This old-fashioned snack cake recipe features chewy coconut, crunchy toasted pecans, and caramel-like flavor. Do not use old-fashioned or instant oats for this recipe. It’s best to use a metal baking dish; glass pans are not recommended when broiling.
1 cup (3 ounces) quick-cooking oats
¾ cup water, room temperature
¾ cup (3 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
½ cup packed (3 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup packed (1 3/4 ounces) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons milk
¾ cup sweetened shredded coconut
½ cup (2 1/2 ounces) pecans, chopped
FOR THE CAKE:
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut two 16-inch lengths aluminum foil and fold both lengthwise to 5-inch widths. Spray 8- by 8-inch metal baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Following illustration 1 below, fit foil pieces into baking dish, one overlapping the other, pushing them into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Spray foil lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine oats and water in medium bowl and let sit until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. In another medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.
3. In bowl of standing mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until combined and mixture has consistency of damp sand, 2 to 4 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula halfway through mixing. Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Add flour mixture in 2 additions and mix until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add soaked oats and mix until combined, about 15 seconds.
4. Give batter final stir with rubber spatula to make sure thoroughly combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan and lightly tap against counter 3 or 4 times to dislodge any large air bubbles; smooth surface with spatula. Bake cake until toothpick inserted into center comes out with few crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Let cake cool slightly in pan, at least 10 minutes.
FOR THE BROILED ICING:
1. While cake cools, adjust oven rack about 9 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. In medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, melted butter, and milk together; stir in coconut and pecans. Spread mixture evenly over warm cake. Broil until topping is bubbling and golden, 3 to 6 minutes.
2. Let cake cool in pan 1 hour. Transfer cake to serving platter, then discard foil. Cut cake into squares and serve.