Irish Apple Cake or Apple Pie Cake

There are many names for this part cake, part pie dessert, and just as many recipes. A vague list of ingredients in my Irish Grandmother’s box pointed me towards it, and so began my search to find the particulars. Sometimes old recipes are like that, written I suppose, for the user and not some future progeny!

Irish Apple Pie Cake

Irish Apple Pie Cake

The list of apples, flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, egg and milk just wasn’t enough for me to go on! It’s amazing how the same few ingredients can be combined in so many ways (here’s another of my Grandma’s Apple Cakes) to produce an endless number of desserts! I had an idea, though, of what I was looking for, so I kept muddling through the searches. I may now be an expert on the Irish Apple Cake and how I wish I could have tasted them all…

Irish Apple Pie Cake

Irish Apple Pie Cake

Two recipes caught my eye, one by Rachel Allen and the other by The Irish American Mom, whose version of the Kerry Cake was the earliest I could find of this much copied (and seldom credited) recipe. I was divided – my Irish heritage pointed to a more conservative recipe like Allen’s – yet I could see how gorgeous the Irish American Mom’s was.

Finally, I did a bit of combining. I didn’t want a gorgeous huge cake; I wanted something more home spun, humble and something more like my Irish Grandmother would make. It seems this cake is better the first day, softening a bit after it sits, so I wanted family sized, and I didn’t want a lot of left overs, either. I did take the advice of the Irish American Mom on the spicing: no cinnamon, just a little clove and nutmeg, and baked it in a spring-form pan instead of a pie plate. And I threw a little me in there, too, with a few more apples.

Irish Apple Pie Cake

Irish Apple Pie Cake

This is a quick, easy cake to make, done all by hand, absolutely delicious, not too sweet. The crust and sides are a bit crispy and crunchy, the center absolutely moist and tender. In flavor, It’s straight forward, though, and just a bit plain without a sauce, so immediately two things came to mind. A little Creme Anglaise or Caramel Sauce. I was hard pressed to decide, but in the end went with the Hungry Mum’s Custard Sauce.

At the risk of sounding un-American, the combination of the still warm Apple Pie Cake and the cold Custard Sauce was amazing; much better than Apple Pie and Vanilla Ice-cream. 🙂 The Irish American Mom notes that a little cream or maybe just a bit of butter melted over the top of the Irish Apple Cake is lovely, too.

I’m still going to try the Irish Apple Cake with the Caramel Sauce another time! Or maybe if there’s any left over I’ll have a slice for breakfast. Shhh…don’t tell anyone! Update: Apple Pie Cake does soften overnight, but turns into a moist, delicious cake, and we liked it just as much (if not more) than the first day!

Irish Apple Pie Cake

Irish Apple Pie Cake

Irish Apple Pie Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose (plain) flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon clove, I shorted this amount by a hair
  • a few gratings of fresh nutmeg or scant 1/8 teaspoon
  • ½ cup butter, in small chunks
  • ½ cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for the topping
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • approximately ½ cup milk
  • 2 large tart cooking apples, about 14 ounces or so in total weight

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C/Gas Mark 4). Butter (well) a 10-inch pie pan or a 9 or 10 inch spring-form pan.

Sift the flour, then measure, and sift with baking powder, nutmeg and clove. This helps ensure a light, evenly mixed batter. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the texture resembles bread crumbs. Add the ½ cup sugar, then beaten egg. Toss with a fork, then add just enough of the milk to form a soft dough.

Pat out  a little more than half of the dough in the greased pie pan, as best you can (it will be thin) to fully cover the bottom. It’s supposed to be very wet. (Rachel Allen indicated 1/2 the dough, but 1/2 wouldn’t cover the smaller 9 inch spring-form I used, so I doubt it would cover a 10 inch pie plate.)

Peel, core, and chop the apples into ¾-inch (2cm) cubes. Add the apples to a bowl, sprinkle with a little flour and toss. Arrange the apples on the dough.

Gently, working with a small spoonful of batter at a time, drop the remaining dough on top of the apples. Using clean hands, spread as best as you can to cover as much of the cake as possible. Sprinkle with the  remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the crust is golden and crunchy on the outside and the apples soft in the middle; check with a paring knife, it should go through the apples with little resistance.

Serve with softly whipped cream, caramel sauce, creme Anglaise, fresh cream or a dollop of butter on the slightly warm cake.

Rachel’s Tip: If the butter is cold (just taken from the fridge), grate it into the flour and it will rub in within a couple of seconds.

from the kitchen of

Irish Apple Pie Cake - Very easy and it is like pie and cake! Delish! The custard sauce MAKES it fantastic!!

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Read {Strategies Applied} for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving money/time, buying at the best prices and managing this recipe.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.


1/8th of cake: Calories 361; Total Fat 13 20 %; Saturated Fat 8 40 %; Monounsaturated Fat 3 g; Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 55 mg 18 %; Sodium 258 mg 11 %; Potassium 129 mg 4 %; Total Carbohydrate 58 19 %; Dietary Fiber 2 9 %; Sugars 35 g; Protein 4 9 %; Vitamin A 8 %; Vitamin C 0 %; Calcium 6 %; Iron 8 %

Kitchen and Cooking Hack:

Turn the bottom of a spring form pan upside down (lip down rather than up) and a dessert may be easily removed intact for serving. No lip to get in the way.

Turn bottom lip down before filling and remove desserts intact.

Turn bottom lip down before filling and remove desserts intact.

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23 thoughts on “Irish Apple Cake or Apple Pie Cake

      • I made your apple cake. I used an 8 inch pan. It is delicious. I sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar. Had to stop myself from eating it all in one sitting! I am having a slice with my morning coffee. This recipe is a keeper. Thanks!

        • FrugalHausfrau

          Hi, I love that you stopped back. I love this cake…it’s just so cool. Is it a pie? Is it a cake? Maybe it’s a pake….

          Actually now that I look at it again, I think it needs to go in the make it again and get a better picture category!

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