Irish Apple Cake and Custard Sauce

On St. Patrick’s Day, I like to go back to my Irish roots and make something quintessentially celtic. I found this recipe through Irish American Mom, and I’ve adapted it a little to make it more to my liking. This cake is more bread-like than anything else, and the apples are what make up the majority of the dessert. It has a hint of spice, but for the most part this is a mild dessert. I’ll be honest; it’s not bursting with flavor. It’s simple and not very sweet, but if you’re going for something authentic, then here it is.

Another blog that I admire, The Kitchen McCabe, used a custard sauce to counteract the dryness of the cake. I tried this, and it turned out very nicely, so for this recipe I’ll include a sauce to go with the cake too. I hope you like this cake for St. Patrick’s Day or just as an afternoon dessert with tea. I know I certainly did!

Happy Baking,

Ivy B. Lake

For this recipe you will need 1 large bowl, 2 spatulas, a whisk, 1 small-medium bowl (for tossing apples in sugar), a cutting board, a sifter, a knife, a peeler, 1 small bowl, and a 9 inch springform pan.

For making the custard, you will need 1 small bowl, a saucepan, a whisk, and a spoon.

Ingredients for cake:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 6 oz. butter (cold is fine)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large granny smith apples or golden delicious (if you use granny smith, toss the slices in a bit of sugar and cinnamon before use)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. confectioner’s sugar or granulated sugar (for dusting on top of cake)

Ingredients for custard sauce:

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla


Grease and flour your 9″ inch round springform pan and set aside. (If you use an 8″ inch round, it will just yield a taller cake). Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Sift your flours, baking powder, salt, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon into a large bowl. This bowl should be very wide if possible.

Cut the cold butter into small bits. Mix this into your dry ingredients with your fingertips (or a pastry cutter) until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and toss in.

Wash the apples, peel them and then slice them vertically (throwing out the cores). Once you have slices that are about 1/4″ thick, cut these slices into quarters. Toss in sugar and cinnamon if desired (to cut the tartness of the granny smith).

Toss the apples into the flour mix with your hands, or folding with a spatula. Be careful to just mix until incorporated, not overmixing.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Add this to the flour and apples bowl, tossing with a spatula. Mix until just combined, being careful not to beat the batter too much. The mixture will appear thick and dough-like.

Transfer the batter to your pan and flatten the top surface with the back of a spatula. Sprinkle sugar over the cake.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. Test the center with a knife for doneness, because the top may look done but the center may need more time. The cake should be golden brown.

For the custard, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a small bowl until pale yellow (3 minutes).

Pour the milk in a saucepan and bring to just a boil. Slowly whisk hot milk and then add to the egg-sugar mixture. Whisk this together.

Transfer your combined mixture back to the saucepan and stir over medium heat, just until the custard thickens. The custard should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Mix in the vanilla.

Transfer to a bowl and pour warm over a slice of Irish Apple Cake. Enjoy!

Leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions.


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