Torta di Mele is a sweet and delicious Italian apple cake that looks very fancy but is quite easy to prepare!
For years – long before we started A Family Feast, and before pinning recipe ideas to Pinterest existed – I often clipped recipes from newspapers and magazines. Or, sometimes I printed off copies of recipes I found online. I’d save the copies in a binder that I still have to this day.
Every once in a while, I browse through that old recipe binder – and that’s where I found today’s Torta di Mele. The original recipe was printed in The Boston Globe as part of a series of ‘cooking lessons from Rome’ by local cookbook author Judith Barrett, who submitted recipes to the newspaper for several years inspired by her travel to Italy.
So, with apple season in full swing, what better time than now to share this delicious Torta di Mele with all of you!
According to the Boston Globe article, the word “torta” is a multipurpose label in Italian for a variety of baked desserts including pies, tarts, cakes and other pastries. The word “mele” is Italian for apple.
How do you make Torta di Mele?
A Torta di Mele can take many forms, and this particular version is based on a dessert served at a restaurant called Zaraza, located in Frascati – a wine producing town in the hills about an hour from Rome.
In this particular Torta di Mele recipe, thin slices of golden delicious apples are stirred into a simple, sweet, buttery cake batter. Then the mixture is poured into a deep dish pie plate or cake pan. You’ll also want to use a wooden spoon to work the batter in between the apple slices.
As this easy apple cake bakes, the apple slices soften to almost a custard consistency and each fork or spoonful is absolutely heavenly!
We sprinkled confectioner’s sugar on top of our Torta di Mele just before serving. Enjoy!
You may like these other apple desserts:
- Apple Cider Poke Pound Cake
- Apple Streusel Bread
- Sweet Potato and Apple Cake
- Fresh Apple Torte
- Apple Topped Cake
Butter, to grease baking dish
Granulated sugar, to coat baking dish
3 large golden delicious apples, about 1 to 1 ½ pounds
Juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons butter
2 extra-large or 3 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons heavy cream
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Confectioners sugar, to sprinkle on top after baking
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a glass or ceramic 9” round deep dish pie plate, or use a 9” cake pan. Sprinkle in enough granulated sugar to stick to the butter and coat the dish. Set aside.
Peel and core the apples and slice in half from top to bottom. Lay each half, cut side down on a cutting board and cut into thin slices. Place in a medium bowl and squeeze on lemon juice with each addition of apple slices. Repeat for remaining two apples and set bowl aside.
In a small sauce pan, melt butter and cool.
Beat the eggs and cream in a small bowl and slowly add the melted butter while whisking. Set aside.
In a large bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar together then with a wooden spoon, add in the butter, egg and cream mixture and stir. Mixture will be thick.
Pour in the apple slices and gently work the batter into the apples with a wooden spoon. Mixture will be very thick.
Use a rubber spatula and scrape into the prepared dish or pan, smoothing out the mixture to a flat smooth surface.
Bake 30 minutes and test with a toothpick poked into the center*. If the toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven as long as the torta is nicely browned. If not, continue baking for another five minutes or so until golden brown and the filling is cooked through. (Avoid overbaking.)
*Note, the typical toothpick test is not always conclusive because apples are wet, so even though the toothpick comes out wet, it doesn’t mean the cake is not cooked through. Also look at the liquid batter in the center to see that it is cooked.
Cool on a rack for five minutes and use a knife to separate the sides if they haven’t already pulled away. Invert a serving platter over the top and using both hands to grip the hot dish and the platter, flip over so the bottom is now the top. Gently pull off the baking dish.
Serve warm or cooled. Just before serving, sprinkle on powdered sugar by placing a few spoonfuls in a small sieve and tapping the sieve with a spoon while moving around the top.