Shedding Summer

Although I mourn the passing of the long, languid days of summer, autumn has its own unique effect on me. I guess it’s the sense of change. Very much like spring, fall incites me to do things. Clean out my closet, reorganize cabinets, tidy up my desk (a monumental task that really should take place weekly, not seasonally!). Spring fever doesn’t only hit me in the springtime. bucket-303265_640

This year I’ve already accomplished so much—I dusted surfaces that haven’t seen the light of day since May.    I weeded out my cosmetics drawer. My desk is embarrassingly orderly. I still have the task of switching out my wardrobe, since my bureau & closet aren’t four seasons big.

Later today, I’ve promised myself.

There’s a sense of urgency about the season that keeps me motivated. Maybe it’s because the days are shorter. Since I’m one of those people who dozes off the minute it gets dark, I know I have less time to get things done.

Autumn also revives my love of baking (much to my family’s joy!). We have an apple tree in our back yard that usually supplies me with multiple bushels to be transformed into pies, crisps, cakes, and applesauce. This year, because of a late spring freeze, the tree produced only one apple. ONE. That isn’t going very far in the recipe department.

But I thought I’d share with you a special recipe for AppleFest Cake, which is one of my family’s favorites. It combines two of the season’s specialties—apples & pumpkin—into a moist deliciousness I’m sure is chock-full of calories.

But winter’s coming right? Time to pump up those fat stores 😉

AppleFest Cake

1 stick butter

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ cups diced, peeled apples (about 2 medium—& 1 more than my tree gave me this year!)

1 cup canned pumpkin

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking Powder (not soda)

¾ teaspoon baking Soda (not powder)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon each of nutmeg, ginger, & ground cloves

2 teaspoons orange or lemon zest (this is the dried stuff in the spice section)

Sift dry ingredients in one bowl together. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time (I always have to laugh when the recipe says this. Do you know anybody that could possibly break two eggs and add them AT THE SAME TIME??? I guess they mean beat after adding each one.)

Anyway, after that’s all beaten smooth, add the vanilla and pumpkin and beat. Stir in the diced apples. Now blend in the dry ingredients and orange or lemon peel stuff. Turn into greased Bundt pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Ok, if you’re using a Bundt pan, and you put the toothpick in the center, it will fall through the hole. So just stick it somewhere INTO the cake part…)

Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then remove from pan. Great with cream cheese icing, vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream. Or all three!



Claire Gem writes romance novels about strong women, starting over, and the men lucky enough to earn their love. Visit her at