I was so pleased when Ginny contacted me and asked if I’d like to be part of the blog tour for a brand new book published by her mom’s company: A Family Farm in Tuscany: Recipes and Stories from Fattoria Poggio Alloro. I am definitely a cookbook junkie…and I’m particularly excited about books that celebrate seasonal sustainable foods.

The photos that grace A Family Farm in Tuscany are so dreamy: flipping through them had me seriously contemplating a Tuscan vacation (I’ve never been). I want to go even more after reading the tales and cooking a few of the comforting recipes from the farm featured in the book.

Italian apple cake

For this post, I chose to feature the Apple Cake on page 175. This is a great fall dessert and I was initially drawn to this recipe because of the apples in my refrigerator that were so desperate to be used up. Somewhat surprisingly, this simple cake ended up being one of the best desserts I’ve ever made. Seriously: my kids absolutely RAVED about it! I followed the recipe exactly except that I substituted almond flour for the all purpose flour. I prefer not to eat wheat, and to make my baked goods grain-free whenever possible (but I don’t really love fooling around with all the different gluten-free flours): I find that almond flour works beautifully as a substitute for all purpose flour.

Almond flour does change the flavor and texture of whatever you’re making a bit (but in my opinion, it’s a good change)…so you should go ahead and use whichever flour makes you happy. One thing I need to mention: the apples sunk down into the batter while baking so you can’t see the pretty pattern I made with them in these photos…not sure if this was because of the almond flour, but I’m guessing yes.

[cft format=0]

Gluten Free Italian Apple Cake

I am pleased to be able to offer one copy of this lovely book to give away.

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. Open to US residents over 18 years of age only. This giveaway will end on Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 11:59 pm EST. One winner with a valid entry will be selected at random using random.org. Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be selected.

To enter, please leave a comment below (this is your mandatory entry)..and if you’ve been to Tuscany, I’d love to hear about your experience!

More recipes from A Family Farm in Tuscany:


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  1. 1

    Beth @ Tasty Yummies — November 1, 2012 @ 8:34 am

    This looks SO delicious. I love apple anything!! I too have some apples desperate to be eaten up asap, maybe I will try making this.
    I have never been to Tuscany but gosh would I love to. We did some illustration work for a client earlier this year, that required us to do illustrations of Tuscany, we obviously used photos for reference but I was left wanting to go there more than ever!

  2. 2

    sara — November 1, 2012 @ 10:33 am

    I would love to travel to Tuscany. It is on our list for our 10th wedding anniversary. I guess this cook book would last be the four years until then!

  3. 3

    gail — November 1, 2012 @ 10:47 am

    thanks for this giveaway!

  4. 4

    Nicki Rathert — November 1, 2012 @ 10:53 am

    I have never been to Tuscany but it is on my list. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I am definitely making it today!

  5. 5

    Teresa — November 1, 2012 @ 11:33 am

    I’ve only gotten to drive through Tuscany but my one meal there was beyond…

  6. 6

    Ginny — November 1, 2012 @ 11:52 am

    This looks lovely, Winnie! I’m so glad you loved the cake. I have made twice in three weeks, and both times, it disappears within 24 hours. We eat it for breakfast as well–even drizzle it with a little maple syrup. I liked your substitution of almond flour. Almonds and apples make a delicious combination.

    Thanks for participating in this tour.

  7. 7

    LiztheChef — November 1, 2012 @ 11:58 am

    Tuscany is pretty awesome but so is your cake, just the recipe I need for dessert for Saturday’s dinner party…

  8. 8

    Simona — November 1, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

    I like your flour substitution and the surface pattern of your cake. Having grown up next door to Tuscany, I’ve been there many many times. There are some truly beautiful places there. However, and I know this will sound a bit snobbish, but it’s the truth, I like my native Umbria better. And if you visit, you can easily put my statement to the test by adding some Umbrian destinations to your itinerary.

  9. 9

    ELLEN — November 1, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

    I’m making this asap! I would love to have that cookbook.

  10. 10

    Nicole — November 1, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

    I want to start experimenting with almond flour more!

  11. 11

    Luna — November 1, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

    Apropos of nothing (at least nothing on this blog other than the general advice on healthy eating), does anyone have any advice on how to eat healthy in the face of all of the leftover Halloween candy at work??

  12. 12

    Kathryn — November 1, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

    Looks delicious, but I think I will try using agave nectar in place of the sugar and reducing liquid elsewhere. Love that you use almond flour. I use it almost exclusively. You can get 5 lb bags for a good price at Honeyville.com. Many recipes for its use at elanaspantry.com. Check it out.

  13. 13

    Evy — November 1, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

    My husband is gluten free and his favorite dessert is apple cake… I’m definitely trying this recipe this weekend. Looks absolutely delicious, thank you!

  14. 14

    Urban Wife — November 1, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

    I would love to visit Tuscany! Almond flour is such a great substitute for AP flour and I definitely use it any chance I get. Thanks for the giveaway!

  15. 15

    Mrs. Z — November 1, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

    I have never been to Tuscany, but it is on the bucket list! :)

  16. 16

    Elin — November 2, 2012 @ 12:40 am

    Looks divine!

  17. 17

    Debra — November 2, 2012 @ 1:09 am

    Never been to Tuscany. This cake looks lovely!

  18. 18

    Shelley Alexander — November 2, 2012 @ 2:52 am

    Hi Winnie, This recipe looks and sounds fabulous and I can’t wait to make it! Thanks for the giveaway!

  19. 19

    Lyn — November 2, 2012 @ 5:53 am

    Absolutely beautiful! But looks so luscious too. Am sending to my daughter who has celiac – great to see something for the season — with apples! And since my husband loves anything apples, I definitely have to try this! Went to Tuscany several years ago – had a car and got to drive all around the wine region. But mostly it was the food – so fabulous. (And the scenery!).

  20. 20

    Jill Hartley — November 2, 2012 @ 7:07 am

    I have been tuscany. It was absolutely positively breathtaking. Definitely my favorite place in Italy… it’s so peaceful and theres a beauty about it that you can’t find any other place in the world.

  21. 21

    Martha — November 2, 2012 @ 8:13 am

    I can’t wait to try this with our Fireside apples. Yum!

  22. 22

    Heather's Creative Concoctions — November 2, 2012 @ 8:58 am

    Ooo I always make an apple crumble for thanksgiving but this looks so good I think I will have to give this a try! And I was obsessed with all things Tuscany for awhile and had my heart set on raising a family there (never been out of the country lol). I don’t think I would pass that opportunity up if it comes my way :)

  23. 23

    Link Love « Hy-vee Health State of Mind — November 2, 2012 @ 10:37 am

    […] Grain and gluten free Italian apple cake […]

  24. 24

    Hannah — November 2, 2012 @ 10:56 am

    Sadly no Tuscan memories to share yet (emphasis on yet…Italy is high on my wish list!). This cake is beautiful and I can’t wait to make it this weekend – perfect timing since I need to make a dessert. I’ve been enjoying almond flour in place of wheat flours, too. I love that there is some added protein from the nuts, and the flavor/texture is terrific.

  25. 25

    Elizabeth F — November 2, 2012 @ 11:05 am

    I spent the summer I turned 14 in Florence with my parents and younger brothers. My parents were both teachers and working on papers. We stayed at a pension which was lodging in a family home. Our room was on the 2nd floor off the top of a beautiful wide staircase. The ceilings and the windows were so high. Bathrooms were shared with other guests. If you wanted a bath you had to pay extra and the tub was in a room by itself. For my 14th birthday we went to see LA BOHEME at one of the opera houses. Opera was “invented” in Florence. We had a Eur-rail pass and we could just hop on trains and take day trips whenever. We had breakfast every morning at the pension, buns and hot chocolate or tea. But we ate out for lunch and dinner at little neighborhood restaurants or just picked up slices of pizza or bread and cheese and fruit from street vendors. If my parents were both busy my brothers and I would wander and keep ourselves entertained. There was so much to see. Everything was very safe. This was 1970. We liked to buy marzipan from the vendors …it was molded and colored into all kinds of fruit shapes. I love almond paste and anything made with almonds.

  26. 26

    bunkie — November 2, 2012 @ 11:11 am

    I have never been to Tuscany, but dream about it. We are picking loads of apples right now in our orchard, and will make your recipe tonight! Looks wonderful!

  27. 27

    Elizabeth F — November 2, 2012 @ 11:11 am

    Simona mentioned Umbria…we visited Perugia and Assisi there that I remember. My father’s specialty was church music so we visited almost every cathedral and church possible. I remember it being hilly and Perugia had many candy stores.

  28. 28

    Kristen — November 2, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

    I can not wait to try this recipe! I’m thinking of trying maple sugar, date sugar or coconut sugar – what do you think?

  29. 29

    Dorothea — November 2, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

    I love all kinds of apple desserts and love your substitution of almond flour – I’m trying this tonight with whipped cream served on the side!

  30. 30

    autumn — November 2, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

    I have a long and storied love for fancy celebration cakes. Lately, though, I’ve been developing more of a soft spot for the elegance of simple, casual cakes like this one. Lovely, Winnie!

  31. 31

    April — November 2, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

    I’ve never been to Tuscany, but I would absolutely love to! I really enjoy traveling. :) Thank you for the giveaway!

  32. 32

    Kristen — November 2, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

    I’ve never been, though I’d love to.
    I’m definitely making this cake…looks so good!

  33. 33

    Gretchen — November 2, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

    This cake looks scrumpious! Lucky me, with a bag of Granny Smiths sitting on my counter…
    I, too, would love to travel to Tuscany. Wine, cheese, great food, what’s not to love!?
    Thanks for sponsoring this contest.

  34. 34

    Amy — November 3, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

    Ooo, apple and almond flour – how can I resist? This looks incredible! I’ve never been to Tuscany but it’s on my list for sure!

  35. 35

    Kim Bee — November 3, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

    This is a wonderful cake. I made it but posted a pasta. Every single recipe I’ve tried so far has been amazing. Such a great book. No need to enter me since I was part of the tour.

  36. 36

    Pantry Clear-Out | Made by Leah — November 3, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

    […] odds and ends from our cupboards as possible. Today I did away with some bits of flour by making this Italian apple […]

  37. 37

    Deb — November 3, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

    Apples paired with almond is a glorious combination. A splendid cake to be shared with friends and family on a chilly fall day!

  38. 38

    Christine — November 3, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

    Yum, I’d love to visit Tuscany vicariously through this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  39. 39

    Fiona — November 3, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

    I would love to try out this recipe, as I too have some lonely apples rattling around in my fridge :) Do you make your own almond flour by finely processing almonds, or do you buy a particular brand? I’ve been casually looking for almond flour in my local grocery stores, but haven’t seen it yet…

  40. 40

    EL — November 3, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

    I’ve never been to Tuscany. I am hoping that the cookbook is the next best thing.

    I would like to try out the recipe, but might try it out with plums. I just made a German plum cake a lot like this and would like to see how they differ. Also might try the almond flour to see how that changes it as well (thus getting to try two cakes). I generally combine rice flour and oat bran when I go wheatless. It makes the crust a bit crunchy which I like, while giving a moist cake. I have a banana blueberry bread that I make that way.

  41. 41

    Inga brooks — November 3, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

    This looked so good I made it tonite! Sub rice flour so I hope the texture is still good. Thanks for sharing and inspiring!!

  42. 42

    Pat Foushee — November 4, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

    I have just returned from Tuscany and had the good fortune to visit Fattoria Poggio Alloro. The gracious hostess gave us a tour of the beautiful grounds winery, olive oil aging area, answered all questions and made us all feel so welcome. The meal we enjoyed was FABULOUS!!!
    The combination of Tuscany scenery, wines, food and hospitality were an unforgetable experience and I would recommend it without reservation.

  43. 43

    Meryl — November 4, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

    Sounds like a great cookbook!

  44. 44

    Louis — November 4, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  45. 45

    Caneel — November 4, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

    I’m not at all surprised so many of us chose to make the apple cake for our posts – it is fantastic! I thought about using all almond flour for my cake but wasn’t sure – I’m so glad you chose to do that and it turned out so well. It’s beautiful and no doubt amazing in taste. I’ll try that next time. I don’t need to be entered in the giveaway as I already own the book. :)

  46. 46

    Vicki — November 4, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

    This apple cake looks great! I can’t wait to try it. I am in charge of dessert this year for Thanksgiving. Thanks for the recipe! I would love to go to Tuscany… someday!

  47. 47

    Carolsue — November 5, 2012 @ 12:11 am

    I have never been to Tuscany, but I sure love cookbooks and this apple cake looks delicious! Please enter my name in your drawing!

  48. 48

    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — November 7, 2012 @ 2:04 am

    I love Tuscany! I was just in Italy last week and watched the hills fly by on the fast train from Rome to Florence. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful area – please go as soon as you can (I want to move there). Your torta di mele looks scrumptious!

  49. 49

    Sarah — November 8, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

    This cake looks looks gorgeous….I wonder how it would turn out using maple syrup instead of sugar? I was in Italy as a teenager and am looking forward to returning one day, I find the culture to have a certain electricity!!! And a divine connection with food and communing…mmmmmmm!

  50. 50

    Stephanie — November 8, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

    Gorgeous cake! I love that you made it grain free. I have some green apples that need using, so I think I just found the perfect recipe :)

  51. 51

    kelly — November 8, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

    Never been to Tuscany, but I’ll bet this cake is just like a little taste of it. I would love to win this book!

  52. 52

    julie — November 9, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

    I have been to tuscany, it was beautiful and I would love to go back. And I got to enjoy it before the gluten free diagnosis!

  53. 53

    Kristin — November 10, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

    I’ve always wanted to go to Tuscany! I’d love to live vicariously through this book….the recipes sound delish!

  54. 54

    Jud — November 10, 2012 @ 7:31 pm

    I came here looking for a recipe for apple cake that uses apples as the #1 ingredient by volume, followed by the flours, oils, etc. But, this one looks way too good to pass up, and it uses Bob’s Red Mill Almond flour, which I just bought 25 lbs of a few weeks ago. I’ll probably be making this one tonight. The colder weather here in Portland this week is making me think baked goods and warm hard drinks. Hmm…maybe whisky in the cake? You all should try warm apple cider with lime juice and rum, brandy, whisky or vodka thrown in. It’s a real northern warmer with an attitude of the lower latitudes. Here’s to traditional Tuscan recipes with a West Coast adaptation!

  55. 55

    Melissa — November 15, 2012 @ 3:54 am

    mouth watering recipe.
    I’v planned to try it in this weekend.
    Nice to be with your blog.

  56. 56

    Caroline — November 15, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

    I just made the cake! It was ready after 30 minutes though. I will only taste it tomorrow, but it’s nice and golden on the outside and the toothpick comes out clean… so folks, watch your oven!

  57. 57

    The Healthy Apple — November 17, 2012 @ 9:08 pm

    WOW! This looks absolutely AMAZING! You are so talented. I’m going to try to make this for Thanksgiving.
    Thanks so much for sharing! Hope you are well; have a great holiday!

  58. 58

    Bridget — January 30, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

    I love this. I can’t wait to make it!

  59. 59

    Alyson — February 22, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

    I am avoiding almonds due to a sensitivity, and our family is now GF. I used Pamela’s baking mix in lieu of the flour. This is one of the best GF desserts I’ve made. Everyone loved it last night! My apples fell into the cake, too, though.

  60. 60

    Jayna — March 5, 2013 @ 12:10 am

    This looks delicious!! Do you think I could
    Use coconut oil in place of the butter? I
    Plan on trying this tomorrow.

  61. 61

    Sue — April 2, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

    This was a wonderful recipe! : )

    I have to do a grain-free/sugar-free diet so I used a cup of Splenda and 3TBS of honey instead of the sugar. Worked wonderfully.

    Thank you!

  62. 62

    Melissa — April 28, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

    Sighhhhhhhhhhhhh……….this was SO yummy, I just went back for seconds! I did, of course lol, make a few minor changes to suite my diet/tastes. I used part almond flour and part homemade GF flour mix (no gums in it tho), I used coconut oil and coconut sugar, added a little salt and subbed maple extract for the vanilla extract. Complete success!
    My suggestion on the apples is to reserve a handful of slices to decorate the top (horizontally) and just mix the rest of the apples into the batter before you pour it into the pan.
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe! It’s certainly going into my Favorites!

  63. 63

    Fiona — May 1, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

    Comfort Food! We made a couple of changes to suit. Cconut sugar, just 1/2 cup. And 1 cup blanced almonds, 1 cup cashews (then ground in elderly but compliant vitamix). I have an extremely sweet tooth, and this was way sweet enough. My husband couldn’t believe it was grain free. Going into my recipe book! Thank you so much.

  64. 64

    Lindsay — June 1, 2013 @ 3:08 pm

    Unfortunately, I made the cake according to the directions exactly (I used 100% almond flour) and it completely fell apart. It was very difficult to cut into slices and crumbled all over the place. It tasted fantastic, but I think the number of eggs needs to be doubled or something to help the apples and almond bind together since there is no gluten if using 100% almonds.

  65. 65

    Jo — June 3, 2013 @ 4:52 am

    My son is possibly going to have to go gluten free, or at least limit gluten. He is more scared about the carb loss (he loves carbs) than he is about his diagnosis! I love to cook, we do organic, home grown, homemade. but I think it will be a big change, thank you for this recipe but not only that-the tip that I can use almond flour instead of trying to figure out all the gluten free flours… I am overwhelmed! will make this for my son tomorrow.

  66. 66

    Pam — July 1, 2013 @ 9:36 am

    This cake rose excellently and had a nice texture. I used 1 cup of almond flour and half cup of Bob’s gluten-free all purpose flour. I also used Splenda, rather than sugar. It was very bland tasting, though. Next time I will use a full teaspoon f vanilla and add cinnamon and nutmeg. A stronger tasting fruit, such as berries or peaches might also boost the flavor. Overall, a great basic gluten-free (sugar-free) cake.

  67. 67

    Lisa — July 18, 2013 @ 6:52 pm

    This cake looks yummy! Can’t wait to try it!

  68. 68

    betts — August 8, 2013 @ 11:08 am

    This cake is delicious, although I made a couple substitutions since I wanted the cake to be dairy free. I used Earth Balance spread instead of butter and full fat soy milk instead of whole milk. I found that 3 medium sized apples were a bit much for this batter, though. Next time, I will use just 2. Also, the batter overflowed my 8 x 2 inch round cake pan (don’t have an 8 inch springform) so had to transfer it to my 9 inch springform pan. It worked perfectly, filling it 2/3 of the way up. Baked for one hour, but the bottom was a bit too wet which I think was due to the number of apples. I used the almond flour by Honeyville Farms as I prefer it to Bob’s Red Mill. Thanks for the recipe.

  69. 69

    Portia — August 17, 2013 @ 5:11 am

    I used this recipe to make apple cinnamon pecan muffins.

    I only used 1/2 cup of sugar (coconut sugar), and added a teaspoon of cinnamon.

    I found 2 apples to be enough – I just chopped them into smaller pieces and added them into the batter prior to pouring into muffins cups.

    Worked out very well! Thanks!

  70. 70

    Paleo Menu: 20 Apple Dessert Recipes — A Girl Worth Saving — September 25, 2013 @ 7:03 pm

    […] Italian apple cake (grain and gluten-free) […]

  71. 71

    5 Brunch Recipes for a Leisurely Morning — September 27, 2013 @ 9:03 am

    […] (gluten- and grain-free) Italian Apple Cake over at Healthy Green Kitchen. Grain-free cake? […]

  72. 72

    Jessica — September 27, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

    Looks fab! The book and your take on the cake. Cheers.

  73. 73

    Claire — September 27, 2013 @ 10:52 pm

    I’ll be trying this out with the apples I pick on Sunday!

  74. 74

    April — September 27, 2013 @ 11:12 pm

    Thank you for the giveaway! And I wish I had been to Tuscany! :) Your cake looks so rustic and beautiful!

  75. 75

    Emily — September 27, 2013 @ 11:26 pm

    I have been to Rome :)

  76. 76

    Wendy Read — September 27, 2013 @ 11:50 pm

    Pinned for later! I have some wonderful apples just waiting for this cake. Thanks so much for posting this up Winnie. I have never been to Tuscany, but would LOVE to visit someday.

  77. 77

    Brenda Francis — September 27, 2013 @ 11:50 pm

    I love cookbooks also, I can spend hours just looking…but looking at one in Tuscany would be even better.

  78. 78

    Katalin — October 17, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

    Am making this for the second time today, this time to give as a gift. The batter is VERY moist and I was tempted to add more flour. I’m glad I did not, because it baked to perfection…wonderful recipe! Thank you so much for sharing it with us :)

  79. 79

    Kate in the Kitchen — maple apple cake {gluten free} — October 24, 2013 @ 9:27 am

    […] pining for something cake-like and warm to use the apples that are sitting in storage, I found this cake recipe on Healthy Green Kitchen, which is one of my go-to sites for healthy eating. I had everything […]

  80. 80

    Paige Prie — October 25, 2013 @ 10:31 pm

    What a surprise to google on “Italian Apple Cake almond flour” and find an actual tried and true recipe! This is my husband’s favorite cake, but now we follow low carb guidelines, so wanted to see what I could do for him. Thank you for your blog; it will be a treat and nice gift for him.

  81. 81

    Jaynee — December 23, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

    Made this today-will not make again. Cake did not hold itself together upon slicing and tasted mealy. Taking this off my list. :(

  82. 82

    Winnie — December 23, 2013 @ 7:39 pm

    Sorry that was your experience. Everyone else has loved the cake so I am curious what kind of flour you used and if you made any changes to the recipe?

  83. 83

    Jaynee — December 31, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

    I did use maple syrup instead of regular sugar.

  84. 84

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