Did you know that you can swap oats for chocolate and turn a German chocolate cake into an oatmeal cake? I think that’s what I did when I made Mrs. Leo Wesolowski of Oconto Falls, WI’s oatmeal cake. I found her recipe in The Flavor of Wisconsin: An informal history of food and eating in the Badger state by Harva Hachten and Terese Allen. The cookbook/travel guide/history book features recipes from residents throughout Wisconsin as it tells the history of Wisconsin’s regional cooking and identifies restaurants and food shops where you can still buy samples of it. The name “Wesolowski” doesn’t sound German to me. Maybe Mrs. Wesolowski modified a cake recipe given to her by a German neighbor. Or maybe it wasn’t a German chocolate cake with the chocolate left out. Maybe the toasted pecan and coconut frosting just snookered me into thinking it was. But none-the-less, I’ve decided that this oatmeal cake tastes even better than German chocolate cake. And this is a mighty statement for me because I LOVE German chocolate cake. My good friend who enjoyed it with us agreed, and so now you know I’m not alone in this decision.
But don’t let the “oatmeal” in the name fool you into thinking this a healthy dessert. One cup of whole oats in a 9 x 13-inch cake does not a nutra bar make. However, when your child is about to pour a bowl of Fruit Loops cereal for breakfast but hesitates to ask for oatmeal cake instead, you might judge this cake a healthy alternative. After all, don’t oats and nuts help prevent heart disease? Yes, on second thought, go ahead and serve this oatmeal cake with Sunday brunch. Believe me, it’s delicious with a cup of coffee.
One last reason to bake this cake is it’s quirkiness. When the neighbors are standing in the yard as you run the puppy outside to pee, this cake enables you to politely excuse yourself from a conversation. You just call out, “Can’t talk now, I’m broiling a cake!” Everyone knows that broiling food must be closely watched. So they let you go with amiable smiles and neighborly friendliness continues on your street. So if by now you are interested in actually reading this marvel of a recipe, click on “Continue reading…”