Simple Italian Apple Cake (one bowl)

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Soft, Delicious, and Simple. This Italian Apple Cake Recipe– torta a le mele, a simple moist dessert, breakfast, or served as an afternoon tea cake. It’s made with creamy yogurt, butter, and fresh apples with a bit of cinnamon for spice.

This is a recipe the entire family will love. Every Italian Nonna has a recipe for apple cake, and here is my nonna’s recipe for you!

Italian Apple Cake one slice on a plate
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You will also love these easy and simple cakes Soft Italian Chocolate Cake (torta al ciocolato), Easy Italian Pear Cake (Torta di Pere), Almond Cake, Chocolate Olive Oil Cake, and Easy Almond Sponge Cake with Italian Cream.

After years of making this family recipe, this is a tried and true recipe everyone loves. Italian Apple Cake, also known as Torta di Mele, or torta alle mele is a moist and slightly cake that is perfectly sweetened.

You will also love these Italian desserts- Chiacchiere di Carnevale Recipe (Italian Fried Pastries), Zeppole Recipe (Easy Italian Donuts), and Traditional Panettone Recipe (Italian Christmas Cake).

Simple Ingredients

  • Apples
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Sugar
  • Eggs (room temperature)
  • Yogurt
  • Butter
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt

See the recipe card for quantities.

You likely have all of these ingredients to make this recipe for Italian apple cake in your pantry already!

 How To Make Italian Apple Cake

apple cake making process

With a few simple steps and only one bowl, you are on your way to enjoying the most delicious Italian apple cake!

Italian Apple Cake process
Italian apple cake before going in the oven

When the kids come home from school and the house smells of cinnamon and apples they know what’s coming! It is a perfect afternoon snack. It is simple to make and easy to enjoy! Is there anything better to make with butter and flour than a cake?

Recipe FAQs

What’s a ‘torta di mele’?

Torta di mele is an easy Italian apple cake that my nonna and many other nonnas make all the time! Why everyone loves this recipe:
It’s light and fluffy and packed full of apple slices.
There are only a few ingredients and very simple ingredients.
It only takes 10 minutes to prepare, but it looks and tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen.
It is always a crowd-pleaser. Who doesn’t like apple cake?

What apples are best for this recipe?

Honeycrisp, the crisp texture is guaranteed to hold firm.
Pink Lady balanced between sweet and tart. It will retain its distinct shape when used in this cake.
Granny Smith apples are always a safe bet as far as a baking apple.
Jonagold tart with a honeyed sweetness; Jonagolds hold up exceptionally well in the oven.
The number of apples changes a bit depending on the size.
Small apples about 4.
Medium apples, about 3.
Large apples, about 2 1/2.

How should I cut my apples for this recipe?

I love to dice my apples into small pieces. I like to get plenty of apples in every bite, and this gives the best apple-to-cake ratio! You can certainly cut them into slices if you want bigger pieces.
You can also decorate the top with pretty apple slices to show the cake has an apple in it. I sometimes take this extra step when taking it to a neighbor or friend. I use the diced apple pieces to make it just for us at home.
It is also easier for the children to eat it this way since the apples are already cut small. Either way, it is delicious!

What kind of pan should I use for this recipe?

I like to use a springform pan so it is easy to take out the cake. You can use a regular 9.5/10-inch round pan as well.
Make sure to let the cake cool completely after baking and before slicing. It is worth the wait to let the cake set! This cake is even better the next day.
Go ahead… let your guests think you spent all day making this apple cake. It will be your go-to for bringing to a dinner party since it is easy to transport.

Why did my cake sink in the middle?

Let me explain this to the baking scientist out there who has come up with all the possible reasons why your cake might sink in the middle! This is something that is far too common, and there are a variety of reasons for this baking disaster. These reasons are explained by, Chelsey from this post on ChelSweets:
UNDER BAKED. The most common reason why cakes sink in the middle is that they’re underbaked. If a cake isn’t fully baked through, the center doesn’t have a chance to set and it will sink. This creates a doughy, dense texture in the center of your cake layer.
TOO MUCH LEAVENING. Too much leavening agent like baking soda or powder can cause a cake to rise too high too quickly. The gas from the leavening agents builds up and escapes before the cake bakes through in the center.
This causes the center to collapse and makes your cake layers sink in the middle. Another reason is- the leaving is expired and the cake couldn’t rise properly. 
NOT WEIGHING THE FLOUR. A gram is always a gram, but a cup is not always a cup. When in doubt, measure your ingredients by grams to ensure the correct ratios. 
OPENING THE OVEN DOOR. If the oven door is opened and slammed after it’s opened, it can cause partially baked cakes to sink in the middle.
If the center isn’t set as the oven door is slammed, it can collapse and won’t be able to rise properly again. Opening the oven door will also cause a draft and decrease in the temperature in inside of the oven.  
Source: ChelSweets.

Italian desserts are made with simple ingredients. They aren’t too sweet and make the perfect sweet bite indulgence without the guilt.

Rarely will you see frosting or ice cream served with any authentic Italian cake. Occasionally, you will see a dusting of powdered sugar or cacao and a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

This cake is fluffy, lightly sweetened, and sure to satisfy any sweet tooth craving without leaving you feeling too heavy. Enjoy!

Italian Apple Cake one slice on a plate

Another one-bowl cake you will love is this Lemon Olive Oil Cake – a must-try!

If you love apple recipes, then you will also enjoy these Baked Apples Slices!

Expert Tips

What does yogurt do in a cake? Yogurt adds moisture and fat to a cake batter, making the cake moist. A cake baked with yogurt is never dry. It’s always so soft, moist, and absolutely delicious. That is one secret to this super moist Italian apple cake.

Another bonus to adding yogurt to cakes is the acidity of the yogurt works with the baking powder to leaven the cake and make it extra tall and super fluffy.

You don’t taste the yogurt at all! It is a secret weapon to add moistness and help your cake rise!

Recipe Substitutions

Low-Fat Yogurt

It depends! Low-fat dairy products are often filled with “junk” to stabilize the texture. As long as the brand of non-fat yogurt doesn’t have any fillers, it will work fine. One brand I recommend is Chobani nonfat yogurt as an alternative.

Gluten-Free Option

If you are making this simple Italian apple cake gluten-free, you can use this flour, and it will turn out delicious!

From my cucina to your table… Mangia! Mangia! (Eat!)

Made with Amore, Elena

More Italian Desserts you will love

I know you will love this Easy Italian Apple Cake Recipe! It is one we make often at home!

💙 MADE THIS RECIPE AND LOVED IT? 💙 Please leave a ⭐️STAR rating and COMMENT below- I love connecting with you! Tag me with your creations on Instagram and find me on Pinterest.

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Italian Apple Cake one slice on a plate

Italian Apple Cake Recipe

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5 from 61 reviews

Easy Italian Apple Cake (torta a le mele), a simple moist dessert, breakfast, or served as an afternoon tea cake. Made with creamy yogurt, butter, and fresh apples with a little cinnamon for spice. This is a recipe the entire family will love. Every Italian Nonna has a recipe for this recipe and here is my nonna’s for you!  

  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 3 large peeled (if desired) apples, cut into pieces
  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons (14 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon (pinch) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) vanilla extract
  • Confectioner sugar for dusting

Instructions

  1. Line a 9.5 inch round baking pan with parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray. Preheat oven at 350 degrees F
  2. In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the sugar and eggs until you obtain a creamy and fluffy texture. About 5-8 minutes. 
  3. Stir in the yogurt, butter, and vanilla extract. Use a fork or spatula to combine until smooth (not the electric mixer). 
  4. In a separated bowl mix the dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Stir gently until well combined. Add the apples and mix gently. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean*. If the cake starts to brown too much on top tent with the top with foil during the last 10 minutes of cooking. 
  6. Cool and dust cake with confectioner sugar. If desired, serve with freshly whipped cream. Enjoy!  

Notes

*The moisture of the apples may vary the cooking time a bit. You may need to add 10 minutes depending on how juicy the apples are. 

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Sweet
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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138 Comments

  1. Absolutely delicious! Came together pretty easily- I accidentally creamed the butter and sugar first and then added the eggs. It seems like it still turned out as it should. Mine looks just like the photos, and the inside is super moist, and the outside has a nice crunch. (Just had some for breakfast with my coffee- haha.) I am going to try the pear version too. This is like a coffeehouse cake. Will be making it a lot!






  2. Perfect and thrilled too have an incredible and delicious cake recipe too make and enjoy. Not too sweet and light texture, I would like to try tart cherries or blueberries, would be fabulous as well. Thank you!






    1. This sounds like a lovely recipe, and I am going to make it (after which i will post a review of the recipe itself), but the title is misleading: according to the directions, it certainly is not a “one-bowl” cake!






  3. I made the one-bowl apple cake and, during dessert and coffee, the entire cake was devoured!!!! It was absolutely delicious and very moist- not heavy. I followed the recipe exactly using pink lady apples. Perfect dessert. This is my new dessert I will continue to make for holidays and company.






  4. This cake was recommended to me by Elena herself. How could we not make it? It was the perfect ending to our first Thanksgiving abroad. It is my son’s new favorite.