Oatmeal Snack Cake


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.


29 comments to “Oatmeal Snack Cake”

  1. That. Looks. Awesome. Can I come over?

  2. Yes.

  3. Tim. Seriously. It is GORGEOUS outside right now. Tomorrow? Should be in the 70s. It is spring here! It IS spring here! I believe, I believe. Chicago has brought its last snow for the season and warm things are ahead.

  4. I’ll believe it when I see it! Ha. But thanks for the encouragement.

  5. Yum! I used to make a cake similar to this one and sort of forgot about it… I’ll have to give yours a try! That broiled icing is the way to go.

  6. Um. This is more than just a snack. It would turn into the entire meal.

  7. Still wintery in Calgary too! I know your pain! I see everyone cooking light and fresh dishes, tons of asparagus and peas… all I feel like is dense stews and rich sauces! This recipe looks great, I love using oats as much as I can, so healthy!

  8. This looks incredible and second: I am so thankful that I’m not the only one who prefers other “sweet things” to chocolate. :)

  9. just a thought.. did you accidentally mis-place two of the paragraphs?

    “… Add soaked oats and mix until combined, about 15 seconds.

    Pour this batter into the foil lined pan. Using a spatula, smooth the batter until it is even across. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. The cake can be tested by inserting a toothpick into the center. If the toothpick comes out clean, it’s ready to come out of the oven.

    Give the batter a final stir with rubber spatula to be sure batter is thoroughly combined. Transfer batter to prepared 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.”

    shouldn’t these bottom two be swapped? Just checking… :)

  10. I’m not making this. I’d eat the whole pan.

  11. That’s some snack! Now I feel guilty…my poor daughter….

  12. Today, I made your Caramel Cake for the third time. Just happened to have whipping cream and buttermilk left from Easter weekend cooking, but who needs an excuse to make that seriously good cake. It was perfect after a bowl of ham and bean soup. Thanks for sharing the recipe for your favorite cake and for your inspiring photos. My mother made broiled frosting quite often when I was a kid. I will be trying this snack cake, too. Sending you some warm, springlike weather from Iowa.

  13. This cake sounds delicious. And if you still need a recipe, you should take a look at the double chocolate cake I made a couple weeks ago from Gourmet. It was incredible. I wish I was near Chicago for that farmer’s market, it sounds awesome. Can’t wait for the exciting new changes!

  14. Yes! Lindsay, thanks so much for catching that. It is fixed now. That is what happens when I am rushing.

    Suzanne- I am so glad you like the caramel cake, too. Aw, now I want some.

    Hayley, thanks for the reminder about that chocolate cake…I will look at that again.

  15. This looks amazing. I wanna come over, too.

  16. I saved that recipe from CI a long time ago, but never got the chance to make it. Yours looks soo good! I never thought a snack cake could look so pretty.

  17. I can’t explain it, but I always thought of oatmeal snack cake as a Canadian dessert. Hmm.
    This looks absolutely delicious. Can’t wait to try it.

  18. that looks like an amazing “snack”

  19. This looks like an amazing recipe. YUM.

    I’m so annoyed that it is 50 and rainy today, it was SO pretty out yesterday. I finally got to wear my new running skirt for my long run.

    I am also VERY excited about Alice Waters next week and very excited for produce to finally hit the market again for the summer.

  20. Mmmm, like German Chocolate Cake but much easier (and without the chocolate).
    Can’t wait to try it – thanks.
    And I haven’t put away my winter jacket yet either. This is Maine, after all.

  21. Karen- yeah, I suppose it is a bit like german chocolate- that is a good point. I bet you could sneak some chocolate in here.

    Whitney, soon enough it will be hot and all of us in Chicago will be complaining about that. Ha.

  22. Dawn in CA says:

    April 20th, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    I imagine you don’t want to hear how balmy and beautiful it is here in No. Cal. Or how my vegetable garden is in and is already going gang-busters. Or how we ate almost every meal outside over the weekend. So I won’t say anything about it. :)

    But I will offer some advice regarding Bryan’s upcoming birthday: two cakes. You heard me: TWO CAKES. This works especially well if the actual birthday falls mid-week and the b-day party is on the weekend. One cake for the b-day, one cake for the party day. My choices for my hubby’s 40th were chocolate cake filled with fresh raspberries and vanilla swiss meringue buttercream, topped with chocolate ganache (b-day) and lemon cake filled with raspberries and lemon curd, iced with lemon buttercream (party). We had our cakes and ate them, too. Problem solved!

  23. I love this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated! My husband and I can easily polish off a whole cake between the two of us in one sitting (and I’m not one bit ashamed to admit that).

  24. YUM!
    I love what you are making and also the pictures are pretty and clean.

    check out my food blog:

  25. Dawn, very good suggestion. I like the way you think.

    Allison, I could totally eat the whole thing too. Seriously.

  26. Thanks for posting this recipe. It was featured on ATK on PBS today. I am bookmarking your site since I am moving to Chicago next summer. Love that you post not only recipes but what foodie people and things are in/coming to the Windy City, too. Cheers!!!

  27. Great, Mindy! Let me know if you have questions or need recommendations in Chicago once you get here. I’d be happy to help…

  28. This looks so good, and perfect for my non-chocolate eating son. I just found your website, not sure how I’ve missed it! Thanks for all the beautiful recipes.

  29. I made this today and it is outstanding. We just finished dinner and dessert and it got rave reviews from my huband. Thank you so much for sharing. I came back to see what else you have, that’s how great it was.

What do you think?