Made with tart, crisp Granny Smith apples mixed into a simple batter to produce a moist, traditional Irish Apple Cake. There is no addition of spices or flavorings, so the true flavors of each ingredient can be tasted and appreciated. Serve warm or room temperature, on its own or with hot creamy custard sauce, it is delicious.
The Druids first planted apples in Ireland, so the Irish have been enjoying apples for over 3000 years. This Apple Cake was typically made with crab apples but nowadays Bramley apples replace them. Bramleys are hard to find here in the States, so Granny Smith apples are the best substitute.
Other simple ingredients are used too in this recipe. In its most authentic form, no spices or additional flavorings are added. Cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla first appeared in recipes in the 18th century in Ireland. Irish Apple Cake originated before that, so the first Irish Apple Cakes were made entirely of the ingredients below (with the exception of the baking powder.)
- Apples: Need to be tart, Granny Smith are the best choice.
- Flour: all purpose.
- Butter: salted and preferably Irish / grass fed.
- Milk: whole.
- Sugar: granulated or caster.
- Baking powder.
Before making the cake, pre heat a 375 degrees F oven. Get a 9 inch springform or loose bottom cake pan. With some butter and using a butter wrapper, grease the bottom and sides of the pan. Add about ½ tsp flour to the cake pan and dust it all around, so that it thinly coats the cake pan.
To make the cake part, mix the sugar, flour and baking powder together. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the bowl. Mix on a slow speed.
While the cake part is mixing, peel, core and dice the apples.
Dice each apple and add it to the cake mixture to decrease the amount of apple browning. Do this with all the apples.
Add eggs, one at a time and mix. Pour in the milk and mix. Empty the cake batter into the cake pan.
Spread the cake batter evenly to form a level cake and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Check with a fine toothpick or pin by sticking it into the center. The cake is fully baked if the toothpick comes out hot, a little greasy and dry. If it comes out with cake batter on it, then return it to the oven for further baking. Check for doneness every 5 minutes.
Remove the cake pan from the oven and allow the Irish Apple Cake to cool before removing it from the cake pan. Dust with a light sprinkling of sugar.
Tart apples are required to make this recipe authentic. If you prefer a sweeter apple, then go for it!
Whole wheat or any other type of whole grain flour works. This will improve the nutritional content of the Cake and make it more like an English Apple Cake.
Replace granulated sugar with date sugar or similar natural sugar.
Bake your Irish Apple Cake in a loaf pan, if you don’t have a springform or loose bottom pan (which I used.)
Use a hand mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer.
Uses for Irish Apple Cake
Irish Apple Cake can be eaten any time of the day. As a young girl, I would eat it at the weekend, with a cup of tea in the afternoon. I would have to promise my mother that a generous slice of it, would not spoil my appetite! Of course, it’s a promise I couldn’t always keep.
It can be served as a morning or afternoon sweet treat. I’ve seen it served as dessert with warm custard sauce and also make an appearance at the breakfast table.
Store Irish Apple Cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature before eating. Chilling it will make it last longer. It can also be stored at room temperature if it will be eaten within 2 days.
Freeze Irish Apple Cake for up to 6 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
A stand mixer made this recipe easier, but it is not necessary.
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A Tip From Me
When preparing apples, work quickly. Peel, core and dice one apple at a time, then toss it into the flour mixture. This coats the surface of the apples and prevents oxidation (when the apple turns brown). Doing this, eliminates the need for temporarily storing the diced apples in lemon water.
Apples stored in lemon water end up absorbing some of it. As a result, unnecessary liquid is introduced into the cake batter and will give you undesirable results.
I’ve got answers – hopefully!
- Why did my Irish Apple Cake sink? There are generally 2 reasons why cakes fail to rise. The first one is that too much liquid is in the recipe. That is why I’m not in favor of steeping the apple chunks in lemon water to prevent oxidation. This step introduces unnecessary liquid to the batter. Secondly, opening and closing the oven door frequently creates an unstable temperature for the cake.
- Can I add dried fruit? By all means. Your Irish Apple Cake may not be authentic but it will be delicious!
- I’ve seen Irish Apple Cake with crumb on it, why does your recipe not have any? Simple, it is not authentic and my goal was to make an original Irish Apple Cake, as it would have been made centuries ago. The crumb on top looks delicious, so feel free to add some.
Irish Apple Cake
- 12 oz all purpose flour
- 8 oz cold butter
- 6 oz sugar
- 6 oz milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 24 oz Granny Smith apples 3-4 apples
- Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Using a butter wrapper and butter, grease the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform or loose bottom cake pan. Add about ½ tsp flour to the cake pan and dust it all around to thinly coat the cake pan.
- To make the cake part, mix the sugar, flour and baking powder together. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the bowl. Mix on a slow speed.
- While the cake part is mixing, peel, core and dice the apples. Dice each apple, one at a time and add it to the cake mixture. This will reduce apple browning. Do this with all the apples.
- Add eggs, one at a time and mix. Pour in the milk and mix. Empty the cake batter into the cake pan.
- Spread the cake batter evenly to form a level cake and place in the oven for 45 minutes to bake.
- Check doneness with a fine toothpick or pin by sticking it into the center. The cake is fully baked if it comes out hot, a little greasy and dry. If it comes out with cake batter on it, then return it to the oven for further baking. Check for doneness every 5 minutes.
- Remove the cake pan from the oven and allow the Irish Apple Cake to cool before removing it from the cake pan. Dust with a light sprinkling of sugar.