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5 from 8 votes

Irish Apple Cake With Custard Sauce

Celebrate St. Patrick's day with Irish apple cake with custard sauce! Baked in a square pan, this simple apple cake gets drizzled with a vanilla custard sauce before serving. 
Prep Time50 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Irish
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 405kcal


For the cake:

  • 1 ¼ cups (284 g) unsalted butter softened
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) plus 1 Tbs (12 g) granulated sugar divided
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 ⅓ cups (400 g) All-purpose flour
  • 4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 cups peeled and diced Honeycrisp apples (or Granny Smith apples)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons turbinado sugar

For the custard sauce:

  • cup (33 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (180 mL) whole milk
  • ¾ cup (180 mL) heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste


To make the Irish apple cake:

  • Prep oven and pans. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with a non-stick cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and give it one more spray.
  • Make your apple mixture. Peel and dice your apples and then combine them with the sugar and lemon juice. Toss and set aside.
  • Combine your dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices together. Set it aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or mixing bowl with hand mixer), go ahead and beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed for about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure they are incorporated before adding the next. Add vanilla and combine. If your mixture curdles at this point, don't panic! This is normal and the batter will come together once the dry ingredients are added.
  • Add your dry ingredients. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and make sure to stop mixing once it's just combined.
  • Fold in the apples. Stir in the apples with a spatula, just until combined. Do not overmix. Spread batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  • Baking the cake. Bake in the center of your oven until the a cake tester (or toothpick works) or the insides read a thermometer 200F, about 1 hour (to 1 hour 15 minutes). You want to cover the cake after 30 minutes with foil to keep it from overbrowning. Once the cake has cooled for 10 minutes, go ahead and release the cake from its pan.

To make the custard sauce:

  • Prepare your bowls. You want to place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium metal bowl. And then fill a large bowl with ice water. Get those ready now!
  • Combine your wet ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, and salt.
  • Heat milk and cream. You want to heat the milk and cream over medium-low heat until steaming. Do not let it boil.
  • Add heated milk/cream to egg mixture. Add the heated milk/cream to the egg mixture gradually, so as not to scramble the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, (with a wooden spoon is best) until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon and holds a trail when you drag your finger through it, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Strain the custard. Strain the custard through the sieve. And place that bowl of strained custard into the bowl of ice water and whisk until the mixture is about 70F. Add vanilla. Loosely cover it and refrigerate the custard until it's chilled (about 3 to 4 hours).


  • Make ahead/Storage:  This cake is fine stored, covered, at room temperature. The custard sauce should be kept in the refrigerator, covered. Just make sure the cake is cool before you cover and store it. This cake will last for 4 days, covered at room temperature. But you can also freeze this cake for up to 1 month. Just let it thaw at room temperature before serving. You can also warm up a slice in the microwave as well if you want.
  • Pan size: I have baked this Irish apple cake in a 9x9 square pan,  and a 9-inch cake pan, but it tends to rise up over the sides, so if you want to use one of these pans, I would line the sides with parchment paper so it goes up over the sides to ensure it doesn't rise and spill out when baking. 
  • Apples: I used Honeycrisp or Granny Smith - these are my two favorite kinds to bake with as I think they hold up well in baking and don't turn to mush.


Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 132mg | Sodium: 176mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 746IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 2mg