Feb 25, 2013

Vintage Monday - Oatmeal Cake with Broiled Coconut Topping

Since the summer has not ended and it´s hot here, yesterday I made gazpacho for a group, while everyone was busy with chowders, creamy and cheesy concoctions to keep themselves warm. So I thought these images might help you get into vacation mode. Maybe this margarita will give you an extra push? Or this one, or this other one.

I realized my pinterest recipes-to-try board gets bigger every week, to the point where it´s boring to go all the way down. Which contradicts the reason of why I started the board, which is to make those recipes eventually. Here are some I´ll try to tackle very soon, before they get lost in the thread:

Maple bourbon bacon jam from Closet Cooking
Crazy delicious Ham and Cheese sliders from Hip Foodie Mom
Cauliflower pizza from Daily Dish Recipes
Whisky Pecan Pie from Filosofia de Sabor
Salted Chocolate Popcorn from The Kitchn
Chocolate Mint Lava Cakes from Gotta Get Baked
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bundt Cake from In the Kitchen with KP

Taking into account the food I make for this blog and eat most of the time I decided to adopt a few healthy habits. Nothing drastic since that doesn´t agree with me from what I heard in the past... but for some days now, I´m drinking the juice of half a lemon with warm water first thing when I wake up. It´s supposed to be great for your liver and digestion, and weird how it´s obviously not what I want to drink when I´m still opening my eyes, but it feels invigorating. We´ll see how it goes.
And half an hour after I have my usual coffee...

Here´s a list of foods to add to your eating habits that´s very easy to incorporate, at least a few of them.

I´m a fan of oats in general and the word broiling has a nice appeal when it comes to a cake topping, all bubbly and golden. This type of cake appears in many old cookbooks, many of those compiled recipes with the full name of the person who submitted it ..`recipe from Mrs. Mulford Mulberry of Arlington, VA...´or something like that. Which tends me to believe they put forward their most trusted recipes.

This particular recipe comes from Maida Heatter, whom I told you many times how much I admire, and whose recipes I´ve made numerous times like this peach kuchen in one of my early posts, the walnut raisin snack cake dripping with dulce de leche or the famous chocolate whoppers.

Well, in a desperate need to clean my kitchen overflowing with ingredients, specifically different flours and nuts, I spent a few days cooking with my mother a while ago. Though some might say that that means she stoically puts up with me, as only a mother can, while I get annoyed that she forgot, again, to add this or prep that, or baked a whole cake without eggs.

Anyway,  oats and coconut were among the need-to-use-before-pantry-moths-decide-to-take-residence things, so this cake was one of many we baked. That baking marathon also included the whole wheat mountain bread, the whole wheat focaccia with roasted grapes, the very popular chocolate swirl pound cake and triple chocolate peanut clusters, and many others that are waiting in line to be posted.

I´d always been intrigued by broiled toppings, they sound like the sweet version of `au gratin´ which is something I love in savory food. It turns out that oatmeal and dried coconut go very well together, and that crunchy layer made a very plain yet intensely moist cake turn into something else.
For my personal palate it is a tad too sweet, in the way some middle eastern soaked cakes are. The coconut flavor was very present as was the cinnamon. Using good cinnamon can really make a difference. All in all a very good snack cake.

form Cakes, by Maida Heatter

This cake is so moist it´s better to cut it directly in the pan. If you don´t want to do that, skip the oat sprinkling of the pan, and line the bottom and two long sides with aluminum or parchment paper, overhanging a bit so you can lift the whole cake once it´s cool.

Makes 9 squares


For the cake:
1 cup quick (not instant) rolled oats + a few Tbs for dusting pan
1 ¼ cups boiling water
1 ½ cups sifted all purpose flour (sift first, then measure)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
4 oz. (115g) unsalted butter, room tº
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs

For the nut coconut topping:
5 oz. (140g) unsalted butter, room tº
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup cream
2/3 cup walnuts or pecans, cut into medium size pieces
3 oz (1 packed cup) shredded unsweetened coconut


For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350º. Butter a 9x13 inch pan. Dust with rolled oats and shake off excess. Reserve.
In a medium bowl mix oats with boiling water and let stand 20 minutes.
Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Reserve.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter with vanilla until creamy. Gradually add both sugars beating until well incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated.
Add the oats and mix just until blended.
In two or three additions, add dry ingredients, beating at the lowest speed and only until mixed. Do not overbeat.
Pour into prepared pan and bake until puffed and cake springs back when touched, about 40 minutes. Preheat broiler.
Very carefully, with the aid of two spoons, dot the entire surface of the hot cake with the coconut topping. Spread to cover the whole surface, being careful not to tear the cake. Do it slowly and the heat from the cake will help.
Return cake to oven and broil at 12 inches from the top, until it bubbles and is golden but doesn´t burn. Watch carefully.
Let cool on wire rack in the pan. Cut into squares and serve.

For the nut coconut topping:
While the cake is baking, cream butter in a bowl. Add sugar and cream and mix welll. With a spatula add nuts and coconut.


  1. You made this cake for me right? Oh how I love oats, coconut, and cinnamon. It's the first time I've heard of broiled cakes. Now I'm curious and have to investigate further.

    1. It´s interesting how I heard of recipes and assume they are classics or something, only to discover that half of you in the US never heard of them.

  2. Happy Monday, Paula! This looks like a cake I can eat right now for breakfast with my latte. Love the oats in the batter! Scrumptious!

  3. These slices look so chewy and delicious :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. Coconut and brown sugar! What a tempting combination of flavors! A very delightful cake Paula!

  5. This cake looks fantastic - I'm with Renee in having never heard of broiled cake. Creme Brulee, yes, but not cake.

    Also bookmarked the whiskey pecan pie, yum! I'm imagining miniatures in a cupcake pan.

  6. First of all, I'm jealous of your weather!!! I can't wait for summer! And second, this sounds so interesting and good!

  7. Lemon juice with warm water every morning? Instead of coffee? That would be a challenge for me :) Well unless I would get a prize- slice of such cake :D

    1. A half hour after the lemon juice I have my coffee!

  8. Ah my pantry is in desperate need of cleaning as well. The broiled coconut topping on this sounds very tempting. Beautiful cake (and more importantly my kind of cake - I love coffee/breakfast type cakes)!

  9. This looks sooo good! I especially like the coconut topping!

  10. I love this - so unusal but sounds delicious!
    Mary x

  11. My to-try pinterest board is packed and I have yet to make something from it! I'm going to pin this loveliness on there and I am going to make it soon because it sounds amazing! And it's, like, healthy!! :)

  12. This sounds like a very delicious cake that I would love to try!

  13. Paula,
    I always love reading your posts b/c you have all these GEMS hidden everywhere. . and you know I click on every single link! Wow! what a wealth of information you have here! Lemon water every morning? have you given up coffee? I'm going to do this but will have to drink my coffee afterwards. . do you think that will still work? maybe I need to cut down on my beloved java. .
    ok, this cake sounds amazing and I am also so intrigued by the broiled coconut topping. . I'm pinning this one (totally know what you mean re: the pinterest board. . you don't even want to know how huge my "recipes I'm going to try" is now. . but hey, look at it this way- we now have all these amazing recipes in our culinary arsenal to try now! and thank you for the shout out. . I really do hope you try the sliders!
    *and wait, hello?! you also have a spanish blog??? How do you do everything?!

    1. Oh no Alice, I haven´t traded my coffee for the lemon juice! I have my regular java 20 to 30 minutes after the lemon. And my spanish blog doesn´t get much attention from me, mainly because it´s not a thing to do here, so visitors are not a lot, so I always have more interesting things going on in this one...

  14. Paula, this sure looks like one delicious snacking cake to me - I love oats and coconut too and have numerous bags of those ingredients in my pantry - this would be a great recipe to use them in!
    Have a great Tuesday!

  15. Broiled coconut icing???? I'm sold!!! Looks marvelous, Paula!

  16. Oh yum! This recipe just has the feel of a vintage treasure. I love homey, hearty cakes like this. In my family, it would have to be eaten warm with milk poured over top. Perfection!

  17. I love coconut and oats together. Delicious! I'd never thought to broil the top of a cake - that's brilliant! Thanks for the link to the water/lemon article. My mom has been drinking warm lemon water in the mornings for years - she totally knew what she was doing all this time. As for my pantry...I have so many ingredients that I need to use up. I have a giant bag of buckwheat flour (I think?) that I haven't opened and it's been months. At least that stuff keeps for a while - I always have cartons of whipping cream, buttermilk and whole milk that I never finish using and it goes down the drain. I hate wasting food and money!

  18. Paula, this reminds me of a cake my grandmother used to make - looks delicious!

  19. Paula...this looks so fabulous! Really, as if an oatmeal cake weren't good enough on it's own....it's that broiled coconut topping that has me right over the edge! I love old fashioned and vintage recipes...and this one looks like a winner. (I have a couple of those homey type cookbooks...church groups and community groups....and you are right...I think people put their best recipes in there...so lots of hidden gems to be found!)

  20. Oh this looks so delicious, and I am so hungry!!!
    I love all the old style recipes!

  21. This cake sounds amazing!! Oatmeal and coconut…two of my favorite things! Absolutely lovely, Paula!

  22. I have seen these broiled cakes now and then and always think they sound interesting. I recently made a great oatmeal cake and think oatmeal and coconut always make a great combo!


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