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.|
Hi Tom, Well, that was really fun! What a ride! Great writing, Tom. And I’m so glad you enjoyed the cake….and just wait, I’m thinking of something funny….it’ll happen. Cheers to you, Tom! I love your blog! xxoo
Thanks for the recipe Linda, truly delicious and easy to make! Been nibbling on the remaining crumbs today.
Ohhh…how do I order Tastebook?
Now there’s the next million dollar idea: Tastebook. Log on and eat up!
This cake sounds amazing, I’m keeping it in mind for the next time I need a quick dessert!
Good morning Tom!
Along with the Tastebook we need a scratch and sniff page too! Have to try this on my Wed. morning ladies get together.
I also am trying to be faithful to a self imposed moratorium on home baked goods….(it is the bane of the cook who also lives singly…..there shall be no leftovers, right?) This delectable and charming post is the first thing I saw this morning….aaargh…….you are evil…..
Ah Kate, bad Tom bad! Next time I’ll call you and say, “Don’t read the next blog post.” 😉
Darn you, Tom, darn you ! This sounds too good.
Of course this cake is heavenly – it was invented by a Nygaard.
My Norwegian grandmother was Nellie Nygaard Peterson and she had relatives that lived in Poulsbo and Ballard (naturally) and Bellevue. There might be a chance that Linda and I are related and if that is so I know where she got the baking gene from!
Linda – did you have an auntie named Nellie married to Johannes Peterson – they had 6 kids, my mom, Ellen, being the baby? How cool would that be?
Margaret, I’ll make sure she gets the message. Wouldn’t that be funny if you were related.
Wow, Tom. That was the best cake ever! Thank you so much!
Anytime Caitlin, even better when I use your Island Meadow Farm’s eggs.
Tom, the cake looks and sounds wonderful. I love molasses in baked goods. Here in Louisiana we are able to easily find Steen’s Cane Molasses and we love it. One of Emeril’s favorites also.
Did you use old fashioned long cooking oats, or quick cooking?
Hi Carol, I bet you’ve some great Louisiana recipes! I’m going to look for Steen’s Cane Molasses here in the Northwest. As for the long cooking oats, yes, that’s what I use. I think they have better texture when used in baking.
Tom, The cake sure is amazing, as promised my great niece and I baked the delicious diddy last evening; albeit almost 1 week of procrastination involved. We had to taste it warm, and because of the late hour, we will be frosting the cake shortly. We have opted for Cream Cheese frost as Coconut was not on our baking shelf let alone in our freezer. Nora and I will post the results later; hopefully!!!!
Thankyou Linda, you are amazing along with your cake!!!!!!!!!!
Jean, sometimes it takes a week to ponder the recipe, and when the time is right for baking, the cake calls and the oven is preheating and the mixer is going. So glad you liked the cake; I’ll pass that along to Linda. And Cream Cheese frosting is a worthy substitute I’d have to say.
You’d have to force me at gunpoint to bake but I can attest to the fact that EVERYTHING that comes from Linda’s TasteBook is top-notch. And so is she.
Hi Tom, Love your blog. This cake sounds a lot like a Betty Crocker recipe I used to make. We would top it with a broiled pineapple and coconut topping. Delicious. Can’t wait to try your recipe.
Tom, I miss our summer swims to the dock.. ice cream runs….its a little cold to think of that at the moment, Your site looks great, the baking is sexy…hope we can lifeguard together and share stories soon ,love, Erin
Holy blast from the past batman! So great to hear from you Erin. I have to say some of my favorite memories of Seattle are those spent on the dock at “Madison Park 90210.” Look forward to catching up with you.
Hey Tom – my first attempt is in the oven. I wanted to verify some of the specific ingredients you used: oatmeal – regular? Brown Sugar – light or dark? (I used light.) Molasses: Mild or Full Flavored or “blackstrap”? I used the latter. My batter was very liquidy – and practically black. I’m also getting a pretty strong molasses aroma – so I’m guessing my choice of blackstrap molasses was too much. Thoughts?
Hi John, oops sorry I wasn’t more specific. I’d say the light or dark brown sugar really doesn’t matter, but for molasses I’d stay away from blackstrap as it’s the “third boiling” when processed, which can lead to an overly strong and bitter result. Though that may be the taste preference for some. I’d say go with unsulphured or light molasses, and even full-flavored is okay, again just stronger molasses flavor. So how did yours end up? Edible I hope, deliciously strong I hope. 😉 I edited the recipe, accordingly. Thanks for checking in and asking.
Hi Tom – it turned out okay – I’ll definitely use mild molasses next time – but it’s sure is edible and moist. When I saw this recipe (post on FB last month) I was reminded of the oatmeal cake they offered at the late/great Bob’s Bakery – complete with the coconut frosting. This was pretty reminiscent of that – but at lot moister and molasses-y. Bob’s had a denser more cake-y texture. My ideal goal would be to replicate the Bob’s cake – it was my fave. I’m certainly not complaining – this is a worthy option in its own right.
John, I am so with you. If we can get our hands on that oatmeal cake recipe from Bob’s Bakery, I’d be one happy camper. It was so good; dense, and moist and encased in a crunchiness. Perhaps this will be a new mission of mine, to leave no baking sheet unturned until I find the coveted recipe! I’ll keep you posted! 🙂