Good for Brunch, Good for Dessert

March 17, 2011

Hey, guess what?  I’m in the April issue of Sunset magazine. They did an article on boutique cooking classes and I am in there!  Cool, huh?

On the whole, mine is a family of savory eaters.  No one turns up their nose at my sweets but everyone is happier with dinner than dessert.  Each person, however, has their thing they cannot resist.  As a good treat maker, I know each person’s Achilles heel.  For my dad, it is coconut.  My brother Alex – anything lemon and he also will eat almost an entire batch of my mom’s snickerdoodles in one sitting.  Michael will eat cookies until he is sick and then eat another one.  Randy’s weakness is white chocolate and he also loves carrot cake (which I have yet to make for him because I hate carrot cake).  I want my last meal on earth to include a brownie.  (This one is my current favorite.)  My mom loves nuts – she would love these bars.  But she also loves a good old fashioned coffee cake.

Last week, my parents and Michael came over for dinner.  I was fresh out of cookies so decided to make a quick cake that I found in my Baked Explorations book.  This book is a mystery to me.  I have looked at it so many times and have also made many things from it.  I feel like the recipes reproduce overnight or something because every time I open it, I feel like there is something new in there.  Some new treasure.

Anyway, as I have written about many times here, I am a big fan of a simple cake.  Not simple as in boring, simple as in not a three layer cake with fillings and buttercream frosting on a Tuesday night simple.  A good simple cake is gold for me.

This is no beauty contest winner.  But as I brought it out, my  mom said, “That is my favorite kind of cake.”  And, seeing as this recipe is found under the Breakfast chapter, it really is a coffee cake.  But it is great at night as well.  Spencer surprised me by wanting me to scrape off his frosting.  He only wanted to eat the cake.  This from a child who licks the frosting off his cupcakes and discards the cake part.  I guess it is a testament to how tasty this simple cake is.  But do make the frosting.  Easy and yummy.

One Year Ago: Golden Split Pea Soup
Two Years Ago: Peanut Brittle and Caramel Crunch Ice Cream Pie

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Baked Explorations
Makes one 9×13-inch cake

For the cake
8 ounces chocolate chips
½ tsp. Scotch or bourbon
1½ cups plus 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature
2 eggs, slightly beaten
¾ cup granulated sugar
1¼ cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. cinnamon

For the cream cheese frosting
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
5½ ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
¾ tsp. pure vanilla extract

Make the cake
Preheat the oven to 375ºF and position the rack in the center.  Butter the sides and bottom of 9-by-13-inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan.  Heat 1¼ cups water to boiling.

Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and toss them with the bourbon until covered.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the flour over the chips and toss until coated.  This will keep them from settling at the bottom during baking.  Set aside.

Place the oats and butter cubes in a large bowl.  Pour the boiling water over the oat mixture, wait 30 seconds, and stir to moisten all the oats and melt the butter.  Set the mixture aside for 25 to 30 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, both sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon until combined.  Fold in the cooled oatmeal and stir until well combined.  Gently fold in the remaining flour and then the chocolate chips.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the cake cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.

Make the cream cheese frosting
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is completely smooth.  Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.

Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 1 minute.  Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  (DT: I skipped this step.  It did not seem necessary to me.)

Assemble the cake
Spread a thin even layer of frosting over the cake.  Chill it for 15 minutes so that it can set.  Slice and serve.  The frosted cake can be keep, refrigerated and tightly covered, for up to 3 days.  Bring the cake back to room temperature before serving.


  1. This is my kind of cake. Can’t wait to try it!

    Comment by Maria — March 17, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

  2. For those of us that don’t always crave chocolate, do you think the cake would still taste great without the chips? My guess is that it would taste like an oatmeal spice cake-yum.

    Comment by linda — March 17, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

  3. how exciting! congrats, sweetheart! I love the vertical photo btw. Super cool shot and this cake….it’s calling my name!

    Comment by tracy — March 17, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

  4. That’s awesome Dana! You so deserve a good mention! I’m a huge coffee cake fan, I just can’t resist brown sugar and spice mingling with a nice cream cheese frosting. But chocolate still might beat it out if I had to choose!

    Comment by Jacqui — March 17, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

  5. I even bought Sunset at the grocery store 2 days ago, but didn’t notice they still had out the March issue still until I got home. Congratulations, that is so huge!

    Can’t wait to try the cake…anything with cream cheese frosting is my weakness:)

    Comment by Mara — March 17, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

  6. I’m not even joking, this sounds amazing!! Oh my, I must give it a try. Congrats on Sunset magazine, that’s awesome!! :)

    Comment by elizabeth / sophisticated pie — March 17, 2011 @ 9:12 pm

  7. you’re such a rockstar!

    Comment by vanillasugarblog — March 17, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

  8. I should not have stopped by when I my stomach was already growling–torture to look at that cake and not be able to eat a slice (or two). It’s my kind of cake, also….

    Great news on the Sunset listing!

    Comment by Nancy Baggett — March 17, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

  9. I pretty much want to make everything on your blog! Kudos on the mention – you deserve it!

    Comment by Bridget — March 17, 2011 @ 10:34 pm

  10. Count me in – I’d definitely have some of that for pudding, tea too. Brunch? I’m not yet brave enough to indulge before noon! Lovely photos, lovely blog.

    Comment by Sprinzette @ Ginger and Almonds — March 17, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

  11. I don’t think we have Sunset on the east coast, but that is WAY cool! You are a shining star!

    Comment by stacey snacks — March 17, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

  12. Well, you can tell Randy that WHEN I come to visit, I will make him carrot cake because I absolutely adore it.

    Actually I absolutely adore every kind of dessert. Maybe cookies are my least favorite of all…but even that’s not really true. Or saying much.

    I’ve really been meaning to make this cake because I’ve heard such good things about it! Looks fantastical in all its simplicity.

    Comment by Joanne — March 18, 2011 @ 1:05 am

  13. i LOVE carrot cake! This cake looks wonderfully simple. But most importantly, that is so wonderful to have your name in sunset! I can’t wait to see it in my copy coming soon. I’m sure you were on a cloud all day, feels good. congrats, my friend.

    Comment by sara — March 18, 2011 @ 1:26 am

  14. Hooray for the mention! And yes, I agree with your mom, it looks just like my kind of cake too. Homey and simple and ideal for breakfast.

    Comment by kickpleat — March 18, 2011 @ 7:03 am

  15. Now I REALLY want to see your kitchen.

    Comment by Hilary — March 18, 2011 @ 9:33 am

  16. That 3rd cake picture just makes me want to fly Stateside and knock at your door. I need to make this kind of cake more often!

    Comment by Amanda @ Easy Peasy Organic — March 18, 2011 @ 11:12 am

  17. Congratulations on Sunset! That’s so awesome and you completely deserve it!!

    Comment by Spicy Bohemian — March 18, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

  18. Vegivores – Love the word.

    You are really tempting me to buy yet another cookbook.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Comment by Annika — March 18, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

  19. So exciting. Congratulations! That cake looks moist and yummy.

    Comment by Helene — March 18, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

  20. Congratulations on the mention in Sunset, that’s great! Great-looking cake too. I’m officially feeling guilty for not baking from that book yet. I need to go grab it right now!

    Comment by lisaiscooking — March 18, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

  21. It looks good to me and I am glad there is no coffee in it :)

    Comment by Jacqueline — March 18, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

  22. The mention in Sunset is awesome! So cool!

    Comment by Kelly — March 19, 2011 @ 12:10 am

  23. So cool about your Sunset feature, Dana! Congratulations!

    Comment by The Leftoverist — March 20, 2011 @ 5:47 am

  24. This cake looks wonderful… I love all things oatmeal!

    Congrats on the feature in Sunset magazine!

    Comment by Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — March 22, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

  25. Yay you friend! Well deserved and I’m probably SOL on signing up now for any classes. I will miss it this quarter! :(

    Comment by Lindsey — March 24, 2011 @ 4:56 am

  26. Oh my goodness a killer recipe (in a good way). I think I might end up liking cake after all. I love oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and cream cheese frosting. This sounds like the perfect way to make those flavours go together.

    Comment by Peggy — April 2, 2011 @ 4:20 am

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