Irish Apple Cake with Vanilla Custard

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We love Irish cuisine and we love cake.  That would explain why this cake is one of our all-time favorites.

Naturally, this cake makes an appearance at our house every St. Patrick’s Day. But, honestly, it’s so delicious and always so popular with guests, we make it almost on a monthly basis. It really is the perfect ending to an Irish feast of Guinness Beef Stew, Irish Soda Bread, or Slow-Cooker Coddle. And what’s best, this cake is a snap to make!

Vanilla custard being poured from a small white pitcher over a slice of Irish apple cake on a white dessert plate.

How To Make Irish Apple Cake with Vanilla Custard

There are so many types of apples to choose from when making this cake, but our favorite is the easy-to-find Granny Smith.

This cake comes together very easily. You may be tempted to skip the vanilla custard, but we strongly encourage you to not do that!


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The Ingredients You Will Need

This recipe is very pantry friendly. Many of the ingredients you very well may already have.

Here’s a Little More Detail on What You’ll Need on Hand

For the Crumble Topping:

Butter – Unsalted, cubed, and cold
Flour – All-purpose
Oats – Rolled, old-fashioned
Sugar – Granulated
Salt – Just a pinch

For the Cake:

Butter – Unsalted, room temperature
Sugar – Granulated
Vanilla extract – Go with a good-quality brand
Eggs – Room temperature
Flour – All-purpose
Baking powder – Check the date and make sure it’s not too old
Cinnamon – Ground
Milk – Whole is best
Apples – We love Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

For the Vanilla Custard

Eggs – Just the yolks
Sugar – Granulated
Milk – Whole is best
Vanilla extract – Again, good quality really makes a difference

EXPERT TIP: The batter for the cake will be very thick, this is normal. You’ll need a rubber spatula to spread the batter along the base of the pan. The apples will sit nicely on top of the thick batter and then the crumble topping should be evenly sprinkled over the apples.

A person using a spatula to spread the cake batter in a springform pan and then layering apple slices over it and then sprinkling on a flour and butter crumble.

Tips for a Perfect Irish Apple Cake

Don’t Over Bake – Baking time can vary depending on your oven. Typically, the cake is ready after 55 minutes of baking, or close to it. The crumble topping should brown lightly, but not too much. Also, when a toothpick is inserted into the interior of the cake, it should come out clean and dry.

Choose the Right Pan – A 9-inch springform pan is recommended, but you could make the cake in a regular 9-inch cake pan. You’ll just have to be extra careful when inverting the cake to remove it from the pan as the crumble may fall off the top somewhat. For either, you’ll want to line the base of the pan with parchment paper and then either spray with cooking spray or generously butter it and the sides.

Keep a Close Eye on the Custard – After you temper the eggs with the warm milk, you’ll add it all back to your saucepan. The custard will thicken, but be careful, if the heat is too high, or you cook it too long, the custard will slightly curdle and could even separate. If the custard turns out a little lumpy, strain it through a sieve, and you’ll be just fine.

An overhead view of an untouched Irish apple cake with a pie slicer and a couple of forks nearby.

How To Serve

One of the great things about this cake is that you don’t have to wait for it to cool down before serving it.

While the cake is cooling for only about 15 minutes, you can whip up the vanilla custard.

We love to serve the cake warm, but it is also delicious when served at room temperature.

EXPERT TIP: The cake can be reheated in the microwave (one slice at a time) or in the oven. Gently reheat the custard in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

A slice of Irish apple cake being raised up the entire cake on a silver pie slicer.

Other Classic Cake Recipes to Try

This has quickly become one of our favorite cakes to prepare and serve. It’s delicious and relatively easy to make. However, here are some other cakes that always receive rave reviews.

Red Velvet Cake
Classic Carrot Cake
German Chocolate Cake
Coconut Cream Cake
Upside Down Pineapple Cake
New York-Style Cheesecake
Sweet Potato Bundt Cake
Classic Chocolate Cake
Christmas Bundt Cake

These are all amazing cakes, without a doubt. But, folks, you may have never heard of Apple Cake. You just have to give this recipe a try.

An apple cake on a white circular cake dish with a triangular slice of the cake missing

How To Store

This cake will keep covered on the counter for up to 5 days. If covered and refrigerated, the cake will keep for up to 1 week.

Be sure to keep the cake in an enclosed cake holder or gently cover it with plastic wrap or foil. The cake will dry out if you don’t do this.

The custard will keep covered in the refrigerator for several days. If refrigerating the cake, be to let it come to room temperature before serving. It’s best at room temperature or heated, not chilled.

A slice of Irish apple cake topped with vanilla custard sitting on a white dessert plate.

Folks, chances are you’ve never heard of this cake before.

We discovered it not too long ago. And, honestly, we don’t understand why it’s not universally loved and prepared.

It’s easy to make. Always popular with family and guests. And is very affordable. What’s not to love about Irish Apple Cake? With one bite, you’ll be asking the same question!

A slice of Irish apple cake with vanilla custard on a white dessert plate with a bite missing and a fork nearby.

Ready to make the best dessert this side of Dublin? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

Vanilla custard being poured from a small white pitcher over a slice of Irish apple cake on a white dessert plate.

Irish Apple Cake with Vanilla Custard

Irish Apple Cake with Vanilla Custard is perfect in so many ways. First and foremost, it's delicious, but it is also a snap to prepare. Go with your favorite baking apple, but we always use Granny Smith. You could skip making the custard, but we don't recommend that. It puts the cake over the top in yumminess!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: easy cake recipe, how to make Irish apple cake, how to make vanilla custard
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 535kcal


  • 9-inch springform pan or cake pan


  • cooking spray

For the Crumble Topping

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup rolled oats old-fashioned
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter cold

For the Apple Cake

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon ground
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp whole milk
  • 3 apples Granny Smith, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced

For the Vanilla Custard

  • cups whole milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line a 9-inch springform pan or a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and spray the inside with cooking spray or softened butter.
    cooking spray

Make the Crumble Topping

  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, oats, sugar, and salt. Use a knife to cut the butter into cubes and then rub it into the dry ingredients. Place in the refrigerator while you make the cake batter.
    ¾ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ cup rolled oats, ½ cup sugar, ¼ tsp salt, 6 tbsp unsalted butter

Make the Apple Cake

  • Use a stand mixer (or a hand mixer and a large bowl) to mix the softened butter with the sugar (this is creaming the two together) until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes.
    8 tbsp unsalted butter, ½ cup sugar
  • Mix in the vanilla, and then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
    2 tsp vanilla extract, 2 eggs
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
    1¼ cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt
  • With the mixer running, slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Mix in the milk.
    3 tbsp whole milk
  • Once the batter has come together (it will be thick), transfer it into the prepared pan. Next, layer the apples over the top of the batter and then sprinkle on the crumble mixture.
    3 apples
  • Bake for 55 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Make the Vanilla Custard and Serve

  • Add the milk to a medium saucepan and bring to just a simmer (don't boil).
    1½ cups whole milk
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs with the sugar.
    6 egg yolks, 6 tbsp sugar
  • Whisking constantly, pour about half of the warmed milk into the eggs/sugar mixture.
  • Transfer back to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon constantly, until just thickened (don't overcook!). Stir in the vanilla extract. If the custard is a little lumpy, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
    2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Slice the cake and serve with the custard drizzled over the top.


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
The custard will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. Gently reheat on the stove over low heat or in the microwave until warm.
The cake will keep covered on the counter for up to 5 days and will keep covered in the fridge for a week. It freezes nicely for up to 2 months. 


Calories: 535kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 240mg | Sodium: 175mg | Potassium: 215mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 913IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 2mg
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