Mar 13, 201712:34 PMPhoebe Savors Berks, BCL Style

thoughts from our local foodie

Amazing Irish Apple Cake

Amazing Irish Apple Cake

Mary Ellen Mahan has shared so many tasty, Irish family recipes with me! First there was the stick-to-your-ribs Colcannon recipe for mashed potatoes and cabbage. Then there was the savory crepe-like Boxty recipe. Last, but not least, her grandmother’s Irish Soda Bread.

This Irish Apple Cake is a new favorite of family and friends. The dessert filled the house with the tempting scent of sweet, buttery baked apples. 

Irish Apple Cake is Mary Ellen’s favorite cake recipe. “It was the go-to fast dessert for my mom when we were children and she was working full-time. It is very simple, which is similar to much of the old Irish recipes. However, it is still my favorite dessert, if we exclude Irish Soda Bread, which is hands down the best. It can be made with or without the topping, but it is sweeter with the crumb top.”

I’d suggest you make it as is, with the crumb topping and have vanilla bean ice cream on hand. I’m so grateful for friends who share family recipes like this one! Do you have a favorite family recipe you’d like to share?

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Happy and healthy cooking!


Irish Apple Cake

Recipe by Mary Ellen Mahan

Yields 9 servings

Crumb Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6-8 Tbsp butter, room temperature

For the topping:

  • Sift the flour with baking powder and salt. Whisk in the sugar. 
  • Thoroughly mix in the butter until the mixture looks and feels consistent throughout.  
  • Set the topping aside for later.


  • 1 pound of apples, peeled and cored
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (more or less based on how much you like cinnamon)
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 Tbsp milk

For the cake:

  1. Grease a 9x9-inch cake pan. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  
  2. Thinly slice the apples and set aside. The skinnier the slices, the better the cake! I think my mom used whatever was on sale but I use Jonagold apples.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter until it is very light. (I sometimes substitute a bit of applesauce for the butter or even Greek yogurt.) To the sugar and butter, beat in 2 eggs.  
  5. After the eggs are incorporated, slowly add about half of the flour/cinnamon mixture, mixing to combine. Add a couple of tablespoons of milk and then fold in the rest of the flour/cinnamon mixture.
  6. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared cake pan. Layer the top of the cake with the apple slices. My mom used to put them in at a 45 degree angle and then lined the slices in rows until the cake was covered. If there were leftover slices she sprinkled them with sugar and cinnamon as a reward for whoever was helping her make the cake.
  7. Sprinkle the topping across the top of the apple slices.
  8. Bake until the top is golden brown and your kitchen smells divine, about 50-55 minutes. Cool and enjoy!


About This Blog

Eat your heart out food lovers.  Flavorful, fresh, local food appeal is what Phoebe is serving up.  As a blogger, food writer & photographer and often an intimate gathering caterer, she’s dishing on local nosh.  Here she'll be sharing local food stories and destinations to get you out and about in Berks and recipes to light your culinary fire, but with a healthy twist.

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