Thursday, May 31, 2012

Simple Cinnamon Applesauce Spice Cake with Fresh Oodles of Goodbye Tears!

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, 

"'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.


  1. Oh my, how absolutely delicious! I do love apple cake and especially cream cheese icing! And anything with walnuts! Love your work.

  2. looks moist and delish...and those photos are breath taking!

  3. of luck to your daughter!

  4. Yay for a TV show that celebrates the greatness of cakes! That sounds absolutely scrumptious and the texture looks wonderful.

  5. Gorgeous! I love how the strawberrys still have the stalks on them! Dorcas knows what its all about!

  6. I'll have to try to track down this series...your post reminds me that my girls and I used to enjoy the Anne of Green Gables series, and on one of my younger daughter's college tours we bumped into Megan Follows, who plays Anne, touring with her own daughter! Your cake is delightful, as always.

    1. Oh Wow. The grown up Anne of Green Gables! That would be something to see her with her own daughter. I don't even think of her as from our time period!

    2. MEGAN FOLLOWS!! Oh man, Anne of Green Gables is the absolute best!

  7. Perfect and beautiful!
    Great recipe.

  8. This cake is super gorgeous :D
    I cannot stop staring at its wonderful presentation!

    Choc Chip Uru

  9. Can't stop adoring your photos and recipes! This one is just splendid!

  10. What gorgeous cake and strawberries! The berries look like you picked them minutes before you decorated the cake. Just lovely!

    1. We did! We picked them early that morning!

  11. Beautiful cake - absolutely beautiful.
    Best wishes on the transition to college - it's both exciting & nerve wracking all at the same time.

  12. What a lovely sounding show, I'll have to check it out. I miss evenings spent watching Mystery or Masterpiece Theater with my mum! And now where I live I can't get tv stations to come in, so no public television for me:(

    A quaint little cake - not such a terrible weakness;)

  13.'ve elevated cake-making and baking to a whole new art. Absolutely beautiful!! And - what a wonderful way to bond with your daughter before she departs...

  14. I don't even bake, but your blog makes me want to do so - every time.

    I love PBS series, and I'm forever ordering them on Netflix, both instant and DVD. I used to have a tough time understanding people speaking with a British accent, but with all this practice I'm getting quite good at deciphering it.

  15. Cake is my true weakness too. Your cake looks so pretty and good. I love to bake so maybe I will try it one day.

  16. What a beautiful cake! LOVE this. Enjoy your weekend!

  17. This cake is so pretty! I love styling it with strawberries with stems still on. Lovely. I may need to check this show out as well - I love all things BBC.

  18. that is one gorgeously studded cake!!!

  19. O my God, women-))) What are you doing with me? Now I have to get this I have to bake! The cake looks divine. I am so inspired to cook something an photograph tomorrow, thank you!

  20. it looks incredible. it must be such an emotional time.

  21. What a gorgeous cake Sarah!! Looks SO moist and delicious!

  22. Such a lovely cake! Now why don't I ever find cool, antique cake molds in my travels. It probably has something to do with my lack of patience for digging for finds. I'm much impressed with your find and baked goods!

  23. i totally felt in love with so magic!

    amazing post as always...your photos are extraordinary!

  24. Sarah, that cream cheese frosting may just be the most gorgeous thing I've seen. Wow! You've outdone yourself with these photos.

  25. That is simply stunning! I have not seen that series but will check it out on Netflix :)

  26. Now I have to go find these series and watch over the summer. I have been kinda lost since my favorite several shows are done for the season and summer nights seem like perfect time to catch up on books. But if you are saying there is a BBC series with these type of wonderful cakes, I am in.
    Good luck to your daughter and you for packing and saying goodbye to each other for new adventures:)

  27. Such a perfect looking cake, and I'm sure a darn delicious one too!

  28. Gorgeous photos! I love that you left the stem on the strawberries; what a stunning presentation. This is my first time here but it won't be my last. I love the individual photos of your family with the short description next to each one. So happy to have found my way here!

  29. This cake looks perfect! And the presentation, everything about this post is gorgeous!
    Haha, cake is only one of my weaknesses :p

  30. Your photos are simply breath-taking. I'm so glad you commented on my Battenberg cake so that I might wander onto you blog- I'll have to subscribe!

  31. Dear Sarah - Perfection in everything you do. What a delight! I love that you too draw inspiration from English books and movies and series. Sigh :) The cake is sure to become MY one true weekness and to hell with my

    What a delightful post and your pics are an inspiration as always.

    chow :) DEVAKI @ weavethousandflavors

  32. Sarah, Such a gorgeous cake! I just love visiting you...for the beautiful eye candy!! Lovely photos!!

  33. Although I've never seen the series it sounds like my kind of show. I mean how could I not love it with quotes like "'s my one true weakness!" ;-)

  34. This cake looks awesome. It must be sooooooo delicious :-)

  35. That lead photo could be one of my favorites Sarah!! What a beautiful looking cake. I love cakes sweetened with applesauce. They always come out so moist. Hope you had fun strawberry picking. I just went this morning.

  36. Any suggestion for how hot and how long to cook this delicious looking and sounding cake? Length may depend on size of the pan--and the toothpick/knife test usually works. 350?

    1. Oh my goodness Anonymous. It would have been helpful to put the actual cooking method and recipe on the blog instead of just the list of ingredients. Thank you so much for catching that. Let me get the recipe from my cookbook and I'll get it on the site in a jiffy. My apologies! Sheesh...

  37. Wow those strawberries are beautiful, and the cake sounds great too =)(i love the second picture !)


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