By Request
Betty Shimabukuro

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

An oatcake made with Sandra Stenen's recipe, left, has a toastier golden tone than the Starbucks' low-fat oatcake.

Oatcake lovers want
to bake their own

The low-fat oatcake is the top-selling baked item at Starbucks' Oahu stores. It's also among the most deeply yearned-for recipes among readers of this column.

Don't get your hopes up; I don't have the recipe. The oatcake is made for Starbucks by Honolulu Baking Co. and the recipe is proprietary. There being no constitutional provision forcing Starbucks to give it up, you can all stop asking.

But I am not totally useless. I do have an alternative -- a quite delicious oatcake developed by Sandra Stenen while on a quest to duplicate Starbucks'. She gave them away as Christmas gifts and is now besieged by requests for more and for the recipe.

Stenen was quite happy to share.

But first, about that Starbucks oatcake.

Sherri Rigg, director of marketing for Starbucks in Hawaii, said the recipe was developed by Yuri Edwards of Honolulu Baking. All the other baked items on the menu are based on recipes from the national chain's mothership. The oatcake is an exclusive. It isn't even available on the neighbor islands, so oatcake lovers, lucky you live Oahu.

The oatcake is a 2-inch cube in a bizarre shade of dark gray. "It's not the most pretty of pastries," Rigg admits. But customers are quite faithful to it.

The cake has a nice, chewy texture and is not too sweet. As for what makes it that color, or what exactly is in it -- well, that's proprietary.

What Starbucks will share is the nutritional breakdown. One oatcake is considered two servings. You're supposed to share, or eat it in two sittings. If you eat the whole thing by yourself, you'll be consuming more than 500 calories.

The breakdown for half a cake: 258 calories, 3.3 grams fat, 4.5 grams fiber, 6 grams protein.

Now, onto an oatcake you can make.

Stenen, a massage therapist and co-owner of Serenity and Massage in Hawaii Kai, says she began her oatcake search in an online recipe chatroom. She asked about and received an oatcake recipe, then started experimenting.

Stenen wanted to come up with something to share for the holidays. "I was making Christmas gifts and I didn't like giving candies and chocolates because I think people go overboard with that stuff.

Her oatcake has the same satisfying chewiness of Starbucks'. It also has a lot more fruit and flavor.

You'll find this recipe takes a lot of ingredients, to make just eight oatcakes, if you make yours the same size as the Starbucks type. They're very dense.

Stenen makes big cakes -- at least 2 inches high, or to the rim of the baking pan.

I had better luck, though, spreading the batter thinner. The cakes cooked more evenly and I could cut them into bite-sized pieces for snacking.

Note that these are not fat-free, nor are they low-calorie. If you make yours Starbucks-sized and figure on two servings per cake, a serving weighs in at 440 calories, 13.5 grams fat.

They are delicious, though. And filling. You won't need to eat a whole cake. My suggestion: Cut small pieces.

Sandra's Oatcakes

4 cups rolled oats
2 cups flour
1 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup brown Sugar Twin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup honey
2 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup nuts
1-1/2 cups raisins
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 6-1/2-by-9-inch baking pan with foil and coat lightly with cooking spray (for thinner cakes, use a 9-1/2-by-13-inch pan).

Combine oats, flour, sugars, salt, cinnamon and wheat germ.

Combine oil, applesauce, honey, eggs and nuts in a blender. Blend until nuts are finely chopped. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in dried fruit. Spread in baking pan and press lightly to even top.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cool, then cut into 8 large pieces (Starbucks size) or 1-inch bars for snacking.

Approximate nutrient analysis per serving, based on 16 servings: 440 calories, 13.5 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 155 mg sodium, 75 g carbohydrate, 5.5 g fiber, 43.5 g sugar, 14.5 g protein.


Searching for
die-hard collectors

Are you -- or is someone you know -- a dedicated cookbook or recipe collector? We're looking for the person with the most extensive local collection.

We're sure there are lots of stories in what you've saved, why you've saved them and what you've learned to cook because of them.

Take a few moments to write a few words. It'll be worth your time.

What we want to know

» About how many cookbooks do you have, or how big is your collection of clippings? How are they organized?
» How long have you been collecting? What is the oldest item in your collection?
» Why do you save recipes?

How to enter: Write a couple of paragraphs on the topics above. You can enter on behalf of a friend or relative.

The prize: A gift certificate for a cooking class at Kapiolani Community College goes to the best entry. New cookbooks go to runners-up.

Where to enter: Send entries to "Recipe Fiend," Honolulu Star-Bulletin Features Section, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813. Fax 529-4750 or e-mail betty@starbulletin.com

Deadline: Jan. 31.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
"By Request," Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
500 Ala Moana, No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813.
Or send e-mail to bshimabukuro@starbulletin.com

E-mail to Features Desk


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