Wednesday, November 30, 2011

David Rocco's apple yogurt cake

apple cake

Oh, David Rocco.... I watch him on tv, usually in awe. He's a Canadian who lives part-time in Italy. He hangs out with his buddies in Rome, and cooks. He visits fun places like a chestnut farm, and eats and cooks among the trees. What a life! How do I sign up for this gig?

With all honesty, I don't really want to have a tv show. I'd rather have my perfect little bakery. In the meantime, I have David Rocco's latest book "Made in Italy" to review.

So far, I've tested a handful of recipes. What I love about this book: the simplicity. The recipes are quite simple and rustic. You don't need a fancy food processor, blender, mixer, etc. to make David Rocco's recipes. The photos in the book reflect this simplicity, depicting simple, traditional Italian dishes. There are no fancy plating techniques here: the pizzas aren't perfectly round and there are sometimes dribbles of sauce on the serving plate photographed. The dishes really look homemade.

apple cake

What I don't love (i.e. me being picky): solids (like flour, sugar, etc.) are measured in cups/milliliters (mL). My inner chemist thinks that volumes are for liquids, weights are for solids. Unfortunately, I think Canadian publishing regulations dictate that solids be reported for cookbooks in cups/mL. This makes absolutely no sense to me, but those are the rules. Oh well.

My other issue is with the ingredient lists. For the dessert (dolci) section, I think it is important to specify to use unsalted butter and granulated sugar, for example. However, in this book, these ingredients are listed as butter and sugar, which is fine for the experienced bakers who know what type of butter and sugar to use, but for a novice, I think it's important to specify exactly what ingredients were used. These are really minor details though, and I'm definitely going to continue cooking with this book.

apple cake

This apple yogurt cake is a dessert recipe adapted from David Rocco's  "Made in Italy" (page 341). The recipe is really simple and can even be mixed together by hand (or with a hand mixer, as David Rocco recommends) if you don't have a stand mixer. The cake has a lovely moist texture and is full of apple slices. The original recipe said to bake the cake for 40 minutes, but mine took over an hour to bake. I love the crispy sugar topping that crackles as the cake cools and its crispy texture is a welcome sweet contrast to the soft, slightly tart apples. This is a great snacking cake and absolutely appropriate for the end of fall.


Apple yogurt cake


apple cake    Makes one 8-inch cake
  • 1 1/3 cups (150 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) granulated sugar
  • 7/8 cup (200 grams) unsalted butter, melted, plus a little extra for buttering the pan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cups (125 mL) yogurt (I used 2.5% fat yogurt)
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) granulated sugar (for the topping

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch cake round.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 1/2 cup of sugar and the melted butter until it has lightened.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.
  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the yoghurt, beginning and ending with the flour.
  6. Stir in the sliced apples and the lemon zest, and pour the batter in the prepared pan.
  7. Sprinkle the 1/3 cup sugar evenly over the top of the cake.
  8. The original recipe suggests a baking time of 40 minutes, but I think it needs to bake for over one hour (until a tester inserted into the center (not through an apple if possible!) comes out clean.
  9. Let cool completely before serving.
Please note that I was sent this book by Harper Collins publishing, but my opinion is my own.

65 comments:

  1. I like David Rocco. I also watch him on tv (and not only because he is handsome!). His recipes are delicious and easy to make.

    I really enjoy the spaghetti al limone from his first book (David Rocco's Dolce Vita). I made that recipe the last time my best friend came over for supper. She liked it very much and went back home with a copy of the recipe (she doesn't know she's getting the book for Christmas...)

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  2. Wow, this looks deliciously moist - I've never actually had a yogurt cake, but it sounds amazing!

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  3. I am a great fan of seasonal fruit in a simple dessert recipe. With so many lovely apples in season I am excited that you have shared this recipe and cookbook with us.

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  4. I am falling in love with that flaking cake top! Yum!

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  5. I'm drooling over this cake, it's flaky and looks sooo moist!! Yum!

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  6. Delectable looking cake. The flavor must be out of this world! YUMMY!

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  7. I can't believe a cake this moist could have a crackling top! I could almost see custard'ish texture there! I'm never a big fan of David. But when it comes to rustic, I'd pursue it to no end.

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  8. Looks delicious. Would love for you to share your pictures with us over at foodepix.com.

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  10. can you use greek yogurt instead?

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    1. I have never tried greek yogurt for this recipe, but I think, since this cake is so moist, greek yogurt would work fine, and the recipe would still have enough moisture. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

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  11. Two novel ideas for me here: Adding apples to a yogut cake batter and topping the cake with a hefty dose of sugar to get that marvelous crust. Can't wait to try these techniques. Thanks for evangelizing David's work! ...Susan

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    1. The sugar crust is a nice touch. I hope you enjoy this cake!

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  12. What flavor yogurt was used?

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    1. I used plain yogurt (unsweetened) with 2.5% fat.

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  13. I was mildly obsessed by this cake for a whole week, ever since I saw it on Pinterest. And today finally I baked it. The only change I made was using home made apple sauce instead of half of the butter. The cake is wonderful - when it was baking the whole house smelled like heaven, and it's so moist and delicious! Love this recipe!
    Thank you very much for sharing and have a wonderful weekend!
    p.s. you are always invited to share your recipes on RecipeNewZ

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  14. How do you measure 7/8 cup?

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    1. If you have a scale, just weigh out 200 grams. If you don't: measure 1 cup, divide it into 8 equal portions, and use 7 out of 8 of those portions.

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    2. If you don't mind a second reply- an easy way to measure 7/8 c. is to measure 1 cup, then remove 2 Tablespoons, and that will give you 7/8. Also, when it's butter you're measuring, it gives the Tablespoon markings on the wrappers, so by using them you can measure out 14 Tablespoons (which is 7/8 cup). That would be 1 full stick of butter (which is 1/2 cup or 8 Tablespoons), plus 6 Tablespoons (3/4 of the stick) of a second stick. Hope this helps!

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  15. What book is this

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    1. David Rocco's Made In Italy: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/030788922X?ie=UTF8&tag=kitch02-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=211189&creativeASIN=030788922X&link_code=as3&creative=373489

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    2. I have both of his books, they are amazing! So simple yet full of taste.

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    3. I know! The simplicity of them is great! The recipes don't involve a mile of ingredients!

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  16. Thank you so much for the recipe and for "translating" the cups into grams! That makes it easier for everyone in Europe for example to start baking right away!

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    1. My pleasure! I find weighing ingredients is so much more accurate. I wish all the publishing houses/authors would see this!

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  17. I made it! So good! It' ll be' one of my favorite recipes from now on. Thank you SO much!

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    1. I'm so glad you liked it! It's a really great cake that is the perfect ode to apples.

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  18. Do you add any Baking soda or baking powder???? I am afraid if I don't add them that the cake won't turn out ??? or is this cake just made without ??

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    1. It's made without any leavening agent. It's a moist cake that is full of apples. I know that it seems strange to have no leavening agent, but try it! The cake is so densely apple, I'm sure you will love it.

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  19. I made this cake. I loved sugar crust on top of the cake and good taste of apples. Thank you so much for the recipe.

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  20. does it matter what type of apples to use?

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    1. I would avoid apples like McIntosh that turn to mush when cooked. I usually bake with Cortland apples. Delicious(red or golden)apples would work too!

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  21. Hi! Loved this recipe thank you for sharing, I found this thru pinterest and blogged about it today here.
    http://hettlecreative.blogspot.com/

    Cheers! Gina

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  22. Absolutely brilliant recipe - so good and simple ingredients.

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  23. I've made this cake twice and loved it but it turns out I was inadvertently halving the amount of butter called for (somehow using 7/8 STICK instead of 7/8 CUP). Just wanted to throw that out there for anyone who wants to lighten the cake up a bit! It was still crazy moist and delicious.

    Oh, and I did use mostly greek yogurt (2%) thinned out a tiny bit with some milk. I'm trying it for a third time today made with pears instead of apples. Thanks so much for the recipe!

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  24. oct. 6 2012

    the apple yogurt gateau is really excellent. granny smith as one of the apples imparts tartness. i was a bit confused with melted butter as whipping that into a light mixture with the sugar is really quite difficult. i used some eggs(mixed into the sugar and butter mix) that were really cold and thus the mixture congealed much better and whipped into a light mixture. perhaps using butter at a really soft room temp. is what is meant. my experience with baking is that melted butter when the butter fat and the solids seperate makes for a heavy batter and a heavy cake.
    i was also puzzled about there not being an agent for rising as it was called a cake, as it was published in the local newspaper i searched the internet for the recipe to make sure that no baking powder and or soda was called for and the newspaper had made a mistake in not including it. that is why this is really a true European gateau and not such as the north american cake is defined. this recipe is certainly one that will be a regular item in this household. excellent.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your input on this recipe! I honestly find it very forgiving and it seems to always turn out (even if the eggs are cold, for example). Glad you enjoyed it and it turned out well, but you are right that it is more of a European "torte" perhaps ;)

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  25. This looks like my dream cake. I'm going to bake it this week with Greek yogurt! Can't wait to try it. Thank you for sharing... found you through Pinterest!

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  26. i made this tday, tastes great ! i reduced butter by 100gms and added 100gms yogurt instead, in addition to 125ml yogurt. its like apple pie/bread pudding in terms of texture :D everyone at home loved the cake...thanks for the recipe :-) half over already, will finish it tom ;-)

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  27. The flavor is good, but what I ended up with is such a greasy mess! Butter boiled over in the oven, and even after the cake was done I had such a pool of melted butter on top that I had to pour it off into the sink. Mine was such a disaster that I'm shocked that anyone could make this cake as written and have it turn out. If I ever try it again, I'm cutting the butter in half.

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    1. I am very sorry you had trouble with the recipe. Are you sure that you measured the butter correctly? I have made this a few times, and never had a "pool of melted butter" on top. Also, many people have taken this recipe and blogged about it, and none had your complaint, so I'm not sure where it went wrong. Ashley commented above that she successfully halved the butter without a problem so that will work! I guess the only advice I can give you is that if at first you don't succeed, try again ;)

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    2. The same thing happened to me the first time. I think the difference is whipping the butter and sugar until it thickens and gets fluffy and light. I didn't melt mine all the way, but left it very, very soft. I also decreased the butter, but only by about 3 tablespoons. I used a paddle when I mixed it the first time and the whisk attachments on my handheld mixer the second time. It seemed to really need the air that a whisk attachment creates. Second one in the oven now, but there was a very noticeable difference in the batter. I'm hopeful.

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    3. Hmmm, this recipe seems more finicky than I realized! I am glad you are trying it again, and if I have time I will do the same to check it again. I hope your second batch works out!

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  28. I pinned the recipe from pinterest and am making it tomorrow. I read all the other comments and may just cut the butter down a bit it sounds like I could get away with it. I love the look of the flaky top and it seems simple to make. My friend is making an apple cake and so i will be ready with this to share and compare.

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  29. I tried out this recipe for my husband's birthday and everyone loved it ! Thank you so much for sharing it ! The crust is lovely :)

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  30. This will complete our Thanksgiving meal this year, with the addition of a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Thanks so much for posting!

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    1. So happy to hear that! I hope you enjoy this cake and happy thanksgiving :)

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  31. I did make this and cut the butter to 3/4 it turned out just like the picture and was soft, moist and tasty. I received many complements and will make this again. My friend made this as well and had a buttery mess and had to pour off butter after it was baked as I read above. We discussed our processes and the only real difference was I whipped the butter and sugar. o light and fluffy with an electric mixer she did it by hand.

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    1. Thanks so much for the input bellwilde! I agree with you: the whipping of the butter and sugar at the first step is very important!
      I'm very happy to see that the cake was a hit :)

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  32. Oh, this sounds soooo good, and I really love you for giving the measurments in grams!! This year I specially brought home a cup measure set from our vacation in the States because I love all the recipes but I cannot handle the cup thing ;-) I will try it for christmas! Thank you!
    Nadine

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  33. Made cake...too much butter. Must be a mistake. 14 tbs butter for this cake is unbelievable. what a waste of ingredients.

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    1. Hi, I'm sorry you had trouble with the cake. The problem might be that you didn't beat the butter and sugar mixture enough. If this step isn't done properly, you will end up with a heavy, greasy cake. I hope you will try this again.

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  34. I made this the other night and absolutely loved it. It did take quite a while to get the butter and sugar light and fluffy by hand, so I think next time I won't melt the butter all the way...but it turned out great. Thanks for a delicious recipe!

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  35. Oh, this looks delicious! I love all kinds of apple desserts. I'm pinning it now :)

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  36. A very simple recipe but a with a very good taste. I put only 150 Gr. butter in and the zest of a limon (green lemon), i love it !!! Thanks for the recipe.

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  37. Well I made the cake today and I did some things a little different. I only used one apple but it was a really big granny smith apple and then after I sprinkled the sugar on top I sprinkled a little more cinnamon on it too. I am a cinnamon freak. Its in there cooling down now and I can definitely tell you my husband is excited about tearing into it

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    1. That's amazing! I hope you both love it!

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  38. What an outstanding recipe. Love the long running comments as people find this lovely site ♥. I run a research lab so mL and grams are "natural" to me. Although you can't get 125 mL of yogurt out of a 250 mL graduated cylinder LOL. You can do weight/volume where 1 mL = 1 gram. That is what we do in the lab. You think that's crazy try and titer out to ng/ul (nanograms/microliter)with cytokines. Sheez

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  39. Great cake!! Next time I'm going to add more apples (I used two small apples and it wasn't enough) and I may also add more sugar and less butter to increase the sweetness and decrease density. I may also try baking powder -- has anyone tried this yet?

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    1. Great suggestions! Baking powder would definitely give you a bit of extra "lift"! I liked the denseness of it, but that's just my personal preference. By all means, make it yours! And I'd love to hear how your tweaks turn out :)

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  40. Hi! thanks for the conversion in grams and mL :-)

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  41. Hi. I just read through all of the comments...after putting the cake in the oven.Now I'm afraid I didnt mix the butter and sugar enough. Can you explain what it means to get it "light"? Thanks

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    1. Honestly, the first time I made this, I threw it together without thinking (no excessive beating of butter+sugar), and it did turn out, so I think you will be okay.
      As for the lightening, basically we are supposed to beat enough so that the melted butter begins to cool and thicken, but in thickening, you will be able to get some "volume" out of it, meaning the mixture in the end will be lighter. The mixture at the beginning and end of beating will look quite different. And I think the more the mixture is "lightened" at this step, the less dense the final cake will be. I hope that makes sense.
      Let me know how it turns out!

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