This Irish apple cake is so good you can eat it as a dessert or even for breakfast with tea. It’s creamy crunch and the whiskey cream is decadent.
Last year I visited Ireland and I was blown away. I had no idea that I’d love the people, the landscapes and the food!
Rule #1: Ireland is definitely not England.
It was fascinating to learn about its history and food played such a crucial role. And while there are lots of modern Irish foods, I can’t help but think about the traditional comfort food.
This may sound weird but Ireland’s culture reminded me a bit of growing up in the Maritimes in Canada with this odd twist of Latin America because it was a country that struggled.
Guinness Irish Beef Stew
I grew up in an apple valley in Canada and so I was immediately drawn to Irish apple cake.
This is a traditional Irish apple cake recipe with a twist. The cake recipe is traditional but it does not use a traditional creme anglaise custard sauce and instead a whiskey cream. Because I like my desserts to be for adults.
And I feel like I have some leeway with this apple cake recipe because there is no ONE original recipe.
Much like apple pie in Canada, it celebrated apple harvest season. The recipe changes from home to home depending on the home. cook.
I was told it’s the most popular dessert in Ireland
Also known as Kerry apple cakes or Irish apple crumble cake, it is usually a light cake with a moist apple filling and a crunchy top.
Most recipes also top the apple cake with either a cream or custard. It’s also fantastic with vanilla ice cream.
But the cake can be almost like a bread. And some are technically more streusels. This authentic Irish dessert recipe is open for interpretation.
This is great for people like me who cannot bake. Anything goes.
Irish Apple Cake is a St.Patrick’s Day Food
And I’m not just saying that because it’s the only Irish dessert I have on this site.
St. Patrick is known for ridding Ireland of snakes. BUT legends says he planted apple trees throughout Ireland.
They say it was in Armagh, Ulster County which is one of the original settlements previously called Ceanoga.
But others say there is proof apples were a prized fruit long before St.Patrick. Apples have thrived in Ireland for over 3000 years.
Either way I don’t think we really need a reason to eat cake. This is a very common dessert using tart apples in Ireland during harvest season and quite inexpensive.
A Traditional Dessert in Ireland
What I love about Irish apple cake is it’s not too sweet. It’s maybe the same as eating apple pancakes?
So the Irish eat it for dessert OR breakfast OR with tea. There is really no wrong time to eat it.
Who doesn’t want cake and sauce for breakfast?
These cakes were once steamed in pots with an open fire and later cooked in a cast iron pan. It once used crab apples and people still continue to use a tart apple.
Not too sweet. Not too tart. It’s the perfect dessert…or breakfast!
Irish Apple Cake Shopping List
- all-purpose flour
- unsalted butter – bonus points if you can get Irish butter like this one.
- granulated sugar
- 2% milk
- tart apples (more on that below)
Whiskey Cream Topping
If you are uncomfortable serving Irish Whiskey in a dessert you can simply leave it out and top with ice cream.
- 2 cups 35% heavy cream
- unsalted butter
- white chocolate
- Irish whiskey
What Kind of Apples are Best?
In any baked apple dessert a tart crisp apple is usually best. Many people call them baking apples
- Granny smiths
- Honey crisps
Use whatever apple is local to you and is both tart and has a firm texture that will hold up in baking.
How to Make Irish Apple Cake
I’m not going to lie, dough terrifies me!
Some people love to bake and get their hands in the dough. I do not. I don’t make fresh pasta or bread and I buy pizza dough.
Traditional Irish cake recipes are easier because it’s supposed to be rustic.
This is farmhouse cooking. It is not refined. It will have holes and be a bit misshapen and no one will know. But there is one key to success.
Don’t overwork the dough!
I’ve included the different stages of the cake batter mixture to show what it should look like.
It is not a smooth pastry dough.
When you make bread you want to knead it to give it that firm, chewy texture that we all love in bread.
Do not do that here.
This Irish cake is light and fluffy. But truth be told. If you screw it up and it’s super dense it’s still going to taste great.
Also for baking you really need to keep an eye on the oven. Some ovens are hotter than others. Everyone is at a different altitude.
Using a 10-inch springform pan this should cook in about 45 minutes. But it could be more or less.
To check to see if your cake is done stick a toothpick throughout. Some crumbs are good as it’s a moist cake. But you don’t want to see batter on the toothpick.
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 5 apples, peeled and sliced in thin pieces
- 1/2 pint heavy cream
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 12 ounces white chocolate
- 3 teaspoons Irish whiskey
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine butter and flour in food processor and blend until crumbly.
- Transfer butter and flour mixture to a large mixing bowl.
- Add baking powder, salt, cinnamon and 3/4 cup of sugar and stir to combine.
- Mix in eggs and milk and stir until all ingredients are well mixed in.
- Peel and slice apples.
- Grease and flour a 10-inch spring-form pan.
- On a floured surface, roll out half the dough to a 10-inch circle. Put in the spring-form pan.
- Top with apples, and then the second half of the dough.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
- To make the topping, heat heavy cream and butter over medium heat until just boiling, while stirring frequently.
- Add white chocolate and Irish whiskey to a mixing bowl. Pour hot heavy cream over the white chocolate and stir until the chocolate has completely melted.
- Slice and serve with sauce.
Nutrition InformationYield 10 servings Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 687Total Fat 36gSaturated Fat 22gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 111mgSodium 271mgCarbohydrates 83gFiber 4gSugar 45gProtein 10g
If you’ve had a traditional Irish cake with custard sauce or other traditional Irish cakes I’d love to know your favourite recipes in the comments below!