We celebrated my dad’s birthday a couple weeks ago. When I asked him what sort of birthday cake he wanted, his answer was – chocolate.
The thing is, I was bored with the prospect of making yet another run-of-the-mill chocolate cake. It feels like I’ve made at least a hundred chocolate cakes over the years, so I guess it was about time I tried to jazz things up. And so, this chocolate oatmeal cake with a chocolate buttercream icing infused with Earl Grey tea was born.
I love cocoa oatmeal cookies, so the thought of having them in cake form immediately piqued my interest. With a little Internet research, I found this recipe for oatmeal chocolate cake on Taste of Home. I’ve tweaked the recipe and changed the proportions to create a layered cake.
I’ve also noticed that bakeries and food places have begun selling Chocolate Earl Grey confections. My prediction is that it’ll be the next flavour trend to emerge in the near future, rivaling the likes of salted caramel.
50g instant/quick-cooking oats
85g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
3/4 cup hot water
65g unsalted butter, softened
80g brown sugar
80g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
Makes a 2-layered 7-inch cake.
For the icing:
75g unsalted butter, softened
260g icing sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
3 Earl Grey tea bags
Step 1: In a bowl, add the oats and chopped dark chocolate.
Pour over the hot water and leave to stand for 20 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease and line 2 7-inch round cake tins.
Then, stir the mixture until it comes together. (Stop here and you’ll have a yummy chocolate oatmeal porridge!)
Step 2: Cream the butter, sugar, and salt together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
Step 3: Sift in the flour and baking soda. Add in the chocolate oat porridge you made earlier, and mix everything to combine. Divide the batter equally between the 2 tins and bake for 35 minutes. Cool before decorating.
Step 4: To make the icing, begin by microwaving the milk in a mug for about 30 seconds on High. Steep the teabags in the hot milk for about 15 minutes. Then, use a teaspoon to press each teabags dry before discarding them.
Step 5: Beat the butter and shortening with your mixer on High speed until creamy and slightly lightened in colour. Sift in the icing sugar, cocoa, and salt. Add about 1 tbsp of the Earl Grey-infused milk and beat to combine. Keep adding the milk until the icing reaches a spreading consistency. Ice and decorate your cake.
As you can see, I didn’t bother to ice the sides of the cake. Using my palette knife, I just made a little swirly pinwheel pattern on the top. I also had some leftover icing from previous cakes, so I used those to pipe some flowers. (More frilly blobs than flowers though.)
I would describe this cake as simply “interesting.” The cake is still fluffy like a conventional layer cake, but the oatmeal creates a larger crumb that’s pleasantly chewy. (An unfortunate side effect is that the cake is pretty crumbly. Forget about clean, picture-perfect slices.) And the Earl Grey tea in the icing is not overwhelming; it seems to give the chocolate flavour more body.
This chocolate cake is familiar, but with some surprises thrown in just to keep things interesting. It’s probably the best way to live life as you enter your golden years. Happy birthday, Pa!