Great Finds…..

When I was younger my father always went to a convention each year. My mom would go with him and after the convention they would make a little vacation out of it. Every year it was in a different place. Every year I was left behind(you may now feel sorry for me :) ). Every year my mom would try to compensate by bringing me gifts(yes, I was spoiled…but if you knew me, you would spoil me too!). I would get random t-shirts and trinkets but two things remained the same: I would get a sweatshirt from the local university and a cookbook from the local Junior League. Oh how I looked forward to getting those cookbooks. Regional cooking is so very interesting to me. Sadly though they never went anywhere back east and neither have I as an adult. My father eventually stopped going to these conventions(retired) and so my yearly Junior League cookbook allotment stopped. Boo. I then made it my tradition to buy the Junior League cookbook of places I visited.
One time on the way to see my parents I was routed through Portland, Oregon. I had a 3 hour layover and so I wandered through the airport in search of a Cinnabon(can you blame me?). I went browsing through all of the shops and ended up in the Explore Oregon(or some stupid name like that) where it was all Oregon based items. I quickly asked if they had cookbooks and the woman pointed me over to the shelf. There was no Junior League cookbook, but there was one that caught my eye, Albertina’s. It was originally an orphanage named after Albertina Kerr, the wife of Alexander Kerr(you know they guy who makes the jelly jars). The orphanage shut down and it was turned into a historic building which then became a restaurant and catering establishment. This cookbook was one of my rare finds and is one of my go to books when I am hosting a luncheon or brunch. I will admit that I have never made a dessert from there and decided that should change.
I chose a simple Marvelous Oatmeal Cake figuring that I like Oatmeal Bread so why not cake? It was pretty humble sounding and so I sat around thinking what I would have to do to “jazz” up the cake when it came out of the oven. I let it cool and sampled a small corner edge to see what it tasted like. Then I sampled another piece, another, and so on until 1/3 of the cake was gone in a blink of an eye. Oh my. Good thing my New Year’s Resolution was not to lose weight. The cake really needs nothing more than itself. But since I had already sauted apples and broke open my jar of caramel I went ahead and added that. I must say, that was good too.

Marvelous Oatmeal Cake

1 cup quick oatmeal
1 ½ cups boiling water
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sifted flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup chopped walnuts

Serves 12

Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine oatmeal and boiling water. Let stand for 15-20 minutes.
Combine butter and sugars until light and creamy. Add eggs and continue beating. Stir in cooled oatmeal mixture. Sift together flour, baking soda and spices. Gradually add dry ingredients to batter. Mix well. Add vanilla. Fold in walnuts.
Pour into a greased and floured 9-x-13-inch pan. Bake 45-55 minutes or until cake tests done. Can be served warm or cool.

Apple Saute:
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
3 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP butter

In a saute pan, melt butter and add apples over medium heat. Let cook for 2 minutes and add brown sugar. Stir. Let sugar melt into the butter and stick to the apples. Set aside.

For the caramel sauce I used Fran’s Caramel Sauce(a local place). It’s great. If you want a caramel sauce though go here.

Source: Adpated from Albertina’s Exceptional Recipes


  1. That is pretty darn good looking. Please save me a piece for my morning coffee Peabody.

  2. Oh that looks wonderful! I love the sauteed apples on top.

  3. when my dad went to conventions, they were always made a vacation, just like the ones your mother and father had; except I DID tag along – and I still do, to this day, for my dad’s conventions!! :0D

    oooh, that cake is quite appropriately named – looks positively marvelous, indeed!

  4. Mmm, that looks good. I have a friend whose mom used to make her oatmeal spice cake for her birthdays and she says that, with a little lemon icing, just speaks ‘love’ to her. I’ve bookmarked the recipe for the next time she needs a little love from the kitchen!

  5. These are the types of cakes I love; comforting, simple, and absolutely delicious! :)

  6. Mmmmmm I want some! It looks and sounds divine, I love oaty things. I intend to make very very soon.

  7. This looks like a beautiful and tasty cake to go along with my coffee this morning!

  8. I should *not* make my foodie rounds before breakfast. ;)

    This looks wonderful!

  9. That sounds delicious, and the photos are mouthwatering. I’d love pretty much anything with apples and caramel on top.

  10. I am originally from Oregon. My mother made this cake and topped it with a walnut or pecan nut topping. It was one of the first hand written recipes she did for me, when I decided I wanted to start baking. It is very precious to me because of that- Mom died in 1997. Your cake recipe is the very same! (topping is made 1 cube butter, 1/4 cup evap. milk, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup chopped nuts. Melt in pan and pour over cake as soon as cake is done. Place under broiler about 2 mins. Watch it like a hawk because it will burn the min. you turn your back on it!)
    There was a Junior league book sent to me by my Mom in the 80’s with the best carrot cake. It has remained my favourite and is practically foolproof and it is the best. (From A taste of Oregon, Junior League of Eugene.1988 page 287. Mom’s Carrot Cake)

  11. As good as that cake was, is there anything that can’t be made better with caramel?

  12. I love the combination of apples, caramel, and cake. This cake looks delicious!

  13. Thank you for your great stories and wonderful looking recipes! Happy 2008! I look forward to see what recipes you will talk about and show next!

  14. That is a great idea – to buy a local cookbook wherever you go! I just have to ask – how many cookbooks do you own?? I had someone leave a comment on my blog who said she had over 600 cookbooks, and I’m amazed. But I bet you have more than that if you’ve been collecting them so long!

  15. The cake sounds great but adding the caramel and apple – the icing on the cake so to speak. I love it that you got cookbooks from all over the place. Your parents always sound really cool!

  16. Really simple but scrumptious sounding – oatmeal in cookies and flapjacks is fabulous so you’re right, why not in a cake?

  17. Ay caramba! For some reason the pic won’t display on my screen so I am suffering the ultimate torture … read the post and imagine how good it looks but unable to see it.


    I love oatmeal anything so I’m sure this is a winner!

  18. Yum! I’m especially excited for the apple saute recipe, because I have two huge apples from the farmer’s market and I need to figure out what to do with them!

  19. Those Junior League/Assistance League cookbooks are an interesting look into regional cuisines. I have picked them up from the places I’ve lived and visited. When I lived in Oregon, I bought one called Oregon Sampler from the Assistance League of Corvallis, which features recipes from inns around the state. The oatmeal cake sounds simple and delicious!

  20. I’d never have thought to put oatmeal in a cake.It sounds like an easy, yummy cake and the caramel sauce and apples make it company cake.
    I’ll keep my eyes peeled for Jr League cookbooks for you. :-)

  21. i love junior league cookbooks too! one of my all time favorites is actually from seattle, so perhaps you have it: i’ve had it for years and still love it.

    anyhow, this cake looks yummy!! oh, how i love fran’s – best dark chocolate truffles ever. you’re making me want to visit seattle!! i’ve been trying to move there for years :-)

  22. btw, i made your snickerdoodle muffins yesterday and they received rave reviews. sooooo good! especially with coffee.

  23. I’ll bet that smelled good too – I love stuff with oats.

  24. hmmm…oatmeal cake. i’ve never heard of that but i’m sure that if it tasted good w/o any modifications then it must taste great :)

    i LOVE cinnabon. i used to only treat myself to one whenever i was traveling and was in an airport that had one. now i’ve learned to work with yeast and can make them myself…that’s dangerous…very dangerous!

  25. My parents used to go to conferences and all I’d get was a lousy teddy bear. (I should put that on a t-shirt)

  26. That sounds so good! What a unique recipe.

  27. Sounds wonderful and the extra caramel sauce puts it over the top good! Thanks for reminding me about the penaut topped brownies from Dorie. Off to make that one!

  28. The cake sounds good, but it also sounds extremely dangerous…caramely oaty goodness? No wonder you got through 1/3 in the blink of an eye – had it been me, it would have at least been half!

  29. okay.. Question..

    I won’t ask for a refund.. :) … but…
    You really didnt make a typo?? There is 2 1/2 cups of sugar and only 1/2 cup of butter??? I could not get the butter and sugar to cream for anything.. It was even super soft butter.. then.. i thought all was happy and good..and the cake didnt rise AT ALL in the middle. (either that or it fell..)
    It was good.. but it tasted kinda carmelly.. like there was too much brown sugar.. anyway.. we all TOTALLY loved it. and once it was plated.. you couldnt tell that it was only an inch thick in the middle! I just wanted to double check that the recipe was really right..

    I love your blog. and always love your recipes..

    Oh.. one more thing.. what is the elevation you live at?? I’m wondering since I am at 4400 ft.. maybe I need to change the recipes a little..


  30. I am a sustaining member of the Junior League of Eugene, Oregon and we have two cookbooks; A Taste of Oregon (mentioned by Melinda above) and Cooking from the Coast to the Cascades, which I’m partial to, since I helped write it. Also, the Junior League of Portland has two cookbooks; From Raindrops to Roses and Portland’s Palate. The Junior League of Jackson County (Medford area) has Rogue River Rendezvous. I would be more than happy to provide you with copies of the Junior League of Eugene’s cookbooks or you can order them directly at and click on the “support us” link. Hope this helps your JL cookbook fix! Thanks.

  31. I am a huge fan of Junior League/Assistance League cookbooks. Some of my most loved recipes/dishes come from the Atlanta one I have. :)

  32. I can never resist a cookbook when I need to pass the time..what am I saying..I can never pass on a good cookbook anytime!!

  33. I have that one too Mary Sue. It is excellent! How nice to be able to tell someone who worked on it. Peabody should have that one for sure too!

  34. Where do you buy junior league cookbooks these days? I mean, if you’re just visiting a town and don’t really know a local. I guess local bookstores would be the place to check. I have the Boca Raton junior league cookbook, but I don’t really like it b/c it’s trying too hard to be like commercial cookbooks. Your collection must be incredible. Looks like a great recipe–love oats in anything.

  35. How on earth could I have missed this post- It looks and sounds so good, just the perfect mixture of heart oats and sugar… Both a dessert and a meal, right? ;)

  36. OH that looks SOOOO good! So warm and satisfying looking!

  37. Boy does that look scrumptious, it reminds me a little of Sticky Toffee Pudding.

  38. Hi!

    I’ve made the recipe and it’s in the oven as I type.
    I made it on a rectangular pan, only a little bigger than what you specified. It’s not growing much, but it looks delectable (and the smell….).

    I did find the sugar/butter proportion kind of strange but the texture of the final batter was okay.

    Congrats on this blog and thanks for the recipe.

    PS – Do you think an orange icing could work well here?

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