Italian Apple Cake

Adapted from a GialloZafferano recipe.

This apple cake recipe is not only delicious but makes a beautiful presentation. Use sweet apples like golden delicious grown near the Dolomites, or the heirloom apples grown on Mt. Etna.


  • 4 1/2 oz. (125 grams) butter
  • 1 TB butter for greasing pan
  • ¾ cup (125 grams) sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 ¾ cup (250 grams) flour
  • 1 heaping TB baking powder (16 grams)
  • 2/3 cup (125 ml) milk
  • Grated rind of 2 organic lemons
  • 1 ½ lb. (700 grams) apples (Golden Delicious)
  • 1 ½ TB sugar
  • Confectioners sugar


Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C) and thoroughly butter and flour a 10” (25 cm) springform pan. Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until soft, then beat in the sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and salt. Add the flour gradually, alternating with the milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in the lemon rind. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth it with a spatula so it is even.

Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Slice each quarter into 3-4 pieces, about ¼ inch wide. Place the slices core side down on the batter, like rays of the sun. Start from the outside making one circle, then make a smaller inner circle of apple slices. The apples should be quite close together so that you barely see the batter. If you have any apple slices left over, eat them. Sprinkle the surface of the apple cake with the 1 ½ TB of granulated sugar.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Place on a rack, remove the springform side, and allow to cool. Sieve powdered sugar over the apple cake before serving. Serves 8-10.

If there is any torta di mele left over, it makes for a delicious Italian breakfast, and gives you the energy you need to hike the Dolomites or scale Mt. Etna.

Buon appetito!