A Surprisingly Good Cake

I was browsing through one of my favourite series of cookbooks, the Wooden Spoon, written and compiled by Marilyn M Moore. Her books are not just a collection of recipes but a series of reminiscences from her upbringing in the Amish/Mennonite community. We Brits have a secret love for the Amish way of life and that people can still maintain those old-fashioned values and maybe benefit from a simpler way of life.
Moores’ love of her community is prevalent throughout her books and it is that sense of community that we seem to be losing. Local fairs and fetes almost seem to be a thing of a past, a relic from when people had the time to bake twenty cakes and dozens of cookies for huge family get-togethers.
I am not suggesting that we all become superwomen (and supermen) and start to churn out cake after cake or become fully subscribed members of the local W.I. The point is that most of us have a family member or neighbour who might benefit from an unexpected treat, particularly at this time of the year.

This unusual cake is made incredibly tender through the addition of the oatmeal but, like the Swedish, Toscacaka, the hot icing is baked on, which makes it a dream for people who are dextrously challenged (such as myself). It cools to a crunchy, toffee flavoured finish.
Oatmeal Cake is extraordinarily moreish and makes an ideal traybake cake for parties.
1 cup uncooked old fashioned oatmeal (not instant)
1 ¼ cups boiling water
113g vegetable shortening (we used Crisco)
¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
¾ Cup Light Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 ½ Cups Plain Flour
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
¼ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
85g Butter
¼ Cup Evaporated Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 Cup Sweetened Flaked Coconut (optional)
1 Cup Chopped Pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 175c
Grease a 9 x 13inch baking pan or two 5 by 5inch pans.
Pour the boiling water over the oatmeal and leave to cool slightly whilst you get on with the rest of the cake.
In a mixing bowl, beat the shortening with the granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the Brown Sugar and beat until fluffy again.
Add the eggs and beat in, one at a time, until combined.
Stir in the oatmeal, then sift in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir this in gently but thoroughly.
Pour into the prepared baking pan(s).
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
5 minutes before the cake comes out, prepare the icing. Melt together the butter, evaporated milk, vanilla extract, sugar, coconut and pecans until combined.
Pour over the baked cake(s) and place under a hot grill until it starts to bubble and brown. Leave to cool completely before cutting into squares and serving at coffee time (or for breakfast - it does have oatmeal in it, after all!).

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