A Tree of Many Colors

Welcome  We have had one of the most beautiful fall seasons this year that I can recall.  Of course, I think it helps that I take the time to observe and enjoy all the beauty nature has to offer, more now than ever before.  I have spent the past month taking loads of pictures of the changing leaves in our community.  One morning, I noticed something peculiar about some of the maple trees that line my usual walking path.  I think those trees could teach us a thing or two.

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All of the color variance in the leaves are on one single tree. Leaves of green, yellow, red, and orange all in one location, with no struggle to exist together, whatsoever.

 

Food For Thought  I cannot recall the last time I saw such brilliant fall foliage in our part of the state.  The right seasonal temperatures and precipitation must have combined to bring us quite the show this year.  On many of my morning walks I would spot a particularly interesting tree and stop to take a picture, wanting to preserve this beauty for later.  On my path to the creek that’s a half-mile from our home, I saw two maple trees.  These two trees were stuck in the middle of some evergreens, so the changing colors stood out even more.  I took some photos from the path, but then went close up to get some more detailed pictures, looking for interesting individual leaves or angles.

As I moved closer to the tree I noticed something interesting.  On this single maple tree were leaves of many different colors and shades.  The whole tree had not turned red or orange, but rather it had leaves in all the colors-red, yellow, orange, green, and brown, some dark and some pale.  Upon further inspection, I noticed that even on a single leaf, there might be four or five varying shades.  I’m not sure why I found this so fascinating, but I am often amazed by nature and the design process of God’s creation.

As I continued my walk, and even after I returned home, I couldn’t help but think about those leaves and their “differences.”  I knew there was a lesson there among the bright, changing foliage.

You probably can see where I’m going with this.  We are the leaves, friends, coming in all different colors, shapes, sizes, and in different places in our journey of change.  But even with all those differences, we can still reside right next to one another on the tree that is firmly rooted in one place.  We don’t have to sort the leaves of the tree into red ones, orange ones, yellow ones, green ones, big ones, small ones, curvy ones, flat ones, the ones with holes, the ones that are “perfect.” On this tree, they are all “leaves” that happen to be on a maple tree.  And the uniqueness of each individual leaf comes together to make a whole beautiful tree!

Okay, enough with the metaphor.  We are all “people” who happen to live together in the United States of America.  The same differences that made the trees so beautiful this fall, well, those are the same differences that make our world so beautiful every single day.  Take a lesson from nature and be okay with the different leaves on your tree!

Today’s Scripture

 

Today’s Recipe  In honor of all these great fall colors, I thought we would do a fall-inspired cake today.  This is a Cinnamon Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream.  This is such a moist and delicious cake!  I have added pecans to my cake because I think the texture contrast is nice, but the cake is equally tasty if you leave them out.  I added some simple candy leaves and acorns, for a whimsical touch, by using fall cookie cutters as molds, but don’t feel that you have to add the extra candy.  It’s just a yummy, fun cake to make this time of year, but it might also make a nice addition to the Thanksgiving dessert table!

Cinnamon Applesauce Cake
Adding cinnamon applesauce to a boxed spice cake mix makes a moist and flavorful fall cake.

 

Cinnamon Applesauce Cake

  • Cooking Spray and flour for the cake pans
  • 1 box Spice Cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)
  • 1 cup cinnamon applesauce
  • 1 pint buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 2 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and dust with flour.  Set aside.  *Note:  If you want the easiest layers out of round cake pans, I cannot promote these silicone cake pans enough!  I have 2 round silicone cake pans with the metal frame for stability.  They are amazing!  They are available for purchase here:  Boxiki 9-Inch Round Silicone Cake Pans

In large mixing bowl, mix together all cake ingredients, except for pecans.  When all of the cake ingredients are blended, fold in pecans.  Divide cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Set on wire cooling racks for five minutes.  Gently flip the cakes onto the cooling racks to finish cooling, approximately 30 minutes.  To turn out my cakes, I like to place the cooling rack on the cake pan and then flip the whole rack over with the pan.  This allows the cake to slide directly from pan to rack, reducing the amount of time in the air where it can break or crack.  Be sure cake is fully cooled before frosting.

Cinnamon Buttercream

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4-5 TBS milk

In large mixing bowl, combine the butter and powdered sugar.  Add in the cinnamon, vanilla, and a few tablespoons of milk and continue to mix.  You can add additional powdered sugar or milk to achieve desired buttercream consistency (I actually should have added in more powdered sugar on this particularly humid day).

Place one cooled cake layer on cake plate.  Add a couple tablespoons of the buttercream and spread thinly to coat the bottom layer.  Place second layer on top of the first layer.  Continue to frost the top and sides of the cake.  Garnish with candy leaves, if desired.  Here are some great Wilton frosting tools that I use and recommend: Wilton Cake Icing Smoother    Wilton Tapered Icing Spatula    Wilton Straight Edge Icing Spatula    Wilton Cake Lifter

Candy Leaves and Acorns

  • 6 ounces vanilla-flavored candy wafer melts in red, yellow, or orange (for the leaves)
  • 6 ounces butterscotch, peanut butter, or chocolate morsels (for the acorns)
  • Red, yellow, or orange decorator sugar, if desired
  • wax paper
  • autumn cookie cutters (I used maple and oak leaves and an acorn shape)

Line a large baking sheet with wax paper.  Place autumn cookie cutter shapes on the wax paper.  Note: This is the exact set I have and is available for purchase.  Ann Clark 3-Piece Fall Cookie Cutter Set

In microwave safe bowl, melt candy wafers according to package directions.  Using a large spoon, gradually add some of the melted candy inside the leaf shape cutters.  Do not fill up the entire cookie cutter and use less candy melt than you think you need, otherwise you get very thick pieces of candy!  Push the cutters around gently to be sure all of the candy gets into the corners.  Sprinkle colored sugar over the candy, if desired, to give a sparkle effect to the leaves.  Repeat the same procedure using the chocolate or butterscotch morsels to fill the acorn shape.  Note:  This procedure can be used for any shape cookie cutter for any type of celebration for a fast and easy, edible decoration!

Place pan in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes for the candy shapes to become firm.  Remove from the refrigerator and pop the candies out of the cookie cutters. (Really, they should just pop right out!)  Use a sharp knife to trim any excess from the edges.  Repeat the procedure until you have the number of shapes needed.  Place as desired on completed cake.  I sprinkled a little of the red sugar over the top of the cake, too.

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