Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce


Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce | Cooking Classy

I want to keep this cake all to myself…it is just that good! It’s everything you’d imagine it to be and more. It’s not overly sweet like many cakes can be, it has just a nice depth of sweetness which pairs well with slight tartness of the granny smith apples leaving them room to shine. I like the density of this cake too, I always like a balance of differently textured cakes and this one has some body to it. This also has to be one of the most moist cakes I’ve ever had, especially once you finish it off with that creamy vanilla custard sauce. And the cinnamon sugar topping is probably my favorite part, the way it bakes and becomes nicely crisp, it’s simply dreamy.

I know this is a recipe I will make again! It’s definitely fit for bringing along to a party and it’s simple enough that it’s fit for a weekend treat. One great thing about this cake is that you don’t have to wait for it to cool entirely before serving since you aren’t frosting it (I think it’s best served warm with the warm vanilla custard sauce). There’s just something amazing about a warm piece of lightly spiced apple cake on a cold fall day. I also love that you don’t even need a mixer for this recipe. It’s just one of those good old fashioned recipes like your grandma would make, all done in a bowl by hand. The method is actually very similar to making biscuits which totally intrigued me for a cake.

I’m so pleased to say this cake is everything I’d hoped it to be! Enjoy!

Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce | Cooking ClassyIrish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce | Cooking ClassyIrish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce | Cooking ClassyIrish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce | Cooking Classy

Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Serving Size: About 10 - 12 servings

Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp of each ground ginger, nutmeg & allspice
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold, diced into small pieces
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 lbs granny smith apples (about 5 medium)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Custard Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • For the cake:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan, set aside.
  • In a very large mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg and allspice for 20 seconds. Add butter pieces and rub into mixture using fingertips until it resembles fine crumbs. Stir in 1 cup sugar.
  • Peel apples, slice in half, core and stem, then laying apples on flat side, slice downward into pieces slightly less than 1/4-inch thick, then dice those pieces into smaller chunks (about 2 or 3 chunks depending on size of apples). Add apples to flour mixture and toss well to evenly coat, while working to separate any apples that may be stuck together.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together milk, eggs and vanilla until well combined. Pour milk mixture over apple/flour mixture and using clean hands, toss just until combined (batter will be slightly lumpy but that's fine, just don't over-mix).
  • Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. In a small bowl stir together remaining 2 Tbsp sugar plus 1/2 tsp cinnamon, sprinkle evenly over cake. Bake in preheated oven 45 - 50 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool about 5 minutes on a wire rack then remove ring from springform pan and allow cake to cool to desired temperature. Serve warm drizzled with warm custard sauce (or cool with cold custard sauce, however you prefer).
  • For the custard sauce:
  • Heat milk with a pinch of salt over medium heat, and bring just to a light boil (keep an eye on it and remove from burner if needed before letting it rapidly boil). Meanwhile, add egg yolks and sugar to a medium mixing bowl and whisk vigorously until pale and fluffy, about 2 - 3 minutes (alternately you can do this with an electric hand mixer on high speed for about 30 seconds if you don't want to mix that long by hand). Reduce burner to medium-low heat, then while whisking egg yolk mixture, slowly pour in 1/2 cup hot milk mixture. Then, while whisking milk in saucepan slowly pour egg yolk mixture into saucepan. Cook mixture, whisking constantly, until thickened and mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 3 - 4 minutes (be careful not to over-heat it, if you cook it too long or don't whisk well the eggs will curdle). Immediately pour into a glass container, stir in vanilla and whisk about 20 seconds to cool slightly, then cover with plastic wrap pressing against surface to prevent a skin from forming. Serve warm over cake (or cold). Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.
  • Recipe Source: adapted with some changes from The Kitchen McCabe

Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce | Cooking Classy


  • amanda @ fake ginger: This looks absolutely delicious! I want to drink that sauce! October 7, 2014 at 9:50pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Amanda! I wanted to drink it too :)! October 7, 2014 at 11:51pm Reply

  • Matt Robinson: This is one incredible looking cake. Love the flavors! October 7, 2014 at 10:12pm Reply

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci): So pretty, love the cinnamon sugar topping and that incredible vanilla custard! October 7, 2014 at 10:39pm Reply

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks: This looks INCREDIBLE!!! The crust, the apples, the CUSTARD sauce (just pour that into a gravy boat and guzzle!) Gorgeous! October 7, 2014 at 10:43pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Averie! October 7, 2014 at 11:53pm Reply

  • Jana @ Tea Time Blog: Wow!!! Yummy!!! I made healthy ginger-raisin cookies the other day. Baking is amazing during fall and winter!!! Your cake certainly goes on my pinterest board of recipes to try! October 7, 2014 at 11:07pm Reply

  • Daisy @ Simplicity Relished: Any excuse to use apples!! Love this, will save the recipe and make it this season! October 7, 2014 at 11:19pm Reply

  • Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love.: Oh man, this looks amazing! I want a big slice! October 7, 2014 at 11:25pm Reply

  • Medeja: This cake looks delicious! And this custard makes it even better! October 8, 2014 at 2:54am Reply

  • Alexis @ Upside Down Pear: This cake looks incredible! I prefer cakes that have a bit of body to them and are on the simpler side. This would be perfect to bring to my boyfriend’s family for Thanksgiving! October 8, 2014 at 8:37am Reply

  • Elle: I need to try this recipe beceause I know that every cake with apples is always so smooth… and the taste simply perfect. I believe it’s also this case! October 8, 2014 at 9:20am Reply

  • Julie @ Lovely Little Kitchen: Jaclyn, this cake looks so perfect for Fall and very doable. Can’t wait to try it! Beautiful pics as always! October 8, 2014 at 9:32am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Julie! October 8, 2014 at 5:59pm Reply

  • chris: The recipe lists sugar, cinnamon, and butter to go into the cake, but does not say what to do with them. I assume the butter should be cut into the floor mixture? October 8, 2014 at 4:52pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sorry I updated it I’m not sure why it didn’t show up, let me know if you still don’t see it. Thanks! October 8, 2014 at 5:49pm Reply

  • chris: I should clarify, here on the site it does, but I tried following the recipe from my Bloglovin’ app, and it’s missing some steps. Maybe you fixed it here, but it’s not showing up there? Just an FYI. :) October 8, 2014 at 4:56pm Reply

  • Chris: Baking right now and it smells so good! The only problem I had was that there are steps missing from the recipe if you try to follow it through Bloglovin’ like I did. I cut in the butter to the flour mixture but didn’t realize the cinnamon sugar should go on top before baking. October 8, 2014 at 5:08pm Reply

  • Caitlin: Sorry I might be totally blind but it doesn’t mention in the recipe about the Cinnamon Sugar topping on the cake. I’m assuming you pour it on just before you put the cake in the oven?

    Also 1 tablespoon of Baking Powder seems like a lot. Is this right? October 8, 2014 at 5:52pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes sorry I updated that, but yes I did use 1 tablespoon of baking powder – the general rule of leavening agents is 1 tsp baking powder (or 1/4 tsp baking soda) per cup of flour, so with this one that would be 3 teaspoons which is the same as one tablespoon. I hope you love the cake! October 8, 2014 at 5:57pm Reply

  • Chelsea @chelseasmessyapron: What an absolutely stunning cake Jaclyn! It’s just gorgeous!! Pinned :) October 8, 2014 at 6:19pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Chelsea :)! October 8, 2014 at 7:00pm Reply

  • Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet: You sold me on this cake! The crumb, the apples, the sauce – love it all! Pinning! October 9, 2014 at 5:26am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for sharing Anna! October 9, 2014 at 10:41am Reply

  • Laura Dembowski: The method for making this is so interesting. Clearly it produces awesome results – the cake looks so fluffy and moist. Love warm cake too! October 9, 2014 at 6:39am Reply

  • Robin: Made this cake last night for a dinner party. It was fabulous!!! Best apple cake we’ve ever had. Just made one change and served it with a warm homemade caramel sauce drizzle instead of the custard. Yum! Was curious though, what makes it Irish? October 12, 2014 at 7:15am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked it! I imagine it’s just a passed down Irish recipe I think it’s the custard topping too. November 26, 2014 at 10:10am Reply

  • Heather: Do you have to use a springform pan or will any round cake pan work? Had this cake at a babyshower this weekend and am very glad I found this recipe while searching. Looks amazing!!! October 15, 2014 at 10:48am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I would recommend the springform pan because it’s taller than a regular 9-inch cake pan and this is a fairly tall cake. October 15, 2014 at 11:05pm Reply

  • Chloe: Hi Jaclyn,
    I made this cake today; the combination of the apple and the custard is wonderful; however, after over an hour baking time, the center of the cake still tasted flour-y. Should I just keep baking it? or should i lower the temperature a little when baking for so long?
    Chloe October 21, 2014 at 11:12am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You may need to bake a little longer. You could lower the temp near the end but I wouldn’t in the beginning so the cake rises properly. Hope that helps! October 21, 2014 at 12:21pm Reply

  • Mira C.: I really have to watch my cholesterol.
    What can I use instead of egg yolks ?
    Maybe just 1-2 egg yolks ?

    Thanks for your help.
    Mira C. November 10, 2014 at 7:24pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You would probably be okay to replace two of them with an additional egg white? November 10, 2014 at 8:11pm Reply

  • Julia Z: Hi! I was just wondering if there are any other kinds of topping you’d recommend for this cake? I’m trying to make a cake for my dad’s birthday, and while he’d love the cake, he wouldn’t like a custard sauce. Thanks! <3 January 11, 2015 at 12:31pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Caramel sauce sounds like a great alternative to me! January 15, 2015 at 9:03pm Reply

  • CAC: Oh so sad.
    It looks lovely and cooked it for 1 hour 10 minutes. Toothpick came out clean is many places…..went to cut for dinner and it is not done.
    Wet and uncooked inside.

    Will cut off and eat baked edges and toss the rest.
    Any hints or tips on when went wrong??
    Thanks. September 22, 2015 at 1:16pm Reply

  • Nancy K: This looks so very good (great pic)! I think I’ll make it for a friend’s birthday this weekend. Thanks for sharing. December 1, 2015 at 4:35pm Reply

  • Jacque: I want to make this cake tonight, but I don’t have a spring firm pan. What about a bunt pan? March 17, 2016 at 2:53pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I haven’t tested it in a bundt pan but it would probably be okay. March 18, 2016 at 9:38am Reply

  • Mary: I’m not serving the cake right away. What do I do with the custard? Refrigerate and then heat up or leave at room temperature? March 19, 2016 at 9:51am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes, sorry for the late response. March 21, 2016 at 12:16am Reply

  • Anna: Jaclyn made your recipe yesterday and its fantastic! Loved it, thanks for sharing it April 11, 2016 at 3:00am Reply

  • Jeanette: This cake is delicious without the sauce! I’ve made it a couple of time with no sauce and the family LOVES it. August 28, 2016 at 3:47pm Reply

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