Irish Apple Cake is a traditional dessert in Ireland. Recipes for the moist and tender cast iron cake are as varied as the beautiful people who live in the Emerald Isle. This heritage recipe is a simple and tasty dessert everyone will love.
Like little pots of gold, heritage recipes are treasures like no others. The Irish are known for their simple yet incredibly delicious recipes that have, for generations, passed from mother to daughter in farmhouses all over that beautiful country.
Irish Apple Cake History
Originally, Irish apple cakes were steamed in pots beside an open fire. And largely made from crab apples, which are in abundant supply in Ireland. So plentiful, in fact, The Irish Times says the “Irish spend €100 million annually on apples.”
Today, apple cakes are baked in ovens all across the lush, green Irish countryside.
Baking the Irish Apple Cake
I like to bake this sweet and delicious authentic Irish Apple Cake in a cast-iron skillet. It’s a better conductor of heat, giving the edges that crispy texture we love. Plus, I love to serve warm wedges right from the skillet. Somehow, it just seems to add an additional layer of flavor and coziness.
The Apples of Ireland
Apples, especially crab apples, play a significant role in Irish and Celtic mythology. The legendary Avalon, the location where King Arthur was taken to recover from his wounds after fighting Mordred at the Battle of Camlann, is considered a sacred Isle of the apple trees.
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- medium apple, sliced thinly (about 1 cup)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Dash of ground cloves and a dash of cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium-size bowl, Add the flour and baking powder. Cut 8 tablespoons of butter into the flour using a pastry cutter or your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs. Whisk sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the flour and butter mixture.
- Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the beaten egg, milk, and vanilla. Mix until a soft dough forms. Almost scone-like.
- Spoon and press dough into the bottom of the parchment-lined skillet. Layer thinly sliced apples over the dough. Combine 1 tablespoon of sugar and a dash each of ground cloves and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the apples.
- Place the skillet on the middle rack of your oven. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Then, switch the oven to broil. Keep the apple cake in the oven and broil, on the middle rack, 2-3 minutes or until the edges of the cake are golden brown. This step is optional... but I love the added crispness.
- Allow the cake to cool slightly, cut into wedges and dust with powdered sugar. Or serve with whipped cream -- or ice cream -- all of which makes a delightfully delicious topping to this Irish Apple Cake!
Doubling the Recipe
I've not tested doubling this recipe. If you do double it, here is a great tutorial on scaling up cake recipes.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 212Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 154mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 3g