Filomena’s Apple Cake : Tessa Kiros

When I had a choice of recipes to share with you from Limoncella and Linen Water, I chose this apple cake recipe. We all love baking. And nothing demonstrates cooking from the heart like the story Tessa Kiros tells about cooking the recipe of her friend.

Filomena’s Apple Cake

This is somewhere between a cake and a tart. It is my friend Marta’s mother’s recipe. When I made it and took it to Marta you could see she was nicely surprised by my effort. It’s quite fun when you make someone’s own recipe and take it to them! Anyway, Marta was adamant that next time I use rennet apples as I had used whatever I could get that day. She said ‘No, no, no. Tttt, ttt, ttt. Rennet.’

Makes a 24 cm (9¹/₂inch) cake


150 g (5½ oz) butter, softened
150 g (5½ oz) sugar, plus 2 tablespoons extra
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs, separated
250 g (9 oz/ 1 2/3 cups) plain (all purpose) flour
2 tablesppons potato flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons milk
3 rennet apples (or other large sweet cooking apples) about 220 g (7¾ oz) each
Icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F/Gas 3). Butter and flour a round 24 cm (9½ inch) springform cake tin.

Using electric beaters, whip the butter and sugar in a wide bowl until creamy. Add the vanilla, then add the egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking well after each. Whisk in the flour, potato flour and baking powder, adding the milk as the mixture thickens to make it come together in a very thick batter. Scrape the mixture off the beaters into the bowl, then wash and dry them. Use the clean beaters to
whip the egg whites to snowy peaks. Using a metal spoon, fold a scoop of the egg whites into the cake batter until evenly dispersed, then gently fold in the rest of the whites. If they are difficult to incorporate, give a quick whisk with the electric beaters to mix it all together. Scrape into the prepared tin and level the surface.

Peel, core and halve the apples. Cut across the halves into slices of 4–5 mm (1⁄8–¼ inch). Starting at the centre of the cake, arrange the slices slightly obliquely, pushed about halfway into the batter. Pack them tightly together, working your way outwards like the petals of a rose. It may seem like there is too much apple, but fill in any spaces as it will look lovely later. Scatter the extra 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the top. Bake until the apples begin to get golden and some of the edges are dark, about 45 minutes, then cover with foil and continue baking for a further 15–20 minutes or until the cake is ready. (The middle should look ever-so-faintly gooey.) It is important that the cake is not overcooked as the edges and bottom will dry out. Remove the foil and cool before removing from the tin. Serve dusted lightly with icing sugar.

Recipe and images from Limoncello and Linen Water by Tessa Kiros, published by Murdoch Books.

Much-loved author Tessa Kiros celebrates the heritage of Italy, the country she has chosen to call home, in Limoncello and Linen Water. This whimsically feminine book is a tribute to the women in our lives – mothers, mothers-in-law, grandmothers – and the important lessons we learn from them. With accessible, delicious recipes ranging from robust family dishes to quirky cakes and old-fashioned preserves, this book is a precious heirloom to treasure.

With a beautiful, quirky style and design, Limoncello and Linen Water is a cookbook like no other, featuring more than 100 achievable tried and tested recipes as well as household tips. After more than 700,000 sales worldwide across titles including Apples for Jam and Falling Cloudberries, this is Tessa’s best book yet, written from the heart and celebrating the best of Italy.

No-one captures the spirit and soul of a place quite like Tessa Kiros, born in London to a Finnish mother and a Greek-Cypriot father. The family moved to South Africa when she was four, and at the age of 18 Tessa set off to travel, learn all she could about the world’s cultures and traditions and discover new ways of living and eating. She has cooked at London’s The Groucho Club and in Sydney, Athens and Mexico. On a trip to Italy to study the Italian language and food she met her husband Giovanni, and they now live in Tuscany with their two children. Tessa is the author of seven bestselling titles including; Apples for Jam, Falling Cloudberries, Twelve, Piri Pir Starfish: Portugal Found, Venezia, Food from Many Greek Kitchens and Venezia Journal.

Join best-selling author Tessa Kiros at an exclusive showcase dinner in Sydney to launch her beautiful cook book. Inspired by Tessa’s latest book Limoncello and Linen Water, Balla head chef Gabriele Taddeucci’s four-course menu pays tribute to Italy, the country Tessa calls home: Monday 8 October, Balla, The Star ($130 per person, bookings essential).

Enter here << for YOUR chance to win a ticket for two to the Balla dinner courtesy of The Star and Inside Cuisine.

Osteria Balla
The Star
80 Pyrmont Street Pyrmont
+ 61 2 9777 9000

Tags: , ,

Comments for this article

3 Responses to “Filomena’s Apple Cake : Tessa Kiros”

  1. jas says:
    September 28, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    You know I just picked this book through at the book store today and thought it was so lovely I added it to my christmas wish list! This cake looks ah.mazing certainly going to try it out.

  2. Christine @ Cooking Crusade says:
    October 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    What a lovely apple cake :) Love your photo, gorgeous!

  3. wendy giacomantonio says:
    October 10, 2012 at 7:39 am

    It sounds as though this book if not another of hers is on the Christmas Wish List too – as well as new bookcase to hold the burgeoning collection of recipe books as well one of these cakes!

Leave a Reply