Pirates’ Apple Cake

This is an original, based on a Dutch apple cake learned long ago in a previous life. To make a version of the ‘original’ Dutch Apple Cake, just substitute freshly peeled and thinly sliced apple sprinkled with a little cinnamon and clove for the spiced rum-soaked dried apple.  I always sprinkle a little lemon or lime juice on fresh apple slices as I cut them, to prevent browning.

Alternatively, substitute the apple and spices with sliced pears and orange zest.

I was thinking maybe apple and blackberry, apple and rhubarb,  or pear and raspberry might be nice to try.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1  tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup caster sugar,  and some ordinary granulated sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g butter
  • 1/3 cup (80ml)  milk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g of dried apple rings   
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • a generous pinch of ground fenugreek

Make it in the following way:

  1. Mix the rum, honey, cloves, allspice and fenugreek
  2. Soak the dried apple in the rum mixture overnight
  3. Preheat the oven to 200º C
  4.  Line  a 23cm* cake tin with buttered greaseproof paper
  5. Beat the eggs,  caster sugar and vanilla extract until very fluffy
  6. Warm the milk in a saucepan with the butter (do not boil).  Remove from the heat.
  7. Whisk in the baking soda then immediately add to the beaten egg mixture, continually whisking
  8. Sift in the flour, cinnamon and baking powder and fold  into the batter
  9. Pour half the mixture into the baking tin
  10. Layer the batter with the slices of apple and pour the remaining batter over the top.
  11. Sprinkle the top with sugar and place in the oven
  12. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 180º C
  13. Bake for 20–25 minutes until  golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.
  14. Cool in the tin until it can be handled
  15. Serve warm with whipped cream.
  16. Perhaps with a teaspoon or two of spiced rum in the whipped cream?

Note:  Sliced fresh apple tends to sink in the cake, and the dried apple tends to float up.  In the latter case the top will brown faster. Keep an eye on it and cover with foil if necessary.

 * I no longer have a 23cm (9 inch) baking tin, so I use a 20cm and highside the paper liner, that is, make the liner a few centimeters higher than the tin.  It prevents spills if the cake rises too high.  When using this technique, do not butter the paper where it is not in contact with the tin. 

This page may be helpful when working out recipes involving odd sizes of tin. 

I let it brown a little too much, and sprinkled a bit of icing sugar on this one:



About Uisce úr

Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.
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2 Responses to Pirates’ Apple Cake

  1. Alan says:

    Thanks! The cake part is brown mainly because of the cinnamon, Charisma, but the apple slices floated up and browned a little more than expected. However, I just tried a piece, and it really is delicious! When my guests arrive tomorrow I shall have to precut it and arrange the pieces so the missing slice is not obvious. At least it came out ok and I don’t have to make another one.

  2. Charisma says:

    This cake looks delicious and I quite like how brown it is!

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