Thursday, May 9, 2013

Oatmeal Cake

Great cookbooks delight and torture me. Maida Heatter is vexing me like crazy. The recipes in her New Book Of Great Desserts are all interesting and I find myself marking many pages with one of my "make this" post its. I already have a recipe for Oatmeal Cake that I've made for years. Usually I bake mine during the winter months. It's a great way to use up leftover breakfast oats that are still lurking on the stove. But no, Maida's oatmeal cake is different. My notion of an Oatmeal Cake is a rather rustic, homespun sort of thing. Somehow, Maida's recipe tweeks that notion to include the impression of something just slightly more sophisticated.

I wanted to show you the cool oatmeal edges.

Maybe it's just the addition of dusting the baking pan with oatmeal prior to pouring in the batter. I mean, really, why didn't I ever think of doing this before. Everyone butters and flours the baking pan, but to butter and dust the pan with oatmeal, now that's pure genius. Maybe I'm easily impressed. This Oatmeal cake makes my old recipe look like milk toast.

Oatmeal Cake

1 cup quick (not instant or rolled oats) plus extra for dusting the pan
1 1/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs large or extra large
  • Place the one cup of oats into a bowl and pour the boiling water over the oats and allow to stand for 20 minutes.
  • Adjust rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13" metal pan ( I used pottery) Dust the pan all over with oatmeal and tap out the excess.
  • Sift together the flour, soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg and set aside.
  • In a large bowl cream the butter and beat in the vanilla.
  • Add both sugars and beat well.
  • Add the eggs and beat well.
  • Beat in the rolled oats. ( mine were still pretty warm and I worried it would mess up the cake but it didn't, however it may have risen a little higher if the oats were cooler, I dunno)
  • On low speed add the sifted dry ingredients scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula and beating only until incorporated
  • Turn into the pan and smooth the top.
  • Start to make the Nut Coconut Topping while the cake is baking.
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake begins to come away from the edge of the pan and springs back when lightly pressed with a fingertip.
Nut Coconut Topping
5 ounces of unsalted butter
2/3 cup of light brown sugar
1/4 cup of light cream
2/3 cup of walnuts or a nut you like or ( I believe you could skip it and replace with extra coconut)
3 ounces (one cup packed) shredded coconut (I used thick meaty chunks of coconut)

  • Cream the butter, add the sugars, then the cream mixing well. Stir in the nuts and coconut.
  • As soon as the cake comes out the oven, place small dollops of the topping gently all over the cake. As the hot cake slightly melts the frosting you can easily spread the dollops towards one another to cover the cake completely. (Yes Maida explains this process much more eloquently than I am)
  • Place the cake under the broiler and watch it like a hawk until it is bubbly, and slightly brown.

I ate a small piece immediately while it was still smoking hot. A sliver mind you, hardly worth mentioning. Then another nice chunk after it cooled. Aimee had a piece for breakfast the next morning. Hey, she is a straight "A" student so she gets cake sometimes for breakfast. The rest was divided among three other family members and sent on it's way with paper plates and plastic wrap.

Bake and give it away. Give it away, give it away, give it away now.

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