Back home in Labrador, one of the classic cookies we used to make (and still do) is Snowballs. Basically they’re no-bake chocolate oat balls, rolled in coconut. I didn’t have enough oatmeal to make them but I remembered I had saved a recipe for oatmeal chocolate cake and if I added coconut frosting it would be reminiscent of Snowball cookies. I found the recipe for the frosting from Cooking Light magazine and its fat free! You’ve got extra fibre from the oats, and margarine instead of butter which means less saturated fat, and voila – healthy(ish) cupcakes! They’re pretty good. If I didn’t make them I wouldn’t have noticed the oats. The icing tastes like coconut marshmallow fluff and it makes me think of summer. The method they use doesn’t sound like much fun to me so I modified it and used Martha Stewart’s method for making Swiss Meringue in the stand mixer, but without the butter. It worked perfectly.
Chocolate Oatmeal Cake
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup stick margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1. In a bowl, combine the water and oats. Sprinkle with chocolate chips (do not stir); let stand for 20 minutes. In a mixing bowl, cream margarine and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in oat mixture.
2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. To make cupcakes, bake in lined muffin tin for 18-22 minutes. Makes 24 cupcakes.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Dash of salt
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
Combine first 5 ingredients in top of a double boiler; place egg white mixture over barely simmering water in bottom of double boiler on cooktop. Beat at high speed of a hand-held mixer until stiff peaks form and candy thermometer registers 160°. Add extracts; beat until blended.
Martha’s method: Combine first 5 ingredients in bowl of stand mixer; place bowl over barely simmering water in bottom of double boiler on stovetop.Whisk mixture constantly by hand until warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes. Add extracts and beat until blended.