I generally use tart apples when making cakes as I find the tartness balances all the sugar you add. Granny Smiths are my favourites, though fuij or pink lady will also do.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (15 votes)


  • 4 tart apples
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g (5½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar, plus 2 tsp extra
  • 150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 30 g (1 oz) cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 1 scant tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 80 g (2¾ oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line the base and side of a 23-cm (9 in) cake tin with a removable base.
  2. Peel and core the apples and cut them into quarters, then cut each quarter into four or five slices, depending on how big the apple is. Place in a bowl, add the lemon juice and toss so the slices are coated (this will help stop them going brown). Set aside while you prepare the batter.
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Place the flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk briefly. Fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until well incorporated, then add the butter and vanilla and fold until well combined.
  4. Divide the apple slices into two portions: one of about 250 g (9 oz) and the other of about 150 g (5½ oz). Cut the larger portion of apple slices in half, then fold them into the batter, including any juice from the bowl. Leave the remaining 150 g (5½ oz) apple slices uncut and set them aside.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Arrange the remaining apple slices in a circular pattern on top of the cake, pressing them down gently so they partially sink into the batter. Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon and the extra sugar.
  6. Bake for 50 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Recipe and images from Adriatico by Paola Bacchia, Smith Street Books, RRP $55.00