Don't be fooled by the title of this cake. "Oatmeal" in the title doesn't make it healthy. There's hardly anything healthy about this cake except your healthy state of mind when you experience it's wonderful taste and texture.
This recipe comes from Betty Crocker's Cookbook, 1975 edition. I can't remember if I bought this book in a store or if I ordered it from a book club. The book club seems to be ringing more bells in my head so that's probably where I got it. And I can't remember if I bought it while still in university or just after I started teaching. I do know it was bought before I was married because on the upper right-hand side of the title page written in my handwriting is my maiden name. Parts of the book are quite well-worn, particularly the cakes, cookies and desserts sections. The spine and cover have been taped together and the edges of the cover are starting to wear away. The book was a favourite of mine and I still occasionally take the book off the shelf and leaf through the choice sections.
I used to make this quite often when the boys were young, usually taking it out to some function or another or serving it when we had company. But I haven't made it for several years and I thought today was as good a day as any for cake. Don and I enjoyed a nice sized piece soon after it was baked, eating it while it was still slightly warm. Don had ice cream with his which forced me to have another little piece with ice cream as well.
This is an easy cake to make because all the cake ingredients get dumped in a large bowl and get beaten together. The coconut and pecan topping is a must if you make the cake. Don't decide to smear it with icing instead of making the topping--that just won't do. You might as well not make the cake if you don't make the lovely broiled topping.
The cake serves right from the pan or dish it is baked in making it the ideal take-along dessert for potlucks and the like. It can be eaten quite formally with a fork or just held in your hand while sitting with your feet up on the couch watching TV. (Then you have to pick all the crumbs and pieces of topping off your shirt and couch.)
The recipe makes a large cake which can be easily halved and baked in an 8-inch square pan but I'd make the large cake if I was taking it to a potluck. (I make the large cake anyway, because I like cake and any left-overs can be frozen if I get tired of eating it--perish the thought!)
Oatmeal Spice Cake
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup white sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup shortening or butter or even oil
1 cup water
2 tablespoons dark molasses
Coconut Topping, given below
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13 x9-inch baking pan. Do not line with paper.
Measure all ingredients into large mixer bowl. Blend ½ minute on low speed. Scrap bowl and then beat 3 minutes high speed, scraping bowl occasionally.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool slightly.
Set oven at broil. My oven has a high and low broiler setting. I used the low setting.
Spread topping over slightly cooled cake. Place cake 3 inches from heat. Broil 2 to 3 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Watch carefully as it can turn from golden to black in a few seconds.
¼ cup butter, melted
⅔ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup flaked coconut
½ cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons light cream or evaporated milk
Mix all ingredients thoroughly.
The dry ingredients.
Today I used oil instead of shortening or butter.
All the wet and dry ingredients are ready to be mixed.
Scrape down the bowl occasionally while mixing.
Pour batter into a well greased 9x13-inch pan.
All baked and ready for Coconut Topping.
The ingredients for the Coconut Topping just sitting in the bowl ready to be mixed.
Topping ingredients all mixed up and ready to spread.
To easily spread the topping, put large spoonfuls over the cake and then spread.
Spread topping to almost the edge.
Leave a little space for spreading when it goes back in the oven.
Broiled to perfection. I kept the oven door open and sat in front of it watching the whole time it was under the broiler. One wreckless moment and everything could go up in smoke.
Yep, that's me taking one of many forkfuls during the afternoon and evening.
(This is a selfie. Don't judge me too harshly, lol.)
Just one more bite. . .
And yet another and another bite. . .