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Ricotta-Semolina Cake with Caramelized Apples

8 to 10 Servings

1¼ hours plus cooling

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Adapted from “Summer Kitchens” by Olia Hercules, this cake-cheesecake hybrid is inverted out of the baking pan to reveal a layer of silky, buttery, golden-hued apples. The ricotta-based cake is deliciously rich but whipped egg whites folded into the batter give the crumb a little lightness, while semolina lends both structure and texture. We suggest using firm, sweet apples that won’t easily break down with cooking; Honeycrisp, Fuji and Gala are good varieties. So that the egg whites achieve the proper amount of loft, be sure the mixer bowl and whisk attachment are perfectly clean, as any trace of fat will prevent full aeration. If you happen to have two bowls for your mixer, use one to whip the whites and one to mix the batter—no need to transfer the whites after whipping them. Store leftovers in the refrigerator tightly wrapped or in an airtight container for up to three days; bring to room temperature or gently rewarm in a 300°F oven for a few minutes before serving.

8 to 10



Don’t use artisanal or housemade ricotta. Regular supermarket ricotta works best in the recipe because it’s softer, moister and more finely curded than many high-end types. And be sure the ricotta is at room temperature before use. If it’s cold, it will cause the butter to stiffen and make mixing more difficult.

1¼ hours

plus cooling


  • 28

    grams (2 tablespoons) salted butter, plus 170 grams (12 tablespoons) salted butter, softened, divided

  • 2

    medium crisp, sweet apples (about 8 ounces each), peeled, cored and sliced into ¼-inch-thick wedges


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November 21, 2022
Delightful cake
Simply the best of the Milk St recipes I have tried. In the tv show Olia Hercules encouraged using semolina and since I happened to have it I did. The resulting cake has a lovely light and slightly different texture from a flour cake. I will be making it again.
Emily B.
March 19, 2023
Lovely and not too sweet
This was fun to make, looked very pretty and was lightly sweet, which I and all my guests loved. I topped it with some homemade whipped cream. Delicious.
Eileen E.
November 24, 2023
A Clear Winner!
I happened to watch the episode where the Ukrainian woman made this cake and just knew I had to make it so it became my contribution to our annual family Thanksgiving gathering. I won’t kid you, it wasn’t easy. My counter space is small and I haven’t baked in many years (I’m 82) but it came out beautifully and was a big hit. It was as delicious as I had dreamed it would be.
Rennae R.

These are such wonderful Recipes! I wish the Nutritional Facts/Information was listed for each recipe.