This simple cake is all about fresh apples
More like a flan than a cake, this rustic dessert is chock-full of apples and incredibly moist, making every spoonful a pure delight. The list of ingredients is short, and for good reason: it’s all about the apples!
The delectable apples in this recipe can be cut into super-thin slices easily by using the slicing attachment of a food processor, although a mandoline or a box grater will do the job perfectly too.
Bake it right on the floor of the oven!
And unlike most cakes, this one’s perfection begins with it baking right on the floor of the oven. The delicious result: a caramelized skin forms at the bottom of the cake and intensifies the flavors of the sweet apples.
Simple, rustic, succulent… And if there are any leftovers, they make a fantastic breakfast treat to boot!
Food & drink pairing: Sparkling hard cider with Tuscan apple cake
I love to serve a glass of sparkling hard cider with this dessert, especially an off-dry one, like Farnum Hill Semi-Dry Cider. Rich, complex and wonderfully aromatic, this cider is out of this world!
Tuscan apple cake
makes 1 medium cake or 8 servings
active time: 30 min
- 4 large Golden Delicious, Gala or other firm flesh apples (1 3/4 lbs) (800 g)
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch sea salt
- 2 extra large eggs – at room temperature
- 1 cup organic sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter – melted and slightly cooled
- powdered sugar as garnish
- 1 – 10″ non-stick round spring-form pan – buttered and floured
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Step 1: Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Then using the slicing attachment of a food processor cut them crosswise in 1/8″ slices. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Step 2: Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk at medium speed until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is pale and thick, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Step 3: Fold the flour into the egg mixture with a wooden spoon, until just incorporated. Fold in the milk, then the butter and finally the apple slices. Be sure not to over mix. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Pack the apples into the mold and flatten the surface of the cake with the wooden spoon.
- Step 4: Bake for 10 minutes on the floor of the oven. Transfer the pan to the middle rack and continue baking for 50 to 55 minutes until golden-brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, and run a paring knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the ring of the mold. Cool in its mold to room temperature. Unmold the cake and transfer to a serving platter. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
- Cook’s note: The cake can be baked up to 6 hours ahead and kept in its mold at room temperature in a cool place. It is best eaten the day it is made.
- Older springform pans don’t have as tight a grip as new ones, so here’s a trick to prevent leakage: Remove the rim from the springform pan and butter the bottom part of the pan. Cut parchment paper in a 12″ x 12″ square and line the bottom of the pan. (The butter will help the paper stick to it.) Then place the rim on top of the paper and fasten it. Next, butter the bottom and sides of the pan and dust with flour. This will also make unmolding your cake a breeze!
Was planning to make ‘apple bread’ but came across your ‘Tuscan Apple Cake’ recipe . . change of plans! Will be making your cake.
My oven is electric (coil on bottom) but my lowest shelf has a large pizza stone. Ya think the first 30 minutes on the pizza stone, then to middle shelf will give me that ‘caramelized bottom’, I hope?
I think that’s a good plan, Betty! Although I think 10 minutes on the pizza stone should be good enough.
Believe it or not, I no longer have a gas oven… so now I just bake the cake a little longer and it yields the same result.
I hope you loved your Tuscan apple cake!
LOVE this recipe. I love apples in anything sweet. I live in NYC and we have so many good bakeries and I’ve eaten a lot of apple cakes, muffins, pies and this is my all-time favorite. Thank you. Delish.
Can this recipe be baked on the floor of a gas oven as well as electric?
Hello Sandym, It is definitely best to bake the cake in an oven that heats from the bottom, whether electric or gas… if your oven heat source is from the top of your oven, then simply bake the cake a bit longer, until the edges are caramelized. Happy baking!
Loved it! If we don’t eat it all the day I make it how should I store it?
Hi Peggy, So glad you liked this cake.. ’tis the season! You can refrigerate the cake for up to 3 days, although it will lose its delicious crunchy edges when you do. My husband loves to eat the left-overs for breakfast!
Can this cake be made a couple days ahead of time or is there an effective way to prep the apples to make later?
Hi Mandy, There is no way to prep the apples for this cake ahead of time. They will turn brown with oxidation, especially when they’re sliced this thin. And yes, you could make the cake ahead of time, but it won’t be as good, as I mention in the recipe. The day that it’s made, it has delicious crunchy edges. As soon as you refrigerate the cake, those become soft… So the cake will be more like a flan. Happy baking!
Made it for a small dinner party, was a great success. Just followed the recipe “piece of cake” thank you
Jopie van der Krabben
Hello Jopie, You made me smile! I am delighted to know this recipe was easy to follow and turned out delicious. Thank you for your note… and happy baking!
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I’m confused as it states to add the apples to the batter but then says to pack the apples into the mold. So do I mix apples into the batter and then also put them on the very top of the cake?
Hi Mary! I suggest you look at the video clip (click on the little video icon next to “Step 2”). You will see exactly what I mean. This recipe takes a lot of apples. Once you add the apple slices to the batter, the slices will look like they are just coated with the batter. Pour that all in the mold and then use your wooden spoon to flatten the apple slices so the surface of the cake is flat. Hopefully the video clip will make all that super-easy to understand. Have fun baking your cake!
I made this cake for thanksgiving and it was the hit of the evening!! It is different and elegant but yet simple and delicious! Who doesn’t like apples!? And custard/flan? Waiting to try it was hard but everyone loved it and it rivaled the smoked turkey we did too! Thank you so much for this delightful lite and healthy dessert!
You’re most welcome, Teresa! I am delighted your cake was so appreciated by everyone and that your Thanksgiving was such a delicious one! Thank you for your wonderful note, which simply made my day!
I have a gas oven but the flame unit is in the rear. I guess I should follow your instructions for just baking on the middle shelf for longer. Does that method give the same carmelizing effect as your original method?
Hi Norma, Good idea to bake the cake in the middle of the oven. And yes, baking a little longer until the edges caramelize will give you the same delicious results. Let me know how it turns out… and enjoy!
It turned out great for Thanksgiving Day dessert.
I made it exactly per the recipe using Granny Smith apples but baked it on the middle rack for the entire time. I turned the temp down to 350F the last half since it seemed to be browning on top pretty fast. I checked it with a toothpick as directed between 50 and 55 minutes and it was done. It was crunchy on the edges and looked like your photos.
It was delicious and will be a keeper.
I am delighted to hear, Norma! Thank you for letting me know it turned out so well!
Just saw this in my email today, read through it and headed to the kitchen to make it!!!! It is one of the best apple dishes I have had! Forget the cooling…. We couldn’t wait!
Oh my… Thank you, Barbara! I am over the moon you liked this cake. May you enjoy making it many more times. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Hi this sounds great. I will make for Thanksgiving. I too have electric oven with element on the floor, however I could put pan on floor with element around pan (not touching). is this ok? also there are no spices like cinnamon, nutmeg etc. I have not ever had apple dessert without cinnamon. Would it distract from flavor or enhance? Due this being a flan like flavor/texture, maybe cinnamon and or nutmeg would ruin it???
Hi Carolyn, Thank you for your comment. As I say in the first sentence of my introduction to this recipe: It’s all about the apples! So here, less is more. Refrain from adding spices if you want to taste the true flavor of this Tuscan dessert. As for the oven, I would not put the cake around your elements at the bottom of your oven. Just bake it in the middle of the oven, like you would for any other cake. You might have to add a few more minutes of coking time to achieve the caramelized crust around the edges… like shown in the photo. Happy baking!
Curious if anyone has substituted gluten-free flour?? Looks amazing! I’ll have to give it a try.
Hi Ann, Thank you for your comment. I haven’t tested this cake with gluten-free flour, but there is so little flour in this cake that I think it should work fine.
what is organic sugar //
Hi Cecilia, Organic sugar is sugar that has not been bleached, so it looks light brown. It also has more flavor than white sugar because it still has some molasses in it. This is a good brand that you can find in most grocery stores: https://www.floridacrystals.com/product/organic-granulated-pouch Enjoy!
We live in a high altitude ~5400 ft. Is the measurement the same?
Hi Cel, this is a very moist, flan-like cake, so I think the recipe would translate fairly well at high altitude… but of course, I haven’t tested this recipe at 5,400ft! King Arthur has a page on high-altitude baking https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html Maybe you’ll find it helpful. Let me know how the cake turns out!
I followed your recipe in detailed. I didn’t worry about the altitude as it’s only require 1/2c of flour and like you said it’s like a flan cake. It turned out great! I highly recommend to anyone!
I’ll serve this cake tomorrow as dessert!
That’s wonderful news, Cel! I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving… and that every one loved your cake!
Question! The broiler in my oven is located above the oven…so there is no high heat at the bottom of
So I guess I can’t “brown” the bottom of the cake?
Or does that matter?
Hi Ramona, For electric ovens with no bottom heat source, bake the cake in the center of the oven, as you would any other cake. You might have to increase the cooking time by a few minutes until the cake has those delicious golden-brown edges (as the photo indicates). Happy baking!
Can you bake on the floor of a gas oven? I have never done that and am not sure about the outcome or safety.
Hi Ferne, All the recipes on my website are tested in a gas oven, so it’s totally safe to bake the cake for the first few minutes on the floor of a gas oven. Of course, if you prefer not to do that, you can bake it like a normal cake. You might have to lengthen the cooking time for a few minutes though. Happy baking!
Thanks for the quick response. I will try this cake for Thanksgiving
I am delighted to hear… Do let me know how it turns out. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Can I freeze this cake for a week and warm it up last minute.?
Hi Christine, this cake is very flan-like so I’m not sure if it will keep its texture after freezing… it will also loose its delicious crisp edges. So I would say it’s best to make it fresh. Enjoy!
My favorite foolproof recipe. Thinking about doing it with Bosc pears, maybe adding a little almond extract. Thoughts?
Hi Theresa, I’m thrilled you love this recipe. I’ve made in numerous times with Bosc pears. Make sure the pears are very ripe (with yellow skin). And I recommend not using any almond extract. This dessert is about the pure flavor of the fruit… the ripe Boscs will deliver. Enjoy!
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I had a dozen old gala apples and used them in this recipe. It turned out excellently. I should have followed your recommendation for preventing leaks. Thanks!
I’m delighted to hear you enjoyed this apple cake, Liz! And sorry about the leak… If only springform pan manufacturers would remedy the problem!!! We would all be happier bakers, no?
I did a google search for butternut squash tart and this Tuscan Apple Cake recipe cane up. I was intrigued by it and substituted sliced squash for the apples. I did add some of the typical pumpkin pie spices as well because I thought that the squash probably didn’t have the flavor of the apples. I really enjoyed it. I want to try it again but maybe make it in a more savory way. I don’t know when that will be.
Also, I will be sure to take your advice about the parchment paper fix because my spring form pan leaked and the smoke alarm was going off for quite a while yesterday afternoon!!
Hi Jen! Thank you for your comment. I am delighted this recipe inspired you to make a butternut squash cake – how fun! Hope the parchment paper trick works well next time you use your springform pan… Enjoy!
Can you use honeycrisp apples for this recipe?
Hello Lauren, Yes, Honeycrisp apples would work fine in this recipe. Enjoy!
Do you actually put the pan on the bottom of the oven and not on the rack?
Indeed you do, Algene. If you click on the video icons in “Step 4” of the recipe, you’ll see exactly how it’s done. Happy baking!
This looks lovely, dying to try it out at the weekend. Any chance I can freeze it ?
Hello Eileen, Apple season is upon us, isn’t it? I am very excited for you to try this recipe out too… But unfortunately, I do not recommend you freezing this delicate cake. You will understand why when you make it. Enjoy!
I started a few months ago to use only brown sugar, the light brown, for baking.
Will it work in this delicious Tuscan Apple Pie?
Hi Hettie! Yes, I think it would be fine… Enjoy!
I’m always on the hunt for apple recipes that allow the apple flavor to shine. I have found it! Craving a fat slice of this beauty with my mid-morning tea!
Viviane, this cake was sensational! Super easy, and super delicious!
I had a question about decreasing the sugar…would I need to adjust anything else? What if I did half a cup of sugar…Thanks for creating!
You are most welcome, Niko! I am so, so glad you loved this cake!!! As for the sugar, if you decrease it you will lose the caramel crust, as well as some flavor and texture. That’s because the sugar helps the apples to cook. I tested this dessert many time with more and less sugar. The measurements I published yielded the most flavorful cake, with the least amount of sugar. Sometimes, you’ve just got to have a little sweetness! 😊
Viviane, this cake is the bomb. I’ve made it multiple times, but this time I used a regular 9″ round cake pan instead of a springform and it turned out better than ever. I just buttered the bottom of the pan and lined it with a round of buttered parchment, and it lifted out easily. Thanks for this great recipe.
Very glad to hear this, Theresa! I am over the moon that this cake is now part of your repertoire… just warms my heart!
We love dishes like this for breakfast! Yours looks perfect. It wouldn’t last long in this house.
I’d love to make this for a sick friend who has gone all organic.
Can the substitute the sugar for stevia and use organic flour.
I welcome your thoughts and any suggestions.
Hi Janet, I am sorry to hear about your friend. How good of you to cook something for her! I always use organic flour, and there is no difference between organic and regular flour in the way that both these flours bake. But I’ve never cooked with Stevia so I cannot help you with that. I would say that you should make this recipe with regular sugar first, so you know what it is suppose to be like (a cake for yourself?!)… and then try it with Stevia and see how it did. Good luck and happy baking!
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I have made this cake several times now and it’s always sensational. Sometimes, however, the mixture is a bit runny and leaks out from the bottom of the springform pan. What might be causing that? Sometimes I’ve had to use regular butter. Could it be that? Or a bit too much butter?
Hi Brenda! I am so glad you’ve been enjoying this cake… I do love making it too! As for the leakage, some spring-form pans don’t have as tight a grip. It helps lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. I just added a “Viviane’s tip” at the bottom of the recipe – take a peek for the instructions and let me know if that helps next time you make the cake. Happy baking… and happy holidays to you and yours!
The cake looks marvelous, Viviane. Lovely layers of sliced apples and caramelized bottom…a heavenly combo!
Marvelous job. It’s clever to read somebody & have the chance with the video’s mark to watch directly, what read!
I’ll make this cake at once.
Thank you, so much.
You are most welcome, Irene! Thank you so much for your note… and happy baking!
Does baking on the floor of the oven mean the bottom rack? I have an electric oven and don’t think I’d like to put the cake pan on the electric coils…
Hi again Leslie, If electric coils are on the floor of your oven, then definitely do not put your cake pan directly on them. I would recommend using the bottom rack instead. Good luck and have fun baking your cake!
Can I bake the cake early in the day and serve it for dessert that evening?
What about baking the cake the night before?
Hi Leslie, look at my recommendation in the “Cook’s note”. This cake is best eaten the day it’s made. If you refrigerate it, it loses its lovely crisp edge.
In oven baking! Did not have milk, so used buttermilk( which I bought to make your pana cotta recipe which sounds & looks amazing! ) & no butter so substituted olive oil. I’ll let you know how it tastes. Hmmm no idea, you probably have an idea though!! OxC
Dearest Cynthia, I hope you loved this recipe (even with the forced subs). But do promise me to make it again with milk and butter… It’ll be that much more delicious! Thank you so much for your note… and happy baking!
I pinned this because it looks so good. I have never baked anything on the floor of my oven, even for ten minutes. I guess I will give this technique a try.
Thank you, Madonna! This cake is one of my all-time favorite. If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out!
I am very fond of apple desserts and the Tuscan Apple Cake has my undivided attention! Such a lush and and beautiful autumn dessert!
As soon as I saw this recipe and the picture, I knew it was an awesome cake. I made it today and I think this is one of the best cakes ai have ever tried. It was DELICIOUS!!!!!!! I couldn’t stop eating it. I used brown sugar and only 1/2 cup. I love this easy to make recipe. I’m not a huge baking person and I was able to make this cake. Thank you!!!!!!
Dear, dear Nancy. You are so welcome and thank you so much for your note and for letting me know how your cake turned out. You put a very big smile on my face! You may also want to try it with pears (Bartlets or Anjou)… or a mix of apples and pears – just delicious! Happy baking!
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Looks really delicious Viviane. Just what we hungry people need after a long day working!
I love the texture of the cake underneath the apples! Wow, how interesting. Looks easy and delicious!
This recipe seems a lot easier than I would have expected… More inspiration for me to try it!
Hi Jaime! Indeed, this recipe is very easy… and incredibly delicious! If you try it, let me know how you liked it. Happy baking!