The apples I use are Granny Smiths. If I was
in Ireland I would use Bramley cooking apples, the best apples in the world for
baking. But alack and alas I can't find my favorite cooking apple here in
But why are they better than an eating apple, you
may ask? When cooked they retain a lovely tangy flavor, and with heat
develop a pefect "melt-in-the-mouth" texture, since they contain more acid and
less sugar than other apples. Granny Smiths are my chosen substitute when
baking this cake in America, because they are the tangiest of American apples I
You'll notice I stuck one small apple into my
ingredient shot, just to prove every apple is not created equally. They
come in all the same shapes, but different sizes. The amount of sliced
apples used is key to apple cake success so really check your apple size. Three
apples means three large Granny Smiths. If you can only get small apples,
then you will need to use at least six.
An Irish Apple Cake is technically not a cake at all. Apple bread is a
better description, but I suppose our ancestors assigned the title cake to any
baked good with a little bit of precious sugar added.
Known as Kerry Apple Cake in many parts of Ireland,
this cake was traditionally cooked in a bastible, a black wrought iron cooking
pot. The bread was covered in the pot and hung over the fire to cook.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare a 9-inch round baking pan by spraying with oil or coating with butter.
- Sift the cake flour, baking powder, salt,
cloves and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl.
Trust me, you need a
big bowl, because once the sliced apples are added you'll have a large amount of
cake mix. Cut the butter into the flour and rub it in
using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles fine bread
crumbs. If you use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour,
I would increase the amount of butter to 6 ounces. This helps keep the
crust from getting too hard.
- Next toss in the sugar and mix it through
- Peel and slice the apples into similar
sized pieces. My apple slices are about 1/4 inch thick. Lie
each slice flat and cut them into triangular quarters. The thinner
rectangular side slices can be cut in half.
- Toss the apples into the flour mixture and
combine them thoroughly. You can see how my apples are beginning to go a
little brown at the edges, but I did have to pause to take photos.
- Beat the eggs and add a dash of milk.
Add to the apples and flour and combine well with a large spoon.
- Add more milk as needed to fully moisten the flour.
The result is a pretty sticky dough.
- Transfer the dough into the prepared cake pan and
flatten the top surface using the back of a large spoon. I use a 9-inch round pan. An 8-inch round pan
will simply yield a taller cake. However, moving up to a 10-inch round pan
is not advised. With these specific ingredient ratios, the cake would be
way too flat.
Next comes the final touch for a crispy top layer.
- Sprinkle two tablespoons of sugar over the
top of the cake.
- Bake the cake in the preheated 375 degree
oven for 45 to 50 minutes. A toothpick or knife will come out clean
when it is cooked and the top will be a lovely golden brown.
- Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then
transfer to a wire wrack to finish cooling.
I love to see the slices of apple peeping through
the top layer. Just yummy!
My family love this cake served still slightly
warm. Lovely with butter melting on top, or a dollop of cream or smothered
in custard, you'll certainly be licking your fingers and asking for seconds.
Hope you all enjoy this little taste of rural