There is no event so commonplace but that God is present within it …  ~Frederick Buechner

I’ll bake apple pies, I decided. It was a few months after I’d moved into my house, and I still hadn’t connected with neighbors. I gave them the benefit of the doubt — they were probably shy, too — and I decided to be brave.

I came to the last door. A large, serious man answered and just stood there while I rattled off who I was and why I’d come. He never said a single word. I was so nervous, I pretty much threw the pie into his hands, he closed the door, and I nearly tripped myself running back across the street. Is he deaf? See?! Try to do the right thing, and you get a door slammed in your face without even a “thank you.”

Later that week the man’s wife came over to introduce herself and apologize for her husband’s silence. She’d been upstairs sick. Her husband had carried the pie to her with a questioning look, and she realized there hadn’t been much conversation at the door. The man’s hearing was fine. He’d just never been given a pie and didn’t know how to respond!

It wasn’t exactly an auspicious beginning. Thankfully, though, the years have made us all friends. And I’ve been reminded time and again that I can’t rely on feelings. My job is to be faithful; God is responsible for the outcome. Something as simple as the common apple can bring Him glory and highlight His provision and comfort.

Daddy’s parents had apple trees — Yellow Transparent beauties they’d store in the potato cellar to last all year. We loved to help pick. We’d climb onto the farmhand (think cabless tractor with an open loader on the front), and Grandpa would raise us high into the trees to pull in branches with walking canes and fill our boxes. Down we’d go, unload, and head back up. Our version of a carnival ride — but with the promise of buttery, cinnamoned pies and applesauce at the end!

Mama’s parents didn’t grow their own apples. But Grandmother’s apple cake recipe is the best I know. She’d send a cake with Granddad on his yearly hunting trip; it just fit into that one tin can to avoid destruction. (Well … it fit once Grandmother cut out one piece. But the cook should get a taste, right?!)

This cake is moist, perfectly spiced, and works as well for breakfast as for Sunday dessert. And if you need a hostess gift, handwrite the recipe and give with a baggie of the spice mix. Voilà!

One note: We bake for high altitude up here in Colorado; you might need to adjust the amount of baking soda. King Arthur Flour’s “High-Altitude Baking” guide can help.


Fresh Apple Cake

  • Cream:       1 c., minus 1 Tbsp., margarine with 1 ¾ c. sugar
  • Add:           4 eggs and mix
  • Add:           ¾ c. cold water alternately with:

2 ½ c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cloves

  • Mix well.
  • Add 1 c. chopped pecans and 2 c. (3 large) shredded tart apples.
  • Bake in a greased and floured tube or bundt pan for 1 hour at 400°.
  • Let cool before removing from pan.
  • Keep in the refrigerator for five days, or freeze individually wrapped slices.