• Yield: Serves 8

  • Time: 40 minutes cooking

I’ve eaten many, many apple cakes in my life. German strudel... love it! English apple pie... simply divine! But this fat-free recipe from my Aunt Rose is something totally different. Simple, healthy and so quick you will be able to make it in under an hour.


  • A little softened butter, for greasing

  • 2 crisp dessert apples, such as Granny Smith

  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

  • 220g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted

  • 3 teaspoons baking powder 

  • 3 eggs 

  • 150g (3/4 cup) caster (granulated) sugar, plus extra for sprinkling 

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract 

  • 1 tablespoon Calvados 

  • 160 ml (2/3 cup) good-quality ready-made vanilla custard (or homemade if you have time for it)

The Italian Baker The Italian Baker


Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F. Butter the base and sides of a 23-cm/9-inch springform cake tin and line the base with baking parchment.

Peel and core the apples, then cut into thin segments. Put the slices in a bowl or dish, add the lemon juice and toss to coat (this will stop them turning brown while you make the cake); set aside.

Sift the flour into a bowl and add the baking powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a mixing bowl using hand-held electric beaters) beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest together until pale and fluffy, then add the Calvados.

Now add the dry ingredients and stir gently to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and pour the custard on top. Spread the apple slices on top of the custard, sprinkle with caster sugar and bake in the oven for 40 minutes, until golden and caramelized. Leave to cool in the tin.

From The Italian Baker by Melissa Forti (Quadrille, 2016)