Italian Apple Cake

20 Oct


You know that feeling you get when something triggers a memory and you’re suddenly transported back to your childhood? 

It can be something as simple as the smell of bubblegum, for me it was a little Italian recipe book from Bertolini that my mom has had for years.  I was over my moms the other night and I asked her for her apple cake recipe or torta di mele.  She then came back with this little recipe booklet that I haven’t seen in years. 

Aside from the great recipes it holds, the one thing I remember most is the story at the end of the booklet, the story of Maria Rosa. As a child I used to beg my mother to read it to me over and over again, I loved the characters, the pictures and of course the story.   Flipping through the pages I felt like a little girl again in my mother’s kitchen, I almost asked her to read it to me …almost.   The booklet itself according to my mother is 40 years old and she has kept it in pretty good condition.  I asked her to borrow it so that I can scan it to have a copy for myself (not sure if I am breaking any copyright laws here, no copyright notice on the booklet itself). 


The first recipe I made was the Torta Di Mele or Apple Cake.  My mom has been making this for years and everyone who tastes it asks for the recipe. 


I found the recipe pretty simple to make.   Although the lack of clarification i.e. bake at moderate temperature and measurement directions i.e. half a glass of milk…I was thinking, “half a glass, do I use a wine glass, a tumbler perhaps”, I ended up using a smaller glass my mom suggested.  In the end I prevailed making some minor adjustments along the way.  We enjoyed this Torta Di Mele at a Thanksgiving lunch this past weekend at my brother’s house, so there are no post pictures except for one.  And I only thought about posting this recipe once I was already done the cake, therefore, no pre pictures either.  Everyone enjoyed the cake and now I would like to share the recipe with you with some slight modifications.

Torta Di Mele

Adapted from Ricettario Bertolini, 1970


350 grams of all purpose flour

150 grams of sugar

75 grams of butter, melted then cooled

3 ounces of milk

1 large egg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract (the recipe calls for the Bertonlini brand of vanilla that is also a leavening agent)

1 ½ tsp of baking powder

2 TBSP sugar

½ tsp of cinnamon (recipe doesn’t call for cinnamon, but I thought it would add some extra flavour)

1 kilo of apples, cored, peeled and sliced (4 large apples of your choice, I used combination of empire and spy)

1/3 cup of milk (for brushing the latticed top)


Preheat oven to 350.

Grease a 10-inch tart pan and set aside.

Toss sliced apples with 1 TPSP of the sugar and the ½ tsp of cinnamon.

Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment add flour, sugar and baking powder and mix.  Add milk, egg, melted butter and vanilla and mix until well blended and dough forms into a soft ball. 

Place dough onto floured surface, remove 1/3 of dough and set aside to make the lattice.  Place the rest of the dough into greased tart pan and using your fingers press onto the bottom and the sides.  Add sliced apples and assemble so that they sit evenly.

Using the 1/3 of dough roll out and cut into strips and make a lattice pattern on top of the cake.  Brush the lattice with milk and sprinkle the remaining 1 TBSP sugar over the entire cake.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown.

Watch for more Bertolini recipes to come!


8 Responses to “Italian Apple Cake”

  1. Anthony October 20, 2009 at 6:45 PM #

    Thanks for the story and the recipe.

  2. Mary October 21, 2009 at 10:43 AM #

    This looks delicious, comforting and pretty easy to make.

  3. Kathleen October 21, 2009 at 3:46 PM #

    I was looking for something that was a cross between a pie and a tart, and this looks about right. Do you serve it warm?

    • Anna October 21, 2009 at 3:57 PM #

      Absolutely you can serve it warm.
      Although, I like it better the next day when the flavours have really blended.

  4. Lisa October 21, 2009 at 3:48 PM #

    Looks yummy and I love the pitcures of the book, so cute!

  5. Cathy October 23, 2009 at 10:02 AM #

    Yummy, and I just went apple picking too!

  6. Domenica March 18, 2016 at 3:37 AM #

    I have the same memories from that little book!!! Do you know of anywhere I could purchase one? I looked on the bertolini website, but they don’t sell hard copies. 😦 I’ve been looking everywhere!!

    • Anna March 18, 2016 at 7:52 AM #

      Hi Domenica, thanks for your message. I would not have the slightest clue where you can could purchase this booklet. The one I used for the post I borrowed from my mom, and it’s got to be 40+ years old.

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