I love my neighbors. Last fall, after one long tiring day, my neighbor, Pam brought over a PERFECT apple cake. How did she know I was tired? She just knew. I am surrounded by friends like Pam. When there are needs, they are met. When encouragement is needed, it comes. When hearts are heavy, burdens are lifted. I thought of Pam today as I remembered that delicious apple cake.
Today in our Sunday School class, we talked about being anxiously engaged in good causes and Matthew 25, and how it happens that when we help others, our own burdens are somehow lifted. Our insightful teacher, Lloyd, ended the class with this thought after reminding us that we all have needs and we all have something to offer:
“In modern times the Lord told his people they ‘must visit the poor and the needy and administer to their relief’ (D&C 44:6), and ‘he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple’ (D&C 52:40). The Lord commanded his saints to ‘learn to impart one to another as the gospel requires.’ (D&C 88:123.) President Marion G. Romney explained the importance of these commandments by relating them to the Savior’s statement that when he comes in his glory, he will divide his people ‘as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.’ (Matt. 25:32.) He said, ‘The test on which the division [will] be made on that great day [will] be the care given to the poor and the needy.'”
This week I have been thinking back on this last year with Farmer Ron and all the hours I spent sitting with him and feeding him and caring for him. It makes me a little tender as I see how that time was such a blessing to me. I never had time to do it, but I pretended like I did, and every single time, when I came home, things were no worse off here, but perhaps even better than when I left. Not only that, I was better than when I left. Today our teacher pointed out that when we help others, perhaps the greater blessing is what happens to us as we serve. Looking back now, I can see he was right. I can feel my heart has enlarged beyond where it was.
Below is the recipe for Pam’s Apple cake. I have one in the oven right now. It’s going with us to a family Oktoberfest celebration this evening. My thanks to Pam for her kindness to me and the lessons I’ve learned since that cake was delivered last fall.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
Generously grease a tube (angel food cake or bundt) pan.
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
1 Tbl. vanilla extract
1/3 cup orange juice
3 cups apples, peeled & chopped
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
Sift together and fold in:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbl. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Spoon batter into the cake pan. Bake until a tester comes out clean, about 1hr & 15 min.
Just before cake is done, make the sauce.
Melt in a large saucepan (mixture foams up as it starts to boil then subsides when it’s taken off heat):
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
½ cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon baking soda
Bring to a soft boil, then stir constantly for 1 minute.
Pour sauce over the hot cake still in the pan as soon as it’s removed it from the oven. Let stand 1 hour.
Turn the cake out upside down onto a rack, then right side up onto a plate.
Serve with whipped cream, ice cream, or all by its gooey little self.