Join me on my delicious journey revisiting American home cooking in the era before convenience foods became popular (1919 to 1955), as I bake and cook from old cookbooks and recipe cards of home cooks purchased at estate sales in Akron, Ohio, and other exotic locations.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Rochelle's Oatmeal Cake
Taste, like all the senses, can transport us to another time and place. And so, wanting to recreate a childhood favorite of my dear friend Jay, I baked this cake. And you know what? It worked!
"I haven't tasted this in 30 years," said Jay, as he had a slice in my office the other day.
It always amazes me how everyday things like flour, butter, eggs and sugar -- put together in a certain way -- can become a time machine. Forget H.G. Wells; a good piece of cake is all you need!
Printed in a c. 1960s spiral-bound cookbook from the Immanual Lutheran Church in Spirit Lake, Iowa, this recipe surprisingly calls for the batter to be beaten for 20 minutes. When questioned about this unusual instruction, Jay's mother, Rochelle, (who kindly sent me the recipe), wrote: "This recipe is a golden oldie -- time was measured differently way back then." Still, without a standing mixer, one would need not only time, but patience and arm strength.
Bottom line: The cake is delicious albeit very sweet (not that there's anything wrong with that!). And very simple to prepare. So far, it's my dear husband's favorite, and he especially loves the topping which (as he noted) is almost identical to the frosting used on German chocolate cake.
(If you want to attempt it without a standing mixer, go ahead. I found two similar recipes in my copy of the Indiana Rural Letter Carriers' Auxiliary Cookbook, and neither call for the 20 minute beating.)