The Story Circle Network recently asked us for harvest oriented stories with a recipe, and I couldn’t resist whipping this one up. A shorter version has been submitted to their “True Words” feature.
Feel free to try the recipe and if you are a nut about nuts, you can even add 2 C of chopped nuts…but you don’t need to. Bon Appetit!
Fall is different here in Central Texas. Trees start to change, but not to the vivid colors I remember from my Northwest Washington childhood. Muted tones seem to dominate the land with an occasional bright mesquite tree to break up the monotony.
The temperatures barely drop from summer’s highs until a front comes ripping through, usually around Thanksgiving, causing rain and winds that knock every turning leaf to the ground. Summer often metamorphoses directly into winter.
It is in the fall that I miss the Northwest the most.
I long for the oranges, reds and gold of the trees. I remember the smell of burning leaves, spicing the slowly chilling air as we bid fond goodbyes to the brief summer sun. I miss the smell of the evergreens and thick, humus topsoil under my feet.
I loved the anticipation in the air as school began and we welcomed the coming Halloween and Thanksgiving, as they led up to Christmas.
She did not make it very often when we were young. We were poor and it took expensive items like oil, sugar, cloves and cinnamon. We could get the apples fairly cheap…after all, it was the Northwest, but the other things could be quite dear.
When Nana decided it was time to bake an apple cake, the house would smell like fall and the holidays all day long. All of the kids were on their best behavior, and Nana only had to look thirsty to have her favorite Pepsi delivered to her by some grandchild who was particularly good at sucking up.
The rich, cinnamon smell was just a tease for the main event that was ahead, though. We waited through the day with anticipation and rushed through our dinner, barely tasting it, but salivating at the prospect of Nana’s apple cake.
It was served in small squares of brown, moist, savory deliciousness. If we were particularly flush, there would be whipped cream in a dollop beside it, but you could do without.
I remember biting into a piece and tasting the oil and small apple chunks as they burst on my taste buds. Then the cinnamon hit the middle of my tongue. It was heaven on a fork and I loved it almost as much as the angel who baked and served it to me.
It was Nana’s love, wrapped in the tastiest wrapper she could achieve.
Nana’s Apple Cake Recipe:
4 C Chopped Apples
1 t Salt
1 t Soda
2 t Cinnamon
¼ t Cloves
1 C Oil
1½ t Vanilla
2 C Sugar
2 C Flour
Sift salt, cinnamon, soda and cloves. Add oil, eggs, vanilla; then add apples, sugar and flour into the bowl. Mix. Bake in 13×9” pan at 350 degrees for 1 hr. or until toothpick comes out clean. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or serve with whipped cream and a big dollop of love.
Keeps for up to a week if covered or refrigerated.