Don't worry. This cake isn't my answer to woe as we prepare to pack our daughter off to college. But...cakes of woe on that topic...are probably sure to come!
These tears were squeezing out because Madeleine and I have just finished the final disc of the final episode of...
"Larkrise to Candleford"...a delightful, delicious, captivating BBC drama.
As the summary of the drama reads, "this drama is about a country girl, Laura Timmins, who leaves her home of Lark Rise to join her cousin, Dorcas Lane, in bustling Candleford, where her position at the post office plants her in the thick of town activity."
Every episode was pure delight.
Every episode also contained wonderful cakes. Simple cakes but completely captivating to us in their sweet simplicity.
Life in the little English town of Candleford often revolved around sitting at Dorcas's kitchen table with some variation of a baked country cake and hot cups of tea. Gossip ensued as they enjoyed each little morsel of sweetness.
We could almost smell, coming from the screen, the spices and scents of each episode's cake!
Madeleine and I would 'zero in' on the table settings, the type of cake, the teacups, etc. Everything about enjoying that afternoon tea time captivated us.
As Dorcas would take a bite of some sort of soft, delicate looking cake, she often quipped,
"Cake...it's my one true weakness!"
We decided it would be fun to make some of the cakes that were mentioned in our now all-time beloved BBC Masterpiece series...which has ended. (more tears)
The cakes of this time period are all simple, filled with spice or dried fruits that could be found in the area.
When we were driving through Arkansas to get to Missouri over Easter, I had picked up an antique cake mold. I thought that would be the perfect shape for one of these classic cakes.
We chose a simple English recipe of:
Cinnamon Applesauce Cake
For weeks we squealed when another DVD came in the mailbox with the next season of "Larkrise to Candleford". The scenes are so visually captivating. We fell in love with so many of the characters. We tried not to watch more than one episode per night so we could absorb and savor the story.
We tucked ourselves in our favorite chairs, with our favorite blankets, in our favorite cozy darkened room...and cut deliciously moist and simple slices of cake and declared,
"Cake! It's our one true weakness!"
Dorcas's Cinnamon Applesauce Cake:
1 1/2 c. (7oz/200g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup (4 oz/110 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups (7 1/2 oz/210g)firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temp. lightly beaten
3/4 cup (7oz/200g) smooth unsweetened applesauce, room temp.
1/2 cup (2 oz/60g) walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
Cream Cheese Topping:
1 (3 oz.) pkg. low fat cream cheese
4 tbsp. softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
Dash of salt
Preheat the oven to 325˚F (165˚C). Generously butter a 5-cup (40-fl oz) brioche mold. Sift the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking powder together onto a sheet of waxed paper; set aside.
Using a stand mixer, beat the butter with the paddle on medium speed until creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Slowly drizzle in the eggs, beating each addition until incorporated before continuing. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and add the dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with the applesauce in 2 additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat just until combined. With a large rubber spatula, fold in the walnuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared mold and smooth the top. Bake for 40 minutes, then cover with aluminum foil. Continue to bake until the cake is puffed and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 - 25 minutes longer.
Let the cake cool on a wire rack until the mold is cool to the touch. Tap the mold on a counter to release the cake, then invert it onto a serving plate.
Spoon or pour the cream cheese mixture on the cake rim (when cooled) and top with fresh strawberries from the strawberry patch!
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
Cream cheese frosting; Cream the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt. Gradually add powdered sugar and blend well.