Thor Cake

Thor Cake

Apparently oats were originally a weed found in wheat and barley crops that eventually became a crop on its own. The Greeks and Romans of classical times regarded oats as coarse and used them mostly as animal fodder. The Romans called it avena, and considered them only fit to feed barbarians.

Their neighbors, the Celtic and Germanic peoples, took an entirely different view and used oats extensively. In the northern and upland regions of Europe, oats are the only cereal which will ripen in the cold wet climate. Oats were first cultivated around 1000 B.C.E. in Central Europe. The first record of the cultivation of oats in England is a location called athyll (“on oat hill”) in Anglo Saxon records from 779 CE. There is a record of the bishop of Worcester’s oat lands mentioned in a boundary charter dated 984 CE. Ground oats mixed with milk, cream or water was a very common meal for working people. It was not until the fifteenth century that flour made from oats was first referred to as oatmeal.

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

3 cups all purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup golden syrup

3 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or lard

1 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon mace

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

3 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

Soak the oats in the milk in a small bowl for a half hour.

Whisk together the rest of the dry ingredients in a larger bowl. Stir the brown sugar and the egg together in another large bowl. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and stir in the molasses and golden syrup. Mix the butter/syrup mixture to the brown sugar mixture. Stir in the dry ingredients until just blended. Place in a greased 9 X 11 inch pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the cake starts to come away from the sides of the pan. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean and the cake should spring back when touched.

Alternatively you can roll the batter into small balls, roll them in oatmeal, and bake them on a cookie sheet until brown.

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