I think it’s more like a sweet bread than a cake. I don’t bake as often as I cook, and I bake with yeast very rarely so this is pushing myself a bit.
The recipe is from Giuliano Bugialli’s The Fine Art of Italian Cooking, which is a classic from the 70s that belongs to my mother. They really don’t make cookbooks like they used to. Now, we get a lot of food pr0n, but it seems like we’re lucky if we get 30 recipes per cookbook. This is a tome, in comparison. There aren’t many pictures, it’s all black and white text, but you get a LOT of recipes.
- 1/2 cup raisins (I omitted - because this is for a group and some misguided people don’t like raisins)
- 4 tablespoons lard (I used butter)
- 5 medium-sized Macintosh apples (Giuliano says that Golden Delicious is traditional, but that Macintosh tastes better)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ounce (2 cakes) compressed fresh yeast or 2 packages active dry yeast (I used 2 scant tbsp instant yeast)
- 1/4 cup lukewarm or hot water, depending on the yeast
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar (I used one tsp to proof my yeast)
- Grated rind of 1 lemon
- 2 eggs
Soak raisins in lukewarm water for 20 minutes; melt the lard in a saucepan and let cool.
Cut the apples in quarters and remove the cores & skin, then cut them into thin slices. Place the apple slices in a bowl and sprinkle the lemon juice over them.
Place 1 cup of the flour in a bowl and make a well in it. Dissolve the yeast in the 1/4 cup of lukewarm or hot water and pour it into the well; stir with a wooden spoon. Add the sugar, melted lard, grated lemon peel, and eggs, and when these ingredients are all well incorporated, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of flour over. Stir very well until dough is homogeneous and very soft, then add the soaked raisins and half of the apple slices to the dough, incorporating them well.
Oil a cake mold or 12-inch springform (I lined the old one my mother gave me with parchment since no amount of grease would help this thing let a cake out) Place the dough in the mold and arange the remaining apple slices on top. Cover with a cotton dishtowel and leave to rise until the dough is almost doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
When the dough has risen, place the mold in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Let cool for 30 minutes, then unmold and serve.