Traditional Irish Kerry Apple Cake

When I asked my grandmother what she wanted to eat this morning, she said Apple Cake. Given the fact that she barely eats anything these days, I was beyond excited to get an answer besides the usual, “I’m not hungry.” It didn’t take long for me to get the ingredients together for a Kerry Apple Cake, her family’s recipe. 

traditional irish kerry apple cake
Even though her memory is fading, the look on her face when I gave her a slice showed a glimmer of nostalgia. The smile that grew after the first bite told me that it was at least close to the apple cake her mom made when she was younger. The recipe came over when my great, great, great grandparents emigrated from Ireland. I’m sure it’s been changed a dozen or more times over the decades, but I still make it exactly how my grandmother taught me. 

irish kerry apple cake

When I first learned to make this Irish Apple Cake I tried to take shortcuts. My grandmother wasn’t having any of that and made sure I learned how to make it “properly”. That meant mixing the dry ingredients and butter together with my fingers. It’s a little time-consuming but I can honestly say this is made with love. Because you have to really love someone to spend time mushing butter together with flour and sugar, right?! To be honest, once it’s blended it’s kind of fun to play with. It reminds me of wet sand, squishy and damp, and mildly addicting.

traditional irish kerry apple cake

This cake is deliciously moist and makes for a great dessert. Of course, you can serve up a slice for breakfast too if you’re feeling spunky. It’s not overly sweet and the spices give a wonderful balance. You can whip up a cream or custard sauce to pour over the sliced cake or serve it as is. No matter which way you go, it’s going to be a winner. 

traditional irish kerry apple cake

Traditional Kerry Apple Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

This traditional Kerry Irish Apple Cake is a family favorite and can be served any time.


  • 3 C. Flour
  • 2 t. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 t. Cloves, ground
  • 1/4 t. Nutmeg, ground
  • 1/8 t. Salt
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 C. Sugar
  • 4 large Granny Smith apples, cored
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 C. Milk
  • 1/4 C. white sugar


Grease or spray a 9" round springform pan.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Sift together flour, baking powder, cloves, nutmeg, and salt into a large bowl.

Blend the butter into the flour mix using your fingers until the mix resembles fine crumbs.

Add the 1/2 C. sugar to the flour mixture and whisk together.

Peel and slice the apples into bite-size cubes. Stir into the flour mixture.

Beat the eggs and milk together in a clean bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir liquid mixture into the apples and flour mixture until just combined and dough-like.

Transfer the doughy batter to the prepared cake pan.

Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the cake.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The top will be golden brown.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *