Who’s in the mood for easy?
This morning, I crossed an important item off my life bucket list: stand up paddleboarding, or SUP, as it’s known to the cooler masses. It felt really good to face my terror and prevail. More on that in a moment.
I figure that as long as I continue to face the challenges that scare me, it’s okay to ease up in other parts of life. Baking has always been that place of respite for me, and this apple cake is no exception. It’s quick, simple, and slathered in an unbelievable brown butter icing.
A couple of years ago, I started seeing pictures of celebrities in my trashy magazines doing something that looked like so much fun. It was SUP, only I didn’t know anything about it at the time. It just seemed so peaceful: standing up on a board with an oar, bonding with nature or the water or whatever. I didn’t really think it through much more, since I figured it was one of those things that people in L.A. do that people in D.C. don’t have access to.
Last summer, I learned that SUP lessons were available right off the Key Bridge in Georgetown, which is a very frou-frou area of the city. Georgetown is full of expensive shops including, of course, the famous Georgetown Cupcake. Want a hint from a local? Next time you’re in town, head toward Baked and Wired instead. It’s also in Georgetown, and it’s worth the trip.
Anyway, this summer I bit the bullet (or paddleboard) and signed Kenny and me both up for a lesson. We were supposed to go a month ago, but then we had a traumatic tubing incident and my body was too sore to do any SUP action just a couple of days later. Our lesson date was moved to September, and I tried not to think too much about the terror.
Good thing too, guys. I didn’t fully allow myself to realize the horror of our situation until we were on the water, leashed onto the board, being told to stand up and look at the horizon. I had two choices: stay on my knees and whimper, or just woman up and do it. Guess which one I picked?
You’ll be happy to learn that over the course of the two hours on the water, I got up and down several times without falling over once. It was scary, and I’m not going to lie. It was very, very far from being relaxing. But it was worth it, and I’m so glad I did it. I’m also so glad that there was apple cake to come home to.
This cake mixes up in one bowl, and it’s absolutely no-fail. To dress it up a little, I added the icing, which just required some brown butter for flair. To make brown butter, cook the butter in a saucepan over low-medium heat, swirling the butter often, for anywhere between five and 10 minutes, depending on how much butter is in the pan. When the butter starts to darken in color and smell nutty, it’s done.
Not everything in life can be so simple, but baking should not be a place where you feel any stress. Save it for the open water as you’re wobbling around on a SUP. That’s where you can face the real fears!
Easy Apple Cake with Brown Butter Icing
21-oz. can apple pie filling
1/2 cup oil
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons brown butter (see post for instructions)
2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
6-8 tablespoons milk
- Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
- Mix all the cake ingredients together in one bowl, stirring until well combined. Pour the cake batter into the pan.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and set (test the doneness with a toothpick). Let the cake cool completely before icing.
- To make the icing, mix brown butter with the powdered sugar and vanilla. Add the milk gradually until the glaze becomes thick but spreadable.
- Pour the glaze over the cake and spread evenly over the surface. Let the glaze set.
- Cut into squares. Store covered.