Fabio Viviani's Apple Cake With Grappa

Fabio Viviani's Apple Cake With Grappa

Ingredients for the Crust:

  • 1 ½ cups flour, plus extra for dusting your work surface
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. orange zest, finely grated
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 12 tbsp. (1 ½ sticks) butter, very cold

Ingredients for the Filling:

  • 4 Red Delicious apples (or other varieties that are not too hard or too tart), peeled and cored
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 4 tbsp. grappa

For the Topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp. grappa
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 egg whites

(serves either me and my grandpa or 6 normal people)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  2. To make the crust, place the dry ingredients and the orange zest in a food processor, turn it on, then add the eggs and the cream. When they are incorporated, turn off the food processor, add the butter, and pulse till the dough looks unified but still lumpy. Some little butter pieces should still be visible (this will make the crust look flaky).
  3. Remove the dough to a cool surface and, using your hands, form it into a ball. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes.
  4. When it has chilled, place the dough on a floured surface and roll it out into a circle large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan with about ½ inch hanging over the side. Place the dough into the pan and then in the fridge to rest while you prepare the apple filling.
  5. To make the filling, slice the apples in sixteenths and put them in a bowl with the orange juice to prevent them from discoloring. Put the walnuts and grappa together in a bowl and toss the walnuts to make sure the grappa really soaks in.
  6. Take the pan with the prepared dough from the fridge and layer the walnuts on the bottom. Then remove the apple slices from the orange juice and layer them on top of the walnuts (don’t add any of the leftover juice).
  7. To make the topping, mix all the ingredients except the egg whites in a bowl. Then beat the egg whites to a medium peak in a separate bowl and fold them into the mixture. Spread over the cake top, pressing down a bit with a plastic spatula. Fold the dough hanging over the sides of the pan over the topping to form a border of about an inch all the way around the cake and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the top and the pastry are nicely browned.

"Fabio's Cake" (Bonus Recipe)
(serves 8-12)


  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3 cups very ripe apples, peeled, cored, and crushed
  • Butter and flour for the pan


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Beat the eggs and sugar until foamy in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add all the remaining ingredients except the butter and flour and mix until everything is incorporated.
  3. Grease and flour a 9-inch round springform baking pan. Pour the batter in and bake for 1 hour. For a crunchier crust I sometimes sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on top before baking.
  4. Eat! This cake is also perfect dried out after a week, with a glass of cold milk.

For More Information On Fabio, And His Newsletter "Fabio’s Kitchen Academy, " visit his website

Fabio's New Cookbook, "Fabio’s Italian Kitchen," is available on