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Monday, April 20, 2009

Black-eyed Susan Cake






Tonight we had a much delayed corned beef and cabbage dinner, and I wanted to make a dessert that would be a little festive after this rather peasant-y kind of main dish. I ended developing a variation on the Lazy Daisy cake my mother often made for meals such as this; it seemed like the flower in the title should reflect the addition of cocoa to the cake, so we now have a new family favorite, Black-eyed Susan Cake.

Though the cake looks a little like German Chocolate, it has a deeper chocolate flavor. It can also be made using chopped nuts instead of coconut, but I prefer the coconut, perhaps because that was my mother's choice.

This is a relatively economical dessert, especially if you buy the coconut when it is on sale (which it often is before the Christmas and Easter holidays). You may substitute margarine for the butter in the cake, but the topping really is best if you use real butter. As noted, I did not use half and half but instead cut costs (and only slightly made the cake a little healthier) by using dry milk powder added to milk--which in my house is always nonfat. If you have whole milk or even 2%, you could leave out the dry milk.

And the apple? I added that mostly because I had one that was starting to get a little soft at this end of winter storage. While it could be omitted; it added to the overall moistness of the cake and I definitely recommend including it.



Since the cake is really quite rich, it can easily be cut into 24 pieces, another way to stretch the budget--though it will be hard for many to stop with just one serving!!

Black-eyed Susan Cake
1 1/2 c boiling water
1 c oatmeal
1/2 c butter or margarine
1/2 c cocoa
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon
1 1/3 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 medium apple, cored and finely chopped or grated--about 3/4 to 1 c (optional)

Bring water to a boil in a stainless steel mixing bowl. Immediately stir in the butter, cocoa, and oatmeal. Stir to combine and melt butter.
When the mixture has cooled a little beat in the sugar and chopped apple. Meanwhile, sift the flour, soda, and cinnamon together.
Add the eggs to the sugar and butter mixture and beat well. Then stir in the flour and beat until smooth. Immediately pour into a greased and floured 13 X 9 pan and bake at 350 degrees about 25 minutes, until just done.

Take the cake out of the oven and use a fork to poke small holes all over the surface. Spread topping evenly over the still hot cake and return to the oven—set on broil—for two to five minutes, just until the topping is bubbly and starting to turn golden. Watch closely because this begins to darken (and then burn!) very quickly.

Topping:
1  c brown sugar
1/2 c butter
3 T milk plus 1 T dry milk powder for added richness OR 3 T half and half)
1 1/2 to 2 c shredded coconut

Combine butter, brown sugar, and milk in a large bowl and microwave on medium power about 4 minutes, until very bubbly. If you try it in a two cup measure as in the picture, you will need to watch the mixture VERY closely to avoid a messy boil-over!

 

(If cooking on top of the stove, allow to boil about two to three minutes.)
Remove from microwave or heat and stir in the coconut. Spread evenly over cake as noted above.

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