This is one of our very, very, most very favorite cakes. And yet the photos don't quite do it justice. This is a moist, tender cake with a gooey topping of broiled coconut and sugar, and while "oatmeal cake" really doesn't sound sexy, let us assure you: it most definitely is.
The first time I tried this cake I wasn't expecting anything much. A friend made it for her sister's birthday, as it was their traditional family birthday cake. I love oatmeal, of course, but oatmeal cake? Eh. Sounded a little too non-indulgent for my birthday tastes.
And then I tried it, and... wow! It was moist and delicious inside, with rich spices and buttery goodness, and a creamy, gooey topping of broiled coconut and sugar. Heaven!
I tracked down the recipe, which is in a cookbook I actually grew up with (More-With-Less). It's an easy cake: just a few ingredients. It bakes up in large quantities quite easily; this is perhaps my favorite cake to make for a crowd. And then there's that deliciously gooey broiled topping — it's different and yet oh so good. It's similar to German chocolate cake, and some people think that's what this is, when they try it. But there's no chocolate — just plenty of brown sugar and cinnamon.
So don't let this cake's humble name and even more humble appearance fool you. It's hiding so much flavor, and it's a bomb of a crowd-pleaser.
• Get the recipe: Oatmeal Cake - This recipe is the closest to the version I have made. But it does have a couple of differences. I add an extra 1/2 cup of white sugar (for a total of two cups - 1 cup brown, and 1 cup white) and I also add a full teaspoon of baking powder in addition to the soda.
(Images: Faith Durand)