One of the very best things about fall is the glut of apples. I fall for the same trap as everyone else: buying waaaaaay too many apples. Aside from eating them raw and making applesauce and baking pies, this is one of my favorite applications for apples.
It’s an old family recipe. My grandmother in Italy got it from a neighbor, or possibly a family friend. It’s origins are unclear. In the Italian half of the family often serves this as a “diet”-esque dessert with no sugar and little fat. I, instead, did the opposite. I added salt and some freshly grated nutmeg which brought the cake to the top of the list. I have made it 3 times in one month!
I strongly recommend a crisp apple that cooks down well. You want soft pockets of spiced apple and warm cake in between. Also, don’t crowd the apple too densely in the center of the cake. While it looks pretty, the center of the cake won’t cook because there will be too much moisture.
Don’t wait any longer than you have to. Go buy some apples and make this cake! It’s a great breakfast cake, mid-afternoon cake, with-tea cake, after-dinner cake, I-want-cake cake. Fall in a cake. Perfection.
Torta di mele (Apple cake in Italian0
Adapted from an old yellow note card in my Mom’s cookbook
4 eggs, separated
300 g brown sugar
14 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
300 g flour
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3-4 apples, peeled and cut into wedges
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whip egg whites until it forms stiff peaks. Beat yolks with brown sugar in a separate bowl. Allow melted butter to cool slightly, then add to yolk mixture. Mix in flour, baking powder, and nutmeg until uniform. The batter will be dense, almost like cookie batter and you will be very concerned.
Fold egg whites into batter until the batter reaches a much more cake batter-like consistency. Pour batter into a greased 9 inch spring form pan. Stick the apple slices into the batter in a apple mosaic of sorts.
Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. The cake is excellent the first day and just as good everyday for a week afterward. You can top with turbinado sugar for a little extra prettiness.