Irish Apple Cake Spice up your St. Patrick's day with this traditional irish dessert!

Apples have been growing in Ireland for 3,000 years, and it's estimated that the Irish spend €100 million (roughly 119 million U.S. dollars) on apples annually! It's said that St. Patrick was the first one to plant apple trees there. Prior to English rule, the Brehon system of laws stated that anyone who cut down an apple tree would have to pay a fine that could include the surrender of several cows.

This tasty cake was originally made in a bastible, or black wrought iron cooking pot. The dessert was assembled in the pot and hung over a fire to cook. Thankfully, with modern ovens and a cake pan, you can make your very own Irish Apple Cake in just a few easy steps.

Irish Apple Cake Recipe

Recipe adapted from https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/irish-apple-cake-9823527.


For the Streusel Topping:

  • 6 tablespoons cold salted butter, plus more for the pan (if you don't have salted butter, add in 1/4 teaspoon of salt for every full stick / 8 tablespoons of butter)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt

For the Cake:

  • 1 stick salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2-3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • Confectioner's / Powdered sugar, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. Make a streusel topping: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, granulated sugar, and salt.

3. Rub the cold butter into the dry ingredients until fully incorporated, and the mixture is about the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. Set aside in the fridge as you make the cake.

4. Make the cake: Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

5. Add the vanilla, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.

6. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

7. Fold the dry ingredients and the milk into the wet ingredients with a rubber spatula.

8. Once the mixture is combined and the batter has formed, transfer into the prepared pan. Lay the sliced apples on top, making sure they are arranged in one even layer.

9. Cover the apples with the streusel topping.

10. Bake the cake until the top is golden brown and crisp, about 60-70 minutes. If you used three apples and have a very thick apple layer, bake the cake for 10 additional minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before turning out of the pan onto a rack.

11. When ready to serve, dust with confectioner's sugar. Enjoy!

Illustrations, baking and formatting by Ashley Trail

Photographs by Kari Trail