My friend Linda is a gifted baker, the kind of baker who can conjure from memory, and woo with taste. On Facebook, I can hear the heads pounding on walls when Linda posts a pic of some yeasty delight or chocolate indulgence. While a photo may be worth a thousand words, vicarious pleasure is not served up on laptop screen when one’s plate is bare of baked goods. Of course the comments stream in like verbal drool, folks pining for a piece of pie, begging for a beignet, selling their soul for a slice of gingerbread.
Now you may think this baker braggadocio, a public forum to showoff a little, but let me assure you it is not. Linda loves to bake and she loves to share the experience with her friends, even if we do grouse about the unavailable nature of the offering before us. And licking the screen doesn’t help a bit.
I was surprised when Linda posted she wasn’t baking for the month of January, keeping those tempting high-caloric cakes and cookies out of the house and away from the oven. I failed to understand such self-inflicted torture (much like my reaction to folks going on “cleanses”) but being the rogue baker and cheeky friend that I am, I felt the need to question her pronouncement with scrutiny and playful disdain. I believe I called it “crazy talk.” Linda has a fine sense of humor so I knew she could take it. I just wondered how long this moratorium on baking would really last.
The next day I had my answer. While Linda was true to her word not baking, she still found a way to draw us into to her vortex of batter and make us bake for her. Here was the clever girl’s post:
Quick! Do this! Since I’m not baking, you should!
Get out a big bowl. Dump in a cup of oatmeal, a chopped up stick of butter, and 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Stir it up a little bit (not too much) and let it sit for a bit. Maybe 20 minutes. Add 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 3/4 cup molasses. Stir it up. Add an egg, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp. salt. Mix it up and add 1 1/3 cup flour and mix well. Put in a buttered cake pan. 350 35-40 minutes. Let me know how it goes.
I had no choice but to oblige. I was doing this for Linda, for her cause, for her misguided month of going cold turkey on baked goods. I was baking and eating this cake for her, taking one for bakers everywhere. When I responded, “What about the frosting?” She said it was moist enough without frosting. What I heard, “Blah, blah, blah, blah frosting.” When I insisted, she suggested I google “boiled coconut frosting,” which I did. And may I say it was the perfect pairing of moist and moister. (What’s that, do I hear angels singing?)
And so I offer up Linda’s oatmeal molasses cake recipe with a crown of boiled coconut frosting—my choice to gild an already exceptional lily of a cake.
Amazingly Moist Oatmeal Molasses Cake
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar ((light or dark, okay))
- 3/4 cups molasses ((light, or full though more intense; blackstrap molasses really too strong)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/3 cup flour
|Get out a big bowl. Dump in a cup of oatmeal, a chopped-up stick of butter, and 1 1/2 cups boiling water.|
|Stir it up a little bit (not too much) and let it sit for around 20 minutes lidded or covered with foil.|
|Add 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 3/4 cup molasses, and stir it all up.|
|Add an egg, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp. salt. Mix well.|
|Add 1 1/3 cup flour and mix well until batter is fully blended.|
|Pour batter into a buttered and floured cake pan. I like to use a larger 10" springform pan. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.|
Boiled Coconut Pecan Frosting
- 1 stick butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup half and half (milk or cream)
- 1 cup coconut
- 1 cup chopped pecans
|Melt butter in sauce pan and add pecans. Stir, and for a toasted nutty flavor cook pecans for 1-2 minutes.|
|Add sugars, and stir until dissolved.|
|Add half and half and stir, simmer on low heat.|
|Add coconut and stir constantly on a simmer for 1-2 minutes to reduce and thicken frosting.|
|Remove from heat, and pour on cake while warm, and spread to cover top surface.|
|You can also place the frosted cake under the broiler to get a crunchier top, but you have to be very observant and remove when it bubbles to avoid burning the sugar.|