Baking with Fruits of the Season

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When it comes to baking I usually go for the more “rustic style”, nothing long and complicated for me, quick breads, muffins, one bowl whatever. I get excited when I don’t have to pull out my hand held beaters. I don’t own a Kitchen Aid and probably never will although I do like those pasta attachments!

That’s why I love making this cake, Torta di Mele, which is an Italian apple cake. Just grab a big bowl and combine:

2 Cups of flour
4 Eggs
1 Cup of canola oil
1 Cup sugar
2 Teaspoons baking powder
3 Tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
6 apples cored, sliced and tossed in the juice of one lemon

Preheat oven to 325F. Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir until smooth. Pour batter into a buttered 9 or 10 inch spring form pan and place your apple slices all around gently pressing them in as pictured above, then bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Cool and serve at room temperature.

I love Italian plums, when I see them I’m instantly reminded of my favorite aunt and uncle who grew them proudly on their property, they’re much smaller than the standard black and red plums that we normally see, their texture is a little firmer and they hold up great in baking. My friend Stacey calls this recipe, Plum Cake for Dummies, which is right up my easy baking alley!

Italian Plum Cake

For my recipe I used the Italian plums which I sliced in half and pitted, you can use as many as you want filling the whole top of the cake if you so desire. The key to this recipe is the easy batter which consists of;

1 1/2 Cups flour
2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon salt
3/4 cup of sugar
1 egg
1/4 Cup canola oil
1/2 Cup milk

Cinnamon sugar to sprinkle over plums,
1 Tablespoon of sugar combined with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.


Mix the wet with the dry ingredients, I used my hand held mixer, then pour the batter into a buttered 8 inch square pan.
Place your plum halves on top of the batter facing cut side up, I pressed one deep into the batter and then another one directly on top of that, so I used 2 halves per section right on top of each other pressing down a bit.

Sprinkle the plum halves with cinnamon sugar and dot the top of them with 2 tbsp of butter and bake at 375F for 40-45 minutes.
This cake was super moist and great with a hot cup of french roast coffee! This would be equally good using other stone fruits or even apples, why not!

And lastly, for a nice Sunday breakfast that you can prepare the night before and pop in the oven the morning of, Baked Cranberry Apple French Toast.

Wouldn’t you like to wake up to the smell of this baking in your oven? It’s easy, here’s how you do it.


1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 or 3 tart apples, depending on size, peeled, cored and thinly slice
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 loaf of Italian or French bread, cut into 1-inch slices
3 large eggs
3/ 4 cups milk
1 tbsp. pure vanilla
Feel free to spike it with some rum or Amaretto for extra added flavor!

Toss apples and cranberries with brown sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon. In a buttered 8×8-
inch baking dish arrange bread cubes on top. Mix the eggs, milk, vanilla and remaining 2 tsp. cinnamon until well blended. Pour mixture over bread, soaking bread completely. Arrange apple and cranberry mixture all over then cover and refrigerate overnight. Next morning, bake covered with aluminum foil in a preheated 375F degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and let it stand for 5 minutes.
Serve warm, garnish with slivered almonds and serve with maple syrup!
Buon Appetito!
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  1. Wow, they all 3 look so good. I’m going to try your apple cake today. I have some apples I’ve been wanting to bake with. This recipe sounds yummy!

  2. Hey, this dummy wants to know who ate all these cakes????
    I am going try the torta di miele!

  3. I love all of these fruit-filled desserts! Especially that apple french toast…you think I could eat that for a breakfast-for-dinner night? 😛

  4. I have to go work out just by looking at your pics, lovely

  5. I must try the apple cake!

    I’m the same way, I love simple cakes, they usually taste the best too. Although I still like complicated cakes like a cannoli cake!

  6. I can almost smell them – delicious!

  7. I fall into the “Baking for Dummies” category. If it has one bowl and fruit, I’m a happy cake-eater. And I will probably give the family a thrill this weekend with that French (Italian?) toast.

  8. All three dishes look divine! My husband loves plums so he’d love the plum cake, and I love apples so the Torta di Mele would be mine. We’ll both share the cranberry apple french toast!

  9. It just looks gorgeous!!!!

  10. Love all three!

  11. Best. French Toast. Ever.

  12. Wonderful cakes!

  13. Your desserts look so delicious, Marie. I love apple cake, and that plum cake is making my mouth water. Good thing I brought s bag full home from the market on Saturday. I love this time of year!!!!

  14. I love every recipe you post! The apple cranberry cake looks so good!

  15. I truly enjoy every recipe you post! The apple cranberry cake looks amazing!

  16. I can’t wait to get baking – I love your simple and delicious recipes!

  17. Oh, yes, must add all three of these to my “to make” list. I can’t believe how simple the apple cake is and what a gorgeous result! You’re the best, Marie. 😀

  18. so nice to see a blogger post about italian baking and the delicious treats that we make from our culture! thanks for sharing; both cakes look and sound awesome!

  19. the apple torta sounds fabulous!

  20. It all looks great and homey. I can never get enough apple cake this time of year.

  21. I just finished baking the cake in honor of Feast of St. Michael and Paul coming home from a business trip and surprising college kids with late labs tonight. It looks gorgeous! Now I just have to not eat it for two hours…

  22. Your ‘Torta di mele’ is very similar to one that I make…except, I really appreciate the thought on using Amaretto to flavour it up even more ;o)

    Flavourful wishes,

  23. My apple trees went crazy this year, so as soon as I saw the apple cake, I knew I had to make it. Instead I made two – one for us and one to give to a friend!

    Just found out we’ll have friends sleeping over tomorrow, so I plan on making the French toast for that.

  24. I love cakes with fresh fruits baked right into them. A slice of each with a cup of tea would be perfect right now.

  25. I just came over here from Journey of an Italian Cook, who made your Torta di Mele and put a link to your site for those who wanted the recipe, which I do! Your food looks fantastic and I can’t wait to make this apple cake!

  26. I am excited. I could make that apple cake. Torte di Mele, is in my future. It looks so easy, my kind of baking, and I bet it tastes great with amaretto. Thanks for this one!