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Monday, August 27, 2012

Tuscan Apple Cake - Torta di Mele

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Fortunately, those of us who love Italian cooking are just a book, or flick of the dial, away from the recipes of Giada De Laurentis, Lidia Bastianich and Mary Ann Esposito. I can't devote a lot of time to television, so when I watch, I tend to favor the more straightforward approach of the cooking shows on PBS. Mary Ann Esposito is the host of Ciao Italia on PBS and her show is the longest-running cooking program in America. I love her recipes and the torta I'm featuring today is just one of several apple cakes that she has featured on her programs. Her recipes are easy to follow and, more importantly, they work. I must jump in here to tell you that the problems I'm about to relate are completely unrelated to Mary Ann's recipe. Murphy decided to camp in my kitchen for the day and, as a result, anything that could go wrong did. My first cake, and, yes there was more than one, refused to come out of the tube pan I thought I had generously greased. It would not budge, even when I threatened it with language that had all the lovely women of my childhood rolling in their graves. Once I admitted defeat and decided to move on, I switched to a springform pan. I knew that a cake made in a tubeless pan would need more time in the oven, but I wanted to make sure the cake would release for cooling. It had been in the oven for about 15 minutes when my nose registered the acrid smell of burnt toast. Turns out it wasn't toast. It was my cake. The spring on my pan spontaneously  released  and the batter began a lava-like flow onto the floor on my oven. Third time is, of course, a charm, even with Murphy hanging around. I must say this is a really lovely cake and it is delightful when served warm. While I wish my adventure had gone more smoothly, I found no fault with the recipe. Just remember to grease your pan really, really, really well and watch your cooking time if you decide to use a springform pan. I do hope you'll give this cake a try. The aroma of apples and cinnamon brings a hint of fall to the summer kitchen and the cake is a perfect introduction to the new season. Here's how the apple cake is made.

Torta di Mele - Tuscan Apple Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Mary Ann Esposito via Ciao Italia

4 large Golden Delicious apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2-1/4 cups sugar
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 large eggs
1/3 cup orange liqueur
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan or a 9-inch springform pan.
2) Combine apples, cinnamon, and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Set aside.
3) Using an electric mixer, combine remaining sugar, flour, baking powder, oil, eggs, orange liqueur, salt and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
4) Pour one third of batter into prepared, top with half of the sliced apples. Cover with another third of batter. Top with remaining apples and finish with a final layer of batter.
5) Bake for 1 hour or until a cake skewer comes out clean. Cool before cutting. Cake may be sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

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Guru Uru said...

I absolutely adore the rustic taste of apples and cake :D

Choc Chip Uru

Jess @ Bakericious said...

I like apple cake, this looks yummy!

anne said...

Language ! lol You should hear me when I'm making a pie crust ! :D Will check her books at the lib :D

Third time's a charm indeed ! That cake looks moist and delicious !

Foodycat said...

I am so impressed that you persevered! I would have given up and gone for a gin & tonic.

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Looks great! Very similar to a Jewish Apple Cake I make... Which I haven't had in a while and need to correct:@)

Kim Garceau said...

A cake like this is all I can dream of in autumn! It looks good... But really Mary, three times???? I think I would have ggive up the first or the second time!

Salsa Verde said...

Hi Mary,
This cake looks very yummy and delicious. I love cakes with olive oil and cinnamon and the texture of yours, looks so perfect!
Cheers and hope you have a fantastic day and week,

Angie's Recipes said...

Love apple cakes! This sounds like a perfect coffee cake.

SallyBR said...

This looks absolutely scrumptious! Seems like a cake even I, the cake challenged, could make it

I am pinning for the future, it's exactly the type of sweet I like.

Jenn said...

I've watched Ciao Italia for as long as I can remember - love that show! And this cake... I know I would love this cake!!!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I had similar struggles with a Blueberry Bundt Cake earlier this summer. I was almost ready to give up the Bundt, and then went out and bought a new pan. Apparently, the non-stick coating does wear out after 20 some years!

Debbie said...

Knew this cake sounded familair - I love Mary Ann Esposito and her books. Her show is great too. She is my favorite Italian cook!

Tricia said...

The cake looks and sounds wonderful and is fully tested in your kitchen! Baking apples and cinnamon, certainly one of the best aromas in the world. Have a great week.

bellini said...

I admire the way you stuck with this recipe Mary. I would have given up the first time and just served it is a pudding topped with ice cream scooped from the pan..wink.

Susan..... said...

Someone went apple picking last week.
I am so saving this for when I go, and all your other lovely apple baking recommendations will help me use up, the all too many apples I know I will be picking.
I didn't want to laugh but I couldn't help it. Even Murphy visits seasoned cooks every now and then, huh? I had to throw away the peaches and cream perfection you posted recently because I forgot to prepare the pan correctly. I was so upset, but I didn't get a second chance, I had no more peaches and I really wanted to try it. Hope you have a better week Mary.

Bites from life with the barking lot said...

Three times! Wow. Going to make this for company on Wednesday! I love olive oil in cakes.

June said...

Boy, don't you hate days like that? All the more power to you for sticking to it because this cake is a winner.

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

Oh my, what a mess in your poor oven. I hope the cleanup wasn't too difficult.

Love Mary Ann Espisito - I haven't seen her show for years. Sadly, I don't believe it's being aired on our local pbs station.

Lindalou said...

This looks wonderful. Just copied the recipe over for future use. With fall coming right around the bend and apple cake will be perfect.

Thanks for sharing.

PS. I've made your Tortilla Pie for each of my daughters. It's a great dinner to make and take. They both sent back rave reviews. I do add black beans to mine.

teresa said...

mmm, this is one of those things that i could eat on my patio with a nice cup of tea :)

Dining Alone said...

I love all of the PBS cooking shows, much more informative than the Food Network! This looks delicious!

The Café Sucré Farine said...

Oh my Mary, you are certainly persistent! And you were most definitely rewarded with a lovely, delicious lookng cake! It looks so moist and has me wanting to peel apples right now! I love the Italian name, sounds so fancy!

María Alonso said...

I love apple pies...and yours it seems delicious.

David said...

Mary, That's one very beautiful apple cake! You sure went through a lot of effort to make it right... Thanks for the recipe and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

tender b. said...

I don't think I would've had the patience for three tries. I'm glad you did though, the final result appears to be amazing.

kitty said...

I can't believe you made three attempts at this cake, Mary! However, it's good to know that even YOU can have problems. Kick that darn Murphy out of the kitchen!!!! LOL Your cake does look wonderful and I certainly wish I had a slice of it.

Joanne said...

I've REALLY been craving apples lately so this cake would really hit the spot! Delicious.

Melinda said...

Oh good golly, I'd like a piece right now.

M :)

We Are Not Martha said...

I absolutely LOVE apple cake and I haven't had it in so long. Totally craving it now!


Banana Wonder said...

This recipe is bookmarked! I love all the ingredients and now can't wait till apple season.

Jeannie Tay said...

This sounds easy! Would love to give this a try too! but not 3 times so I better heed your advise and grease the pan really really well:D

Cherine said...

This apple cake is simply irresistible.

France@beyondthepeel said...

oooh the adventures of baking!! Sounds like it turned out wonderful in the end. Joshua absolutely loves apple cake!

Kit @ i-lostinausten said...

Looks wonderful with apples! I love it with a dollop of cream! Heavenly! :)

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