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There are a handful of cookbooks on my shelf I like to sit down and reread every once in a while, just for fun. It’s nice to revisit an old friend and be inspired, reminded of the reasons it came to rest on that shelf. Arabesque is picked up most often; Jerusalem and Tender have a good number of well-worn pages, too. When I have a sweet tooth, I always reach for one (or more) of the three Baked cookbooks (Baked, Baked Explorations and Baked Elements), to drool and dream and plot. When I did so most recently, I was shocked to find a recipe I had somehow glossed over previously: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Whoa! What is oatmeal cake? How did I miss this one? Complicated techniques (translation: more steps than I feel like doing) and exotic ingredients are the only reasons I hesitate to try a Baked recipe– those I have made or tasted tend to be outstanding– but the recipe looked straight-forward and the ingredients are typically in my pantry. There was nothing standing between me and a good recipe test.

My husband had requested granola bars or cookies to take with his lunches, so I decided to make the cake without the frosting called for in the book, figuring it would be closer to a bar cookie in portability and more snack-like. (I have nothing against snacking on frosted cake and would serve this as a dessert any day of the week.) I also found myself a little short of the required quantity of chocolate chips. I considered leaving them out altogether, but chose instead to use half chocolate chips and half butterscotch chips. I adore butterscotch with oatmeal in baked goods. Plus, I was leaving off the frosting… But mostly it’s because chocolate + butterscotch + oatmeal is wonderful.

My only complaint about this oatmeal cake is that I dirtied a lot of dishes to make it. That’s it, and that’s a stretch. You must make this cake. It is moist and dense, reminding me of carrot cake or gingerbread in that sense, and toothsome from the oatmeal in a way I didn’t know I craved until I had my first bite. The cinnamon is perfect, the bourbon is just right, and we’ve already talked about the chocolate. (And butterscotch.) If you like oatmeal cookies, make this cake. If you like Congo Bars or similar bar cookies, make this cake. If you have tried other Baked recipes and know that the authors always get things just right, try this recipe next. It’s a cake I will make over and over again for years to come. Now I am even *more* eager to see what magic will be between the covers of the forthcoming Baked Occasions.

oatmeal cake

Oatmeal Cake (adapted from Baked Explorations)

  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 tsp. bourbon
  • 1 1/2 c. plus 2 T. flour
  • 1 c. old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/4 c. boiling water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the chocolate and butterscotch chips. Sprinkle with bourbon and 2 T. flour and toss gently to coat. Set aside.

To a medium bowl, add the oatmeal and cubed butter. Pour the boiling water over the top and wait 30 seconds before stirring to combine. Set the oatmeal mixture aside for 30 mins.

In a large bowl, combine the lightly beaten eggs with both sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix in the oatmeal (after 30 mins.), then fold in the remaining 1 1/2 c. flour. Fold in the boozy chips and pour the batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 40 mins., until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This cake is really good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, equally good plain, an absolute treat dunked in coffee. Covered tightly, oatmeal cake keeps several days at room temperature and about a week in the refrigerator.