Ireland Tradition: A Cast Iron Irish Apple Cake

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.

Ireland Tradition: A Cast Iron Irish Apple Cake |

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.

Ireland Tradition: A Cast Iron Irish Apple Cake |

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.

Irish Apple Cake in a Cast Iron Skillet

Ireland Tradition: A Cast Iron Irish Apple Cake

Ireland Tradition: A Cast Iron Irish Apple Cake

Yield: 10 - 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

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.


  • 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


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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

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Ireland Tradition: A Cast Iron Irish Apple Cake |

28 thoughts on “Ireland Tradition: A Cast Iron Irish Apple Cake

  1. Sandy

    I’m making this cake right now and noticed the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon & 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg are not mentioned in the directions as to when to add them, I do see the dash of cinnamon and cloves to sprinkle of the apples, but that’s it. I’m adding to flour/sugar mixture and thinking I can’t go too far wrong.

    1. Stephanie Wilson

      I’m making this right now too :). I’ll clarify the directions — thanks for catching that. You DO add the cinnamon and nutmeg to the flour mixture. Enjoy!

      1. Cynthia Cartwright

        this cake sounds so yummy….I Have a set of cast iron pans I use all the time. Can I use cooking spray instead of parchment paper?

        1. Stephanie Wilson

          Hi Cynthia! Yes you can – I like to use parchment for easy clean up and easy removal of the cake from the pan. But cooking spray should work just fine too!

  2. Sandy

    Made this for dinner guests, everyone loved it. I even posted a picture of my end result on Facebook and now getting requests for the recipe. Thanks for this recipe, I am certain it will become part of my traditional annual St Patrick’s Day dinner from now on, but I won’t wait another year to make this again.

    1. Stephanie Wilson

      Thank you so much Sandy! Would love to see your photo and so glad you enjoyed it! We love it too ?

  3. Brenda T

    Would the texture be changed if I add two sliced apples instead of one?
    Thank you-cannot wait to make this!

    1. Stephanie Wilson

      Hi Brenda! Adding an extra apple shouldn’t affect the texture. I’ve not tried two apples before but I do use an extra large apple, which may be the size of two regular ones. It’s so easy — and delicious! Thanks for your question.

  4. Jan Bowen

    Hi, how do I store the left over cake, and do u remove it from the cast iron skillet before it after serving?

    1. Stephanie Wilson

      Hi Jan! I do remove it from the cast iron skillet for storing. It can be wrapped up and stored on the counter for about a day. Any longer and I’ll refrigerate or freeze.

  5. Nikki

    Can I double this recipe and put it in a larger cast iron skillet? If so how would the cook time change?
    Thank you!!

    1. Stephanie Wilson

      Hi Nikki – yes, you can double the recipe. Bake it for the same amount of time. It won’t be done yet but begin checking it in 5 minute increments until a cake tester comes out clean. The baking time will not double.

  6. Kay Gleason

    Smells great- was an easy recipe. Texture is more like a tart than a cake. Hope it tastes good!!!!

    1. Stephanie Wilson

      Hi Kay! It is such an easy recipe and one a dear Irish woman game me from her family. I’m so in love with their comfort food!

  7. Jane Stuppi

    Plan to make this delicious cake this week for my friends. Looks Delish.

    1. Stephanie Wilson

      A simple but traditional cake! You’ve inspired me — I’m going to join you and make it this weekend too ??.

  8. Marianna DeHart

    This is delicious! I sliced a barely ripe pear on top instead of the apple and it worked out perfectly. A plum would be fun to try too.

    1. Stephanie Wilson

      Hi Marianna! What a great idea – that’s on my baking list this week! I have made it with a plum — and it’s really good too! Thanks for sharing!!

  9. Anonymous

    Sounds delicious and easy too. What size skillet and how many does this recipe serve?

    1. It’s a super easy, simple, authentically Irish cake. I make it in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, but have also made it in a 9-inch cake pan. Watch the baking time when switching between a skillet and a cake pan. The cake should make about 8 wedges. Enjoy!

  10. Cathy

    Hi I have 12 inch cast iron pan. Can i make it in that and would that change the amount of time it would need to cook. Or can you recommend how long to cook it for in a 9 inch cake pan

    1. Hi Cathy! I would opt for the 9-inch cake pan instead. The 12-inch cast iron won’t let the cake get a lot of rise. Coat the cake pan well, but don’t line it with parchment paper. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. I always like to see a few crumbs. Enjoy!!

      1. Cathy

        Thank you for getting back so quickly Stephanie 🙂🍀

  11. Cathy

    Thank you for getting back so quickly Stephanie 🙂🍀

  12. Ana

    Do you leave the peel on the apple?

    1. You can do it either way, but I usually peel the apple and press it into the batter before baking.

  13. Sharon

    I made this recipe on St. Patrick’s Day and unfortunately, I was very disappointed with the results. I’ll explain why. I read through the recipe and thought it sounded yummy and easy to make. Wanting a bigger cake, I printed out the double recipe (scale: x2). Followed it to a t, but…of course it took MUCH longer to bake – almost double the time. When it came time to eat it, it was very, very dry. I went back and checked the recipe to make sure I followed it right and noticed that although the recipe had called for 2 sticks of butter, the instructions used only 1. No wonder it was dry as a bone! It looks like the instructions for the larger cakes have the same instructions as for the single version. Please make the corrections for future users to save them grief, i.e. instead of instructing to use 1 stick of butter, say use all the butter mentioned in the ingredients. Will I try it again? Maybe.

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