Musical pairing – Rhythm of Love by Plain White T’s
I remember arriving in Indiana for the first time more than 15 years ago; it was late August and the heat was staggering. My clothes stuck to my body, my hair frizzed, my energy zapped an hour after I left the house . . . this Northwest girl was not used to that kind of humidity. By October, Jack Frost had already had his way with the pumpkins and when November rolled around, snow had fallen; my first semester of classes ended the first week of December with a whopping high of 18 degrees and ice on the ground . . .
I’ve always enjoyed the changing of the seasons; it reminds me of the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace . . . new Sentries will patrol the perimeter until Mother Nature sends in fresh recruits at the beginning of the following season – each one bringing its ‘A-Game’ for us to admire.
As I look out my windows on this gray, rainy day, I see rain-slicker yellow, emergency-cone orange and fire-engine red leaves dotting our trees. Quite a few have already fallen onto the deck and into the yard . . . all will be completely gone in another week or so. The scent of fall is in the air, I’ve pulled out the sweatshirts, jackets and boots; flip-flops, tank-tops and warm weather clothes have been packed away. Bonfires are burning in the neighbors’ yards and I imagine we’ll mow the grass one more time before we get a freeze. It’s time to put the garden beds to sleep for winter, plant Spring bulbs and net the fish pond.
Now is the pause in our year before the holiday crazy hits; days are shorter, nights are longer and the fireplace was lit for the first time this week. The Professor is completing week 9 out of 16 in his semester; I’m gearing up for overnight company and entertaining . . . six birthdays are celebrated in October, two celebrated in November, Thanksgiving, a wedding to shoot in December, Christmas and New Year. And while I’m looking forward to experiencing every single event, I force myself to savor today . . . to savor this moment . . . to not miss what’s right in front of me because I’m busy looking ahead and making my plans.
At the moment I’m remembering dear friends on the West Coast: Julie, Connie, Judi, Gayle Chris and Carol (Carol now lives here in the Midwest). The arrival of Fall meant craft days to make gifts or decorations for the upcoming holidays; it meant card nights, it meant practicing for the children’s Christmas musical, it meant decorating with pumpkins and mums. Much has changed in the 15 years since I left that hot August day; kids have grown and married, parents and grandparents have passed, grandbabies born and we’ve all gotten older . . . but those fall moments are memories I cherish.
Fall also reminds me of apples, apple cake and another friend, Drenda who baked fabulous apple cakes or apple muffins and would invite guests over to have conversation and enjoy a cup of tea with a slice of that cake. I still have Drenda’s recipe scratched out on the back of an envelope . . . I’ve tweaked it some and baked them in mini bundt pans . . .
Happy Fall my friends . . .
GLAZED APPLE CAKES WITH CINNAMON SUGAR
Adapted from Drenda’s Recipe
Makes 12 Mini-Bundt Cakes
- 1-1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1-1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup butter, melted and cooled
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup pure maple syrup (use real maple syrup here and don’t substitute artificial)
- 4 eggs
- 4 cups apples, cored and cut into small chunks**
- ½ cup apple cider
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, for dusting
- 1 cup sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Place flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk to combine
- Add melted butter, oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, eggs and apple chunks; mix well to combine
- Using a large scoop, divide batter evenly among 12, well greased mini Bundt pans; I use 2 pans that have 6 mini Bundt cakes to each one. I also use a spray with flour to prep my pans
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when tested
- Remove from pans immediately and brush with apple cider
- Place the extra cinnamon and sugar in a bowl; mix to combine and coat the glazed cakes
- Set on racks to cool completely
**SMITH BITES NOTE: I use a mix of firm tart apples here: granny smiths, gala, figi, pink lady, etc., and I don’t peel them because I happen to like the added texture but feel free to peel your apples if you prefer. You can also grate the apples but again, personally, I like the texture small apple chunks add to the cake.