IRISH APPLE CAKE or Irish Soda Bread

19 Mar

cake      or     

Now Most of you probably think of Irish Soda Bread when ST PATTY’S DAY  comes around . And while you thinking about it , it is most likely has a  little sweetness and  maybe  raisins or citron in it .   Might even have a frosting cross  on top

That is not Soda bread !    lep


Traditional soda bread contains   flour, baking soda, sour milk (buttermilk) and salt.  That’s it!!!

This was a daily bread   that didn’t keep long and had to be baked every few days.  It was not a festive “cake” and did not contain whisky, candied fruit, caraway seeds ,  , raisins (add raisins and it becomes “spotted dog” not to be confused with the pudding made with suet of the same name), or any other ingredient.

There are recipes for those types of cakes but they are not the traditional soda bread eaten by the Irish daily since the mid 19th century.

It shocks some people to learn that Irish Soda Bread hasn’t been around for thousands of years. It wasn’t until around the 1840’s that bicarbonate of soda (Bread soda) as a leavening agent was introduced to Ireland.

It is also said that traditionally Irish [soda] bread was not “baked” in an oven but rather in a pot, known as a bastable, which was placed over the fire in the hearth.  -cooking-pot-over-hearth  bastible

( yes it does look like a Dutch Oven , David )

The three- legged iron pot is the  origin of the term to make “POT LUCK “.   In country districts it is used for roasting , stewing , and for making cakes and bread. In  Counties Limerick and Cork it is also called a Bastable oven , and the bread made in it a ”  Bastable Cake “. Glowing turf ( peat ) sods are put on top when baking or roasting is being done to ensure even heat. The pot can be raised or lowered on a chain , 3 short feet enable it to stand at the side of the hearth

 The word bastible seems to be a bastardization of the name Barnstaple, the town in Devon where these iron baking pots were made.

That’s  all there is to know about Soda Bread ,  except that I have made it and I thought it tasted like an  old sponge.

Upon asking my IRISH friends if that was how it was suppose to taste ,  they said , ” yes  ”

and I said, ” why ? ”

And they said , ” Tradition ”

Sometimes ,  it’s good not to be Irish          gb


So on to Irish Apple Cake




Okay , So Yes this is a surprise on Two counts .

One , You are right , I don’t usually make desserts and

TWO  it’s past ST PATTY’S DAY . That’s okay because this  will be good any day.

Okay so this is actually an APPLE BREAD , but you know when I saw this picture on    {    The Kitchen McCabee    – blog    }      with the custard I said , ” THAT LOOKS REALLY GOOD ”

I gotta check this out.

This is Kayley’s recipe


  • 3 C. Flour

    2 t. Baking Powder

  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • ¼ t. Cloves, ground
  • ¼ t. Nutmeg, ground
  • 6 oz. Butter, (cold is fine)
  • ¾ C. Sugar
  • 4 large Granny Smith apples(I used golden delicious to great effect)
  • 2 Eggs
  • ¾ C. Milk
  • 2 T. Sugar(for sprinkling on top of cake)


  • 6 large Egg Yolks
  • 6 T. Sugar
  • 1½ C. Whole Milk
  • 1½ t. Vanilla


  1. Grease and flour an 8″ or 9″ round springform pan . Using an 8″ pan will give you a taller cake.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cloves and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl   . Make sure the bowl is very large to allow room for the apples to be folded in.
  4. Cut the butter into the flour using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  5. Add the ¾ C. sugar to the flour mixture and mix in.
  6. Peel the apples and slice them into uniform pieces. This cake works best and gets that ‘chunky apple look’ if the slices are about ¼” wide and then cut into 3 pieces.
  7. Toss the apples into the flour mixture and combine them thoroughly.
  8. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Add to the apples and flour and mix in with a large spatula until just combined. Batter will be thick and dough-like.
  9. Transfer the dough into the prepared cake pan and flatten the top surface using the back of your spatula.
  10. Sprinkle the sugar over the top of the cake.
  11. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Test the center for doneness.   If you insert a WOODEN skewer or toothpick in the middle and remove, there should be a few moist crumbs attached, but not batter. A metal cake pick or plastic toothpick will slide in and out of the cake and crumbs will not stick to it as readily, but will stick to a WOODEN skewer or toothpick                                                                                                                                                    insert toothpick into center of cake  …..         cakedonetest

if it is sticky and moist  , your cake is not done



When the toothpick comes out clan , or with a few crumbs on it your cake is DONE



  1. The top of the cake should be golden brown. Serve slices with custard sauce.


  1. *note that this sauce is not a thick, pudding like sauce. It should have a pour-able, just thickened consistency when done.
  2. Place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until pale yellow, 2-3 minutes. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and bring just to a boil. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg/sugar mixture. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and stir over medium heat until custard thickens, about 4 minutes. Custard should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Mix in the vanilla. Transfer to bowl or serving saucer.
  3. Serve warm  over apple cake.

Eat and Enjoy !


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: