Italian Apple Cake – Torta Soffice Di Mele Recipe

A dense, poundcake-like texture … lemon zest flavors the cake while golden delicious apples sink into the top to add a bit of depth and texture. This is the ‘Torta Soffice Di Mele” or Light Apple Cake which I found in one of my favorite cookbooks, Tuscany the Beautiful Cookbook – Authentic Recipes From the Provinces of Tuscany.

I have several cookbooks from this series (Thailand, China, etc.) — the book is over 200 pages in a large-size format, with beautiful color photos and lots of cultural information on each of the regions covered. It’s a cookbook to read and review, even when you’re not looking to cook — but don’t be fooled, each book is packed with tons of great recipes local to the region. But I’m getting off-topic and starting to ramble, this recipe comes from page 246 of the Tuscany book (paperback edition).

Here’s the deal — my brother and 2 nieces were coming over last night for dinner, as they have other plans for Easter day. I decided to make an Italian meal featuring pasta alla vodka, courgettes with mushrooms, and tarragon chicken with sausages. For dessert, I wanted to try something new, so I flipped through my book until I landed upon this cake. The picture portrays a very rustic looking cake that instantly appealed to me, and the recipe couldn’t be any easier.

Torta Soffice Di Mele

2 1/2 cups flour
2/3 sugar
3 eggs
2/3 melted, unsalted butter
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1/3 cup milk
3 apples (golden delicious or granny smith work well)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except the apples. Mix until smooth batter is formed.

Butter and flour a 9″ springform pan. Pour in the batter. Peal and core apples, then slice thinly and arrange in a circle pattern on top of batter. Apples may sink slightly into the batter.

Bake the cake until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove rom oven and let cake cool slightly on wire rack. Remove the pan sides and slip the cake onto a serving plate. Serve at room temperature.

The cake texture is heavy like a pound cake, which I like a lot. I enjoy any food that sticks to your ribs :-) The apples lend a nice bit of texture to the cake and pair nicely with the freshness of the lemony cake.

The only drawback for me was the lack of cinnamon. I grew up always having cinnamon with apples, whether it was a cake or pie. So, when I have apples in a dessert I have a craving for cinnamon … and I did miss not having cinnamon in this cake. I have a rule that you always make a recipe as it’s written, then on the 2nd time making it you are allowed to make substitutions and adjustments for your personal tastes. Next time I might toss the apples slightly in a mixture of cinnamon sugar before placing onto the cake.

Oh, and the cake is good for breakfast too :)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Pausan April 8, 2007, 10:04 am

    Waiting for the recipe… it looks great!!!!!!!!!
    Greetings from spain!

  • Allen of EOL April 8, 2007, 1:17 pm

    Hello, Pausan from Spain! I’ve updated my post with the recipe and details. Thanks for visiting my blog and hope you enjoy making the cake. If you make it, let me know how it turns out.

  • Clare April 9, 2007, 11:52 am

    This looks decadently heavy and rich and I need some now!

  • Chris April 10, 2007, 8:23 pm

    yum! My mom made something similar to this to this when I was growing up. I will have to try this one!

  • Miranda Hagan June 17, 2009, 5:30 am

    This is beautiful. I make apple pie a lot, but I have never atttempted a tart yet. This is beautiful. Love your site. Good Cooking!

  • holley humphrey October 10, 2009, 11:08 pm

    Hello Allen,
    I lived in Baccano di Arcola in Italy (near Lerici and Sarzana) for three years. My green grocer invited me to her house and “showed” me how to bake this awesome cake. Of course it was a handful of this and a pinch of that. I actually was able to make it for a while. I bought the extra large round pan for it. Might still have it too. Now I have an orchard full of apples in Southern Oregon and my mind drifted back to his amazing cake. I am so excite to try your receipe. Grazie Mille!

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