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Italian Apple Cake

This Italian Apple Cake has the incredible fragrance of vanilla and lemon in the classic Italian style.

Whether you like your apple cake for dessert or with a cup of tea or even for breakfast, this cake is it. And because the batter is loaded with apples, this Italian Apple Cake recipe bakes up totally moist and delicious.


Italian apple cake with a wedge cut and showing the inside.

One of the most delicious Italian desserts is this Italian Apple Cake also known as Torta di Mele. Tender, buttery cake loaded with sweet apples is one of the best combinations.

I love to have a thick wedge this Italian Apple Cake for breakfast with a milky coffee. But it’s perfect served as dessert with a spoonful of mascarpone cream or softly whipped cream.

Homemade Italian cakes, like this one, are often very simple with an old fashioned quality. Just like pan di spagna or torta caprese, these cakes are:

  • easy to prepare
  • use basic ingredients that are easily available
  • can be enjoyed as dessert, a snack or breakfast


  • All purpose flour – regular plain flour is what you need for this recipe. I have never tried 1:1 gluten free flour so I can’t make recommendations.
  • Baking powder – make sure your baking powder is fresh. If you don’t use it often, you may want to replace it.
  • Superfine white sugar – this type of sugar dissolves easily so that no gritty sugar remains.
  • Unsalted butter – you’ll be adding a little salt. If you only have salted butter use that but leave out the salt in the recipe.
  • Eggs – you need whole eggs. I like free range. Always choose the best quality ingredients you can afford.
  • Yogurt – plain or Greek is perfectly fine.
  • Vanilla extract – good quality vanilla extract is essential. Avoid vanilla essence.
  • Lemon zest – finely grated for the fragrant oils contained in the skin.
  • Apples – a baking apple is best such as granny smith or royal gala.
  • Honey – just a drizzle of your favorite variety will be perfect.

Best apples for apple cake

Truly the choice is yours. It is better to use a baking apple. While I tried tart granny smith apples, I preferred royal gala or pink lady apples in this Italian apple cake. Either way, use a baking apple you really like because this cake is loaded with apples. There is no mistaking that this is indeed an apple cake!

My top tip for you is that if you have leftovers store this Italian apple cake in the refrigerator. It is so moist with so much apple through the cake that it will not keep well at room temperature.

And if you have leftover apples, make this delicious Puff Pastry Apple tart or my apple compote – they’re so easy! Before dessert give my delicious homemade cavatelli pasta a try, you will love it.


Apple cake on round wooden board with apples and icing sugar.

The great thing about this Italian apple cake is the technique used to make it. You can make this cake right now because there is no waiting for the butter to come to room temperature.

There are many methods used to make cakes. This method is one of the easiest and can be made even if you don’t have an electric mixer. This Italian Apple Cake is made using the “rubbed-in” method which involves rubbing the fat, in this case butter, into the flour to form fine breadcrumbs. Then the liquids are added which can be by hand or on a low speed with an electric mixer.

Bake next: Definitely try my delicious homemade Cannoli Cake it one of my all time favorites!

Rubbing the butter into the flour is a very common method when making pastry and scones but not as often with cakes. I love this method for making cakes because it is such an easy, no fuss way to have a cake in the oven quickly. The butter is used straight from the refrigerator. Simply cut the butter into small pieces and rub in with your fingertips or using an electric mixer.

Apple slices on top of cake batter drizzled with honey.

Tips for success

Baking cakes is so rewarding but it’s disappointing if it’s not cooked through. This can happen even if you have followed a recipe to the letter. Sometimes ovens vary in temperature. Or the ingredients were slightly different to the ones used in the original recipe. For example, in this Italian apple cake recipe your apples might be larger or juicer than mine.

So there are few ways to check if your cake is done before removing it from the oven.

  • Press the top of the cake. Is it set and does it feel springy?
  • Have a look at the sides of the cake. Is it pulling away from the edges a little?
  • If your answer is yes to the first two – insert a thin skewer or cake tester into the centre. Does it come out clean with no cake batter clinging?

If the cake isn’t done but the time as specified on the recipe is up, then give it another 5 minutes and check again.

Hands holding apple cake in cake pan with white cloth.


It’s so simple to turn this Italian Apple Cake into an equally delicious cinnamon apple cake. Simply add one teaspoon of cinnamon in with the flour, sugar and salt and leave out the vanilla and lemon rind. Other wise continue exactly the same way.

But do try this Italian Apple Cake with vanilla and lemon. I’m like you, I love using cinnamon in baking. Just check out my Italian Apple Crostata. But the vanilla and lemon bring a wonderful freshness and lightness to cake which I know you will love like I do!

Close up of apple cake.

This Italian Apple Cake recipe is an easy cake to make particularly if you have not baked a lot or don’t own an electric mixer. If you can peel, core and slice apples, you can make this cake.

More cake recipe you’ll love

German Plum Cake
Pear Tea cake
Chocolate and Almond cake
Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

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Apple cake with a slice cut

Italian Apple Cake Recipe

This Italian Apple Cake recipe has vanilla and lemon flavorings in the classic Italian style.
Whether you like your apple cake for dessert or with a cup of tea or even for breakfast, this cake is it. And because the batter is loaded with apples, this Apple cake bakes up totally moist and delicious.
4.97 from 65 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cooling: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings:10 servings
Author: Marcellina


  • cups (187 grams) all purpose plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • cup (133 grams) granulated white sugar or castor sugar
  • 1 stick (4oz/115 grams) unsalted butter cold
  • pinch of fine salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup (180mls) plain yogurt or Greek
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 4 apples see notes
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  • Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Butter and flour a 9inch/23cm spring form cake pan.

To make the cake batter.

  • Into the bowl of an electric mixer place all purpose flour, baking powder, superfine sugar, unsalted butter and salt.
  • With a paddle attachment, mix on low for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Don’t over mix.
  • Scrape the bottom of the bowl to loosen any mixture that may have settled.
  • Add eggs, yogurt, vanilla and lemon rind.
  • Mix on medium low speed for 1 minutes or until well combined.

Prepare the apples.

  • While the cake batter is mixing, peel, core and finely slice the apples. Reserve one sliced apple for decorating the top of the cake.

To bake the cake.

  • Fold 3 sliced apples through the cake mixture.
  • Pour into prepared cake pan.
  • Decorate with reserved apple slices.
  • Drizzle over honey.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Check by inserting a fine skewer into the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. A few crumbs clinging is ok.
  • Cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
  • Store in the refrigerator due to the high content of apples.


For a Cinnamon Apple Cake variation simply add one teaspoon of cinnamon in with the flour, sugar and salt and leave out the vanilla and lemon rind. Other wise continue exactly the same way.
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 23mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 415IU | Vitamin C: 3.5mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Marcellina, thankyou for your wonderful recipes. It would be nice to add a video with your recipes.

    1. Andriana, yes, I would like to add videos too. I love cooking videos. At the moment, I’m a one woman band so it’s not always easy. I will try though. Thank you for the encouragement!

  2. 5 stars
    Marcellina, ever since you posted this Loaded Apple Cake recipe way back, I faithfully make it twice a year; it is so moist, delicious and full of flavor. Have made it with cinnamon and sugar, also good. I’ve even fermented the apples in a bit of liquor for a “grown-up” taste.
    Just to let you in on a little secret, I usually try to make all your cakes, they are irresistibly out of this world delicious❣️❣️❣️❣️🥰

    1. Connie, that is so sweet of you to let me know that! I love that you have been making it faithfully for so long. Yes, it is so moist and yummy!

  3. 4 stars
    Delicious and simple to make. It’s a bit denser than usual cakes, but nice. I swapped half of the sugar for honey and it worked perfectly fine and the sweetnesses is perfect like that (I generally don’t like sugar… sting on the sporty side 😉). Thank you for the recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    This was delicious and just what I was looking for. I have made other Torta Di Mele, but this one was superior. It was light, moist, slightly sweet (this is key for me since it doesn’t overwhelm or cloy therefore, perfect for pairing with a hot cocoa or other bittersweet drink). The lemon rind was subtle and just the right touch of freshness. I added 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts on top, which for my taste paired great. My cooking time was just 10 mins more than stated in recipe. It might have been the humidity here today (North Georgia, USA). Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Hi Jennifer! Thank you for your detailed comment! The chopped walnuts on top would pair very well with the apples and sound super delicious!

  5. Hi marcellina, a very nice cake but it took 90 minutes to bake. I used a 9 inch springform and my oven temp works properly. Any idea why it took so long?

    1. Fiona, I think the apples were very juicy and added moisture the to cake. This cake has so many apples that a juicer apple would do that. Glad you enjoyed the apple cake! xx

  6. 5 stars
    What a lovely and moist looking cake! Thank you for sharing, I’m really looking forward to trying this.

  7. Hi Marcellina, This cake looks delicious! I love anything with apples.
    I would like to make it with gluten free flour, do I have to increase the moisture (yogurt) or are there enough apples in it to make it moist?

    1. Hi Mary, I’ve never used gluten free flour however this is a very moist cake and I would think it would be moist enough with just the apples. Let me know how it goes.

  8. I would gladly enjoy this apple cake with my coffee this morning… if I only had a piece! It’s that time of year and I may follow your recipes later today so I have a nice cake to enjoy this week!

  9. 5 stars
    This looks so delicious Marcellina and I love that it has yoghurt in it. It should keep for ages in the refrigerator, not that it will in our house. I make a quick Apple teacake which needs to be eaten pretty much in a day or two, so I love the idea of this one. Thanks so much for this recipe. Pauline

  10. 5 stars
    Man Marcellina we must be on the same wave length! I’ve got a healthy apple yoghurt cake being posted shortly! YUMMO! This sounds absolutely amazing and absolutely beautiful photos as always!

    1. Maria, I love apple cakes, too! And apples are so versatile and used in so many ways. I only wish I could grow apples here but that’s not going to happen in the tropics!