Homemade Irish Apple Cake With Custard Sauce Recipe

| |

Enjoy the comforting taste of Ireland with this homemade Irish apple cake with custard sauce recipe. This simple apple cake is topped with a delicious streusel and then drizzled with a velvety custard sauce.

Kerry apple cake with a crumb topping drizzled with homemade custard sauce.
*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This post contains other affiliate links too for your convenience. You can read my privacy policy for more details.

If you’re looking for a delicious way to finish your corned beef dinner this St. Patrick’s Day, I have the most comforting dessert for you…Irish apple cake with custard sauce.

This traditional Irish treat embodies the spirit of the Ireland, offering a taste of home and hospitality in every bite.

Imagine sinking your fork into layers of moist cake with the sweet apples and warm spices, complemented by a drizzle of velvety custard sauce on top.

It’s a dessert that not only satisfies the sweet tooth but also warms the soul with its timeless flavors and heartwarming charm.

Irish-style apple cake made in a springform pan for a delicious traditional dessert.

What is Irish-style apple cake?

Irish apple cake is a traditional dessert that has been cherished in Irish households for generations.

This delicious treat is a celebration of Ireland’s rich agricultural heritage, where apples play a starring role.

The origins of Irish apple cake are rooted in the rural traditions of Ireland, where resourcefulness and seasonal ingredients guided recipes.

Apples were readily available, and incorporating them into a hearty cake became a delicious way to showcase the bounty of the orchards.

Traditional Irish dessert made with large apples, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and other baking ingredients.

The cake itself is moist with a layer of thinly sliced apples throughout the batter. The use cinnamon adds a comforting flavor, making it a perfect companion to a cup of tea or coffee.

As it is with many traditional recipes, the exact origins of Irish apple cake are somewhat unknown, passed down through families and generations over time.

However, its popularity can be attributed to its simplicity, versatility, and the comforting sense of home it brings with each bite.

Whether enjoyed with a cup of tea at breakfast or as a dessert on a chilly evening, Irish apple cake has become a symbol of the warm hospitality that defines the heart of Irish culture.

Traditional Irish apple cake recipe for breakfast or for dinner.

What you’ll love about this recipe:


  • Cinnamon infuses the cake with a cozy, familiar taste that evokes a sense of comfort and homeliness.
  • The careful combination of ingredients results in a moist and tender cake.
  • The use of Granny Smith apples adds a refreshing tartness and a delightful contrast to the sweet cake.
  • The streusel topping provides a satisfying crunch that complements the softness of the cake.
  • The custard sauce is the perfect finishing touch. Its velvety smoothness adds a rich and indulgent layer to the dessert.
  • Despite its impressive taste and presentation, this recipe is simple to make. With readily available ingredients and straightforward instructions, even inexperienced bakers can successfully create an Irish dessert in their own kitchen.
  • This apple cake is versatile enough for any occasion whether it’s a family gathering, a festive celebration, or a simple weeknight treat.
Jump to Recipe

Ingredients for This Easy Apple Cake Recipe

These are the ingredients you’ll need to make a delicious apple cake…

The simple ingredients you'll need for this apple cake recipe for St. Patrick's Day.

For the Irish Apple Cake

  • ½ cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature: This creamy base adds richness to the cake. Feel free to use salted butter instead, just don’t add any additional salt to the cake batter.
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar: Sweetens the cake and enhances its flavor.
  • 2 Large Eggs, room temperature: Provides structure and moisture to the cake.
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract: Adds a warm, aromatic flavor. I like to make my own vanilla extract for even more depth of flavor. You could also use a vanilla bean paste which will add small flecks of vanilla throughout the cake.
  • 3 tablespoons Heavy Cream: Contributes to the moist texture of the cake. Substitute with whole milk, buttermilk, or a non-dairy alternative like coconut cream if you prefer.
  • 1 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flour, spooned & leveled: The dry ingredient that forms the cake’s structure.
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder: A leavening agent that helps the cake rise.
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon: Provides that warm, spicy, comforting flavor. You could also use apple pie spice or nutmeg if you don’t have cinnamon on hand.
  • 1 teaspoon Salt: Balances the sweetness and enhances overall flavor. Kosher salt is what I typically have in the kitchen but table salt can be used as well.
  • 4 Granny Smith Apples, peeled & thinly sliced:  I like to use Granny Smith for this recipe as they are a firm apple and hold up well when baking. However, you can use any apple that you prefer. 
  • Powdered Sugar for Dusting: The finishing touch for a hint of sweetness and visual appeal. Feel free to skip if you prefer a less sweet dessert.

What You’ll Need for the Streusel Topping

  • 1 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flour, spooned & leveled: Forms the base of the streusel. Swap with almond flour for a nutty flavor.
  • ¾ cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats: Adds a hearty texture to the topping.
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar: Sweetens the streusel topping. Brown sugar can be substituted for a deeper flavor.
  • 1 teaspoon Salt: Balances the sweetness. Again, I like to use kosher salt but table salt can be used as well.
  • ½ cup Cold Butter, cubed: Incorporates a buttery richness into the streusel.

For the Custard Sauce

  • 4 large Egg Yolks: Creates a rich and creamy custard texture.
  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar: Sweetens the custard.
  • 1 cup Whole Milk: When making the custard you’ll want to be sure to use whole milk so that you get that rich, creamy flavor.
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract: Infuses the custard with a depth of flavor and a delightful aroma.

TOOLS YOU’LL NEED

How to Make a Delicious Homemade Apple Cake Recipe

This recipe captures the essence of Irish hospitality and provides a delectable way to celebrate the flavors of the Ireland in your own kitchen.

Streusel Topping

In a medium bowl add flour, oats, sugar, and salt. Mix to combine.

Rolled oats, butter, and all purpose flour the Irish-inspired apple cake streusel.

Add the cold, cubed butter to the flour mixture.

Streusel topping for Irish inspired apple cake with custard sauce.

Using a pastry blender or two forks mix butter into flour until blended and small pieces of butter are still visible. 

Place the mixture in the freezer while you prepare the cake mixture. 

Irish Apple Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9” springform pan with baking spray.

Spray a springform pan with cooking spray to help release the Irish dessert.

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl for 3-4 minutes or until light & fluffy.

To the butter mixture, beat in eggs, one at a time until each is fully incorporated. 

Next mix in vanilla and heavy cream.

With a hand mixer beat the vanilla extract & heavy cream into the egg mixture.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

To the butter mixture add dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Mix the wet ingredients & the dry ingredients of the apple cake together.

Add cake mixture to the prepared cake pan and spread evenly. 

Top cake mixture with sliced apples and sprinkle apples with streusel topping.

Granny Smith apples on top of the apple cake batter.
Streusel topping on the traditional Irish dessert for St. Patrick's Day.

Place springform pan on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean and top is lightly golden brown. 

Irish apple cake cooling on wire rack before topping with custard sauce.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing from pan. 

Place cake on a plate or cake stand and dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar.

Easy apple cake recipe with a crumb topping for a fun St. Patrick's Day dessert.

Download Your Free Cozy eBook

Vanilla Custard Sauce

While the cake is in the oven prepare the custard sauce. 

Whole milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract are the ingredients for the custard sauce.

In a medium saucepan bring milk to a simmer over medium-low heat, do not boil.

In a separate bowl whisk together egg yolks and sugar until combined. 

Tempering the eggs for the custard sauce so the sauce is nice and creamy.

Whisk a small amount of the heated milk into egg mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the remaining milk and mix well.

Return to the saucepan and return heat to medium high. 

Pour the milk into the eggs to temper them so they don't scramble or curdle.
Add the tempered eggs to the hot milk to continue making the custard sauce.
Pro Tip
  • By adding a small amount of the hot milk to the egg mixture, you are tempering the eggs. This brings the eggs to a similar temperature as the hot liquid, ensuring a smooth and velvety custard without any scrambled eggs or unwanted lumps. Patience is key! A slow and steady stream while whisking prevents curdling, leaving you with a perfect custard every time.

Continue stirring custard until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes or until the mixture sticks to the back of a spoon.

Homemade custard sauce to top the Irish apple cake.

Remove from heat and enjoy with your homemade apple cake!

Kerry apple cake with a crumb topping drizzled with homemade custard sauce.

Tips & Tricks

  • Make sure that the butter and eggs are at room temperature. This helps in achieving a smooth and even batter, which will give you a moist and tender cake.
  • When slicing the apples for the cake, aim for thin slices. A mandolin can be very helpful slicing thin, uniform apple slices in a short amount of time.
  • Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until just combined. Overmixing can result in a denser cake. It’s ok if there are a few lumps, they will disappear during baking.
  • For the streusel topping, use cold butter and work it into the dry ingredients until you achieve a crumbly (pea size) texture.
  • Temper the eggs for the custard sauce by gradually whisking in a small amount of the warm milk mixture. This prevents the eggs from curdling and ensures a smooth, creamy custard.
  • Cook the custard over low heat and stir continuously. Patience is key to achieving a velvety texture. If it overheats or cooks too quickly, you may end up with a grainy consistency.
Apple cake with crumb topping drizzled with custard sauce.

5 Simple Irish Apple Cake Recipe Variations

These easy variations offer simple yet yummy twists to the classic Irish Apple Cake recipe, which allows you to customize the dessert to your taste buds with minimal effort and ingredients.

  • Substitute almond extract for vanilla extract in the cake batter for a nutty flavor profile.
  • Instead of serving the cake with custard sauce, try drizzling warm caramel sauce over the cooled cake for a rich, decadent finish.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of orange zest to the cake batter for a citrusy twist.
  • Mix chopped pecans or walnuts into the streusel topping for added crunch and a nutty flavor.
  • Increase the ground cinnamon to 2 teaspoons in the cake batter for a more pronounced spiced flavor.

Hey friend! What can I help you find?

Search our entire site!
Forkful of Irish apple cake that can be eaten for breakfast or dessert.

What is the best way to store Irish apple cake and custard sauce?

The apple cake can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 days or frozen for 3-4 months in an airtight container. 

Store the custard sauce in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 

You can serve cake at room temperature or reheat it slightly in the microwave. The custard sauce can also be reheated in the microwave.

FAQs: Irish Apple Cake

You can use any apple that you prefer. It will be important that use large apples to ensure that you have a good amount of the delicious apple filling. If using a softer apple such as a Cortland, I would suggest that you slice the apples thicker so that they hold up to the heat while baking.

Room temperature butter blends more easily with sugar, creating a smoother and creamier texture in the cake batter. This smoothness ensures an even distribution of fat throughout the mixture, contributing to a tender and moist cake. Beaten room temperature eggs trap more air, providing structure and lightness to the cake.

You do not want to over mix the streusel topping, otherwise it will become tough, and you will not get that rich, buttery taste. You should see bits of the butter in the flour and oat mixture. Placing the streusel mixture in the freezer while you prepare the cake will help the butter melt evenly over the cake when baking.

Can I use a different baking dish for this apple cake if I don’t have a springform pan?


You certainly can!

If you do not have a 9” springform pan you can also use a 9” cake pan. Just remember to grease the pan well.

Irish-style apple cake made in a springform pan for a delicious traditional dessert.

Shop My Favorite Products

Shop my favorite home decor & lifestyle products, my LTK sources, and my Amazon Storefront. By making a purchase with one of my affiliate links, I earn a small commission which helps me continue to create meaningful content for you! 

I look forward to sharing more of my home with you and inspiring you to have a well loved home! Follow me on FacebookInstagramPinterest, and LIKEtoKNOW.it.

xoxo, heidi

Apple cake with crumb topping drizzled with custard sauce.
5 from 1 vote

Homemade Irish Apple Cake With Custard Sauce

Journey to the heart of Ireland with our St. Patrick's Day inspired Irish Apple Cake. This easy recipe will add coziness to your breakfast or dessert featuring a moist cake with a crunchy streusel topping, and drizzled with a luscious custard sauce.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:30 minutes
Cook Time:50 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

Irish Apple Cake

  • ½ cup Unsalted Butter room temperature
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs room temperature
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 tbsp Heavy Cream
  • 1 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flour spooned & leveled
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 4 Granny Smith Apples peeled & thinly sliced
  • Powdered Sugar for Dusting

Streusel Topping

  • 1 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flour spooned & leveled
  • ¾ cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ cup Cold Butter cubed

Custard Sauce

  • 4 Large Egg Yolks
  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Instructions

Streusel Topping

  • In a medium mixing bowl add flour, oats, sugar, and salt. Mix to combine.
  • Add the cold, cubed butter to the flour mixture.
  • Using a pastry blender or two forks mix butter into flour until blended and pea size pieces of butter are still visible.
  • Place the mixture in the freezer while you prepare the cake mixture.

Irish Apple Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray a 9” springform pan with baking spray.
  • Using a stand mixer or hand mixer cream together butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl for 3-4 minutes or until light & fluffy.
  • To the butter mixture, beat in eggs, one at a time until each is fully incorporated.
  • Next mix in vanilla and heavy cream.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  • To the butter mixture add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  • Add cake mixture to the prepared baking pan and spread evenly.
  • Top cake mixture with sliced apples and sprinkle apples with streusel topping.
  • Place springform pan on a sheet pan and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean and top is lightly browned.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing from pan.
  • Place cake on a plate or cake stand and dust with powdered sugar.

Custard Sauce

  • While the cake is in the oven prepare the custard sauce.
  • In a medium saucepan bring milk to a simmer, do not boil.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together egg yolks and sugar until combined.
  • Whisk a small amount of the hot milk into egg mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the remaining milk and mix well. Return to the saucepan and return heat to medium high.
  • Continue stirring custard until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes or until the mixture sticks to the back of a spoon.
  • Remove from heat and enjoy with your homemade apple cake!

Notes

  • Make sure that the butter and eggs are at room temperature. This helps in achieving a smooth and even batter, which will give you a moist and tender cake.
  • When slicing the apples for the cake, aim for thin slices. A mandolin can be very helpful slicing thin, uniform apple slices in a short amount of time.
  • Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until just combined. Overmixing can result in a denser cake. It’s ok if there are a few lumps, they will disappear during baking.
  • For the streusel topping, use cold butter and work it into the dry ingredients until you achieve a crumbly (pea size) texture.
  • Temper the eggs for the custard sauce by gradually whisking in a small amount of the warm milk mixture. This prevents the eggs from curdling and ensures a smooth, creamy custard.
  • Cook the custard over low heat and stir continuously. Patience is key to achieving a velvety texture. If it overheats or cooks too quickly, you may end up with a grainy consistency.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 132mg | Sodium: 176mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 746IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: Apple, Apple Cake, Custard Sauce, Irish, St. Patrick’s Day
Servings: 6
Calories: 405kcal

Don’t forget to pin this for later…

Kerry apple cake with a crumb topping drizzled with homemade custard sauce.
shop the post

Similar Posts

2 Comments

  1. Yes, you could definitely make the cake & custard sauce ahead of time and it would still be good! Store the custard sauce in an air tight container in the refrigerator and then reheat in the microwave or stove top when ready to enjoy.

  2. 5 stars
    This sounds delicious! do you think you could make this a day ahead-would the custard sauce still be good?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating