Monday, March 14, 2016

Two Classic Irish Desserts for St. Patrick's Day

Irish Apple Cake

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Myrtle Allen, the legendary Irish cook from Ballymaloe House in County Cork, has said that homemade apple cakes are the most popular dessert in Ireland. Legend has it that St. Patrick planted apple trees 3000 years ago. While it is a lovely tale, it's far more likely that the Druids, who used the trees in their rituals, were the ones who first tended apple orchards in Ireland. The Irish took their apple trees seriously and there were laws that protected them from felling. Anyone who cut down a tree was subject to a financial penalty that included the surrender of five cows. I don't want to think about what happened to those who had no cows to surrender. It's important for you to know that no apple trees trees were harmed during the preparation of this dessert. The apple cake I'm sharing with you is a classic that is made throughout Ireland. It is simple and delicious and comes together quickly. The cake is traditionally made with ground cloves in a quantity that I think is excessive. When I make the cake, I replace the cloves with cinnamon or apple pie spice, both of which are more to my liking. This version of the cake is made with self-rising flour. If you prefer to use the all-purpose variety, you'll need to add 1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt for every cup of flour called for in the recipe. This is a very moist cake that is wonderful when it is served hot from the oven. The good news, however, stops there. The cake does not age well, and it gets soggy if it is allowed to sit too long. While the cake is traditionally served with unwhipped heavy cream, I prefer to serve it with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream. The cake is a nice way to finish to a traditional Irish meal. If you are looking for something different to serve for dessert on St.Patrick's Day, you might want to give this recipe a try. Here's how the cake is made.

Irish Apple Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite


2 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves or cinnamon
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3-4 cooking apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided use
2 lightly beaten eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar (for topping)


1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Grease paper.
2) Sift flour, salt, and ground cloves or cinnamon into a large bowl.
3) Cut in butter until the mixture has the consistency of fine crumbs.
4) Add sliced apples and sugar to flour mixture.
5) Stir in eggs and milk and mix with hands to coat apples with batter.
6) Turn dough into prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake 45 minutes, or until crisp and golden in color. Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let sit for 10 minutes. Release sides of springform pan. Serve warm with lightly whipped cream or ice cream. Yield: 8 servings.

Glazed Irish Tea Cake

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This cake is special. It manages to balance tart and sweet and has a crumb that is as soft as velvet. The recipe comes from The Ultimate Irish Dessert Recipe Collection found on the Fantasy Ireland website, which can be viewed here. The cake is easy to make, but I do have a couple of tips to share with you regarding the ingredients you use to prepare it. Cake flour should be used if you want a soft crumb and you'll have the best result if all the ingredients, including the buttermilk, are at room temperature when the elements of the cake are mixed together. It also important to apply the glaze to the cake while it is still warm. The glaze will not spread properly on a cold cake. In Ireland, this type of cake is usually made with currants, but raisins are used here. If you wish, they can be soaked in juice or a liqueur of some type, but it really is not necessary. I hope you will give this simple recipe a try. The cake is a perfect for dessert or tea and it also does quite nicely on a brunch table. I think you'll be delighted with this Irish treat. Here is how it is made.

Glazed Dublin Tea Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Fantasy Ireland

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1-3/4 cups cake flour
1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup seedless raisins
2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease a 9-inch (7-cup capacity) loaf pan. Cut a piece of waxed or parchment paper to fit into bottom of pan and grease it as well. Dust pan with flour and tap out excess. Set aside.
2) Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating each until fluffy. Add cream cheese. Mix well.
3) Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a separate bowl. Put raisins in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup of flour mixture to raisins and toss until well-coated.
4) Add remaining flour to batter, alternating with buttermilk. Mix until smooth. Use wooden spoon to stir in raisins and and any excess flour left in bowl. Stir until well-combined.
5) Transfer batter to prepared pan. Smooth surface with spatula. Bake on center rack for 80-90 minutes, until well-browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. It is normal for cake to crack on top.
6) Make glaze while cake is baking by combining sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir until very smooth.
7) Let cake rest in pan for 10 minutes. Carefully remove cake from pan to cooling rack. Spread glaze on warm cake. Let cake cool completely. Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

Cook's Note: Cake can be stored 3 days at room temperature in foil or cake tin. Cake can also be frozen up to 3 months if wrapped airtight.

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From the Kitchen said...

Both cakes look delicious. The Dublin Tea Cake might just be what my "ladies who lunch" file needs for a bit of a change.


David said...

Mary, I'll take a couple of slices of that Irish Apple Cake with some coffee please! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Pondside said...

Thank you for your candor with regards to the recipes you share, Mary. I liked the sound of the Apple Cake but it would need to stand up to a little time to make it on my list! I like a cake that 'ages' well!

We Are Not Martha said...

Both gorgeous cakes!! I never do anything for St. Patrick's Day and feel like I need to change that!!


Claudia said...

There are not enough apple cake recipes in the world for me. I love it as much as our quintessential apple pie. I, too would replace the cloves. I am a sucker for tea cakes - much prefer them over the heavily frosted layer cakes. Now the problem is - which to make? Probably the tea cake as I like one that ages well! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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