In fall, apples are at their best. This cake, however, is good any time of year, as you'll see once you make it. It's so easy you could practically make it in your sleep, and it takes only a few ingredients. Use tart apples if you're shopping for them, but really this recipe is wonderful with any kind of apple. The quick-cooking oats are recommended, but use the old-fashioned kind for a chewier texture. This cake is not too sweet, and mixes up so quickly that you could even make it for a Sunday breakfast. Yum!

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon allspice

½ cup vegetable oil

¾ cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup oats (the quick kind)

1 cup chopped apples

½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

1. Stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, and allspice in a medium-sized bowl, and mix the oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a larger bowl.

2. Add the dry mixture to the wet, stir well.

3. Stir in the oats, apples, and walnuts. The  batter will be thick.

4. Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan, and pour in the batter. Smooth out the top with the back of a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.

5. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 35 to 40 minutes. Test by inserting a wooden toothpick in the center; if it comes out wet, bake a few more minutes.

6. Cut into squares and serve warm, with vanilla ice cream or yogurt on top, or let it cool down to room temperature; it's good either way.

For a really decadent variation, add chocolate chips to the batter with the apples, or replace the walnuts with pecans. For a healthier variation, replace a third of the flour with whole wheat flour; since this will make a slightly thicker batter, add a couple of tablespoons of water or milk.