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 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 :)