2012 was the last time I lived in an autumn-friendly climate. It was also a special time because I had just experienced incredibly invasive jaw surgery to fix an underbite. I recovered at my parents' house, where I watched a lot of Roseanne and didn't eat solid foods. I had a lot of down time to literally watch the leaves change.
A few weeks after surgery, I had enough of being cooped up and pleaded with my then-boyfriend to take me to a corn maze. Sure, I was on some painkillers (but not many, because they cut all of the nerves in my face so I couldn't feel anything and still kind of can't in some places!). My face was puffy, I couldn't control my saliva output. If someone bumped my face, my face could fall apart. But I was going to make it work.
(Also, it should be said that no one really wants to go to a corn maze. Corn mazes exist solely for church youth groups as a fall activity/potential metaphor for Christianity.)
The morning of The Outing, I woke up with hives all over my body. No problem! I'm sure a shower-in-which-I-don't-get-my-face-wet will solve it! When it didn't, my dad made me call the insurance nurse line. My first question after describing this rash that was now moving incrementally down my body like a high school boy who was about to get lucky: "Can I still go to a corn maze?" She didn't recommend it, but she did recommend I stop taking the antibiotics that I was told to finish no matter what.
It was bright. It was hot. I wasn't used to navigating. My face felt heavy. I got lost in the corn and the dry husks were like pins-and-needles knives on my face. My pores started seeping some kind of liquid I was later told was the steroids leaving my body, like some slow-moving, dermatological exorcism. Kids stared as I lumbered through the corn, groaning, leaking from my face, my adult braces shimmering in the sun. My boyfriend was super into all of it, I'm sure. He took this picture.
|Having fun, loving life!|
I'm going home in a few weeks, and I plan to go to an apple orchard because my face has healed and I love fall. It may or may not have a corn maze, but I'm feeling very "been there, done that" about corn mazes.
This past Sunday, I made an apple cake with apples I bought from a grocery store. This is fine, but I urge you to plan a small autumn excursion with your now-boyfriend or other companion and pick your own damn apples. Enjoy the crisp breeze on your healthy face. Make a day of it! Then, come home and make this incredibly easy apple cake!
|Didn't pick these.|
Apple Cake with Caramel Drizzle
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (don't do drugs)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
about 6 medium cooking apples (I used Fuji), coarsely chopped and not peeled
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13x9 cake pan.
Chop up the apples and start sweating because the oven is on and you're chopping so aggressively.
|Bowl with feminist you-can-do-it sayings optional.|
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and baking soda.
[This is the moment of recipes I used to hate: Using your standing mixer... We don't all have one, okay?! They are expensive and some of our moms are waiting until we get married to give us one. I lucked out; the incredibly sweet and amazing Allison Miller (of my famous and very important basketball team, the Lucille Ballers) GIFTED ME her standing mixer. It's light blue and beautiful and handled this recipe with grace and ease. If you don't have a standing mixer, though, you are still okay as a person and baker. It might be harder to mix, but you can do it, because you're strong and independent and you could definitely make it through a corn maze.]
Using your standing mixer... get the butter going, adding the sugar a little bit at a time.
Add the eggs.
When this turns to a lovely paste, add the dry ingredients from the medium bowl.
Fold in the walnuts and apples.
Gaze in admiration as your standing mixer really goes to town on the batter. The batter will be thick, but that's no problem for your gorgeous standing mixer.
|That's it. Make love to that batter.|
Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in the pan.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the sugar, brown sugar, and whipping cream.
Keep stirring, because obviously.
When it has turned into a sauce, add the vanilla.
Be super proud because you just made CARAMEL.
|Taking their sweet time to melt. (Pun intended.)|
Cut, drizzle, enjoy. Repeat.
Also, repeat in the morning, as a breakfast cake, because it can totally be a "breakfast cake," if that's your thing.