There are times when you want a light, fluffy cake and there are times when you want a dessert that is hearty and satisfying. This Old Fashioned Oatmeal Pecan Cake is the latter style of cake. It’s moist, dense and loaded with the flavors of oatmeal, cinnamon and vanilla. It’s not quite as hearty as a big bowl full of cooked oatmeal, but it is an excellent cake that captures the same flavors and can be served either for breakfast or dessert.
The cake can be made in a single saucepan and actually starts out with partially cooked oatmeal. The reason for cooking the oatmeal is to tenderize and hydrate the oats. Oatmeal absorbs a lot of liquid and can actually cause some baked goods to dry out (imagine the difference between a stale cookie and a fresh one) through absorption. By partially cooking the oats, they are full hydrated when going into the cake batter, which yields a much moister cake.
Once the oatmeal has been cooked and cooled slightly, the rest of the ingredients can be added directly to the saucepan. This means that this is a one bowl/one pan recipe. That being said, you can absolutely transfer your oatmeal to a secondary bowl if you feel your saucepan is too small to easily mix up the rest of the batter in or if you simply want to cool your oatmeal more quickly. If you don’t want to use a saucepan, you can boil the water and butter in the microwave and pour it over the oats in a large mixing bowl to start things off.
I baked this cake in a tube pan, the same style of pan that I use for angel food cakes and some coffee cakes. The cake batter will not rise enough to fill the whole pan (so don’t be surprised), but it will dome up into an attractive looking cake that is easy to pop out of the pan. While you could bake this in a bundt pan if you don’t have a tube pan, it definitely will only fill the pan about half way, so I would actually recommend baking it in a 9×13-inch pan as a sheet cake instead. The baking time for a tube pan versus a sheet cake pan will be about the same for this recipe.
I typically serve this as a breakfast cake and do not add any frosting – though a bit of confectioners’ sugar is an easy way to dress it up – because I like my brunch guests to feel like the can simply grab a slice and eat it out of hand. If you do want to dress it up a bit more, a simple vanilla buttercream or cream cheese frosting is a great choice. Frosted or unfrosted, the cake keeps very well for a couple of days if stored in an airtight container.
Old Fashioned Oatmeal Pecan Cake
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup chopped, toasted pecans
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 10-inch round tube pan and set aside (flour, if desired).
In a large saucepan, combine water and butter and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add in rolled oats. Allow mixture to sit for 20 minutes to cook the oats and cool. After 20 minutes, stir in the sugar, brown sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla extract and ground cinnamon. Add in flour and baking soda, then stir until completely combined. Mix in chopped pecans, then pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and reinvert onto a cake plate to serve. Top with frosting or confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
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Because I’ve been cooking all my life and it comes easily to me, I can generally take a look at a recipe and anticipate with some degree of accuracy, how it will turn out. But that’s not the same as actually cooking a dish from a cookbook. On this list I am covering only the cookbooks that got a “trial run.” For each of these cookbooks I cooked at least one recipe, sticking as close to the recipe as I could. I’m hoping my results along with my comments will help you to decide which of these books are for you.
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The Instant Pot might have been one of the popular holiday kitchen gifts last season, but the Dash Mini Waffle Maker has consistently been a best seller this year. The pint-size waffle maker is just a bit bigger than the palm of your hand and produce 4-inch waffles that are almost too cute to eat. It comes in a variety of colors and has a price tag right around $10 – making it a perfect impulse purchase, whether you’re shopping online or see it in the store. As a waffle fan with a Belgian-style waffle iron that I really like, I wondered how the Dash stacked up to its full size competitors and ordered one so I could give it a try.
The waffle iron is so small and lightweight that it almost looks like a toy at first glance, but the waffle iron has a surprisingly heavy duty nonstick iron inside once you open it up. It has an indicator light on the top that lights up when you plug in the machine, then clicks off when the iron is hot. It does not have a on-off switch or any audible indicator, but that is true of some larger machines and not something I mind much. It does, however, mean that you need to plug it in to preheat about 2 minutes before you’re ready to use it and that you must remember to unplug the machine when you’re done.
The Dash heats up quickly and the nonstick surface works very well. I found my waffles released easily from the iron both when I greased the iron and when I did not. It heated evenly and produced waffles that were uniformly brown, though the batter didn’t quite always make it to the outer edges (I chronically underfill my waffle makers, apparently) and the coloration was a touch lighter there.
It took about 4 minutes to cook my waffles until they were crisp on the outside and completely cooked inside. The waffles were completely cooked at about 3 minutes, but the exterior remained soft unless they got a little extra time on the iron. I felt it was worth a little extra patience to get that perfectly crisp outside, however if you are planning to pop your waffles in the toaster to crisp them up before serving (a handy trick for small waffles), letting them be a little less cooked might be better. Since there is no audible alert, I used a kitchen timer while I cooked.
All in all, the waffle iron performed extremely well and really exceeded my expectations. It produced evenly cooked waffles with a nice crispy surface and a moist interior. The 4-inch waffles were a great size for stacking, sandwiching or snacking. It does not save a lot of time over using a full sized waffle iron, however this gadget takes up almost no space in the kitchen, so everyone will be able to find room for it. You can use any traditional waffle recipe (the instruction booklet includes both sweet and savory recipes), but I would recommend cutting them in half because a little batter will go a long way here. For the price, you can’t go wrong – even if you already have a full size waffle iron in your kitchen.