Petronilla’s apple cake

This to me is THE Apple Cake. It is the one I grew up with and it is delicious. It is also healthy, has it has no butter or oil or any added fat. Italian readers might have already guessed, it comes from an old recipe book that my grandmother owned: le ricette di Petronilla.

Petronilla was an Italian doctor that used to write about cooking and nutrition. The book is interesting not only because some of the recipes, like this apple cake, are truly delicious, but also because it is a window on another lifestyle. For example, in this cake the butter is omitted to make the cake cheaper rather than to make it healthier.

Anyway, hope you will try it!

Apple cake


  • 3 apples
  • 2 eggs
  • 2.75 oz. all purpose flour
  • 2.75 oz. whole wheat flour
  • 5 oz. sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 drop vanilla extract
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup milk
  • pinch of salt


  1. Beat the eggs with the sugar until they puff up and double in volume.
  2. Add the flour, the baking powder, the vanilla extract and enough milk to make the batter smooth, but not quite fluid.
  3. Add 1 apple cut in small slivers to the batter.
  4. Pour half the batter in a buttered cake pan and layer with apple slices.
  5. Cover with the rest of the batter and top with more apple slices.
  6. Bake in the oven at 375F for about 40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through (toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean).
  7. By the way, I substituted half the flour with whole wheat one, but the original recipe is made with just AP flour.