Irish Apple Cake Is Drizzled with Creamy Custard Sauce
2024/02/12

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Whether it's a slice of leftover or the last in the jar, sometimes eating dessert for breakfast just feels right. Such is the case with this soft, cinnamon-scented Irish apple cake. Reminiscent of your favorite , it features thinly sliced tart apples and golden buttery crumble on top. Treat this subtly sweet like a —it's the perfect companion to cup of hot tea or a tall glass of ! The best part? It's traditionally served with thick cream or crème anglaise, a thin, pourable custard that tastes like melted ice cream. You’ll want to drizzle the stuff on everything!

What is Irish apple cake?

A cross between a coffee cake and an

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, Irish apple cake is a crumb cake with three distinct layers that bake up together. The bottom layer is a lightly spiced cinnamon cake. It is stacked with thinly sliced apples. (No need to add sugar or spice to these naturally sweet-tart apples; their clean fruity flavor is perfect on its own!) The topping is a buttery oat crumble that gets nice and toasty. Finally, in lieu of whipped cream or frosting, this cake is drizzled with decadent vanilla custard sauce known as crème anglaise.

Can you make Irish apple cake ahead of time?

This cake will last up to 3 days at room temperature or a week in the refrigerator.

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It cake can also be baked, cooled completely, stored in an airtight container, and frozen for up to 1 month. When a cake craving strikes, this Irish apple cake can thaw overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature for 2 hours. A great way to refresh the cake is popping it into a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. This will lead to a moist interior and a crisp crumble!

3/4 c.

all-purpose flour

1/2 c.

granulated sugar

1/4 c.

old-fashioned oats

1

pinch of kosher salt

1/2 c.

unsalted butter, cubed

Baking spray with flour

1 1/4 c.

all-purpose flour

1 tsp.

baking powder

1 tsp.

ground cinnamon 

1/4 tsp.

kosher salt

1/2

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c.

unsalted butter, melted

2/3 c.

granulated sugar

2 tsp.

vanilla extract

2

large eggs, room temperature

3 tbsp.

milk

3

small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

5

large egg yolks

1/2 c.

granulated sugar, divided

1 3/4 c.

half-and-half

1/4 tsp.

kosher salt

2 tsp.

vanilla bean paste

Step  1 For the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, oats, and salt. Using your fingers, rub the cold butter into the ingredients until the mixture is well combined and easy to pinch together. If the dough appears sandy, continue working the butter in until you can form it into a dough ball. Cover and refrigerate the streusel for at least 15 minutes before using, or up to 1 day.

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Step  2 For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch round baking pan with baking spray with flour and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Step  3 In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Step  4 In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Step  5 Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 2 parts, alternating with the milk, folding until just combined after each addition.
Step  6 Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan.

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Top with the sliced apples, arranging them so they lie in an even layer. Remove the cold streusel from the refrigerator and break it into dime-sized pieces. Cover the apples with the cold crumbled streusel. Step  7 Bake until golden brown, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Step  8 Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a plate, remove the parchment paper, and turn it over again onto a wire rack, allowing it to cool completely, streusel-side up. Step  9 For the vanilla custard sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and ¼ cup of sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is lightened in color, about 1 minute.

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Place a fine-mesh sieve over another empty medium bowl. Step  10 In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the half-and-half, salt, and remaining ¼ cup of sugar. Heat, stirring frequently, until steaming (do not boil). Step  11 Whisking constantly, slowly pour about 1 cup of the warm half-and-half mixture into the egg mixture. Add the warm egg mixture back to the remaining half-and-half mixture, whisking to combine. Cook until the mixture starts to thicken, coat the back of a spoon, and an instant read thermometer registers 175°F to 180°F, 2 to 3 minutes. Step  12 Immediately pour the mixture through the prepared fine-mesh sieve. Stir in the vanilla bean paste. Set the bowl over a bowl of ice water and stir to cool the mixture to room temperature. Step  13 Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the vanilla custard sauce and refrigerate until fully chilled, at least 1 hour. Step  14 Serve the cake in slices, drizzled with vanilla custard sauce, if you like.

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