Irish Apple Cake is an easy to make, old fashioned cake that’s packed with juicy apples, warm spices, and topped with a sweet, crunchy crumble topping. Enjoy a slice of this moist cake with a as an after-dinner treat or an afternoon snack.
As another dessert option, enjoy a simple and classic Irish Tea Cake or the rich Chocolate Stout Cupcakes.
Irish Apple Cake Recipe
Calling all apple lovers! This easy Irish Apple Cake takes tart Granny Smith apples and nestles them into soft, warmly spiced and sweet bites of cake that’s baked beneath a layer of buttery crumble topping. Are you drooling yet? The cake itself is soft and fluffy, yet still pretty moist and dense. It’s the best of both worlds… And SO easy to make!
There’s only about 15 minutes of prep time needed to make this homemade cake. After that, you just pop it into the oven like any other tasty baked good and let your kitchen fill with the most intoxicating spiced apple smells!
Trust me, this is one of those recipes that has everyone in the house strolling into the kitchen and asking, “what’s that?” While it’ll be all too tempting to dig in right away, I recommend letting the cake cool a bit first to avoid burned mouths.
While I typically make this traditional Irish cake for a St. Paddy’s Day dessert, it also doubles as a great morning time treat! Serve it with a cup of your favorite hot tea or coffee to start your day sweetly. If you have any left over from St. Patrick’s Day, feel free to enjoy a slice in the AM. The crumble topping and denser consistency are both pretty reminiscent of coffee cake, after all!
For the apple cake batter:
- Granny Smith Apples – They’ll need to be peeled, cored, and diced.
- Cake Flour
- White Granulated Sugar
- Baking Powder
- Spices – You’ll need a medley of cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves to create the best warm flavor.
- Butter – It needs to be unsalted and cold.
- Vanilla Extract – I always recommend using pure vanilla extract (not imitation) for the best flavor.
- Whole Milk
For the crumble topping:
- Brown Sugar
- White Granulated Sugar
- All-Purpose Flour
- Butter – This needs to be unsalted and melted.
Best Apple To Use
The absolute best apples to use for Irish Apple Cake are Granny Smith apples! They create a perfect balance of sweet cake and slightly sour juicy apples. The combination of sweet and tart makes a beautiful dessert or just a companion for a cup of tea.
If you just don’t like the tartness of Granny Smith apples, you can choose to go with a sweet apple instead. Use something bright and juicy like Honeycrisp or Gala apples. You can even experiment and go half and half by combining sweet and tart apples.
With just about 15 minutes of prep time, this is definitely a quick and easy cake recipe!
Make the batter.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and spices in a bowl.
Grate the cold butter into the bowl. Cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Toss the diced (and peeled) apples into the mixture.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until evenly incorporated.
Grease a 9-inch springform pan and spread the batter in it.
Make the crumble topping.
Combine the brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and flour in a bowl. Stir until all of the ingredients are mixed evenly.
Pour in the melted butter and carefully fold and cut it in with a large fork. You’ll want to be careful so you don’t over-mix it!
Bake the cake.
Spread the crumble topping evenly over the batter in the pan.
Bake the cake for about 45-50 minutes. It’s best to do the toothpick test in the center of the cake to make sure it’s done.
Tips for the Best Irish Apple Cake:
- Try to keep the apple pieces uniform is size and don’t make them too small. You want a nice bite of apple with the cake.
- Make the batter in a biscuit making style. This will give you a nice rustic texture. Also, coating apple pieces in the flour mixture first will integrate them better into the batter so when the juices are released, they’ll soak right into the cake!
- I highly recommend using a 9-inch springform baking pan to bake the cake in. It will be so much easier to take the cake out of the pan this way. You can, of course, use any tall sized baking dish and simply cut the cake out slice by slice.
- Serve Irish Apple Cake with any topping you wish: custard sauce, caramel sauce, whiskey butter sauce, or straight up.
You can store this apple cake at room temperature for a couple of days. Just make sure to keep it airtight container. Environment in your house (temperatures and humidity) will affect how long you can keep the cake at room temperature. For example, shelf life at room temperature is much shorter in a humid climate.
You can store the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for longer, about a week. When you want to have some, simply warm each slice up in a microwave.
Irish Apple Cake
Apple Cake Batter:
- 3-4 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, diced
- 3 cup cake flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter cold
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Peel, core, and dice the apples.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and spices and whisk well.
- Grate or shave cold butter into the bowl with flour and cut the butter in the flour until it's well incorporated and starting to resemble coarse crumbs.
- Add diced apples and mix well until evenly incorporated.
- Whisk eggs, milk, and vanilla extract together, pour it into the bowl with flour and apples as you're mixing. Keep mixing until everything is evenly incorporated.
- Grease a 9-inch springform and spread the apple cake batter in it evenly.
- In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Mix well until all ingredients are incorporated evenly.
- Pour in melted butter and carefully fold and cut it in with a large fork. You will want to be careful so you don’t over-mix. Crumble topping should look like large crumbs and not paste.
- Spread the crumble topping over the batter in the baking pan.
- Bake the apple cake for 45-50 minutes. (Remember to do the toothpick test in the center of the cake to make sure it's done.)
What is cake flour please? I’m in Australia and haven’t heard of this? Tx
Cake flour is lower in protein which means less gluten is formed as you mix the batter together and less gluten makes the cake have a softer fluffier texture.