If being a teacher has taught me nothing else, it is that teenagers are incredibly motivated by food.
Not long ago, my yearbook students earned a baked treat for completing a big milestone.
When the nine of them sat down to decide what they wanted me to make for them, I learned another lesson: teenagers are picky?even with dessert.
After listening to them argue, I asked them to make a list of things they wouldn?t eat, figuring it would make it clear what I could make. It did not.
The list of things my students do not like is as follows: cherries, cereal, chocolate, marshmallows, nuts, baked fruit, lemon, caramel, pumpkin and red food dye.
That last one is an allergy, but the rest were just pickiness. I decided to take this as a challenge and settled on a recipe for oatmeal cake from the blog ?Chef in Training.? You can find the original at http://www.chef-in-training.com/2014/11/oatmeal-cake/. I cranked up the spices in my version.
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup quick oats
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons nutmeg
3 teaspoons cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped pecans (I left these off, but they would be good)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray.
In a pan, bring the water and butter to a boil and then combine them with the oats in a mixing bowl. Let them sit for about three minutes.
After letting it cool, beat in the egg and sugars.
Add in the rest of the ingredients for the cake and mix until well-combined.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
While the cake bakes, cream together the sugar and butter for the topping. Add the rest of the topping ingredients and mix until well-combined.
When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately pour the topping evenly over it.
The recipe calls for you to put the cake under the broiler for two to three minutes to brown the topping, but I just let mine sit overnight to soak into the cake, and it was perfect.
Well, the verdict from the kids was that this cake is delicious, and that?s coming from one of the pickiest groups I?ve ever met, so I consider it a good recommendation. They even went in for seconds, so give this a try. I don?t think you?ll be disappointed.
Lindsey Young is the co-owner of The Edge, a Bethel College graduate, and an avid baker. She can be reached at