Last Thursday, with its gray and drizzly skies, was a great day to fill the house with the scent of warm spices. So I fired up the oven and set to perfecting the recipe for our oat-spice cake. Granted, a name like “oat spice” sounds about as humble as can be, and as far as the ingredient list, is as simple. But humility and simplicity are virtues—most certainly in this case. A perfect balance of butter, rolled oats, brown sugar and spice yields a moist and satisfying cake. Lest oatmeal and brown sugar sound a bit too much like breakfast, we top it with a coconut broiled icing, taking the whole thing into the realm of decadence. (If the broiled icing is a bit of bliss you haven’t yet encountered, know it’s more like a coconut macaroon than frosting. Delicious.)
This is one of my favorite desserts to bake and to share, in part because doing so always fills me with a bit of nostalgia. Before moving to Moscow, I lived in Canberra, Australia, where Sunday mornings involved a bike ride to the region’s sprawling farmers’ market. This was a place of hundreds of vendors and evermore shoppers. (If you think the line for Tonnemaker’s is long….). There was one stall in particular to always make a bee-line for, and that one belonged to “the cake lady,” Sam Walker, of Amore bakery. My friend and I never left without buying a few treats—cake slices, top-heavy muffins, chocolate-studded scones—to take home for a post-market spread of fruit, cake, and coffee to share with our families in one or the other’s backyard. Sam Walker makes many incredible desserts, and my favorites were always hearty and bursting with coconut. Though there was nothing exactly like our oat-spice cake on her menu, when I bake (and eat!) this cake, I’m reminded of those Sunday bikes rides, the market haul, and good times with friends.
As far as bakery ventures go, Molly and I are starting Goose House small, taking special orders anytime and, we hope, beginning a presence at local and regional markets in the coming months. You might one day find us in a brick and mortar abode, but in the meantime we envision something a little like Sam Walker’s spot of magic in Canberra’s farmers’ market, a place people will find something a bit beyond what they might make for themselves at home—whether it’s a chocolate caramel slice, a twist on the classic lemon bar, a square of this oat-spice cake, or one of our other offerings. We want you to find a treat to make an ordinary day something special, to share with friends, to savor.