Buttermilk Oatmeal Cakes with Almond Syrup

15 Oct
Oatmeal Cakes

Oatmeal Cakes

They say one good Saturday of cakes is a fluke. Two, though, could be the start of a beautiful streak. (They do say that, right?) The griddle was deftly commanded once more today, marking the second consecutive week of a winning Saturday morning.

Now, with a little more long-range planning, this is the recipe I would have tried last week, moving last week’s to this week. You see, there is folding to be done with this week’s cakes, but it was light folding, at best, or perhaps more appropriately, low-stakes folding. The folding here did not carry the threat of undoing the fruits of the manual labor involved with peaking egg whites. No, this folding was more a product of keeping the batter mixed only as much as it needed to be. “Combine gently” could have worked just as well, I think. The whole preparation would have been a most proper training ground for the higher-stakes folding associated with the ricotta cakes last week. But my pancake gaze is more at my feet than on the horizon right now.

Be warned with these cakes–they’re chewy, dense, hearty. One or two and you’ll feel sated. More than that and you may well do best with a day on the couch. These cakes have that sticky comfort texture that makes you want to lie down on a warm bed of them and shotgun a glass of the almond syrup.

The best thing about this recipe was the make-ahead nature of the batter. Being able to rise and already find myself at the “preheat” stage of things was most welcome for a Saturday morning, especially following last Saturday’s sweaty, laborious morning of frantic prep. I also did the syrup the night before, and would recommend the same, though be warned–the resultant mixture will look like a science experiment in the refrigerator the next morning, what with the freakishly delineated layers of liquid matter and all. I just zapped it in the microwave for a minute, stirred with a fork, and repeated that a few times until it looked once more as it had in the pan.

One thing to keep in mind about the cakes ‘n syrup combo is the outlandish amount of butter used. If you are at all afraid of butter, this could be your worst nightmare. I, for one, love butter, and considering the relative dearth of it in last week’s cakes, I was beginning to get the shakes. I will say this–for the love of good taste everywhere, use real butter. Use it for the cakes, the syrup, and the griddle. Do not give yourself over to the sway of the low this and reduced thats of the dairy aisle. You’re not eating these daily. If you were, I could see the merits of trimming some of the fat from the ingredients. But since you’re not, submit to the splendor of real butter.

Pants: On…ish. We’ll stop there.

Planning: Very little. Owing to that independent study of folding last week, the only spot for potential hiccups was mitigated. I did have to verify just what in the world rolled oats were, and how they differed from what I had always imagined oats to be (they do not differ…and I do not possess much oats knowledge).

Gathering: An assist from my wife yet again, whose Friday dash to the store saved me a hurried lunch break at work. The ingredients lacked some of the exoticism of some of my previous trials, so even the few ingredients we needed were easy to locate. However…

At 7:00 on Friday night, I realized I was 1/4 cup short on buttermilk. This meant steeling myself once more for the outdoors after having already holed up for the night. Pants, jacket, glasses–all had to be affixed anew for a jaunt to secure a $.48, half-pint container of buttermilk. That I carried my tiny container to the checkout line with a four-pack of Guinness only added to the intrigue for my friendly cashier. Don’t judge me! I said with my eyes.

Execution: Beyond simple. The cakes, the syrup, the folding…all a snap. The only thing to arm oneself with is a long-view of things–preparation of the batter enough in advance to refrigerate overnight, but not so far in advance that some of the more volatile ingredients (eggs, butter, milk) are left with the opportunity to wield their volatility through idle times in the fridge. You dig?

Two in a row

Two in a row

Results: Terrific. As my wife mentioned after her first cake, they really sneak up on you and fill you faster than you would imagine. This recipe could easily feed 3 or 4 people. The boy was most pleased again with the cakes, and again, that was the best part for me. The syrup was a bit much for him as his sweet tooth has yet to be cut completely. But he loved the cakes. Score.

Crossover Potential: Mountain of warm cakes to nestle upon for a Saturday morning snooze. Oh, and leftover cakes with various spreads would be good, too.

The cakes recipe:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup milk (2%, organic)
  • 1 cup wheat flour (organic)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (organic)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar (organic, pure cane)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs (free-range)
  • 1.5 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  1. Combine milk and oats in a small bowl and set aside
  2. Sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt
  3. In separate bowl, whisk eggs; then add buttermilk and whisk together; finally, add vanilla extract and oil and whisk all together
  4. Add dry mixture to wet mixture and whisk briskly (whiskly?), fearing not the lumps
  5. Fold in oats/milk mixture
  6. Refrigerate overnight
  7. Arise, remove batter from fridge, and consume coffee!
  8. Preheat griddle to 350 degrees
  9. Preheat oven to 175 degrees
  10. Butter the hell out of griddle
  11. Ladle batter onto griddle using 1/3 measuring cup
  12. Watch for bubbles and flip until both sides are golden brown–roughly 1-2 minutes per side (These guys cook QUICKLY!)
  13. Keep completed cakes warm in your preheated oven while you turn the rest of that batter into cakes
And the syrup recipe:
  • 3/4 cup butter (organic, unsalted)
  • 1.5 cups sugar (organic, pure cane)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1.5 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. almond extract
  1. In medium saucepan, melt butter, then add sugar and buttermilk
  2. Bring to a boil over medium/high heat; reduce to low boil and add baking soda
  3. Let bubble for 5-10 minutes, until mixture begins to thicken
  4. Add almond extract and simmer for a few minutes more
  5. If making ahead, prepare to reheat and remix the next day, as your ingredients will

Note: Syrup recipe from a combination of online sources. Cakes recipe adapted from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/10/health/nutrition/10recipehealth.html

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One Response to “Buttermilk Oatmeal Cakes with Almond Syrup”

  1. Amber Cummer October 15, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    I give these an A-. They are super tasty and hearty! They are deceiving though, they sit a little heavy so reaching for my 3rd cake was not a good idea. Hence the minus as i feel rather bloated now. However, the combo of cake/syrup was incredible. YUMMY! At least I won’t need lunch now.

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