Buttery Apple Torte

This Italian apple torte is easy to make, and delicious. Cooking the apples first helps concentrate the flavor and remove moisture, so the cake doesn’t get soggy. The lemon zest, although only a half teaspoon is used, is an essential ingredient – you can really taste it in the apples.

Buttery Apple Torte Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 8.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz or 125 g) plus 1 Tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 3 Renette or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into slices 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
  • 2/3 cup (3 1/2 oz or 105 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 whole eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (8 oz or 250 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Confectioners' sugar (optional)

Method

1 Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). Generously butter a 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pan with 2 inch (5 cm) sides.

2 In a microwave, melt the butter. Pour 6 Tbsp (3 fl oz or 90 ml) of it into a small bowl or cup and set aside. Add the apple slices and the remaining butter to a large frying pan and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

3 In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the whole eggs and egg yolk until blended. Add the 6 Tbsp of melted butter, the vanilla, the granulated sugar, and the lemon zest. Stir in the flour mixture and the apples. Spoon into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.

4 Bake until browned, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Invert the cake onto a plate and lift off the pan, then invert the cake again onto the rack and let cool completely.

5 (Optional) Just before serving, place confectioners' sugar in a small sieve and dust the top of the cake.

Adapted from Savoring Italy by Michele Scicolone.

25 Comments

  1. Sridhar Ramanathan

    Elise,

    I made the apple torte for my family tonight, and it was a hit! The directions were perfect. That little bit of lemon zest adds just the right touch.

    Thank you for from all of us…this is a keeper!
    Sridhar

  2. Elise

    Hi Sridhar,
    I’m so glad you guys liked it! It’s pretty easy, isn’t it. And that bit of lemon zest does make all the difference.

  3. Elise

    Hi Sridhar,
    I’m so glad you guys liked it! It’s pretty easy, isn’t it. And that bit of lemon zest does make all the difference.

  4. HW

    Hi there,
    we love this recipe – it is such an elegant dessert. One question though, mine seems to bake and brown very quickly, pretty much in 20 minutes. I have it on 375, and my oven thermometer says it is correct. I live in LA, so no altitude issues. Do you use a gas/electric oven, what rack do you put it on? Also, do you add sugar in any special order other than what is listed in the recipe? A bit stumped, but thanks for an awesome recipe.

    Note from Elise: Every oven bakes a little differently, many things could be contributing to having a shorter cooking time than what we listed here. Use the middle rack. No other sugar directions than what we have listed here.

  5. Christine

    I had the same experience with the torte browning very quickly. I let it bake as long as possible before the top became too brown, about 25-30 minutes. A quick question, are you to pour out the liqiud from the cooked apples before adding them to the flour/egg mixture?

    Note from Elise: we include the apples and the liquid from cooking them into the batter.

  6. Vivian

    The recipe was FABULOUS!! This is the first time I’ve ever made anything from scratch, on my own, and I’m really surprised! It’s fantastic! My mom was shocked that it was edible AND delicious… :) I’ve had torte before, but didn’t know it was called torte, because the torte was a Vietnamese banana/coconut torte – it’s still good, but this apple torte is so much better! I can’t wait for another opportunity to make it again!

  7. Just a Plane Ride Away

    Dear Elise,

    I have made this twice as a welcome cake for visiting family. It is so delicious and everyone loved it!

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe–and for your lovely, lovely blog.

  8. M

    Hi,

    I was wondering if this could be made with pears – seems like a good batter for almost any hard fruit. However I know lemons are great with apples, but would they be as good with pears? Should nutmeg be used instead? Just wondering what you would advise. Thanks!

  9. Audrey

    I made the torte last weekend and brought it to work on Monday to celebrate my birthday with my co-workers with some cake. They all loved this one. And it was totally easy to make it. Thank you for posting the recipe !!

  10. jean

    I just took my torte out of the oven, and it looks like it turned out really well. Do you think this recipe would work just as well with brown sugar and whole wheat pastry flour? Thank you.

    Don’t know, if you try it let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  11. Kelly

    Simple, easy, delicious, and elegant. I’ve made this recipe three times for dinner parties/holidays and always receive compliments. It’s a nice alternative to a heavier chocolate or cheesecakes. Thanks again, Elise.

  12. brenda

    My torte just came out of the oven and it has a beautiful presentation and tastes great. It’s a little more pudding-like in texture than I expected, but it could be because I decreased the sugar by 25%. I put some calvados (apple brandy) too. Very nice! Thanks, Elise!

  13. Kathyn

    I made this twice in the past week, once for work and once for a family BBQ. The first time I added in the lemon zest as recommended but it was a little too lemony for my taste, so the second time I cooked the lemon zest with the apples; I added it a little bit before the apples went soft and it added the zip of the lemon without it overpowering the apples. Just an idea for anyone who isn’t a huge fan of lemon.

  14. Christine

    I made this cake on the weekend, it was so easy to make and taste really good! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe

  15. Ellis

    This torte was a wonderful way to use up some apples I had that were no longer fresh enough to eat raw. I didn’t have lemon zest, so used lemon juice instead. I don’t believe it was a 100% substitute for the zest, but it did brighten the apples a lot. Also, I used butter-flavored margarine (i sub cheaper margarine when testing out recipes) and it did very well. Anywho, I will be making the recipe again. It has a simple elegance about it. I think it will be a hit at Christmas. Thanks for another great recipe!

  16. Becky

    Great recipe! I just finished making this recipe for the second time this week. I hate to change a recipe the first time I make it but I needed it to be gluten-free for a neighbor. Gluten-free all purpose flour mix worked fine in case someone is wondering.

  17. sandra

    The torte is fabulous! My only concern is that it didn’t release well from the pan. I generously buttered my pan and followed the cooling directions exactly. I think I will also use parchment paper next time. Love the buttery taste.

  18. elena

    I recently made this mouthwatering torte and the smell of butter and apples filled the entire appartment. Even my boyfriend, who is the most difficult person when it comes to food, simply loved it! I made a small change and replaced the granulated sugar with brown sugar -because I always though it goes great with baked apples- and I added half a teaspoon of cinnamon (for the same reason actually). It was delicious! Thank you Elise, your recipes are a success every single time!

  19. Nelly

    Hi,

    I was really looking forward to cook this cake, as I really love apples… I followed the recipe to exact amount it been shown, but 250gr of sugar??. My cake was so sweet, that I manage to eat only small piece with very big cup of tea. Did I do something wrong, or this cake is suppose to be very very very sweet? Thank you

    I haven’t made this cake for a while, but I’m thinking that yes, it is quite sweet. You can easily reduce the sugar. ~Elise

  20. Sandy

    This torte was really tasty even though I made a few modifications. I don’t know how it would have tasted if I had followed the recipe exactly, but my husband loved it and he is extremely fussy about his baked goods. I used whole wheat flour and 1/2 the amount of sugar (used a mixture of brown sugar and raw cane sugar because I ran out of brown sugar), 2 whole eggs because that’s all I had. I grounded ~ inch of vanilla bean with a few cinnamon flakes instead of using vanilla extract. I added the lemon zest to the apples just before they were done softening in the pan. The batter cooked fine in ~30 min and didn’t burn using the middle shelf in oven at 375oC. Next time, i’ll decrease even more on the sugar and instead use that amount to sprinkle on top after baking!

  21. Georgette

    Made this apple torte for a dinner party tonight. It was a hit — everyone loved it. I did line the baking pan with parchment paper & had no trouble getting the cake out of the pan.
    Used the cup of sugar in the recipe & the cake was not too sweet — just sweet enough.

    Thanks!

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