Apple Cake

Apple Cake

There is a cake that almost every mother and grandmother in Italy makes and it's one of the simplest cakes of all – Torta di Mele. It is to the Italians what Victoria sponge is to the English: the epitome of comforting, nostalgic home baking. Often eaten for breakfast with a strong coffee, choose whichever apple is your favourite and keep the skin on.
Total Time
1 Hour 30 Minutes
170g of butter, at room temperature, plus extra, for greasing
5 eating (dessert) apples
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
220g of sugar, plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling
1 tsp of vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
3 eggs
100ml of yoghurt
30ml of light olive or seed oil
1 tbsp of baking powder
250g of 00 or plain (all-purpose) flour
Icing (confectioner’s) sugar, for dusting
Step 1

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Grease a 23cm (9in) cake tin with butter and line with baking parchment. Core 3.5 of the apples and cut them into small chunks.

Step 2

Slice the remaining apple into crescent-shaped wedges to decorate the top of the cake. Squeeze the lemon juice over the apples to stop them from going brown.

Step 3

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with the sugar, lemon zest, vanilla extract and salt until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions until smooth. Beat in the yoghurt and the oil, then fold in the baking powder and the flour and finally the chopped apples. Mix together until you have a nice smooth batter.

Step 4

Pour into the prepared tin, decorate with the apple slices and sprinkle over the extra sugar.

Step 5

Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes until risen and golden then insert a skewer or spaghetti strand to check it’s done. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack.

Step 6

Dust with icing sugar and serve warm or cool.

La Vita è Dolce by Letitia Clark (Hardie Grant, £26) Photography ©Charlotte Bland

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