It’s not autumn if I don’t bake a Torta di Mele, an Italian apple cake. When we go apple-picking at a nearby farm here in New Jersey in October, I have an abundance of apples. So this cake is the first thing I think of baking. Truth is, even if it’s not autumn, I bake this easy Torta De Mele all year round. This was inspired by a recipe guest blog post from my friend Chef Dennis Littley a few years ago. Since he shared that recipe with me I have baked this a hundred times over.
What makes this recipe doable is that apples are available year round and you can bake this anywhere in the world. The best part is that Filipinos do not need convincing. Filipinos love Italian food any day. Not only do we share the same passion for family, food and life, we enjoy the same flavors.
When Chef Dennis shared this recipe a while back, he reminisced these lovely thoughts:
“This was a recipe taught to me by Mama Jeanette many years ago. It is one of my favorite desserts and one of the most reliable recipes I have. No matter whom I share the recipe with; the results are always the same – delicious!”
Like many recipes I have baked and shared on this blog, Chef Dennis said “This was an Italian apple cake recipe that had been passed on for generations.”
On one of my regular trips back to Manila a few years ago, I baked this Torta De Mele Italian Apple Cake for my cousins when I stayed at their home. My family loved it and told me they have baked it again and again, too.
Just like Chef Dennis said, this apple cake is proof that family memories and good times plus a treasured recipe are precious.
I’ve baked this cake, Torta di Mele numerous times since Chef Dennis gave me the recipe. The cake is so marvelous, that the minute it comes out of the oven, my family just finishes it all up – not one buttery morsel is left to photograph. But all Filipino meals end with good dessert and this cake is now a mainstay at our table.
Torta di Mele - Italian Apple Cake
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3 large peeled, cored, sliced apples (any variety)
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 whole + 1 egg yolk eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 Tablespoon to sprinkle on cake confectioners' sugar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, grease a 9” round cake pan or a rectangular 9 x 11-inch pan with baking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large frying pan over low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter, reserve 6 tablespoons for later. Add the apple slices and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl mix together flour, salt and baking powder. In a large bowl, beat the whole eggs and egg yolks until blended. Add the butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest. Stir in flour and apples. Spoon into prepared pan, smoothing the top.
- Bake until cake is browned, 30-35 minutes or test for doneness. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Invert cake onto plate to remove the pan and then invert again and return to rack to cool completely.
- Before serving sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. This cake goes great with fresh whipped cream, or even a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- COOK'S COMMENTS: Other serving suggestions -- instead of confectioners' sugar, brush the top with honey while still warm. Or else swirl some dulce de leche all around the top.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more classic recipes inspired by my late mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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