Apple cake, perfect muffins for fall | food for thought

(Sep 9, 2022) “It is not in the stars that our fate is held but in ourselves.” The Deliverance of Truth by William Shakespeare manifests every day of our lives.

The question is whether we take this into account or simply let the goal ride the wave of chance.

Years ago I made the decision to leave home and pursue an acting career. At the time, I was in a wonderful relationship with a man named Nick, and life was good.

However, there was a void inside me and I wanted more than a life of luxury. My passion for the performing arts drew me to the land of lights, camera and action.

A friend of Nick’s, who lived in Los Angeles, scheduled an audition for me at the famous Lee Strasberg Acting Institute and also helped Nick with my travel plans. So I boarded a plane with nine bags and a one-way ticket.

The six-hour flight made me question my sanity and wonder if I had made the biggest mistake of my life. To my surprise, when I arrived at the hotel, there was a message from Nick.

The Lord’s mysterious ways. The next thing I knew, I was flying across the country every week to pursue my dream and at the same time be able to be with loved ones.

I don’t remember the name of the gentleman who graciously assisted me in my transition to Los Angeles. I contacted him and asked him what I could do to reciprocate.

He responded to remember his thoughtfulness and continue the chain of brotherly love. I have never forgotten those words.

Learning the “method” style of play takes time. Endless drills and training scenes seemed endless.

Then one day you are on stage, everything clicks into place, and you finally understand what the “method” is.

My first performance at the institute was gifted with a surprise delivery of red roses from my father.

I was touched by his sweetness and realized his lack of words didn’t mean he didn’t love me.

Anna Strasberg (Lee Strasberg’s widow) was in the audience and offered me a scholarship to the institute three days later.

Anna and I have become good friends; we also shared the love of ‘cooking’. Whenever she was in Los Angeles, I always cooked her a meal.

It gave me the chance to practice my skills and get feedback from someone who had traveled a lot.

Sophia Loren was one of Anna’s best friends. It was not uncommon during the summer months to see Sophia at school.

One day Anna asked me if I wanted to cook a meal for her and Sophia. I was so excited and looking forward to our dinner.

I don’t remember what I cooked, but I do remember cooking for them several times. Actually, Sophia invited me to her house for a party, but that’s another story.

Before Anna returned to New York, she asked what she could do to show her appreciation for delicious meals. I replied, “a bag of apples would be nice.”

I could tell that my answer surprised her. I gave no explanation and she never pursued the case.

A few months later, I heard a familiar voice and hugged my dear friend. “How are you” was quickly changed to “I have to ask you a question”.

My mind raced and I tried to figure out what was so urgent. Then she said, “Why did you ask for a bag of apples? Of all the things you could have asked for, you chose apples.

I told him the story of the man who helped me move to Los Angeles. All he wanted for his thoughtfulness was for me to return the favor to someone in need.

Flying bi-coastal every week, flying to the east coast on weekends, going to school full time and visiting family and friends is quite a busy schedule. But I try to visit a small homeless shelter in LA for women with kids every few weeks.

I find cooking classes for kids to be a fun activity for residents.

My childhood memories are sweetened by home-cooked meals. Applesauce, apple butter and apple pie are some of my favorites.

Store-bought meals cannot be compared to homemade meals. So when I visit the shelter, homemade apple dishes are always on the menu. The simple act of peeling an apple makes a day memorable for everyone.

Speaking of apples, mom’s apple cake is a tradition in our family.

Spiced apples are strategically placed in the Bundt pan to show off the natural beauty of the fruit nestled in a fluffy cake batter.

The following recipe is a cake recipe. But with a few tweaks, you can turn this recipe into muffins.

When you mix the apple mixture into the cake batter, it will result in a light, fluffy texture as opposed to a fluffy cake. Also, apples should be cut into small pieces rather than slices. Muffins should be topped with cane sugar rather than powdered sugar. Muffins or cake, it’s a great fall dessert. Enjoy!

Apple cake

Apple mix

5 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and sliced

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

5 tablespoons granulated sugar

Cake Mix

3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted plus an additional 2 tablespoons

2 ¼ cups granulated sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon of table salt

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1/3 cup orange juice

4 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

icing sugar for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix apple ingredients well in a medium bowl.

3. In another bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

4. In another bowl, whisk the oil, orange juice and vanilla.

5. Combine wet and dry cake ingredients in a large bowl. Then add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until well blended.

6. Pour half of the batter into a non-stick Bundt pan. Scatter half of the apples on top. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Pour the remaining juice from the apple mixture over the top.

7. Bake 1 ½ hours or until top is golden brown.

8. Remove cake from oven and place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Tap the pan firmly several times and shake it gently to help loosen the cake. Invert the pan onto the cooling rack, lift it up and continue to cool the cake on the rack.

9. Before serving, apply a generous amount of powdered sugar to the cake.

Secret ingredient: Kindness. “Words may be short and easy to say, but their echoes are truly endless.”

– Mother Teresa

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