Rickety Uncle, Oat Snacking Cake, or British Flapjack

My daughter recently bought me a folding silicone cake pan. My new pan is a perfect eight-inch square and is reinforced with metal, so it won’t collapse on the way to the oven.  

I wanted to test this new pan, so I decided to compare several oat square recipes. My Rickety Uncle recipe dates back to the 1940s. In the 70s, we were raising our family in a small town. I often popped a pan of this treat into the oven when a friend or family member phoned, unexpectedly, to say they were coming for coffee. These days, I prefer the Oat Snacking Cake recipe, which has only 4 ingredients and calls for half as much sugar. Oat Snacking Cake stays together well and keeps fresh, in a tin, for several days. 

Here are some of the recipes in my collection; perhaps you have a favourite recipe for oat squares too. Maybe you should make a pan today. 

Rickety Uncle

Preheat oven to 350°

½ cup of butter, melted

2 cups of rolled quick oats, not instant

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Combine ingredients and mix well. Press firmly into a small pan which measures 8” by 8” by 2.”

Bake for 15 minutes. The square will be soft when removed from the oven. Mark into squares and leave to cool completely. Keep squares in a tin, if any remain. 

Oat Snacking Cake

Preheat oven to 350°

½ cup of butter, melted

1 cup rolled quick oats, not instant

1 cup large flake rolled oats

½ cup of brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon of vanilla

In a medium-sized glass bowl, melt butter in the microwave for 30 seconds on High. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Add oats to the butter mixture and press into an 8” square pan. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Alternately, this recipe, which is from the 80s, says to microwave the square at high power for 5 minutes. I use power 8 or medium-high in my 1200-watt microwave oven. When cooked in the microwave oven, the texture of this square seems crispier and more like candy. Remember to use a microwave-safe pan. 

Either way, let the square cool for 10 minutes but cut it while it is still warm. For your silicone pan, use a knife that won’t cut the surface. 

British Flapjack

Preheat oven to 350°F

½ cup of butter, melted

½ cup of golden brown sugar, packed

¼ cup of Rogers Golden Syrup (My British friends use Lyles Golden Syrup)

Pinch of salt

2 ½ cups of quick-cooking flaked oats, not instant 

In a small saucepan, whisk the butter, sugar, syrup, and salt over medium-high heat, until melted and smooth. Pour this caramel mixture over the oats and stir. 

Spread the oat mixture into a 9” square pan, lined with parchment paper. Press flat. This recipe is stickier so do remember the parchment paper. 

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into squares while still warm. 




Comments (4)

  • Liz Mourer November 3, 2022 at 09:39 pm

    I layer the bottom of the pan with sliced apples, top with Rickity Uncle and bake as directed. So good!

  • Marion Murawsky January 27, 2020 at 05:33 pm

    The rickety uncle is almost identical to my Auntie Margaret’s oatmeal squares. Everyone in our fam loves these. Grew up on them. Basically when they are made there are never leftovers for a second day lol.

  • Helen Davis January 27, 2020 at 04:52 pm

    First the simple numbers to add...took but a sec. ha! Though I don’t consider much a baker anymore, I do admire those that do. Always great to see your latest. Your professional treat eater? Priceless!

  • The Boy January 27, 2020 at 11:08 am

    As a professional treat eater I can vouch for all 3 recipes. I have to confess though I loved the British Flapjack the best. I grew up on Rogers Golden Syrup on toast. Could have been my English born Mother had an influence on me because the Rogers was always available in the cupboard. Apparently, the oats are good for you too! Who knew! I go for the flavor.....yummy!

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