Cook the Book: Irish Apple Cake

Cook the Book: Irish Apple Cake

[Photographs: Caroline Russock]

After rounding up all of your wonderful pies for our Pi Day Weekend Cook and Tell Challenge I was left with an overwhelming urge to bake something that involved a crust and some sort of fruit filling. I went with this Irish Apple Cake from Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen. It isn't exactly a pie—it's more like a giant scone with a clove-scented apple filling.


The cake starts out with a shaggy scone dough that can be a little tricky to work with, but its soft texture makes for a crumbly and light base for this cake. The apples are sandwiched in between the layers of the crust, dotted with cloves, and then sprinkled with sugar. Once the top layer of dough is rolled and placed over the apples it's brushed with an egg wash to make for a beautifully browned crust. Allen encourages using an enamel ovenproof dish to bake this cake instead of a glass dish, which might lead to a soggy bottom crust.

What I really like about this Irish Apple Cake is that it treads the line between breakfast and dessert, with all of the light airiness of a scone and the gooey apple filling of a perfect pie. It pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee in the morning or a dollop of whipped cream after dinner.

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  • Yield:6


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 organic egg
  • About 1/4 - 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1-2 cooking apples
  • 2-3 cloves, optional
  • Egg wash


  1. 1.

    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. 2.

    Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it resembles the texture of bread crumbs, then add 1/3 cup of the superfine sugar. Make a well in the center and mix to a soft dough with the beaten egg and enough milk to form a soft dough.

  3. 3.

    Turn out onto a board divide in two. Put one half onto an 10-inch ovenproof plate and press it out with floured fingers to cover the base.

  4. 4.

    Peel, core, and chop up the apples, place them on the dough and tuck in the cloves, if using.

  5. 5.

    Sprinkle over some or all of the remaining sugar, depending on the sweetness of the apples. Roll out the second half of the pastry and fit it on top—easier said than done as this "pastry" is more like scone dough and as a result is very soft. Press the sides together, cut a slit through the lid, egg wash, and bake for about 40 minutes or until cooked through and nicely browned on top. Dredge with superfine sugar and serve warm with raw sugar and softly whipped cream.