This year I’m really into traditional Irish recipes when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day. I’m sure my kids think I’m terribly boring for not dying anything green and making rainbow topped cupcakes and what not(Hey, it could still happen). But I’ve been very interested in what foods are truly eaten over in that magical green land and have been making a lot of them lately.
Part of it is just that that part of the world seems to always be calling to me. A piece of my history lies across the sea and the closest I can get to it right now is in the food I make. Holy Cow, you guys. I want to visit the Brittish Isles SO. Stinking. Bad. Someday I’ll get there =)
One of the best Irish desserts I have come across as of yet is this apple cake. It is so very tender and soft and is jam packed with apples. The apples hold their shape very well when baked and still almost have a little crisp to them. There is just the teeniest tiniest bit of spice and the top is crusted crunchy sugar.
The cake is excellent all on it’s own, but what really turns it into a decadent dessert is the custard sauce. Poured warm over the top of a slice of apple cake, its creamy sweetness is the perfect addition to the thick fruit filled cake. I am also very concerned that you are aware that the lovely thumb and fingers pouring the custard over the cake a few pictures above belong to my husband. Lest you be caught up in the impression that I have man-hands.
This cake is very dense and heavy, almost bread like. Take extra care to make sure the middle is cooked all the way through, the top can be very firm when you pull it out of the oven, giving it the impression that it’s all the way cooked. Stick a toothpick or knife into the middle to make sure that no batter clings to it.
The less the batter is mixed the more tender the cake will be. Toss in the apples only until they are distributed and avoid excess mixing to get the best end result.
- FOR THE CAKE:
- 3 C. Flour
- 2 t. Baking Powder
- 1/8 t. Salt
- 1/4 t. Cloves, ground
- 1/4 t. Nutmeg, ground
- 6 oz. Butter
- 3/4 C. Sugar
- 4 large Granny Smith apples(I used golden delicious to great affect)
- 2 Eggs
- 1/4 C. Milk
- 2 T. Sugar(for sprinkling on top of cake)
- FOR THE CUSTARD:
- 6 large Egg Yolks
- 6 T. Sugar
- 2 C. Whole Milk
- 1 1/2 t. Vanilla
- FOR THE CAKE:
- Grease and flour an 8" or 9" round springform pan. Using an 8" pan will give you a taller cake.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cloves and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl. Make sure the bowl is very large to allow room for the apples to be folded in.
- Cut the butter into the flour using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- Peel the apples and slice them into uniform pieces. This cake works best and gets that 'chunky apple look' if the slices are about 1/4" wide and then cut into 3 pieces.
- Toss the apples into the flour mixture and combine them thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Add to the apples and flour and mix in with a large spatula until just combined.
- Transfer the dough into the prepared cake pan and flatten the top surface using the back of your spatula.
- Sprinkle the sugar over the top of the cake.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes. Test the center for doneness. The top of the cake should be golden brown. Serve slices with custard sauce.
- FOR THE CUSTARD SAUCE:
- Place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until pale yellow, 2-3 minutes. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and bring just to a boil. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg/sugar mixture. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and stir over medium heat until custard thickens, about 4 minutes. Custard should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.Transfer to bowl or serving saucer.
- Serve warm or cold over apple cake.
Apple Cake recipe slightly adapted from Irish American Mom