Friday, March 11, 2011

Oatmeal Cake

My mom sent me an e-mail wondering how to substitute alternative sweeteners for white sugar.  Thanks for the question mom!  It's a good one.  I'll focus today on agave.  Quoting from Ania Catalano: "When adapting a recipe to use agave nectar, reduce the other liquids by one-third.  When replacing table sugar, plan on using about 25% less agave nectar to achieve the same level of sweetness; for example, use 3/4 cup of agave nectar for every cup of sugar.  Also, baked goods with agave nectar brown more quickly, so reduce oven temperatures by 25 degrees to avoid burning."

Today's recipe is a great example of substituting healthy ingredients (including agave) for not so healthy ones.  I took 3 different recipes I had for this oatmeal cake, made some substitutions of my own, and came up with this version which is low in fat, white sugar free, and every bit as delicious as the original!  Seriously, give it a try.  You will not be disappointed.

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp boiling water
1/2 cup oatmeal (I've used both quick cooking and regular oats and they both work)
1/4 cup applesauce
1/8 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup agave
1 egg white (I buy All Whites liquid egg whites that come in a carton.  3 Tbsp equals one egg white)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour boiling water over oatmeal.  Cover and let stand for 20 minutes.  Add applesauce, buttermilk, agave, egg white, and vanilla.
Whisk dry ingredients together then mix with the wet ingredients (you can do this by hand).  Pour into a greased 8 inch square pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Put 1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup amber agave, 3 Tbsp light or regular butter, and 2 Tbsp evaporated skim milk in a small saucepan.  In a small bowl, combine 2 tsp cornstarch with 1 Tbsp evaporated skim milk.  Add this to the saucepan as well.  Bring this to a boil, then cook 1 more minute.  Stir in 3/4 cup flaked coconut (unsweetened is best) and 1/3 cup chopped and toasted pecans.  When the cake comes out of the oven, pour the frosting on top and smooth out with a knife.

The reason I use amber agave in the frosting is to give it a darker color (like brown sugar would).  If you don't have the amber on hand though, just use light agave.
The pecans in the frosting are optional.  I don't usually put them in, but most people love them.
This cake is delicious both warm and cold. 


  1. yum!! I am glad to know more info on agave vs. sugar proportions. Thanks!

  2. I made this for a class project and it was absolutely delicious! Great recipe, great recipe.