The State of the YumUniverse: Honesty and Spiced Apple Skillet Cake

Pull up a chair, a slice of Spiced Apple Skillet Cake and sit with me for a moment. We need to talk. I miss you.

I haven’t written a post in too long, and I know it. No posts means no newsletters either. Yep. Sporadic social media posting, too, even though I do love me some Instagram.

The guilt pokes at me every day, but I just haven’t had it in me lately to “keep up” online. If I’m really honest, I’ve actually been feeling a smidge resistant to the push to “stay on top of it.” Is it overwhelm? Have I hit a wall? Am I just being negative? Or could it be that I need to listen, risk “falling behind,” and keep going at a pace that feels right to me now? But.. but…

I sometimes wonder how on earth folks can consistently post every week, with gorgeous photos, write book after book, stay on top of social media daily, do a weekly podcast, and not crash? They must have teams to help them. I need a team, but will anyone care about this as much as I do? Will they do it “right”? Will it be more work for me to manage a team? Can I afford a team? I know I can’t be alone in some of these thoughts no matter how many “wake up and seize the day” mantras I read online and feel energized by.

I started building this site in 2008. At the time, there were only a handful of plant-based bloggers on the internets. Now, you can find and follow a handful of inspiring, talented, health-minded bloggers every minute. This is an incredible thing! And thanks to this momentum, there’s an important shift happening with the accountability we have for our health.

We’re lucky to live in these times, and if you are a blogger big or small, you should be proud to be a part of it, but I don’t think go-go-go is a sustainable pace for a one-person team. Especially when we (wellness champions) are dedicated to “health.” There has to be down time.

I recently found out that friend I respect very much, who runs a successful podcast and website, landed on bed rest due to stress (after months of not knowing why she was so ill). My heart felt like it was being squeezed for all the reasons I’ve explained, and all the feelings I anticipate she’s having right now…

So, I’ve decided that I need to feel it all. Accept the guilt, the fear of falling behind, the excitement, and the passion. It ebbs and flows and it’s always going to. My goals for my own health and for YU have evolved over the years, and the change is ok. I have to continue to welcome it, maybe learn to surf it a bit…

The way I personally work best is build-build-build then share-share-share. Sometimes, I manage build-share-build-share, but I’m in mostly building mode these days, so my “online presence” suffers.

I just gotta be me, and do things the way I do them, and not give in to any self-perceived pressure to keep up. I guess I just want to make sure YU are all ok with that, and know that even though I haven’t been very present online doesn’t mean that I’m sitting idle. Quite the opposite, really.

I started an important project a year ago that’s going to help so many of you—I can’t freakin’ wait to finish and release it. I’m so close. Did I want it done by January 2016? Yep. Will it be complete in the spring/summer? More likely. It’s going to be a game-changer though. Worth the wait.

Be sure to sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss the big announcement.

Here’s a gorgeous hint…

Gluten-Free, Plant-Based, Gum-Free Bread

There’s also another project I can’t wait to share with you, but more on that later…


Here I am, patting an empty chair next to me, urging you to come sit your butt down. Let me make you some chicory root latte


and cut you a slice of this delicious gluten-free Spiced Apple Skillet Cake.

Spiced Apple Skillet Cake

Tell me all about a project you’re working on, and how you work through the times where you feel like “it’s just not enough.” I’d love to hear from you.

– – –

Spiced Apple Skillet Cake Recipe:
Great with Chicory Root Latte

1 cup almond flour*
1 cup sorghum flour
¼ cup arrowroot starch/flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
1½ teaspoons cinnamon, ground
½ teaspoon nutmeg, ground
¼ teaspoon cardamom, ground
¼ teaspoon cloves, ground
1½ teaspoons orange zest
1 cup Sucanat (or any dry, natural sweetener you like)

*Blanched almond flour is recommended, you can use almond “meal,” but note that texture will be more dense and color more dark.

½ cup hot water
2 tablespoons whole chia seeds
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup applesauce
3 tablespoons unrefined, virgin coconut oil
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Fold in: 
2 medium apples (peeled and diced or peeled, quartered then sliced)

*Any kind of apple you like for baking. I’m using Granny Smith for a smidge of sour and I like a less-sweet cake, but red and yellow apples are definitely worth a try—YU can’t go wrong.


Let’s get started.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F for all baking vessels except a loaf pan, which will need to be preheated to 375°F, and prepare your baking vessel of choice:

For aluminum baking pans and muffin tins, line with parchment paper or muffin liners (psst: visit the QuickLinks to learn how to make your own).

For all other baking dishes, grease with unrefined, virgin coconut oil, grapeseed or avocado oil.

2. Place all the wet ingredients in the blender and let them sit with other ingredients for 5 minutes so chia can “plumpen.” You can also whisk together ingredients—you may have to warm coconut oil on the stove if it’s solid.

3. In a large bowl, whisk, or sift together the dry ingredients. If sifting, sometimes, larger bits of sweetener or flour won’t make it through the sieve—just use your fingers to work through what you can, and dump the rest into the mixing bowl.

4. Blend all wet ingredients until smooth, and then fold blended, or whisked, wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Batter should be on the thicker side, but fluffy.


5. Fill your baking vessel and arrange apples in the batter…


… press them down and bake for 40 minutes.

6. Allow to cool in the pan. Enjoy.

Spiced Apple Skillet Cake

Take it to the next level and serve this for dessert with Salted Caramel Sauce from the YumUniverse book and some homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Heaven.

So, what do you think of this recipe? And tell me about something you’re working on, and how you work through the times where you feel like “it’s just not enough.” Share some tips… I’d love to hear from YU.

Read the comments or add yours.

Comment Rules

  1. renay

    Don’t worry, your quality work is always and totally worth any wait time. In the meantime, we all have that beautiful inspiring cookbook (and if you’re reading this and you don’t have the cookbook, go get it!). Glad to see someone who deals with online pressure and is still practicing what they preach. Stay true! xo

  2. Lisa

    Dear Heather,
    You rock and I adore your blog and cookbook. I’d much rather follow a person online who walks her talk for self-care as you do. I resonate with your approach to your online presence. I think the recipe looks nourishing and warming! Yum! It reminds me I need to still season my cast iron pan, haha! Oh yeah…you asked us what we’re working on. For myself, I’m in a massive declutter, along with working on living as a musician, after letting go of my online biz at the end of 2015. I’m healing up fatigue, anemia, & grief. Life is good. Oops…long winded of me! Lol

    • Thanks for the super kind words, Lisa, and for sharing 😀 I’m a big fan of decluttering, it makes me feel lighter immediately. It’s easier in theory than practice for some folks though, I know. Hope it’s going well for you. Keep up the healing and season that cast iron pan and bake some Apple Cake! x H

  3. Karen

    Heather its ok to be true to yourself and just go with flow ,you can’t do your best work if you don’t honour how you feel.Know that everything will will fall into place when the time is right and you will “Shine.” Thank you for all your hard work .love and best wishes .Karen. (Australia) 🙂

  4. Jim Hoffman

    I can’t find sorghum flour local. I have everything but that. What can I use as a replacement?

    • Hi Jim,
      Try GF oat flour or GF all purpose flour in equal amounts. Let us know how it works out! Best, H

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