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Torta di Mele is a sweet and delicious Italian apple cake that looks very fancy but is quite easy to prepare!

Torta di Mele (Apple Cake)

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!


Torta di Mele (Apple Cake)

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.

Torta di Mele (Apple Cake)


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!

Torta di Mele (Apple Cake)

We sprinkled confectioner’s sugar on top of our Torta di Mele just before serving. Enjoy!

You may like these other apple desserts:

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Torta di Mele (Apple Cake)

Torta di Mele

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: desserts
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: Italian


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.

Keywords: apples


Torta di Mele (Apple Cake)

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  • Hope Urban wrote:

    I really liked this recipe! It wasn’t too sweet but it tasted authentic to me!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Hope!

  • Julie wrote:

    So I did bake the Torta last weekend – deep dish didn’t really mean anything to me, sorry about that! – and basically doubled the ingredients. I had about 750g (1.5 US pounds I think?) of apples after peeling and coring and 1/2cup lemon juice, twice the eggs, butter, flour, sugar etc… added some cinnamon and used sour cream instead of heavy cream, but only because I read that wrong, baked for 55min and did not flip before serving. I likely created a whole new recipe in the process, but I must thank you for the inspiration because the result was incredible! A flavorful, slightly spongy apple cake with a consistency akin to pancakes – or at least how we eat pancakes here. Very well received by anyone and likely to be made again! 🙂

    • Martha wrote:

      Sounds like a great adaptation Julie! 🙂

  • Julie wrote:

    I’m thinking of making this this weekend since we have three Golden Deli trees in the garden and are positively drowning in apples this year – there’s only so much apple sauce to be preserved for the winter.
    The recipe and photos seem like it would make a rather flat tarte, so unless I’m mistaken there, would you say that doubling the amount to get a bit more of an actual ‘cake height’ could work or does the structural integrity of the dough not allow for larger slices? Thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Julie – As written, the depth is similar to a deep dish pie plate – so maybe 2-to 3-inches tall? We’ve only made it as written so I’m not sure how it would come out by doubling the height (I’m sure you’ll need to bake it for longer). If you try it, please let us know how it comes out!

  • Linda R wrote:

    Hi Martha
    I have had apple cake on my mind for the last month. This recipe sounds like the perfect one for us. I always use Golden Delicious when making an apple pie, they hold up well in baking. I also have a binder full of recipes and look through it occasionly, discarding recipes that no longer appeal to me. Happy you came across this in your binder!!!


    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Linda – Hope you enjoy the cake! I often forget about Golden Delicious for baking in favor of other varieties – but you’re right – they do hold up well in baking! Have a nice evening, Martha

  • Mary beth Barlow wrote:

    Just wanted to let you know how much I love you recipes, really looking forward to making this simple apple cake which happens to be fairly low sugar, which is right up my alley!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much Mary Beth! We hope you love the cake!

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