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Still we wait for spring. I don’t know about where you are, but here in Chicago we haven’t put our parkas away yet. Everyone is so anxious for warm spring days, but so far they are not materializing. I am trying to use these final days of winter-like weather to cook some cold-weather favorites before all I can think about it fresh fruit and ice cream. This oatmeal snack cake has been a favorite in our house since I first tried the recipe a year ago. It is so comforting and delicious. An extra moist oatmeal cake is topped with a sweet icing containing pecans and coconut. The whole cake is stuck under the broiler for a couple of minutes to cook the frosting and turn this into a serious bit of good food.


In other Lottie + Doof news, Bryan’s birthday is quickly approaching and I have been spending a lot of time looking for the perfect birthday cake recipe for him. Unfortunately for me, the recipe will probably contain chocolate. Fortunately for many of you, the recipe will probably contain chocolate. I’ll let you know what I come up with. Also, look for Lottie + Doof’s first guest post next week. I’ve been wanting to have friends contribute to the site for a while but am finally making it happen (between work and life sometimes things get in the way!). And keep your eyes open for some minor, but exciting, changes to the site in the coming weeks. All good stuff.

Reminder: Green City Market this weekend, for all of you in Chicago. If you haven’t heard already (and you live in Chicago) Alice Waters will be at a special Green City Market on April 25th from 10:30-11:30am. I am pretty excited that one of my personal heroes will be at my favorite farmers market. Can’t wait! She’ll be signing copies of her latest book, Edible Schoolyard, which is a really beautiful record of one of her efforts to educate young people about food and agriculture while promoting responsible living. If you can’t make it to Chicago, be sure to check out the book. In the meantime, eat this cake.


Oatmeal Snack Cake (Cook’s Illustrated)

For the Cake

  • 1 cup quick cooking oats (not old-fashioned or instant)
  • 3/4 cup water, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Broiled Icing

  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350° F, with rack in the middle position.  Spray an 8×8 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line the pan with two 16-inch pieces of foil, each of which has been folded in half lengthwise.   The bottom of the pan should be covered with overlapping pieces and the foil should hang over two opposing sides of the pan.  Spray the foil lightly with cooking spray.

Combine the oats with the water in a small bowl until the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon together.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until combined and the mixture has the consistency of damp sand, 2 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.  Add the flour mixture in two additions and beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds.  Add soaked oats and mix until combined, about 15 seconds. Give the batter a final stir with rubber spatula to be sure batter is thoroughly combined.

Transfer batter to preapred pan and lightly tap against counter 3 or 4 times to dislodge any large air bubbles; smooth surface with spatula. Bake until cake tester inserted into center comes out with few crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, at least 10 minutes.

While cake cools. adjust oven rack about 9 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, melted butter, and milk together; stir in coconut and pecans. Spread mixture evenly over warm cake. Broil until topping is bubbling and golden, 2 to 5 minutes.

Let cake cool for 1 hour, transfer cake to serving platter and carefully slide the foil out from under the cake. Cut cake into squares and serve.

***Placed in an airtight storage container, this keeps well for several days at room temperature.


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