Baking with Grandma Duck: Apple Cake
An Italian interpretation of Nonna Papera’s apple pie is translated here below by the wonderful Francine Segan (Dolci: Italy’s Sweets). Francine has been a major fan of Grandma Duck’s manuale of recipes since childhood, and now she has written a few of her own. One of her favorites, and certain to be one of yours, is this rich and simple-to-make apple cake. If you put it on your window sill to cool, attenzione! It might just disappear.
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photo by Ellen Silverman
Pareva la torta di Nonna Papera!
Looks like Grandma Duck’s cake!
Said of a particularly pretty cake or pie
A classic! At first glance it may seem like a huge ratio of apple to dough and you’re going to be tempted to cut down on the apples. Don’t! It looks like a lot of apples, but they magically meld into the batter. You’ll love the result. The top half of the cake is chock full of tender apples that float over sweet moist cake.
Deceptively simple, exceptional results.
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter, plus more for the pan
7 ounces, about 1 1/3 cups, whole wheat or all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
2/3 cup, plus 1 tablespoon, granulated sugar
2 large eggs or egg substitute
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Zest of 1 lemon
4 large or 5 medium apples, about 2 pounds total
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan. Beat 2/3 cup of sugar and the eggs in a large bowl, using a whisk or electric handheld beater, until creamy and light yellow. Beat in the flour, milk, baking powder, baking soda and zest. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
Peel and core each of the apples. Dice one of the apples and stir the dices into the batter. Cut the remaining apples into thin slices. Spread the slices over the diced apples in the pan in a neat pattern. Press into the batter. Scatter thin pats of butter or drizzle olive oil over the apples and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for about 75 minutes, until dark golden and cooked through.
Loved reading the blog. Nice story about your mom and her mixer. Keep it up and I’ll keep reading.