Italian apple cakes are like fingerprints, or a tennis serve. No two are alike, even when the list of ingredients or the technique is the same.

The apple cakeβ€”torta di meleβ€”is an expression of the baker or cook, and just about every home baker has her own version. Some are more apples than batter, others have nuts folded in; some are rich with spice, others are spiked with liquor; and some are as plain as can be but still, somehow, memorable.
Apples (4)
Sambuca – 1/4 to 1/3 cup (65g to 80g)
Eggs (4 large)
Sugar – 1 1/2 cups (300g)
Lemon zest (Finely grated zest of 1 lemon)
Sunflower oil – 1 cup (200g)
Vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon)
All-purpose flour – 2 1/2 cups (312g)
Fine sea salt (1/2 teaspoon) & Baking powder
Heat the oven to 170Β° C. Coat a 22-cm springform pan with sunflower oil. Fit a piece of parchment into the bottom of the pan and lightly oil the parchment.

Peel the apples and cut them into bite-size pieces. Put them in a bowl with the Sambuca as you go to prevent browning. Toss gently to make sure the apples are thoroughly coated and let sit while you mix the other ingredients.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and the sugar until light (I use a whisk). Whisk in the lemon zest, oil, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and lievito or baking powder. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Set aside a handful of the apple pieces and fold the rest into the batter, as well as the Sambuca juices. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Scatter the reserved apple pieces on top.
Bake until the top is golden-brown and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 60 to 75 minutes. If the top is browned before the cake is done, gently lay a piece of aluminum foil over the top and finish baking. When done, transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool for 20 to 30 minutes.

Use a sharp knife or metal spatula to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan. Remove the ring from the pan and let the cake cool to room temperature. Invert the cake onto a plate, remove the springform bottom and peel off the parchment. Re-invert the cake onto a serving platter. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.