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Italian Apple Cake (Torta di Mele)

September 21, 2010

By Kath Dedon


Torta di Mele is my latest favorite way to use our Gala apples! It’s an Italian apple cake that is very easy to make and it’s an impressive dessert for fall entertaining. It is so simple, and yet there’s a certain elegance to it. Must be because it’s Italian!

I found the recipe on Chef Dennis Littley’s blog, More Than A Mount Full. Chef Dennis serves his recipes with delightful stories that I enjoy reading. I’ve bookmarked many of his recipes; this is the first one I have tried and it’s a “keeper”!

Chef  Dennis uses granulated sugar for the cake. I replaced it with maple sugar which worked really well. (Long story made short: most sweeteners make Bob’s knees ache. He’s fine with honey and maple. Go figure.) Just use regular sugar if you want. It will be fantastic either way.

I used my food processor to make the apple slices extra thin, but you can certainly cut them by hand.

This Torta di Mele is going in my “A+ Favorite Recipes” category; I know it won’t be long until I make it again.

Thanks, Chef Dennis!



Torta di Mele (Italian Apple Cake)

(Adapted from Chef Dennis Littley’s recipe on


(print the recipe)


Gala apples from our tree


Serves 8 – 10


½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan

3 medium apples

2/3 cup (80 g) flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup granulated sugar (or maple sugar)

½ teaspoon lemon zest

Powdered sugar for dusting


1. Preheat the oven to 375˚ and butter a 9” round cake pan.

2. Peel, core, and slice the apples into thin slices, by hand or with a food processor.




3. Melt 6 tablespoons (3/4 of the stick) of butter in a large skillet. Pour into a glass measuring cup and set aside. (Or just melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and set aside.)

4. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet.

5. Add the apple slices to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft. This takes about 10 minutes.



6. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

7. Beat the eggs and egg yolk well in a large bowl.

8. Add the sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and 6 tablespoons melted butter and mix well.

9. Stir in the flour mixture.

10. If your apples seem a little watery (as mine did), put them in a strainer and then stir them into the cake batter.

11. Spoon the cake batter into the buttered cake pan and smooth the top.

12. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until it is browned.

13. Put the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

14. After 5 minutes, put a second wire rake on top of the cake and invert it so the cake is on the wire rack. Leave the cake on the wire rack until it is completely cooled.

15. Just before serving, dust the cake with powdered sugar. (You could make it extra fancy if you put a stencil on top and then dusted it with the powdered sugar!)


19 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    September 21, 2010 9:50 am

    Oooh–I was thinking about holding an Apple-themed dinner party…this might be a contender!

    Would a springform pan work?

    • September 21, 2010 10:00 am

      I think it would leak in a springform pan. It’s a pretty “liquidy” batter.

      • Laura permalink
        September 27, 2010 7:30 am

        It turned out great! It kind of fell apart when I tried to flip it (I think either I didn’t butter the pan well enough, or didn’t bake it for QUITE long enough), so not too pretty, but still delicious. We didn’t have any lemons, so I sauteed the apples in a bit of cinnamon before throwing them in the batter.

        Eating it with yogurt for breakfast right now–yum!

  2. September 21, 2010 10:38 am

    Brilliant to put the apples through the food processor. the first thing I thought when I saw the cake is that it would take SO long to cut the apples! Now it seems a lot less cumbersome to get a delicious cake.

    ps isn’t chef dennis the best?!

    • September 21, 2010 2:49 pm

      I love using the food processor for slicing apples, Roxan. It’s so fast and you can get really thin slices.

      I do really enjoy Chef Dennis’ blog!

  3. September 21, 2010 11:04 am

    wow….I didn’t think anyone even knew I had a blog that far back!! It is a wonderful cake, and it looks like you did a great job with it!! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe, and for the mention!

  4. September 21, 2010 11:38 am

    That looks great.

  5. September 25, 2010 7:59 am

    Thanks to you and Chef Dennis for this recipe, I just bought maple sugar and I’m dying to try it! I will bookmark the recipe and it will be my first apple cake of the season, thanks:)

  6. September 26, 2010 9:47 am

    That cake looks fantastic! We’ve got apples coming in our CSA almost every week now, and this will definitely make good use of them!

  7. September 26, 2010 2:07 pm

    This looks just lovely! And it must be so wonderful to use your own apples! Chef Dennis never fails me…and it looks like this was another winner. I love apple desserts…and I’m so happy that fall is finally upon us! Thank you for sharing this.

    • September 28, 2010 5:35 am

      It is especially to use our own apples, Monet! This is another great recipe from Chef Dennis!

  8. September 26, 2010 7:33 pm

    This looks so delicious! We’re blessed with great apples these days and the hubster is a huge fan of apples so I will definitely be turning to this recipe for his birthday or as a special treat (or when I need to convince him that I really do need another pair of shoes) 🙂

    • September 28, 2010 5:37 am

      This cake is so full of apples – your husband should really enjoy it!

  9. September 28, 2010 5:31 am

    @Laura – Mmmm….with yogurt for breakfast. Yum! Glad you liked it!

  10. Lucretia permalink
    September 17, 2011 11:18 am

    thank you for the recipe. happened across your blog on wednesday and have already made the ginger scallion noodles and this cake. yum to both. I am making the apple cake again today but playing with it. going to add spiced rum to one batch (cook with apples) and cinnamon and brown sugar to the other. cant wait to try more of your recipes 🙂

    • September 17, 2011 11:31 am

      Thank you so much for your comment! 🙂 Your cake variations sound fantastic….I’d love it if you let me know how they turn out.

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