Irish Apple Cake Recipe for Afternoon Tea

Irish Apple Cake Recipe for Afternoon Tea

The Irish are nearly as well known for their afternoon tea as the English are, so it only makes sense that they have their own take on afternoon tea accompaniments. This Irish Apple Cake is a perfect example of that; it’s a much more rustic and authentically Irish-style cake than the delicate style of cakes often associated with afternoon tea.

An Irish apple cake sits on a white cake stand with a slice of cake on a gray plate next to it.

This is a cake that comes out a little less sweet than most cake recipes. However, it has just the right amount of sweetness to counter the tartness of the Granny Smith apples. Aside from the tartness, the apples also add a burst of juiciness to this slightly dense cake. The texture resembles more of a moist pound cake than a light and decadent cake, making it a fun and unique dish to serve at your next tea party.

Afternoon Tea Pairings

Pair this with a bright salad such as our pea and prosciutto salad and a decadent tea sandwich to create a complete afternoon tea menu. Some of our favorite tea sandwiches — such as our devilish egg salad, a fancy grilled cheese, or a Monte Cristo tea sandwich — are perfect matches for this cake.

Side view of an Irish apple cake on a white cake stand on a wooden table, with a white wall in the background.

When pairing this Irish apple cake with tea, pretty much anything goes. A smooth chai, such as our Rainy Day sweet and spicy tea with its notes of cinnamon, is a great paring for this cake. If you are serving the cake as part of a larger menu and are looking for something more neutral, try our House Blend vanilla black tea.

Try serving this cake fresh from the oven. No need to wait for it to cool to serve it because there’s no frosting; just a light dusting of powdered sugar or a nice custard is all that’s needed. While it will result in a sweeter dish, it also goes well with a store bought caramel sauce.

Overhead view of an Irish apple cake with a slice cut out of it. The slice sits on a gray plate to the side.

Irish Apple Cake


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of each ground ginger, nutmeg, and allspice
  • 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, diced into small pieces
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 lbs granny smith apples, cored, peeled, and diced
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a very large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.

Add butter pieces and rub into mixture using fingertips until it resembles fine crumbs.

Stir in 1 cup sugar.

Add apples to flour mixture and toss well to evenly coat, while working to separate any apples that may be stuck together.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. Pour milk mixture over apple/flour mixture and toss with hands until just combined (batter will be slightly lumpy).

Pour batter into a greased 9-inch spring form pan. Spread into an even layer.

Bake in preheated oven 45-50 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Let stand about 5 minutes on a wire rack, then remove ring from spring form pan.

Serve warm dusted with powdered sugar.

Irish Apple Cake Recipe for Afternoon Tea

Jessica Marcy

JC is from Upstate NY and is the blogger behind Sweet Love & Ginger. She believes in celebrating a healthy lifestyle and can be found enjoying the great outdoors, crafting, cooking and entertaining.

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