If you’re looking for a new dessert to make for this holiday season, this Italian apple cake recipe from Emiko Davies is fabulous. As you probably know, we love Piemonte, so when Emiko shared this dessert from her Piemontese mother-in-law we were ecstatic! It’s so easy and delicious. Plus we love the splash of brandy or rum with fresh apples. For the full recipe, get The Taste Edit Issue 2 or Emiko’s cookbook.


Make this delicious Italian apple cake from Emiko Davies's cookbook - the taste edit
Words and photo by Emiko Davies.


My mother-in-law, Angela, has a ‘recipe book’: a large hardcover agenda from 1981 where she writes down recipes she likes or wants to try. They’re scattered randomly, scrawled on the days of the week where you would normally record birthdays, appointments and reminders. It’s rather impractical because you have to flick through 365 days to find the scribbled recipe you’re looking for, but she has been using it diligently for nearly forty years. This apple cake was the first recipe she wrote down in it, and although she doesn’t remember anymore where it came from, it was one that she made often when Marco was a child. 

I love it because it’s quite different from the usual Tuscan apple cake, which is a simple cake topped with a single layer of sliced apples. I suspect this version is not even Tuscan at all, as it requires quite a good amount of butter. The cake on the bottom is rather dense and crumbly – a support for all the apples that melt down into a surprisingly thin layer, topped with a veil of butter and sugar. It’s absolutely delicious just out of the oven, still warm, and I would say always does better with a bit of warming up even the next day or so. The fact that Angela calls this cake ‘la torta di mele e panna’– the cake with apple and cream – to distinguish it from a regular apple cake tells you that you should always serve this with freshly whipped cream. 



Make this delicious Italian apple cake from Emiko Davies's cookbook - the taste edit
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  • 280 g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 140 g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 apples, peeled and sliced
  • splash brandy or rum


  • See note below.
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For the full recipe, order Issue 2 of our digital magazine that includes over 75 pages of additional fabulous fall recipes from Scotland, Italy, France, and Switzerland. Order Emiko Davies’ Tortellini at Midnight: And Other Heirloom Family Recipes from Taranto to Turin to Tuscany