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Irish Apple Crumble Cake ~ made with fresh apples, plenty of cinnamon, and a sweet crumble top. This rustic and moist Irish apple cake is delightful drizzled with our creamy Apple Brandy Sauce!
First, you’ve probably figured out that I’m a bit obsessed with simple cakes, and especially those with a crumble top like our delicious Lemon Crumble Breakfast Cake. I think I like crumble tops better than icing; but that’s today, so we’ll have to see what tomorrow brings.
Is Irish Apple Crumble Cake easy to make?
When researching Irish Apple Cake recipes, I found that most are extremely simple to make, and all are chocked full of fresh, tart apples. The crumble topping is not always included in the old recipes, but is more prevalent in recent years. We couldn’t resist the crumble topping and then took it over the top with the apple brandy sauce. Our cake is nice and thick and easy to make in a springform pan.
I’m a big fan of real, authentic Irish recipes and often think about the delicious food we enjoyed on our trips to the Emerald Isle.
If you’ve thought about going to Ireland on holiday, I can’t say enough nice things about it, just do it! The country is absolutely breathtaking, the food is phenomenal and the people are gracious, helpful and perfectly wonderful to visit. The Irish don’t seem to be in such a big hurry all the time like we are. It probably helps that there are few things to do outside their little towns and villages, especially at night. But rest assured, there’s plenty of pubs with cold beer and Irish music to keep you entertained on your visit.
Check out our posts about ‘Traveling in Ireland‘ for tips and plenty of photos!
One thing that sets Irish Apple Cake recipes apart, is the creamy vanilla sauce spiced with apple brandy that’s passed around the table with the cake.
While the cake is super moist and doesn’t really need the additional drizzle, I encourage you to go ahead and give it a go. I took a simple, creamy vanilla sauce and elevated it with vanilla beans and a good splash of apple brandy. Doesn’t that sound delicious? It’s the perfect topping and actually enhances the flavor of the cake!
What kind of apples are good for baking this Irish Apple Crumble Cake?
There are plenty of apple varieties that are great for baking and cooking. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Jonagold apples fall in the sweet apple category. They were developed as a cross between the Jonathan apple and the Golden Delicious. The Jonagold apple has a honey-like sweetness with moderate acidity and is great for snacking, salads and baked goods.
- Granny Smith apples are one of my favorite tart apples and are perfect combined with sweet apples when baking. Developed in Australia in the mid-1800’s, the Granny Smith apple is crisp with plenty of acidity and flavor. This apple does not break down like some softer apples, making this great for pies when you need texture not apple sauce. Granny Smith’s are great in anything where sugar is added to off-set the tart flavor.
- Gala apples are a sweet variety of apples, are very aromatic and great for cooking. They would be perfect in this apple sheet cake!
- Empire apples have a pleasant cider-like flavor making them great for snacking. They’re also terrific in salads, sauces, cakes, cookies and pies. They make lovely apple butter!
Everybody loves this cake!
I may have seen family members (who will remain nameless) actually lick their plate clean after devouring this cake and sauce. I think they liked it! This cake never made it outside the family. They wouldn’t let it go and I bet you won’t either. Apple desserts are great any time of the year. Try it and you’ll see!
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Irish Apple Crumble Cake with Apple Brandy Sauce
For the Crumble Topping:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the Apple Cake:
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 3 tablespoons divided
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg and ground cloves optional
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- ⅓ cup milk
- 3 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- powdered sugar for dusting if desired
For the Brandy Sauce:
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 3 tablespoons apple brandy
For the Crumble Topping:
- Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl. Add the flour, sugar, and ¼teaspoon cinnamon. Mix with a fork to combine. Set aside.
For the Apple Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Invert the bottom of an 8" springform pan (to make it easier to slide the cake off the bottom) then lock on the sides of the pan. Lightly grease and flour the bottom and sides of the pan. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper and set aside.
- Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Peel, core and thinly slice the apples and place them in a large mixing bowl. Toss the apples with 3 tablespoons of flour and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Beat for several minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, just until the yolk disappears. And the vanilla bean paste and mix just until blended.
- Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Beat on low until incorporated. Add about ½ of the milk and blend until smooth. Repeat adding ½ of the remaining flour, then all the remaining milk. Finally, blend in the last of the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Scrape up the batter from the bottom of the bowl give it one last spin. Fold in the apples.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the crumble topping (leaving some in large clumps). Place a large sheet of foil on the lower oven rack to catch any drips that may come from the cake. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Cover the cake with foil during the last 15 minutes of baking if needed to prevent over browning. Check the cake by inserting a toothpick in the center. It should come out with only crumbs attached, no wet batter.
- Cool the cake on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes if serving warm, or cool completely before removing the sides. Carefully slide the cake onto a serving platter and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
- Top with a Apple Brandy Sauce if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.
For the Brandy Sauce:
- In a medium saucepan, heat the milk over medium-low just until warm.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt until slightly thickened and lighter in color. Slowly pour half the warm milk into the yolk mixture while whisking continuously.
- Pour the now warm yolk mixture back into the saucepan, whisking to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon.
- Place a medium mixing bowl over an ice bath, and strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve set over the bowl. Add the vanilla bean paste and stir to combine. Continuing stirring until the mixture cools. Add the apple brandy (or other liquor) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
Don’t forget the make the sauce too!
Here are a few more crumble desserts you might enjoy:
- Easy Peach Crumble ~ from Saving Room for Dessert
- Blueberry Crumble Bars ~ from Grandbaby Cakes
- Blood Orange Crumble Bars ~ from The View from Great Island
- Blueberry Crumble Muffins ~ from Country Cleaver
Do you plan to make a Irish dish or two for St. Patrick’s Day? Or maybe you are planning on a few green beers 🙂 If you’re looking for more inspiration – check out a few of our favorite SRFD Irish recipes!
- Dublin Coddle
- Guinness Beef Stew Recipe
- Guinness Chocolate Cake
- White Chocolate Irish Cream
- Brown Irish Soda Bread
- Spinach Tarts – An Irish Recipe
Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend.