confectioners sugar, I ended up adding an additional 2 t to get the consistency. I also added a little extra cinnamon to the glaze (which resulted in a brown, rather than white, glaze). Without the glaze and cinnamon, I think this cake would be a bit too bland. If I was going to make it again I would try to incorporate some cinnamon and sugar into the recipe (probably toss the apples in some brown sugar and cinnamon).
Thanks Anne for the thorough review. It would be nice if more people left comments after making the recipe for sure. I think how big and how juicy your apples are makes the biggest difference in cook time.