This is one of those recipes you look at and go “hmm. I doubt anything just as simple as apples in a cake is going to be anything great.” And then you make it and go “good lawd – how did I go this long without making this cake?!?”
Sometimes it’s the simplest things that are the best things. A book on a rainy afternoon. Hot cocoa after playing out in the snow with your kids. Hearing the hum of a dishwasher running when some person you gave birth to decides to run without being asked. Quite shocking. I asked why he did it. “I dunno”. Perfect. I don’t even care at this point. It was DONE! and it wasn’t ME!!! Ok, I’m getting carried away with the exclamation points. My kids would give my grammar a B- for this stunt.
So, I’m Italian. If you don’t know me in the real world, you’d be surprised. I’m blonde – usually not a glaring sign of someone Italian. I’m pale. I blame it on the Oregon liquid sunshine. But on the flip side, I’m loud. And I joke with my kids that they have two strikes against them: they have the Italian ancestry in them, but also have a deaf father. Normally you wouldn’t think this would cause things to become louder. Ha ha. Oh you silly person. It has the exact OPPOSITE effect on our family. We’ve become louder than many families I know.
With the onset of fall here in Oregon, and let’s face it, it can be quite depressing. So. Much. Rain. We don’t even own that title: “Rainiest Place in the US”. Washington and Oregon actually jockey for the first 12 positions of that title, and the winner is a place in Washington called Aberdeen Reservoir. They get 130 inches of rain per year.
With all this impending rain that’s coming, I had a sudden urge to use up all the apples I bought in Hood River. I also wouldn’t mind going back out there for a drive. I’ve made a pie, a couple crisps, apple butter, apple cider donuts, and now – cake.
Enjoy the traditional torta di mele!
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- 4 large Honeycrisp apples (about 2 pounds)
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup | 7 ounces granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 1/2 cups | 12.5 ounces all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- confectioners sugar for dusting
- Position rack to lower middle and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray with non-stick and line an 8 or 9-inch springform pan with parchment. Set aside.
- Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/4″ wedges. Sprinkle lemon juice over and toss to coat apples.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add 1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) sugar. Continue to beat on medium high until stiff peaks form.
- In a large bowl beat egg yolks, lemon zest, and remaining sugar. Add butter and mix until no lumps remain. Slowly add the milk and whisk until just combined.
- Sift together flour and baking powder and stir into milk/egg mixture.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in 1/2 of the egg white mixture. Repeat with remaining egg whites.
- Fold in about 1/2 of the apples and pour into prepared pan. Arrange remaining apples in a circular pattern on top of the batter.
- Bake 45-50 minutes until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool entire pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Then run a butter knife around edges to loosen cake. Remove springform pan (including the bottom) and continuing cooling on wire rack.