Apple Bramley Christmas Cake Recipe

With a history of apple cultivation dating back far beyond St. Patrick’s apple in Ireland it is something of a legend. Tart of apples, applesauce, roast pork and apple sauce, apples are synonymous with sweet and savory Irish food.

Bramley apples are a particularly special type of apple because they come in season in October and last long into the winter making them the best apples for cooking in the run-up to Christmas. It is known in Ireland, to most people, simply as the “cooking apple”.

This Christmas, Bord Bia (Irish food plate) is encouraging people to enjoy this distinctive, locally grown apple in an array of delicious, warm wintertime meals. Often referred to in Ireland as the ‘culinary apple’, Bramley’s distinctive taste and unique delicate texture make it an ideal ingredient for many sweet and savory dishes.

Chefs find the large size is convenient for preparation, their natural sharpness is of high quality, the sweetness of the pastry is balanced out and any added sugar, and the fruit acids help break down the apples during cooking so that they ‘fall’ to produce a unique purée.

The relatively recent apple dates back to the 19th century, widely cultivated but closely related to Armagh, “Orchard County”, which has a history of apple-growing dating back to St. Patrick’s and early monasteries. In fact, William of Orange was among the many historical references linking apples – and cider – to the region.

Without further ado, why not wow your loved ones during the Christmas season with this simple recipe for Bramley apples.

apple bramley cake recipe

Serve with fresh cream or ice cream to create a wonderful Christmas dessert that the whole family will enjoy.

Serves: 4-6 people

Alternatives: If you don’t have Bramley apples to hand Granny Smiths, Fuji or Winesap will, too.


500g bramley apples (about 2 large apples)

150g butter with extra fat added
225gm of self-raising flour
– 1 tsp. Baking powder
– 225 grams of fine sugar
– 2 large eggs
– ½ tsp. Almond extract
– 25 grams of peeled almonds
– icing sugar to dust
– Vanilla ice cream for serving


Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F) gas mark 3.

Melt the butter in a small skillet or in the microwave and leave to cool. Butter a cake with a little butter, size 20 cm.

Put the flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, almond extract and melted butter in a bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat until smooth. Spread half of it in the prepared tin.

Peel and core the apple, then cut it into thick slices. Add them in layers over the sponge mixture, placing them in the middle. Using 2 tablespoons, pour the rest of the sponge mixture with the spoon to completely cover the apples.

Sprinkle over the almonds and bake for an hour and a half, until golden and a skewer comes out clean from the center. Leave it for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Remove from tray and cut into slices. Serve warm on plates with ice cream.

*This recipe was provided by Bord Bia. For more recipes from the Irish Food Council, visit

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