Rustic and delicious Italian apple cake (torta di mele) is a simple apple cake recipe that anyone can make and is perfect to make with fresh apples. If you are looking for an easy cake to make during apple season, this recipe is for you because it is not fussy and perfect for beginners or advanced bakers.
Rustic Italian Apple Cake
Grandmothers all over Italy make this Italian cake with apples (torta di mele) when apples are in season. They will serve it with afternoon coffee or for breakfast.
This recipe is from my Italian friend in Boston who would make this for me whenever we got together. She was gracious enough to share it with me and now I am sharing it with you!
Like most Italian cake recipes, this rustic apple cake is not going to be overly sweet. Italians like sweet desserts but their cakes tend to not be that way.
It is also very easy to make. Just simple ingredients and mixing them all together in a bowl before a quick bake.
After baking, if you prefer a sweeter dessert, you can add sweetened whipped cream, extra powdered sugar, or even my condensed milk sauce which is really decadent and addictive.
All Easy Ingredients
This apple cake uses simple baking ingredients. Here is what you will need,
- Apples. I like using golden delicious apples. You can also use honey crisp apples, pink lady apples, or any firm apple that stands up to baking. The apples are cut into large pieces. No need to slice apples for this easy recipe. Rustic is perfect here!
- Butter. I use unsalted butter.
- Sugar. Regular granulated sugar is perfect here.
- All-purpose flour. Your favorite brand.
- Eggs. Large eggs for this recipe.
- Lemon. This is the juice of the lemon but you can also add some lemon zest.
- Baking powder
- Kosher salt
- Powdered Sugar. I like to sprinkle some powdered sugar onto the cake before serving.
I would bet that you probably already have almost all of these ingredients in your pantry. The only ingredient you may need to buy at the store is apples.
How to make This Rustic Italian Apple Cake (step-by-step photos)
- Whip eggs and sugar until thick and pale in color. Whipping the eggs with the sugar helps lighten the cake. You could make this all in one bowl if you were in a rush but this step really makes a better apple cake in my opinion.
- Add your flour to the egg mixture and mix well. You only need to gently fold the flour into the egg mixture until you do not see any more lumps.
- The apple cake batter will be thick. This is normal! It will bake up beautifully in the oven.
- Fold your diced apples into the cake batter. This is the last step before you bake the apple cake. You just fold the apple pieces into the batter until it is evenly incorporated.
- Pour batter into your prepared cake pan. Since the apple cake batter is thick, you want to use a spatula to help the batter to the edges of the pan so it bakes evenly.
This easy rustic apple cake recipe is really all about assembling ingredients which is my kind of baking! It's quick, easy, and not fussy at all.
I like to make this Italian apple cake early in the day and have it for dessert on the day I make it and then for breakfast the next day. I usually will make it on a Saturday so I have that special breakfast on Sunday.
Additions and substitutions
Because this Italian apple cake is not overly sweet on its own, I like to serve homemade whipped cream with it when I have this for dessert. I will also serve this apple cake as is (plain) for breakfast. What is not to like about a cake that can be eaten for dessert and breakfast!
For extra texture and flavor, you can also add walnuts or pecans to the batter before baking. It will add a bit of crunch to each bite. I love doing this with my banana coffee cake.
This Italian apple cake has a nice texture from the apple pieces already, but a little crunch is always nice. If you decide to add some, you only need about a cup of coarsely chopped nuts to mix into the batter.
When baking from scratch like with my Basil Cake or Moist Chocolate Cake and this Italian apple cake, all of your ingredients are fresh and there are no preservatives. Because of this, when storing this Italian apple cake, it will last for up to 2 full days under a cake dome on the counter or in an air-tight container. If I make a cake with frosting like my vanilla almond cake or Italian Berry Cake, I do like to store those in the fridge right away.
How To Serve
We love serving this apple cake with a nice beverage to complete the meal. When we want something non-alcoholic, our mulled apple cider or our non-alcoholic eggnog does the trick. We even add a little more spice with ice cream!
I love using golden delicious apples when baking this Italian apple cake. You can also use granny smith apples or honey crisp apples.
All of these hold their shape really well in baking
I would peel apples that go into this cake or any cake for that matter. If you do not, you might end up with apple skins that separate from the apples during baking.
More Apple Recipes
If you love this Italian apple cake recipe, you may also like these:
More Italian Desserts
Rustic Italian Apple Cake
- 2 ¾ cup All purpose flour plus a little extra for your cake pan
- ¾ cup sugar plus 2 tablespoon of sugar for your apples
- 8 tablespoon room temperature unsalted butter plus a little extra for your cake pan
- 3 large eggs at room temperature if possible
- 2 golden delicious apples peeled, cored and diced granny smith will also work well
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3.5 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
Prepare you cake pan
- Grab a 9 inch round cake pan
- Rub a tablespoon of butter all around the inside of your cake pan making sure to get the sides too.
- Now add about a tablespoon of flour to your cake pan and shake the flour all around the pan so the flour sticks to the butter. Once the flour has coated all the butter in your cake pan, turn it upside down over the sink and shake out any excess flour then set your pan aside. This will help your cake release from the pan after baking.
Preparing the cake
- Grab your apples and peel the skins off with a peeler. If you do not have a peeler you can go ahead and leave the skins on.2 golden delicious apples peeled, cored and diced
- Starting about ½ inch from the center of your apple, begin slicing all the apple around the apple core until you have four large wedges of apple. Discard the core. You can also use an apple corer if you have one to do this part.
- Dice the apple pieces that you cut off from the core.
- Add your diced apples to a small bowl along with your lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of sugar.1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Mix and set aside.
- In another large bowl, add your eggs and sugar and beat on medium speed until it becomes a pale yellow color and the texture is smooth.3 large eggs, ¾ cup sugar
- Now add your room temperature butter and whip that into the egg mixture until smooth.8 tablespoon room temperature unsalted butter
- In a new large bowl, sift your flour, baking powder and salt.2 ¾ cup All purpose flour, 3.5 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Add your sifted flour mixture into your egg and butter bowl and stir it in making sure it is mixed well. The batter will be very thick.
- Now grab your bowl of diced apples and pour that into your cake batter.
- Fold the apples into the batter making sure it is evenly distributed throughout the batter.
- Now add your apple cake batter to your prepared cake pan.
- You will need to push the batter to the sides of the pan since it is very thick.
- Try to smooth out any bumps on top.
- Place your cake into the pre-heated oven and bake for 25-35 minutes or until the top is nice and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. All ovens vary so start checking your cake at 25 minutes.
- When it is ready, remove it from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, flip your cake upside down on to your cooling rack. It should release from the pan. If it does not, while it is upside down, give it a nice bang on the bottom of the pan to help release it.
- Once flipped out, flip your cake right side up carefully and let cool for another 20 minutes.
- Serve immediately or store in an air tight container for up to 2 days.
- Optional: Top with powdered sugar or for a more decadent dessert, try my vanilla sauce for bread pudding.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here
Tried the Recipe? We Would Love To Hear From You In The Comments Below!