Although, like anyone else, I love a nourishing, filling, and delicious meal, I generally am more concerned with what will follow the main course and appetizers. So this past weekend, when I was invited to a “dinner for dessert” party, I was overcome with two emotions: the first was of excitement. Finally, an event that that celebrated the very thing I take the most pleasure in! But as my eyes widened and I unconsciously began salivating, I also began to worry; what could I bring that would stand out, that would not get lost in the delectable crowd of other desserts? My first instinct was to make a rustic berry cobbler or crisp; after all, it's what's in season. But then I backpedaled, thinking that everyone would naturally be taking advantage of the spectacular berries the Pacific Northwest has been savoring. Then, I considered chocolate: anything at all that was chocolate. But again, I had my reservations: I had just recently made a very chocolatey, very rich dessert, and I had hoped for a bit more variety in my baking practice.
So after a bit of consultation and research, I found the perfect dessert: a hearty oatmeal cake with a brown sugar glaze. And it did turn out to be along just the right track; though the only cobbler to be found at the table was a mango cobbler, chocolate was the key ingredient of the night. While I took part in tasting a bit of everything there, I also enjoyed a piece of my cake, which offered a great balance to the other desserts.
The brown sugar along with the honey (or agave nectar) make for a sweet cake, but the whole wheat flour and the oats give it a substance that a purely sugary treat would not possess. The coconut in the glaze added a pleasant texture, and the glaze is best poured on the cake while both are still warm, so that the cake can soak up the moisture of the mixture – without becoming soggy itself. My friends were just as happy with the oatmeal cake as I was; it's just right for grabbing a piece and eating with your fingers, if your plate happens to already by weighed down by a selection of other desserts.
1 ½ cups boiling water
1 cup oats
1 cup Raisins
½ cup applesauce
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup honey or agave nectar
2 large eggs, well beaten
1 ½ cups sifted whole wheat flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 ½ tbsp. canned evaporated milk
½ cup coconut flakes
½ cup chopped pecan halves
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 13" x 9" x 2" baking pan, set aside.
Directions:In a mixing bowl combine boiling water, quick rolled oats and raisins, set aside to cool.In a separate mixing bowl cream together the applesauce, brown sugar, honey and eggs.In another mixing bowl sift together whole wheat flour, cinnamon, baking soda and sea salt, add to sugar mixture, add oatmeal-raisin mixture, blend well.Bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes or until done. Spread with topping while cake is hot.