Florentine Apple Cake

This is one of those simple, homely cakes that you imagine everyone’s nonna knows how to make and that you will always find, reassuringly, in bakeries, bars and pastry shops all over town. It’s also commonly on trattoria menus for dessert, although many Florentines would even eat this for breakfast or a mid-morning snack. It’s not overly sweet, as Florentines don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but you could, if you like, brush a little warmed apricot jam over the top once you take it out of the oven for some shine and an extra touch of sweetness.

Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Serves: Eight


  • 2 large golden delicious apples (or other good cooking apple), peeled, cored and sliced 1 cm thick
  • lemon, juiced and zested
  • 180g sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 150ml milk
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 23cm cake tin.

Place the apple in a bowl with the lemon juice and two tablespoons of the sugar.

Beat the remaining sugar with the butter until pale and creamy, add the eggs and beat very well until you have a thick, pale mixture. Add the milk and the zest, then fold in the flour, baking powder, salt and half the apple slices, along with the lemon juice to combine.

Pour into the prepared cake tin and place the remaining apple slices all over the surface. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and springy to the touch.

Recipe taken from Florentine by Emiko Davies

Through her recipes, Emiko Davies takes us on a stroll through the streets of Florence, past bakeries and pastry shops bustling with espresso sippers, colourful markets, busy trattorias, butchers, hole-in-the-wall wine bars and late-night gelaterias. She stays true to the most classic recipes and traditions of the Renaissance city – which inspired her to start her eponymous blog five years ago while living in Florence – revealing an unpretentious and unchanging cuisine that tells the unique story of its city, dish by dish.

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