November 4, 2009

Rachel Allen’s Irish Apple Cake

Apple Cake-1




I’ve had this recipe on my blog for a long time (since August 2008) and according to my stat-counter, it is one of the most searched for recipes. I hadn’t made it for ages, so I thought it was about time I made it again and also updated the photo, because the old one was truly terrible and made the cake look really unappetising! To be honest, these photos aren’t that much better and don’t really do the cake justice!


This cake is really very good. It’s super crunchy on the outside, with a soft light sponge centre. Perfect with a cup of tea or equally delicious as a pudding drowned in custard.


Apple Cake 2


I have made this both by hand and in the food processor. It is a sticky dough type cake, rather than a sponge batter, so I really recommend using a food processor, otherwise it’s a bit messy!



I make a few small changes to Rachel’s recipe. First of all, I only use 1 eating apple instead of 2 Bramley cooking apples. This is because I’m not a big fan of Bramley’s and also because we always have eating apples in the house that are past their best and this is a great way to use them up. Secondly, I use 1 Tablespoon of Demerara sugar on the top, instead of caster sugar, as I think it gives a crunchier topping.


  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 40-50 minutes
  • You will need: 20cm/8inch springform/loose-bottom cake tin, lightly greased and lined
  • Oven temperature: Gas mark 4/350°F/180°C
  • Oven shelf position: middle


  • 225g (8oz) plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 100g (3.5oz) cold butter, cubed
  • 100g (3.5oz) caster sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 100ml (3.5 fl oz) milk
  • 2 medium Bramley cooking apples (or 1 eating apple)
  • 1 rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat the oven and put a baking tray in the oven to heat.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder, then rub in the butter with your fingers until the texture resembles breadcrumbs (alternatively whizz up in a food processor).
  3. Mix in 100g of the sugar, the egg and enough of the milk to form a soft dough - you may not need it all.
  4. Spread one half of the dough into the cake tin - it's quite sticky so this part is a bit messy!
  5. Peel, core and chop up the apple into 2cm squared pieces and place on the dough in the tin.
  6. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar and the cinnamon.
  7. Gently spread the other half of the dough on top of the apples to cover them completely.
  8. Sprinkle over the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bake on the baking tray for 40-50 minutes (mine only took 40 minutes in a Gas oven) until golden and crunchy on the outside.



  • Even if the recipe doesn’t say to do so, I always sift my flour and baking powder to introduce air for a lighter sponge.
  • When greasing and lining your tin, make sure the disc of greaseproof is well stuck to the bottom, as it will make it much easier when you come to spread out half of the dough on the base. I am quite mean when I spread the first half of the dough, so that I know that I will have enough to cover all of the apple with the other half. I find the best utensil for this is a small plastic spatula.


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