Umbrian Apple Cake

A sweet and simple Umbrian apple cake made with cream cheese and inspired by the simple, delicious Italian lifestyle.

I feel that at some point, everyone is known for one particular recipe or dish, and this cake is probably my signature cake. When we first started renting out our guest house in Umbria over ten years ago, I wanted to give every new guest something special to begin their Umbrian vacation, and after lots of consideration, I chose this cake. My last name (Mele) means apples, so of course, my signature cake had to include apples. I have been making this cake for at least thirty years, and it has always garnered rave reviews for everyone who tasted it. I tested many other recipes, but in the end, this cake was chosen as our Umbrian farmhouse cake and has become just about famous for everyone who stays with us. Return guests always request it, and new guests always ask for the recipe before they leave.

The recipe for this apple cake was adapted from a Cooking Light recipe many, many years ago. It is not too sweet and is packed full of apples and cinnamon flavor. What it is famous for, is being so moist with a delicate crumb which comes from the addition of cream cheese as well as three full cups of chopped apples. The top becomes just a little crispy when baked, and the cake is sprinkled with a sugar and cinnamon mixture to enhance the warm cinnamon flavor.

You can use either an 8-inch or 9-inch pan. Obviously the cake will be smaller but taller in the 8-inch pan, and you will need to cut the baking time by 5 minutes if you use the 9-inch size pan. This cake actually becomes even moister the next day, and well wrapped, the cake will keep in the refrigerator up to five days, but I doubt it will last that long! Although this cake was intended to be a breakfast cake, I have found that our guests enjoy it throught the day as a snack as well, and often serve it for dessert after dinner.

Umbrian Apple Cake
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
Recipe Type: Cake
Serves: about 8 servings
  • 1½ Cups Sugar
  • ½ Cup Softened Butter
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 6 Ounce Container Cream Cheese Softened
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1½ Cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1½ Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • 3 Cups Peeled and Finely Chopped Granny Smith Apples
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease an 8 or 9 inch spring-form pan.
  3. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy with a hand mixer, then add the cream cheese and vanilla and continue to beat until smooth.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
  5. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt and beat at low speed just until mixed.
  6. Fold the chopped apples into the batter and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Mix together the remaining ¼ cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon and sprinkle this mixture over the batter in the pan.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes to 50 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from the pan and a skewer poked into the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool to room temperature before serving.
Adapted From Cooking Light Magazine


Deborah Mele

Deborah Mele is a self-taught cook whose passion for Italian cuisine began after living in Milan, Italy for 8 years. Although not Italian by birth, she became a true Italian by heart and palate. Deborah created her Italian recipe blog 12 years ago to share her passion for Italian food. During her various travels throughout Italy, Deborah fell in love with the central Italian region of Umbria so when they retired, Deborah and her husband bought two farmhouses there where they now reside for six months a year and run a farmhouse rental for guests and give cooking classes.

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