A moist and comforting Irish apple cake drenched in a sweet Irish whiskey crème anglaise. This simple cake is the perfect way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in a more traditional way.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Whole Earth Sweetener Co.. All opinions are 100% mine.
It wasn’t until I was in university that I became interested in celebrating St Paddy’s Day. During high school, I was the awkward gothic chick who didn’t have a lot of friends. I didn’t wear green and even though we were 17 years old at the time, I would still get pinched by people for not following the tradition. When I was in England, however, I had a different style of dress and plenty more friends. And we were just a 30-minute flight from Ireland.
Being so close to Ireland meant that we would run into plenty of people from Ireland at any given moment and London was big into celebrating the holiday. I remember walking around Hammersmith with two of my best friends and my then boyfriend. We collected all the free stuff we could, which included beaded necklaces, Guinness hats, pins, and free drinks everywhere. Because we were young and carefree, we would find Irishmen on the street and invite them over to play Scene It or Monopoly or any of the many board games we collected over the years. We were in love with the spirit of the holiday.
I haven’t done too much to celebrate St Patrick’s Day since then. Sometimes I would make Irish potato candies or bake cupcakes for my daughter’s daycare class. Baking things and filling them with a ton of green food dye or sticking them with leprechauns or pots of gold never appealed to me, even when making something for kids. So, when I was asked by Whole Earth Sweetener to collaborate on a St Patrick’s Day recipe, I knew I wanted to do something a little more traditional.
My friend Padraig (that, by the way, is the traditional Irish name for Patrick), loves apple cake and said it was a dessert you’d find in most Irish homes when they were entertaining. Most people eat the Irish apple cake – also known as Kerry apple cake – as is or with powdered sugar on top. After doing some research of my own, I found a few people served theirs with a sauce, and I knew I needed to give that a try.
I was glad that I could use Whole Earth Sweetener to sweeten the Irish apple cake during the process. Their Baking Blend particularly speaks to me. It is a non-GMO blend of raw cane sugar and organic stevia leaf extract. It is only half the calories of regular sugar per serving, which is amazing, and you only need half the amount of volume of sugar in your recipe. It doesn’t have a stevia taste, which I particularly enjoy, and the sugar is low enough that my diabetic grandmother can have a slice too. Their Whole Earth Sweetener Nature Sweet packets are at Starbucks and you can find more products at Target and Walmart which is awesome – just look for their green packaging!
The Irish apple cake is made by reverse creaming, which means you mix the flour and butter together. It helps prevent too much gluten from forming and keeps the cake nice and tender. I like seeing large apple chunks, which is how it is traditionally served, so I recommend dicing cubes that are about half an inch big. As for the crème anglaise, I used a leftover vanilla bean pod that I saved after using the beans in another recipe as well as a bit of vanilla extract. In the recipe, I recommend using either vanilla beans or the extract, but if you happen to have any leftover pods, this is a great use for them. It is important that you taste as you add the Irish whiskey to the sauce. You can always add more, but you can’t take any away. So, add it only one tablespoon at a time.
So let’s raise a glass and a fork to all that is amazing about Ireland and celebrate with a slice of Irish apple cake.
Irish Apple Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsalted butter cubed
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup Whole Earth Sweetener Baking Blend plus 2 tablespoons
- 2 large Granny Smith apples peeled and diced
- 3 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Line an 8-inch spring form pan with parchment paper.
- Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the cubed butter into the flour and cut the butter in using your fingers or a pastry cutter. (You can also transfer to a food processor to speed up the process).
- Stir in the baking powder, cloves, cinnamon, salt, and Whole Earth Sweetener Baking Blend.
- Dice the apples into large chunks and fold into the flour.
- In a smaller bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, and vanilla.
- Stir in the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Ensure there are no streaks of flour, but do not over mix.
- Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 – 50 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
- Serve with the crème anglaise (recipe below). The cake is best the day it is made, but will keep for about 3 days.
- 3 tablespoons Whole Earth Sweetener Baking Blend divided
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 vanilla bean pod*
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract if needed*
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 – 3 tablespoons Irish whiskey
- Add half the Whole Earth Sweetener Baking Blend sugar to the milk in a small saucepan and whisk well. Heat until the milk is steaming and simmering around the edges of the pan. Do not allow to boil.
- Once it is beginning to simmer, turn off the heat and add the vanilla bean pod (please see notes
- regarding vanilla bean pod).
- Add the remaining Baking Blend and egg yolks together. Whisk until the yolks are slightly lighter in color – about a minute of vigorous whisking.
- Slowly drizzle in about ⅓ of the hot milk to the egg yolks while continuously whisking the egg yolks.
- Slowly add the egg yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk. Continuously whisk the milk mixture while adding in the yolks.
- Turn the heat back on medium-low and stir until the mixture thickens. When you stick a wooden spoon
- in and run your finger down the back of the spoon you should see a line where you run your finger. This is when you know the mixture is thickened enough.
- Remove from heat and put the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the vanilla bean pod.
- Stir in the vanilla extract if needed, the salt, and the Irish whiskey one tablespoon at a time.