Thursday, May 1, 2008
Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting
I wanted to make a bourbon pound cake today since the Kentucky Derby is Saturday, but I just didn't have enough time to bake something for 70 minutes. The pound cake recipe was in my Southern Cakes book though, and I flipped through the rest of it, considering and dismissing several recipes. I saw this recipe and it immediately appealed to me. It's flavor combinations are actually quite similar to the Celtic Oatmeal Cake I made a while back -- cooked oatmeal, coconut, pecans... I really liked that cake and was pleased to find a similar recipe with enough differences that I could still blog about them without a repeat blog.
This recipe is not quite as good as the Celtic Oatmeal Cake, but it's still very good. I'm not much of a frosting person, but I was licking this stuff off the spatula after I put it on the cake. It was very yummy. It also has quite a bit of texture from the coconut and pecans, and I like texture, chewy from the coconut, crunchy from the pecans, sticky from the sugar and butter. mmmm...
The cake itself is good -- it has some texture going on with the oatmeal and a subtle sort of sweetness to it. The flavor of the cake itself gets a bit lost with the frosting, but luckily the frosting is good so it's not the end of the world. I remember that with the Celtic Oatmeal Cake it tasted like a big bowl of brown sugar and cinnamon oatmeal only in cake form -- which was divine. I think a little cinnamon would go a long way with this recipe, but then again, it's also good the way it is.
The big dilemma I had with this recipe was whether to make a layer cake or a sheet cake. I love how layer cakes look, they tend to photo well and they are just so attractive. However, I didn't really have a reason to make a layer cake, and the book gave the option of making it a sheet cake instead. A sheet cake is just easier to deal with, and in my world, easier to get rid of. A layer cake requires a plate and a fork, but people can eat a sheet cake with their fingers -- which means more people will eat it, and my same circle of friends aren't required to walk around the office trying to give away yet more of my baked goods.
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 6 chunks
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten well
1 tsp vanilla extract
Coconut Pecan Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
To make the cake, in a medium bowl combine the oatmeal, butter, and boiling water, and stir to mix them together a bit. Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350, and generously grease and four two 9-inch round cake pans, or one 13 x 9 inch pan.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg, and stir with a fork to mix everything well. In a large bowl, combine both kinds of sugar with the eggs and vanilla, and beat with a mixer at medium speed for about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl, until thick and light colored.
Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture in 2 batches, beating just long enough each time to make the flour disappear. Mix in the oatmeal, stirring and folding to combine everything into a nubby, but well-mixed batter.
Scrape into the prepared pans and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown, spring back when touched lightly and begin to pull away from the sides of the pans. Cool in the pans on wire racks or folded kitchen towels for 10 minutes. If you have used round cake pans, carefully turn out the cakes onto wire racks, turn top side up, and finish cooling. Of cool the cake in the large rectangular pan.
To make the frosting, in a medium saucepan, combine the butter, evaporated milk, and sugar, and place it over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring now and then. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla, pecans, and coconut. Beat well with a wooden spoon, a whisk, or a mixer on low speed, until you have a thickened, cooled frosting. Spread it between the two layer cakes and then the top of the cake, or spread it over the top of the rectangular cake, and serve it in squares, right from the pan.