Recently, in a fit of nostalgia inspired by my own fifty-first birth anniversary, I made a batch of Oatrage for my sister-in-law’s birthday. Oh, come on. You remember this stuff. I know you do. From long ago, when the air was misty and the rocks were soft, from the distant days of Early Microwave Cookery? Well, for pity’s sake. Google it for yourself, then.
Anyway, it’s basically butter or margarine, a couple of eggs, half-cup of flour, cup and a half of oats, cuppa brown sugar, half bag or so of chocolate chips, chopped nuts. It’s cooked in the microwave for a grand total of eight minutes, then you sprinkle a cup of chocolate chips over the top, let them melt, then spread the chocolate goo over the cake.
Okay, back to the story. I wanted to make a batch for myself, in part to see if it really tasted the way I remembered it. But I lacked a couple of the crucial ingredients. Oats. Chocolate chips. Substitutions available?
Yes. Trust me, I can usually find something to sub for ingredients. Trouble is, it may or may not work out….
In this case, I had packets of instant oatmeal. Each packet contains about one-third cup, so, five packets should work, right? Two original, two apple and cinnamon, one cinnamon and spice. I left out the maple and brown sugar this time. And as luck (or some kitchen godlet with a great sense of humor) would have it, I had a bag of cinnamon-flavored baking chips.
Welcome to the laboratory, Egor. Hand me that spatula, won’t you?
I mixed the ingredients I had, in the appropriate (or nearly so!) amounts, and spread the resultant batter into the glass baking dish. The recipe is so old, it tells ya to turn the pan one-quarter turn after the first four minutes of cooking! For real! Clearly a pre-BIT (Built-In Turntable) relic! After laughing when I should’ve been turning the pan, I saw the recipe suggested an additional three to four minutes’ nuking time, “…until top of cake appears dry and bottom is an even color.”
Did that. Sprinkled the remaining cinnamon chips over the top, and waited for them to melt. Interesting hitch. The cinnamon chips refused to melt of their own volition. So, I popped the dish back into the microwave. Thirty seconds. Nope. Forty-five, nada. I decided I could cope with recalcitrantly-whole cinnamon chips rather than try to nosh an overcooked cake. Now, to let it cool long enough to try a slice….
Logic suggested it wouldn’t taste the same. After all, I’d changed the ingredients, uh, slightly, yes, let’s call it “slightly”, shall we?
Finally! I cut a small piece. The cinnamon chips fell off the top as I lifted the fork to my mouth. Ah, well. The cake itself tasted pretty good, if somewhat dry, which was probably due in equal measure to a slightly higher amount of oats than called for, and my attempts to melt the chips on top. I think a dollop of ice cream would rectify the dryness quite nicely. I liked the cinnamon zing, and the bits of apple. Seemed to me a more grown-up snack cake than the chocolate chip version of my memory.
All in all, a success!