During my childhood in Italy, my family used to spend every weekend, and practically every summer, at my paternal grandparents’ home, near Lake Maggiore. In my younger years the house was full of children – there are nine of us cousins. But later my uncles got their own vacation home, and my brother and I were the only ones left to enjoy our grandmother’s everyday cooking– and some gelato too, I admit…
My paternal grandmother, nonna Tina, was a wonderful cook and a crafty baker. If I close my eyes, I can still smell butter, sugar, cinnamon… Her apple cake, from a family recipe that was passed on to her by her sister-in-law, made it to my home. Many times my mother reproduced the very same cake: the balanced flavors of simple ingredients never overcame the taste of apples, which had the front stage. Though, my mother is known for twisting her recipes, here and there. Flour could become whole-wheat flour, granulated sugar could become brown sugar… it is always a surprise.
I like to think that I inherited my nonna Tina’s baking talent, and my mother’s creativity. And, on a gloomy day like today, I look at a family recipe, and bake my own gluten-free version of torta di mele della nonna – grandma’s apple cake. This Sunday’s dessert, and weekday snack – with a cold glass of milk, to me means simply home.
Torta di mele della nonna – Gluten-free Grandma’s Apple Cake
Apples – I used Honey Crisp 3 medium
Simona’s Flour Mix 1/2 cup (3 oz)
Baking powder 1 teaspoon
Brown sugar 1/3 cup (2.5 oz)
Ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon
Vanilla extract 2 teaspoons
Eggs 2 large
Melted butter 2 Tablespoons (1 oz)
Heavy cream – or milk if you don’t have it in the house 6 Tablespoons (3 oz)
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Preheat your oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Peel and core the apples and slice them thin. Set them aside.
This is another one-bowl recipe. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the eggs and melted butter, and whisk until well blended and light in color.
Add the apples and heavy cream (or milk) and mix carefully with a spatula. Grease an 8″ cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. I used a springform pan, since it makes it easier to release the cake, but a regular 8″ cake pan would work fine too. Pour the batter in the pan and smooth the top with the spatula.
Bake for 40 minutes, until nicely brown – that’s how we like to bake in Italy: pale baked goods are not part of our repertoire, I am afraid…
Let it cool on a cooling rack. Once it’s cooled, take it out of the pan, remove the parchment paper, and place it on a plate, dusting it with confectioners’ sugar. Enjoy!