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Traditional Irish desserts to Try for St. Patrick’s Day

Celebrate the luck ‘o the Irish with classic desserts from the Emerald Isle:

Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce

Every farmhouse in Ireland has their own family recipe of old-fashioned Irish apple cake, a traditional dessert that celebrates the apple harvest season. Made with a substantial amount of apples and less flour than traditional cakes, the texture of Irish apple cake is more like a loaf of dense and moist bread. Compared to classic cakes, this apple-filled delight isn’t nearly as sweet, which helps to highlight the tart flavors of Granny Smith apples. It all comes together with a sweet and creamy custard sauce that balances the bright fruit flavors.



One stick or 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

4 tablespoons honey

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons milk

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon clove

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 large Granny Smith apples or 6 small ones, peeled and thinly sliced

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Streusel topping

1/2 cup flour

1 cup old fashioned oats

8 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut in small cubes

1/2 cup brown sugar

Custard sauce

1 vanilla bean

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 large egg yolks

1 1/2 cup whole milk

6 tablespoons sugar


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Meanwhile, start the custard sauce with milk brought to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk the yolks and sugar until light colored and fully emulsified. Slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture while whisking continuously. Then transfer the egg mixture back into the saucepan of hot milk and continue to stir constantly until the spoon becomes fully coated. Be careful not to overcook, which will curdle the eggs and milk. Stir in the vanilla and a pinch of vanilla beans and refrigerate until needed.

For the streusel topping, blend together the small pieces of cold butter with the flour, oats, and sugar until coarse and crumbly.

For the cake, grease a 9-inch round baking pan. Combine butter and sugar until the mixture appears light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat together.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Next, fold the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mixture and then add milk.

Pour the batter into the pan, and smooth the top evenly. Artfully place the sliced apples on the cake and top with streusel topping. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour or until the top is lightly brown and a toothpick comes out clean without any wet batter. Before removing from the pan, let cool completely. Then dust with confectioners sugar and a drizzle of custard sauces before serving.

Irish Tea Cake

Also called Brack, Irish tea cake has a deliciously moist texture from being soaked in strong black tea overnight. This dense and fruity cake is typically cut into thick slices, slathered in butter, and served with hot tea.


1 cup mixed dried fruit

1/2 cup orange peel

1 cup black tea at room temperature

1 cup self-rising flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350°F. Soak the orange peel and mixed fruit in black tea for four hours or overnight. Beat together egg, sugar, and flour until well incorporated. Pour into a 9-inch baking loaf pan, cover with foil, and bake for 1.5 hours.

Guinness Cake

For cookbook author Nigella Lawson, the addition of Guinness gives chocolate cake more complexity with notes of licorice. In this recipe, Lawson re-creates the foamy head of a pint with Guinness-infused chocolate cake and a cream cheese frosting.



1 cup Guinness

1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature, plus 2 tablespoons extra

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

2 cups caster sugar

3/4 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups of cake flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda


8-ounce package of cream cheese

1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch baking pan and line with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, add the Guinness and butter; heat until melted. Next, whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat together sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the beer and butter saucepan. Finally, mix in the flour and baking soda.

Pour the cake batter into the greased baking tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Because of its moist texture, make sure to cool completely on the cooling rack before removing from the pan.

While the cake is cooling, make the frosting by whipping the cream cheese until smooth and then sifting in confectioner’s sugar. Beat together until the consistency is spreadable and creamy.

When the cake is room temperature, place it on a cake stand and evenly layer it with frosting to resemble the frothy top of the iconic pint of Guinness.

If you don’t have time for baking, celebrate St Patrick’s Day by pairing your pint of Guinness with a selection of Ne-Mo’s treats, which include a full line-up of cake slices and sweetbreads.


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