January 13, 2010

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When I was in junior high, one of my best friends was Terese Sievers.  She was sweet, smart (a whiz at math), beautiful, with perfect black hair; a fine person and a marvelous friend.  I spent a lot of time at her house: meals, parties, and sleepovers, her adorable little brother Todd waking us in the morning.  Among my favorite memories is the time we baked this cake together.  I had never baked with a friend before, and there was a definite specialness to it.  We worked with ease in her kitchen, so much so that it overshadows any memory of my first bite of cake.  Working together mattered more.

Though the memory of this cake is fine, it has very little to do with how I feel about it now.  I am hard pressed to find another chocolate cake that I like so well.  This is moist, rich, and always delicious, and certainly among the easiest to prepare.  I am not one for fuss in the kitchen – my Julia Child days having long past.  The hubster is a big fan as well, nearly always suggesting I make it when I am in the mood for chocolate.  Thankfully, too, I’ve adapted it so it is pretty healthy, as far as cakes go, with the rolled oats and whole wheat flour providing a good amount of fiber, but in secret agent fashion.  Let’s call it MI5 cake, shall we?

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake

1 3/4 cups boiling water

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

1 stick butter, softened (8 tablespoons)*

2 eggs

1 cup flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips**

3/4 cup nuts (optional)

Pour water over oatmeal in a large bowl, and let stand 10 minutes.  Add both sugars and butter.  Mix well.  Add eggs.  Sift dry ingredients together, and add to oatmeal mixture, mixing well.

Pick a pan – 13×9 or Bundt

For the 13X9:  Grease pan well.  Add 1 cup of chocolate chips (and fruit if you are using it) to batter, pour into pan, and sprinkle remaining chips over the top.   Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean and the cake springs back when touched.

For the Bundt:  Grease pan well.  Mix in chocolate chips (and fruit if you are using it), pour into pan, smoothing the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean and the cake springs back when touched. Cool for 5 minutes before turning out of the pan.

The cake is great warm, at room temperature, on it’s own, sprinkled with powdered sugar, or frosted.  You really can’t lose.


*If you are itching to make the cake, but your butter is not soft, do what I do: use a cheese grater on the butter.  I also do this for pie crust.  Freeze the butter and put it through the grater.  It will still be cold and in uniform pieces.  I love uniformity in the kitchen!

**Use any chocolate chip you like, but know that white chocolate chips tend to melt entirely and form slightly unsightly cracks in the cake (this is why God created frosting).

***If you like dried fruit, this cake is the perfect vehicle for it.  I am rather fond of adding dried cherries or raisins (reduce the amount of chocolate chips by whatever amount of dried fruit you use), but was thinking that cranberries and apricots would work nicely, too.  If you like orange, you could also add the zest of one.  Oh the possibilities!

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