Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee, lousy with humidity...

Hello! I hope everyone weathered Sandy safely. We did pretty well here. I may have lost my mind while shopping for Official Emergency Preparedness Supplies (AHEM:

but we never lost our power, and other than a small leak in the basement that had my husband out mid-hurricane with ladders and power tools (he is Darwinism at work, that one), we had no real damage. We are counting our lucky stars, and thinking of those who were not so fortunate. I hope we are all warm, dry, and safe at home with our families ASAP.

We have also been taking advantage of the snow day milieu by eating hearty comfort food and drinking our Emergency Preparedness wine stash. Apparently several days of darkness, whipping winds, and lashing rain tends to drive one to cook, you know? What with it being the height of apple season and our being stocked with Emergency Preparedness Apples, there was one obvious contender: my Nana's apple cake. Apple cake is a family favorite, and the smell alone brings me back to Nana's kitchen, with my little square of cake and a cuppa tea, as she'd say. This cake is so homey to us all that it was one of the first things my mom ever baked and mailed to me as a college freshman, and it was the first appetizing thing I could manage after having my wisdom teeth out last year. It is an edible hug, if you will, so hello: CLEAR WINNER.

There are some drawbacks to the apple cake, though. First, it is absolutely, 100% TERRIBLE for you. Two cups of sugar, three of flour, A CUP OF OIL. Yikes. It is also hiiiighly addictive. Like, if you make a 13x9 pan of it, it disappears because everyone grabs another little chunk every time they walk through the kitchen. This is particularly problematic when there are only two of you in the house. So I made some tweaks. First, I cut the oil back to about 2/3-3/4 of a cup. The cake is plenty moist to make up for it, and it's actually a little better with less grease. Second, I baked it in muffin form. It's a nice way to limit the serving size, and if I freeze the muffins individually, it guarantees that we'll heat them up for actual meals rather than constant little snacks for a few days. Still not healthy, but you know, moderation, etc.

Here's what I do:

1.) Peel and chop 3 cups of apples (I used Macintosh apples, which, with Cortlands, are my favs).

2.) Add two cups of sugar, 2 tsps of cinnamon, and 1 tsp of nutmeg to the apples. Mix and set aside.

3.) In a separate bowl, combine 2/3-3/4 c vegetable oil, 2 eggs, and 2 tsps vanilla. Whisk to combine and set aside.

4.) To the apple and sugar mixture, add 3 cups of flour and 2 tsps of baking soda.

5.) Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

6.) The batter is going to be very thick and not at all drippy. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into a muffin pan that is greased in the cups AND on top with cooking spray (they spread like whoa).

7.) Bake at 350 for 40ish minutes, although I would suggest starting to check for doneness around 30 minutes; my oven is seriously in need of recalibration. I would also suggest taking the muffins out of the pan after only five minutes. I ... did not do this, nor did I remember to spray the top of the pan with Pam, so I was chiseling through the blanket of muffin top AND scraping each muffin top off of the pan. Holy unmitigated mess. Well, mitigated somewhat by the DELICIOUSNESS, but still super messy. I moved the muffins to a cooling rack and let them sit upside down, which really helped bring the muffins that had separated from their tops back together. The tops get really crunchy, so weight and structure wise, upside down actually works best. Once they cooled, I wrapped each one in plastic wrap and stuck them in a ziploc freezer bag. 50 seconds in the microwave, unwrapped, and voila! Hot muffin for breakfast. Genius!

That's it! Here is my messy pile of everything fall should be.
Pumpkin ain't got nothin' on my apple cake.