Irish Apple Cake with Whiskey Hard Sauce


Hello, Stem blog readers! My name is Allie and I’m one of the newest Kitchen Council members. I’m so happy to be sharing this fabulous Irish Apple Cake recipe with you today!

In case you couldn’t tell by my red hair and freckles, I’m of Irish descent and proud of it. St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, and all the authentic Irish recipes are a huge part of that.

This year, my family will be celebrating the holiday with a thick slice of this moist Irish apple cake. It’s perfect as a breakfast treat, afternoon snack, or dessert. It’s got a toothsome, almost bread-like texture, and it’s positively overflowing with tart, juicy Granny Smith apples. There’s just a hint of warm spice, but really the apples are the star of the show. Granny Smith’s are the perfect apple for this kind of cake; their firm texture really holds up well during the long bake time and their tart apple flavor really shines.

To go alongside, I whipped up an easy whiskey hard sauce. It’s creamy and sweet, and the caramel notes of the Irish whiskey are a perfect compliment to the tart green apples. But if you’re serving little ones, the cake is perfectly delicious on its own! Or, you could just leave out the whiskey from the sauce entirely.

Either way, your family is sure to love this apple cake! It’s perfect for St. Patrick’s day, but truly delicious enough to enjoy any time of year.

Irish Apple Cake with Whiskey Hard Sauce


  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • A few microplane scratches of whole nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk*
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • A pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Irish whiskey (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

It's got a toothsome, almost bread-like texture, and it's positively overflowing with tart, juicy Granny Smith apples.

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  • Yield
    8-10 servings
  • Prep time
  • Cook time
  • Total time
  • Cuisine
  • In Category



  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Mist an 8-inch diameter cake pan with non-stick spray, and line with a circle cut from parchment.
  2. Place the cake flour, ¾ cup of sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and grated nutmeg in a large mixing bowl, and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the butter, and mix on low speed until the mixture resembles damp sand.
  4. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula after each addition.
  5. Add the buttermilk, and mix on medium-high speed for 60 to 90 seconds, to aerate the batter and build the cake's structure.
  6. Fold in the chopped apples, and transfer the batter to the prepared pan.
  7. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  8. Serve with Whiskey Hard Sauce (optional).


  1. Place the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small pot and whisk to combine.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the cream, while continuing to whisk.
  3. Stir in the whiskey, if using.
  4. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally, until boiling and thickened.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Nutritional Information

Per Serving

  • Calories: 508
  • Fat Content: 22.1g
  • Cholesterol Content: 101mg
  • Sodium Content: 220mg
  • Carbohydrate Content: 70.6g
  • Fiber Content: 3.5g
  • Sugar Content: 39.3g
  • Protein Content: 6.4g