Cake No. 03: Apple Cider Donut Cake

You make this cake when it’s been overcast for four days and you’ve pulled another sweater out of storage for the week ahead. When it’s unseasonably gray, and you’re unseasonably gray, and if the weather calls for fall, why not summon a bit of cinnamon spirit?

You’ll whisk in the honey as your 6-year-old asks you what will happen if her poetry doesn’t sell at the sidewalk sale. It will, you tell her.

But what if it doesn’t? she’ll ask. Could I sell the cake?

Not a chance of either, you tell her, handing her a whisk for licking.

apple cinnamon donut cake

You wait not-long-enough for the cake to cool, then dice the double batch into tiny cubes for sharing and, oh, familial portion justification.

You top with melted butter, scoops of cinnamon and sugar, then gust yourselves out into the chill to deliver some neighborly cheer. To anyone on your favorite cul-de-sac, you knock, fork in hand. Just try a cube, another, want some for later?

You become a traveling team of salesmen, minus the one-time-only offer, nor the fee, you and your particularly non-jovial toddler. He fusses with his knit hat; you breathe in a cold spring day. But you both know the truth: of the many available offerings on a day like today, shoving cake upon the innocent is perhaps the very best. You walk and walk, and still, there is half a cake to carry home.

There might be enough to sell some cake after all! you prepare to tell the young, enterprising poet as you reach your front door. But she stops you mid-sentence to read her first draft, and there’s pride in her eyes and joy in her voice, and you decide there isn’t a worthy substitute for such beauty. 

On Saturday, she earns $20 worth of quarter poetry.

You both celebrate with cake.


p.s. Recipe here, my #1 favorite.

  • Good morning Erin. Your perfectly composed, little doses of humanity sustain me more than you know. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and the totality of my soul. ~tcs

  • Such a heartwarming read this morning. Wish I lived close by to take a bite of cake on a fork. What a true lesson in sharing love with a little bit of cinnamon thrown in.❤️

  • Erin,

    When I see you’ve written I wait for a time when all is quiet. When I can wrap your words around me and breathe them in.

    I settle in darkness, in quiet, and I take them in, certain not to miss a thing.

    I am always grateful.

    Thank you for sharing your gifts.

    • I am so grateful for your kindness, Summer – thank you for sharing this encouragement with me!

  • I make a similar cake every year on the anniversary of my brother’s death. It was the same one I happened to be eating when I got the call he was dying years ago. Since then it’s been a ritual for me. In the fall, I gather apples and bake the cake. There’s something innately comforting about baked goods with apples and cinnamon, isn’t there? Thanks for your words, Erin, and for the sweet reminder of him today in the form of your apple cake :)

    • Peace be with you today, sweet Harmoni. Wish I could walk a forkful over to you this morning. Sending love and warmth amidst a loss that I know doesn’t get any simpler.

  • Oh my heart. You capture those sweet times with smalls so poignantly. (mine being 19 & 21, this brings me right back into it!)

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