A thick slice of Irish Apple Cake is covered in brown butter whiskey sauce. The whole cake and the sauce in a bottle are in the background.
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Authentic Irish Apple Cake

Tender, tangy apples are enveloped in a buttery cake that's not too sweet. A dusting  of sugar and cinnamon on the top just before baking gives it a delicate sugar crust.
Course Dessert - Cake
Cuisine Irish
Keyword apple, brown butter, brunch, buttery, whiskey
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 479kcal
Author Marye Audet-White



  • 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.



  • 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!


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 479kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 264mg | Potassium: 250mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 620IU | Vitamin C: 3.5mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 1.7mg