Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce

October 7, 2014

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I want to keep this Irish apple 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.

Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce | Cooking Classy

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

5 from 7 votes

Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce

A must try fall recipe! Tender cake is dotted with juicy apples and finished with a rich and creamy vanilla custard sauce.
Servings: 12
Prep25 minutes
Cook50 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 15 minutes



  • 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
Nutrition Facts
Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 412 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 160mg53%
Sodium 135mg6%
Potassium 278mg8%
Carbohydrates 59g20%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 33g37%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 630IU13%
Vitamin C 2.6mg3%
Calcium 123mg12%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce | Cooking Classy

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  • Teresa

    I made this cake last March and it was divine. I made it again today and it was a disaster. After testing done after 45 minutes, I let it go another 3 minutes. Testers came out clean so I took it out. When I went to serve it, it was totally raw in the middle. I’m not sure what went wrong, but I’ve gone over the recipe several times and it baked beautifully the first time. Any ideas on what could have gone wrong?

  • Karen

    I’ve made this twice now. It’s quite dense, not too sweet, and very tasty. Everyone loved it. Mine took longer to cook but I just kept checking it every few minutes after the 45 minute mark.

  • Dave Stoner

    I’m thinking of taking this to a dinner party. Right out of the oven sounds great but not practical. How / when should I top with the custard. Should I do it warm and let cool together?

  • Mary

    people … this is a recipe worthy of a lot more work, before it works.

  • Sue

    I made the for St Patrick’s day, it is amazing. It gets better the longer it sits. It is now my husband’s favorite. Thank you so much for sharing. We ate it with van. ice cream.yummy

  • Cheryl Case

    Found your recipe just in time for St. Patrick’s Day yesterday! It was absolutely AMAZING! We have a new favorite dessert! Thank you so very much for sharing the recipe!



    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Sorry for the confusion, for the custard in the beginning you are adding all of the milk to a saucepan then you are just removing 1/2 cup of the heated milk from the saucepan to add to the egg mixture (so it doesn’t curdle you only want to add a small amount and slowly vs. just mixing the eggs right into the hot milk in the pan). Then you take that mixture and pour it back into the pan with the other milk. Does that make sense?

  • Lynette Hicks

    Just made this cake. It’s FABULOUS!! It’s a nice, not too sweet, dense cake full of apples! Loved the custard. This will definitely go into my permanent recipes. Going to take it to Easter brunch. Came out perfect and looked so beautiful right out of the pan. I too had to cook it a little longer. Everyone’s oven is different. Just take it out when tooth pick is clean. Turn oven down 25 degrees and it’ll be fine. I am a cast iron fan. This would work well in a Dutch oven. Good camp cake. And people! Don’t wait to make this. Treat yourself. Make it this weekend! Thanks for the recipe!