Usually when I mention oatmeal cake I get “a look.” I attempt to eliminate preconceptions by enthusiastically explaining how wonderful the flavours are and how amazing the texture is. It's not too sweet, it's not overly spiced, and it's insanely moist. When you combine all of this with a generous helping of peanut butter frosting, one bite will have you in a state of euphoria.
To date I have made this cake three times. The first time was a single layer cake with a peanut butter glaze. I was amazed at how well the flavours paired together and I started imagining how I could improve on the concept. I decided to try it with my cream cheese peanut butter frosting and put it on my Easter menu. The result was a two layer 9” cake with my peanut butter frosting and chopped peanuts between the layers. It was heaven. Honestly, I wish I had some right now. Everyone at Easter dinner enjoyed it, and no one could believe that it was a cake made with oatmeal. This is also the version I brought to Thanksgiving, and again, rave reviews. There were a few that would prefer it without the peanuts, but I and others (who aren't crazy :)) agree that it's a great way to break up the flavours and texture of the cake.
Perhaps the only thing I would have altered was to increase the peanut butter in the frosting. The peanut butter flavour is supposed to be subtle, it's not the star of the show, but the frosting was a little sweeter than a remember. When I was putting it together it tasted fine to myself and my mother but after tasting it on the cake I realized my error: I added a bit too much honey (½ cup) and extra peanut butter would have aided in this. Not much, just another 1/4 cup. (I made the correction to the honey measurement below). Don't get me wrong, it was still awesome. I recommend this frosting for anything (error and all). It's just really good. Besides you have to remember that I'm sensitive to things being “too sweet” and there is never enough peanut butter for me :).
The only “problem” with the cake itself? For some reason it never wants to cut nicely. It's difficult to get a piece that stays completely in tact, usually falling apart a bit towards the centre. But I don't mind. To me, this cake can do no wrong.
Oatmeal Cake w/ Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Frosting
Adapted from One Perfect BiteCake:
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup butter (113g)
1 1/2 cups flour (195g)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
1 cup packed golden yellow sugar (220g)
2 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Inspired by Martha Stewart1 ½ sticks cream cheese, room temperature (325g) – I use light
¾ cup smooth peanut butter, not natural (180g)
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp honey (90ml)
1 cup unsalted peanuts, rough chop.
In a medium bowl add oatmeal, butter, and boiling water. Stir to combine and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line bottoms of two 9” cake pans with parchment paper, grease and flour.
In a medium bowl add flour, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Whisk to combine.
In the bowl of an electric mixture combine sugars, eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for two minutes, scrapping down the sides of the bowl.
In two additions slowly add dry ingredients to wet. Beat until just combined.
Add oatmeal mixture to batter and fold until completely combined.
Evenly pour batter into prepared cake pans and place in oven for 25 – 30 minutes. Cake is done when golden brown and cake springs back slightly when touched (after three successful attempts it has always taken me 27 minutes).
Remove cakes from oven and cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and allow to cool completely. If necessary run a knife along the edge of the cakes to release from pan. Be careful handling the cakes, they will be quite heavy and very flexible.
Add cream cheese, peanut butter and honey to medium bowl and mix until completely combined (A mixer shouldn't be necessary if cream cheese is warm enough). Add peanut butter to taste.
Note: if you increase peanut butter taste and then decide if it's sweet enough, increase honey a tablespoon at a time until it's where you want it. I would say a max of 2 tbsp honey per ¼ cup of added peanut butter. In general you want to keep the ratio of cream cheese to peanut butter to honey at 1 stick to ½ cup to ¼ cup, but by no means is this a hard and fast rule. For me I increase peanut butter first; if needed, honey second and cream cheese last.
Place first layer top side down on a plate and apply a layer of frosting.
Evenly distribute peanuts over frosting adding just enough to cover layer, making sure there are no loose peanuts. (You will likely have some left over)
Place second layer, top side up, on peanut layer and press down slightly.
Finish frosting cake.
Chill in fridge before serving.