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This Traditional Irish Apple Cake with Whiskey Brown Butter sauce is an imagination inspiring addition to your table whether as dessert after dinner or a mid-afternoon pick me up. One bite and you’ll be imagining faded chintz sofas, crackling fires, and steaming cups of good Irish tea.
For this recipe you’ll need: all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground chipotle (optional and not traditional) butter (I prefer salted for this recipe) sugar, Honeycrisp or Granny Smith Apples, milk, eggs, vanilla, corn syrup, whiskey, vanilla, water, eggs
Cozy Apple Cake Is What You’ve Been Craving
This easy cake is not too sweet – it’s not cake in the American sense of the word. Each bite is buttery perfection crumbling down into bursts of tangy apple joy.
It may be too many Victorian novels or too many episodes of Downton Abbey, I really can’t say for sure. What I do know is that I love any treat that ignites my imagination and whisks me away to another place and time.
Comforting Irish Apple cake invites you to tea in a country home on a dreary day when the rain beats against the old wavy glass windows and a roaring fire is dancing away in the stone fireplace. Any recipe that can do that for me is bound to be a favorite – what about you?
When I was a kid I spent summers on my Aunt and Uncle’s farm. My aunt’s family all lived on the street and I loved to cut through the field to go to her mom’s house because there were always lemon drops in a big glass apothecary jar on the counter.
Going up the dusty path next to the field I’d stop at a gnarled, old apple tree hoping that there were apples ripe enough for me to eat. I’d swing up on one of the branches with my legs swinging and enjoy one of those apples before continuing on my way. Such amazing memories!
It’s the perfect recipe to take to a neighbor who needs a little love – or maybe it’s even better to invite someone over for a afternoon of traditional Irish apple cake, a good strong pot of tea, and good conversation. Whichever you decide this is a treat that insists on being shared.
Apple Cake FAQs
This is a super easy recipe! Good for beginning bakers. It’s also an amazing rainy day activity to make with the kids.
Any tangy apple that keeps its shape when cooked is perfect. I used Honey Crisp in this recipe but other possibilities are Granny Smith, Braeburn, or Winesap
This apple cake will keep at room temperature for about 2 days if tightly covered. You can refrigerate it and it will last for about 5 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
A pound of apples makes roughly 3 cups so 4 cups would be equal to about 1 1/3 pounds. The amount of apples in this recipe isn’t set in stone. Don’t worry if you get a slightly larger or smaller measurement.
Authentic Irish Apple Cake Cook’s Notes
- Don’t dice the apples too small. This is more of a rustic cake and you want bites of apple.
- The cake is mixed up using the biscuit method. I like grating the butter into the flour mixture but you could also cut it in with 2 knives or a pastry blender.
- There isn’t much batter. This cake is mostly apples with a little cake holding them in shape. Don’t worry that the batter isn’t what you were expecting!
- This cake took an hour at 375F to bake all the way through for me. It’s hard to say exactly how long it will take for you. I’d start checking it at the 50 minutes mark. A toothpick poked in the center should come out with a few crumbs sticking to it and the top should be firm. You can also poke a insta-read thermometer in the center and it’s done at 200F.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove it and let it cool down the rest of the way. If you cut it too warm it will fall apart.
- The brown butter whiskey sauce is not required but it sure is good!
You May Need…
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I made this Irish Apple Cake in a 9-inch springform pan. It was the perfect size to give me a nice tall cake. Be sure to get a sturdy one because they last forever if they’re good ones. Cheap ones not so much – I learned the hard way.
More Apple Recipes on Restless Chipotle
I love apples! They work so well in so many different things. Here are some of my favorite apple recipes…
- Red Hots Candy Apple Pie
- Swedish Apple Pie
- French Apple Cake
- Apple Bundt Cake
- Spiced Apple Rings
- Bourbon Apple Tarts with Bacon Streusel
- Apple Pandowdy
- Dutch Apple Pie
And I definitely am eyeing this Apple Crisp Recipe from I Heart Naptime.
Irish Apple Cake Recipe
Easy Irish Apple Cake recipe is going to be one of your favorites. It’s just so simple and cozy – you could even eat it for breakfast or brunch! You can add the sauce or not as you wish – I love it either way.
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars!
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- 3 cups flour, , all purpose
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, Kosher – if using regular salt cut back to 1/4 teaspoon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, , fresh grated
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon chipotle, ground
- 3/4 cup butter, , very cold
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 pounds apples, , honeycrisp – granny smith – winesap or similar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Brown Butter Whiskey Sauce
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup, , light
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 egg yolks, , , whisked until well blended
- 4 tablespoons Whiskey , , I prefer a smoky Scotch for this but use your favorite
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
- Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, hisk together flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
- Grate cold butter into flour mixture, mixing it up often to keep the shreds of butter from sticking together.
- Stir from the bottom so that the butter is completely mixed with the flour mixture.
- Stir in the 1 cup of sugar.
- Place the flour and butter mixture in the freezer while you prepare the apples.
- Peel and core apples then cut in chunks about the size of game dice.
- Add apples to flour mixture and toss to evenly coat the apples and keep them from sticking together.
- Whisk eggs, milk, and vanilla until blended.
- Pour the egg mixture over the apple and flour mixture.
- Mix well to incorporate all of the flour – you’ll probably need to use your hands. You don’t want to see any dry flour but don’t over-mix..
- Spoon into the prepared springform pan and pat down gently to even the top.
- Combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the top.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs sticking to it.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
- Run a knife between the cake and the springform pan and remove the sides – let cool completely.
- It’s nice to sprinkle with some Confectioner’s sugar but not essential.
Whiskey Brown Butter Sauce
- Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan until it is golden brown – watch carefully.
- Remove from the heat and add the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Whisk together and then place back on the heat.
- Bring to a boil, stirring to make sure the sugar is dissolved.
- Whisk some of the hot mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly.
- Add the eggs back into the hot mixture, whisking constantly.
- Bring just to a boil and boil for 1 minute or so, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and stir in the whiskey.
- Pour into a Mason jar or other storage container until ready to use. Warm before pouring over cake.