apple | cake | desserts | irish | quick & easy | recipe | st. patrick's day

Food find of the month: Irish apple cake from Kleinworth & Co.

March 26, 2014


This is some good cake.

Irish apple cake!

I found it on Pinterest; I’m not ashamed to say. Irish apple cake is what it’s called. And it’s from a blog called Kleinworth & Co. I had to squeeze it in this month, so let’s extend the “Irish” stuff a while longer. ‘K?

The apple has a lot of history in Ireland:

Did you know that St. Patrick is said to have planted apple trees in Ireland? Apples have been grown in Ireland for at least 3000 years and legend has it that he planted an apple tree in Ulster County at the ancient settlement of Ceanoga near, what is today called, Armagh. While it is a lovely tale, it’s more likely that the Druids, who used apple trees in their rituals, were the ones who first tended apple orchards in Ireland. Prior to English rule, Ireland was governed by a system of law that was codified and administered by the Brehons, who were the successors to the Celtic druids. The Brehons were charged with the preservation and interpretation of laws that had been established by centuries of oral tradition.The Irish took their apple trees seriously. Brehon law stipulated that anyone cutting down an apple tree would be subject to a financial penalty that included the surrender of five cows. I’m not sure what happened to those who had no cows to surrender, but we can be sure they were fined or punished for their transgression. Desserts and beverages made from apples are very popular in Ireland.


Granny Smith apples for Irish apple cake.

So there you have it.

I’ve made Dutch & German apple cakes before, and a hazelnut apple cake that’s much beloved, and the principle is basically the same with this one. But yet altogether different- because the creation is more like a pie crust than a cake.

Sliced Granny Smith apples for an Irish apple cake!

I so enjoy the thickness of it, the CRAZY amount of apples, and the crunchy sugary topping. It’s just a beautiful cake! And fun to make.

Missing from the above picture: adorable and very large dog desperately trying to smell/eat/lick the apples. Unsuccessfully (he did get his own apple later, however).

Thick & delicious Irish apple cake.

This cake actually smells like apple pie while you’re making it.

No… apples aren’t really “in season” now, but I can splurge on beautiful Granny Smith apples any time I want thanks to the beautiful local fruit market.

And just like soda bread isn’t just for St. Patrick’s Day, neither is a good apple cake.

Easy & delicious Irish apple cake loaded with Granny Smith apples.

IRISH APPLE CAKE (from Kleinworth & Co)


  • 3 cups cake flour *
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons sugar for topping
  • 3 to 4 Granny Smith apples (I used 3 fairly large ones) **
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk


  1. Preheat oven to 375° degrees and spray an 8 or 9″ round baking pan with cooking spray. Don’t use a pan any larger – it’ll make the cake too thin.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients (except 2 tablespoons sugar) into a large bowl. Using pastry cutter or knife cut butter into dry mixture until it resembles bread crumbs. Add sugar & mix again.
  3. Peel & slice apples into thin wedges & toss them in the flour mixture,  making sure to coat the apples thoroughly. In another small bowl, beat eggs & milk. Add to apple mixture & toss & stir well to fully mix. The flour should be fully moistened & it should be a very sticky dough.
  4. Transfer to prepared pan, tap pan on counter to even it, then flatten top of surface. Sprinkle evenly with remaining sugar.
  5. Bake 45-55 minutes or until toothpick test is clean. Cool on wire rack, and enjoy!

Irish apple cake.

It’s one of the best apple cakes I have ever made, let alone eaten. And one of the easiest I’ve ever made as well. The worst part is how sticky the dough is.

Jay ate his with maple syrup (yeah, seriously). Other people liked it with whipped cream- especially homemade whipped cream. I think some whiskey caramel might be amazing drizzled on this, actually!

However it stands alone just fine.

Irish apple cake & tea (click through for recipe)

*/** Now, a couple of tricks: one, you can substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour by using the following equation:

1 cup cake flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Just sift it together in a bowl & you’re good to go! I pretty much never have cake flour in the house when I need it, so this is a trick I use a lot. Two, if your apples are browning as you cut them, just toss the slices in a bowl with some lemon juice. It will stop the browning and won’t add flavor.

I also personally would NOT substitute any other apple in this cake. But if you must, then be sure to use an apple that has a good tartness to it and also a firm texture after baking. The Granny Smith’s get very soft; if you use a soft apple to start you’ll end up with mush. Rome Beauty’s would work, as would Honeycrisps & Jonathans.

Irish apple cake!

Sources & credits: Carrigdhoun Pottery Co-op, Cork, Ireland, shamrock teacup & saucer; vintage.
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