Torta di Mele (Apple Cake)

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As every year, for my birthday I baked to treat my colleagues. This year I made a pound cake, almond cookies stuffed with amarena cherries, and an Italian apple cake. Other than Dutch appeltaart (the same as American apple pie), Italian torta di mele is made with a batter similar to pound cake rather than shortcrust pastry. The difference is mostly in using more eggs, but the effect is a totally different, ligther, cake. There are countless versions of torta di mele, as each mamma or nonna has her own version. This version is based upon what Marina of lericettedibaccos refers to as ‘the best’ version. It was excellent indeed. Here’s what I did…

Ingredients

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For a 24 cm (9″) cake

4 apples (I used tart apples, goudreinetten)

250 grams (1 2/3 cups) pastry flour

2 eggs

150 grams (3/4 cup) cane sugar + 2 tablespoons

125 grams (9 Tbsp) butter

1 Tbsp baking powder (Italians use lievito per dolci, baking powder enriched with vanillin; if you use ordinary baking powder you could add 1 tsp of vanilla extract)

pinch of salt

1 untreated lemon

40 grams (4 Tbsp) raisins

20 grams (2 Tbsp) pine nuts

10 grams (1 1/2 Tbsp) slivered almonds

ground cinnamon

butter and flour for preparing the pan

Preparation

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Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF (fan forced).

Zest the lemon.

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Melt the butter over medium low heat and allot it to cool somewhat.

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Peel and core the apples. Cut approximately two of the apples into slices (about 16 slices per apple) so you’ll have enough apple slices to cover the top of the cake. Cut the remaining apples into chunks.

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Squeeze lemon juice on the apples to prevent them from discoloring.

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Combine the eggs with 150 grams sugar in the bowl of a mixer and mix on high speed for a couple of minutes.

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Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt, and add it to the eggs. Add the grated lemon zest as well.

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Add the melted butter as well, keeping about 2 Tbsp behind.

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Mix until the mixture is homogeneous.

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Add the pine nuts…

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…and the raisins…

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…and the apple chunks…

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…and mix with a spatula to incorporate.

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Butter a 24 cm (9″) springform pan. Put about 2 Tbsp of flour in the pan and shake and tilt it to cover all the butter with flour, then shake out any excess flour.

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Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and flatten the top with a spatula.

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Cover with the apple slices.

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Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of cane sugar as well as ground cinnamon.

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Sprinkle the slivered almonds on top.

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Pour the reserved 2 Tbsp of melted butter on top.

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Bake the apple cake for about 55 minutes at 180ºC/350ºF, or until a tester comes out clean.

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Allow to cool to room temperature in the pan.

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The cake is ready to serve once it is at room temperature, but it is also great the next day.

Wine pairing

Because of the addition of lemon zest and lemon juice this cake is quite fresh in taste, so it works best with a Moscato d’Asti.

Flashback

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The criteria for great deep fried chicken are easy: the crust should be crispy and light, the chicken should be tender and succulent. This post explains a few simple tricks it is possible to achieve this every time.

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11 thoughts on “Torta di Mele (Apple Cake)

  1. That’s a great looking cake, Stefan. What do you serve it with in The Netherlands? Cream, custard or ice cream? I’m a sucker for custard, I would eat it for breakfast if I could find an excuse.

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    • Hi David, although this is an Italian apple cake, we do in fact bake similar cakes here. They are usually served “as is”. When apple pie (the type with shortcrust pastry) is served for dessert, it is sometimes accompanied by cinnamon ice cream. In fact, that was a popular dessert in restaurants in the 90ies. I can see why you like custard. This reminds me to do a post on custard with Dutch amaretti, which used to be my favorite dessert.

      Like

  2. I think I’m in love with this cake!! It reminds a bit of something I used to enjoy when we lived in Malta…. but minus the apples. Pinning this immediately !!

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  3. I made this for my boyfriend’s work. His coworkers absolutely loved it and so did I! It tastes so special, not like a regular cake or something. Thanks for this great recipe, it tastes like I bought it in a delicacy store or at a bakery.

    Liked by 1 person

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