Marcella was everything I'd dreamed about before I first landed in Italy. The only female instructor in a school full of loud and macho Italian chefs, she stood out through her patience and quiet passion for her food. In her class, we cooked our way through various parts of Europe, each recipe slyly teaching us a new technique. When we reached Belgium, we made this cake: a soft and moist sponge covered with a sweet glaze that crisped ever so slightly at the edges. My mouth was watering the instant we pulled it out of the oven and released it from its springform cage. Marcella served us each a small slice, and while the other girls picked at their plate, I requested a second, then third piece entirely without shame. She smiled at me, and when we left to leave, she quietly handed me the wrapped leftovers. I've made this cake dozens of times since then, sometimes substituting pears or peaches, and each time I find myself going back for a second or third slice. —Alejandra_
For the cake
Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9" springform pan by buttering and lining the bottom with a round for parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract until well combined.
Gently pour the flour mixture into the batter and mix well until combined.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and arrange the apples on top in concentric circles. Bake for 20 minutes in your 350 degree oven until the batter has just about set.
While the cake is baking, combine the egg, butter, and sugar for the glaze and pour over the cake after the first 20 minutes. Return to the oven for an additional 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan before releasing the sides.