Monday, April 16, 2012

Like an Old Friend, Oatmeal Cake Brings Comfort

Cake is comfort food, which is one of the reasons why many of us remain as cake-crazy now as ever before. Oatmeal cake is one that I have had a number of times over the years, and have spotted in many cookbooks, some going back a long time. This cake works well because the oatmeal not only provides a great texture, but it gives it a subtle “oat-y” flavor, much like we get out of an oatmeal cookie.

This is also a moist cake. Butter serves as the fat in this cake (instead of oil) and the final product is a nice balance of lightness and richness. But the kicker of this cake is the broiled topping. Made with brown sugar, butter and coconut, it creates a thin and crisp top that adds sweetness and crunch.

If you are looking for a change from the usual devil’s food or white cake, this old fashioned oatmeal cake really delivers on flavor. Great with a hot cup of coffee or a cold glass of milk, you’ll understand why this is one cake that will never go out of style!

Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cake

1 cup oatmeal (regular or quick)
1 ¼ cup boiling water
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp cinnamon

4 TBSP butter, softened
¼ cup milk or half & half
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, add boiling water to the oatmeal and set it aside for 5-10 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy (use an electric mixer). Add warm, soft oatmeal to the butter/sugar mixer and blend together with mixer. Add vanilla and eggs and mix well.

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a bowl. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture to the wet ingredients, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go along, until it is all well incorporated. Grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan – best to use a metal pan instead of glass because the cake will need to go under the broiler for the topping. Pour batter into pan and put in oven for 30-35 minutes.

When cake is done remove it from oven and prepare the topping. Turn the oven broiler on. In a large bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, milk/cream and coconut. Mix together until well blended. Spread topping slowly over the top of cake. Allow the warmth of the cake to soften the topping so it will spread easily. Be patient! It will soften to the point when you can easily spread it on the top of the cake without tearing the top layer of cake.

Once you cover the entire top of cake with topping, put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes – cake should be 4 or 5 inches away from the broiler. Keep a close eye on it! You don’t want topping to burn, you want it to bubble and melt and the coconut turn a light golden brown color. When it looks done, take it out from the broiler. Let cake cool completely before cutting. Enjoy!


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