It’s that time of year again…the sunlight is slanting and there’s a chill in the air….autumn has definitely arrived. And so have the bald-faced hornets. Those little bastards, along with their cohorts the yellowjackets, are everywhere.
I remember going to our friend Jay’s cabin on South Fork Mountain every autumn so that my dad and brother could hunt for deer. Jay used to sit on his front porch eating his breakfast of bacon and eggs every morning while the yellow jackets swarmed all around him. He barely looked at them as he continuously lifted his fork to his mouth. Until, that is, one unlucky creature would land on his plate. With the tiniest hint of a gleam in his eye, Jay would make one quick sweep with his arm and stab the yellowjacket right in its nasty little heart. And without a hint of unease, he would then wipe his fork off on his napkin and continue to eat breakfast. I never saw him miss.
I, unfortunately, never acquired Jay’s talent for annihilating, nor his laissez-faire attitude about, wasps. So it was with trepidation that I journeyed out to the apple tree this afternoon to pick enough beautiful sweet red apples for the food that smells and tastes like autumn itself: Grammy’s fresh apple cake.
My gram, in her little house on Monument Road, has made this cake for years, and like all the best recipes in this world, it’s very simple. Therefore, hypothetically speaking, of course, if you are suffering from exhaustion due to the Great Autumnal Raging Hormone Surge of 2007, and you just happen to make a few mistakes here and there, like maybe….you don’t beat the sugar with the butter, you add it to the dry ingredients….and you forget to sift the dry ingredients…and you underestimate how many apples you picked so you add two more cups than the recipe calls for…and you try to put the sugar back up in the cupboard and in doing so knock an entire box of open baking soda into the cake batter sitting by the stove so you have to dig it all out with your hands and then vacuum the stovetop while using language Grammy definitely wouldn’t approve of…..well, you have nothing to worry about. Everything will be just fine, especially if you serve it warm with a big scoop of Humboldt Creamery vanilla.
Grammy Edith’s Fresh Apple Cake
1 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups chopped apples
1 cup nuts and/or raisins rolled in flour (optional, of course)
Sift dry ingredients and set aside. Beat together the butter and sugar. Add egg and beat. Add dry ingredients. Stir in apples and anything else you desire (the batter will be thick like cookie dough.) Pour into a greased 8″ x 8″ pan and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.