Torta di Mele

September 25, 2011
6 Ratings
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

Torta di mele is a classic Italian homemade treat. As is so often true, recipes vary. Stefano's mom uses more flour and fewer apples, resulting in a delicate, springy cake. Our sister-in-law Valentina and her mom Marinella use less flour and more apples, which makes a more dense, almost pudding-like cake. Our recipe is somewhere in between.

Despite these variations, a few things are true of all authentic torta di mela recipes. While our apple crisps, pies and cobblers are heavily seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, no spices are used in the torta di mela. Only freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest give the cake a light, delicate taste, and not-too-much sugar lets the natural sweetness of the apples come through. —DueSpaghetti

What You'll Need
  • 3 1/2 apples, cored, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 pouch Lievito Pane degli Angeli, or substitute 1 tsp. baking powder
  • *Pane degli Angeli is an Italian leavening agent lightly sweetened with vanilla. It is a common ingredient in many Italian baked goods. If you decide to buy some, search Amazon or another online gourmet foods vendor for "Lievito Pane degli Angeli."
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Butter and flour a 9" or 10" round cake pan, preferably a springform pan. Set aside.
  3. Core, peel and thinly slice the apples, and place them into a bowl. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the apples. Stir and let rest.
  4. Beat the eggs and sugar with a mixer on high speed for 5 minutes, until the mixture is light and airy.
  5. Warm the butter until it is very soft but not melted and add it to the eggs and sugar, along with the milk and the zest of one lemon. Stir together.
  6. If you use Pane degli Angeli, pass it through a small strainer, such as a tea strainer, to eliminate any small clumps, and add it to the batter. If you use baking powder, add it now.
  7. Add the flour, and fold the dry ingredients gently into into the batter, taking care not to over-stir.
  8. Add the apples and mix carefully until coated.
  9. Pour the batter into your buttered and floured pan.
  10. Arrange slices of apple around the top surface of the cake, and bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If you wish, turn on the broiler for a few minutes at the end of cooking in order to give the top a golden brown color.
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature for dessert, with afternoon coffee, or even for breakfast.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Terry Moore
    Terry Moore
  • Tom Anthony
    Tom Anthony
  • Shiva Nayeri
    Shiva Nayeri
  • DueSpaghetti
  • BarnOwlBaker

24 Reviews

Terry M. October 29, 2020
I just made this - it looks great and smells better! Still cooling off. I have questions about the recipe though. Explain step 7. ‘Fold the dry ingredients’? I only had flour to go into the batter. What other dry ingredients? And step 10. Arrange apple slices on top. What apple slices? They’re already in the cake.
Terry M. October 29, 2020
I also used cake flour - perfect!
Terry M. October 29, 2020
Is the cake meant to be dense? I love the flavors, delicate and lightly sweetened.
pat October 27, 2020
I wish you would be more specific on the amount of apples. Preferably using pounds. Lots of leeway in 3.5 apples
Tom A. June 20, 2020
25 years ago I had the most amazing pear cake in this tiny guesthouse in Venice with most beautiful garden restaurant, locanda Montin. I remember distinctly they told me they used a vanilla baking powder. I’ve been trying to recreate it since but it never dawned on me to look for the baking powder. Low and behold I found some recently on Amazon. This recipe is the closest I’ve come and it all has to do with the magic ingredient. So I made this recipe with apple and again with pear and it was delicious. Only took me 25 years...
Joyce D. June 7, 2020
The cooking time and temperature were way too much for me. Also, if I were to make this recipe again, I would sift in the flour.
Gcorbo74 February 1, 2020
I made this cake and used two pans because I wanted a not too tall slice. I found it extremely good with texture and sweetness. I added an extra apple but still I would have preferred even more fruit in it. Will do it again for sure! Thank you
Shiva N. October 7, 2019
Made this cake and absolutely loved it.
It’s a firmer cake and smelled heavenly
of apples. Thank you for the recipe.
Ginevra March 8, 2019
Hello! It's not clear to me - should the lemon juice be added along with the apples or does that get left behind?
Thanks so much for your advice in advance! xx
Cara Q. March 10, 2019
Hello Ginevra. Yes, you can add the juice along with the lemons. Thanks for clarifying!
LULULAND December 10, 2018
I just made this. Stuck to the recipe. The apple flavor shown through without spices or salt in the recipe. Love it, thank you for a wonderful Italian recipe!
DueSpaghetti December 10, 2018
So glad! Thank you!
DueSpaghetti September 2, 2017
BarnOwlBaker September 1, 2017
Thanks so much for your quick reply! I just reviewed the recipe, and there is one more thing to update - step 6. "If you use baking soda, add it now."
I'm looking forward to making with fresh fall apples.
DueSpaghetti September 1, 2017
Baking powder. And, just stir eggs, milk, butter and lemon zest together. The recipe has been updated.
BarnOwlBaker August 30, 2017
I have a question about step 5 on the recipe "Torta di Mele" from DueSpaghetti. It says: "Warm the butter until it is very soft but not melted and add it to the eggs and sugar, along with the milk and the zest of one lemon. Fold in the butter and lemon zest."
Please clarify, do you add the butter to the eggs and sugar, or fold it in after?? It would be helpful if this could be reworded in the recipe.
One other question - in the ingredient list - "1 pouch Pane degli Angeli, or substitute 1 tsp. baking soda", is also confusing. I looked this up on the web and it is actually baking powder, not baking soda. Could someone please clarify as I'd really like to make this lovely torts but don't quite know what to do! Thank you very much.
lara September 30, 2015
Do you just reserve some apples from the sliced ones you have set aside to add to the top? thanks looks amazing can't wait to make it I'll let you know how mine goes
DueSpaghetti September 30, 2015
Yes! Just save a few apple slices and arrange them around the top. Good luck! We'd love to hear how it goes.
DueSpaghetti September 29, 2011
Thanks! I welcome feedback on how it turns out, or on what can be made clearer in the recipe.
luvcookbooks September 28, 2011
Beautiful and new to me, thanks!
TheWimpyVegetarian September 26, 2011
I really love how this looks from the gorgeous photo to the recipe!! I can't wait to make it!!
DueSpaghetti September 26, 2011
Thank you both. It is a nice change from the usual fall apple crisp and apple pie. I hope you enjoy it!
aargersi September 26, 2011
This is gorgeous - will certainly be trying it soon
Midge September 26, 2011
What an elegant cake. Can't wait to try it.