“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
"Winter is dead.”
~AA Milne, when we were very young
Friday, 28 August 2009
As I may have mentioned before, or maybe not, we live in a little cottage in the rural English countryside, surrounded on three sides by beautiful English Orchards.
In the springtime, the area is a beautiful sea of pink and white blossom, in the summer a sea of green, filled with tiny miniature apples and pears and about this time of year the air rings with the sound of fruit pickers and is filled with the smell of ripening fruit.
Every intake of air fills the mind and heart with remembrances of the home of my childhood, the beautiful Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, Canada . . . and dreams of apple pies, puddings and cakes . . .
One of the nice things about it all, is that we are free to help ourselves to the windfalls, and every few days one often finds a big pot of applesauce or apple butter simmering away on the top of my country kitchen stove . . .
In late August and early September my house permanently smells like cinnamon, and nutmeg, and cloves . . .
and apples . . . drying and hanging on strings, all strung across the back of the Aga . . . baking up all sweet and spicy into buttery apple pies . . . or into a cake stogged full of the lovely flavours of sweet sultanas, crunchy toasted walnuts, and moist with applesauce and spice . . .
*Applesauce Spice Cake*
Serves 10 to 12
This is a lovely cake that the whole family will enjoy. Deliciously moist and full of the wonderful flavour of spice, studded with soft raisins and crunchy walnuts, this truly is a joy to bake and to eat. The smell of this when it is baking is truly heavenly!
2 ½ cups plain flour
1 cups caster sugar
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
½ cup vegetable shortening such as Trex, White Flora or Crisco
½ cup water
2 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 cup sultantas
FOR THE ICING:
¾ cup of softened butter
5 cups icing sugar, sifted
¼ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp lemon essence
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Lightly grease and flour a 9 by 15 inch baking pan and set aside.
Sift together the flour, soda, baking powder, salt, spices and sugar into a large bowl. Drop in the shortening, applesauce, water and eggs. Beat it all together with an electric mixer until it is all smooth, beating well. Fold in the sultanas and walnuts. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake for approximately 34 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned and the top springs back when lightly touched. Alternately you may use a toothpick to see if it is done, which when inserted will come out clean.
Remove from the oven and place in the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.
Once completely cool make the frosting. Beat the butter until light and fluffy and then beat in the remaining ingredients, beating until smooth and fluffy. Spread evenly across the top of the cake. (leave the cake in the pan and serve from there) If you want you can sprinkle more toasted walnuts over the top of the finished cake. Delicious!
*Note - You can also bake this lovely cake in two 9 inch rounds, giving you one delicious one to frost and eat right away and another tasty one to wrap up and store in the freezer for a delicious treat a few months down the road. ☺