Sitting at my kitchen table in the morning a few weeks ago I was struck with an urgent feeling that I must go home to my parents. An hour later I had flights booked and bags packed to visit them in Northern California.
On the surface, I was going home to offer support: My maternal grandmother had recently been moved into an assisted-living situation, and the transition was proving difficult for our family. As I traveled, I made plans to bake my mom her favorite scones for breakfast, practice deep listening, and give lots and lots of hugs.
Once there, I did just that: gave my hugs, tried my best to just listen, and stocked my mom's freezer with cookies and chicken noodle soup. But on the return trip back to my own home, I realized that I wasn't the only one giving love through service on the trip: I, too, was being served. A few days in my childhood bedroom, surrounded by the giant maple trees outside my window; stumbling across old pictures and letters; the sound of my mom's laughter; riding in the car with my dad; these things served me in more ways than I could have possibly anticipated.
And I realized: In our service to others, we also serve our own spirit with love and healing energy.
There are many ways to show love and support to someone who is having a difficult time—and one of them, of course, is the gift of wholesome, nourishing food made with care. This Apple Cake, made with natural sweeteners like raw sugar and maple syrup, is the perfect thing to bake next time you are called on to offer love, support, and service others—or when your spirit needs some love itself.
Whole Wheat Apple Cake
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis
3 apples (Fuji, preferably) cut into small chunks
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
3/4 cup Grade B maple syrup
1/2 cup raw sugar
3/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 lemons, juiced
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a bundt pan with coconut oil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together apples, eggs, sugars, coconut oil, and vanilla. In a second bowl, combine dry ingredients. Slowly fold dry mixture into the wet ingredients until completely combined. Gently pour into the bundt pan and spread with a spatula. Bake for 60 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test. Allow to cool for 30 minutes to two hours before serving.
For the icing, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice in a stand mixer until completely smooth. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve the cake.
Want more recipes? Try these coconut oatmeal whole-wheat cookies.