Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cake
Published Feb 06, 2022, Updated Jul 24, 2023
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This traditional old-fashioned oatmeal cake is made with rolled oats, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, butter and has a delicious crunchy coconut pecan topping. It’s moist, rich and perfect for special occasions. Can easily be made gluten-free.
I am so excited about this recipe because it involves one of my favorite ingredients (oatmeal) in a brand new way… oatmeal cake! This cake is the real deal, traditional version of old-fashioned oatmeal cake just like grandma would make. I figured why mess with a good thing? Plus, it’s crazy delicious and can easily be made gluten-free.
Old-fashioned oatmeal cake is similar to a coffee cake or quick bread and it’s topped with a delicious coconut pecan topping. It’s sweet and crunchy and so tasty!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Oatmeal + cake?! It doesn’t get much better. This hearty cake is made with a base of oats, but is turned into a cake.
- This decadent cake is fancy enough for special occasions like Easter or Mother’s Day, but also easy enough to make on just any ol’ Tuesday.
- Can easily be made gluten-free by making sure you’re using gluten-free oats and all-purpose gluten-free flour.
- old-fashioned rolled oats – the star of the show! I love Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free rolled oats.
- water – you’ll let the oats sit in boiling water for a few minutes to soften before mixing with the rest of the ingredients.
- eggs – helps bind the cake together. I haven’t tried swapping for a flaxseed egg but I bet that would work!
- butter – traditional butter or vegan butter works in this recipe!
- cane sugar – I opted for organic cane sugar for the main sweetener in this cake.
- organic brown sugar – you can swap for coconut sugar if you’d like. This will be mixed into the cake and used in the topping.
- vanilla extract – a flavor enhancer.
- all-purpose flour – all-purpose gluten-free flour works as well. My go-to for a gluten-free blend is Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1:1 baking flour.
- baking soda and baking powder – helps the cake rise.
- sea salt – brings all of the flavors together.
- cinnamon and nutmeg – the perfect spice pairing.
- shredded coconut – I usually opt for unsweetened, but for this recipe I recommend sweetened shredded coconut! It adds a delicious crispy and sweet topping for this cake and helps the topping stick to the cake.
- pecans – part of the coconut topping. You could swap for a different nut like walnuts or almonds, but I love the slightly sweet crunch pecans add.
- coconut milk – I recommend full-fat coconut milk in a can to make this topping super decadent!
How to Make Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cake
Soak oats – You’ll start by letting the oats soak in boiling water for a bit! In a small mixing bowl, mix the oats and boiling water and let stand for 20 minutes.
Whisk wet ingredients – Use an electric mixer or stand mixer to beat the cane sugar, brown sugar and butter on medium speed until combined and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Fold in the oatmeal mixture.
Mix dry ingredients – In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and ground nutmeg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Bake – Grease a 9×13 baking pan and carefully pour the batter into the pan. Bake at 350ºF for 45-50 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to let cool.
Make topping – While the cake is cooling, prepare the coconut pecan topping. Combine the melted butter, brown sugar, pecans, shredded coconut and milk in a small mixing bowl. Spread the topping over the cake and place the cake back in the oven set to broil for 2-3 minutes. Make sure you watch carefully so the topping doesn’t burn! It’s done when the topping is bubbly and the coconut is golden brown. Let cool for 30-60 minutes before serving.
pro tip! Make sure to watch the topping closely as it broils! The coconut will burn quickly!
Oatmeal Cake FAQs
Totally! Just bake the cake as directed, let it cool completely, cover and store at room temperature for 1-2 days before serving.
I haven’t tested a vegan version of this cake, but I bet it would turn out with flax eggs and vegan butter. If you try a vegan version, let me know how it turns out in the comments below!
Yes! This cake can easily be made gluten-free by swapping the all-purpose flour for a gluten-free all-purpose blend. I don’t recommend using almond flour, oat flour or another type of gluten-free flour as I haven’t tested it and it’ll likely change the texture of this cake.
You can easily skip the nuts in the topping and swap them for more coconut!
How to Store Leftovers
Cover the cake and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. Store in the refrigerator for 5-7 days or freeze in a freezer-safe, airtight container for up to 3 months. You can eat at room temperature or reheat in the microwave, oven or toaster oven!
More Cake Recipes to Try
- Healthy Birthday Cake
- Grandma Miller’s Pound Cake
- Vegan Coffee Cake
- Healthy Smash Cake
- 3 Ingredient Icebox Cake
- Healthy Carrot Cake Bars
- Healthy Vanilla Cupcakes
- Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal
- Birthday Cake Baked Oatmeal
- Easy Berry Cake
- Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes
- Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Pumpkin Coffee Cake
- Apple Cake
- Oatmeal Carrot Cake
- Sweet Potato Cupcakes
Be sure to check out all the dessert recipes on EBF!
Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cake
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 ¼ cups boiling water
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1 cup organic brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, all-purpose gluten-free flour works as well
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Coconut Pecan Topping
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons canned coconut milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 baking pan.
- In a small mixing bowl add oats and boiling water. Let stand for 20 minutes.
- Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat sugar, brown sugar and butter on medium speed until combined and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Fold in oatmeal.
- Combine dry ingredients in another bowl. Flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and ground nutmeg. Add wet to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Pour batter into prepared baking dish.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool while preparing the topping — combine melted butter, brown sugar, pecans, coconut, milk in a small mixing bowl.
- Spread topping over the cake and place the cake back in the oven on broil for 2-3 minutes or until the topping is bubbly and the coconut is golden brown. Watch carefully so your coconut doesn’t burn!
- Cool on a wire rack for about 30-60 minutes before serving.
- Vegan: I haven’t tested a vegan version of this cake, but I bet it would turn out with flax eggs and vegan butter. If you try a vegan version, let me know how it turns out in the comments below!
- Pecans: Feel free to swap the pecans with another nut or skip them if you have a nut allergy.
- Coconut milk: I recommend using coconut milk as it adds a creamy texture but any milk should work here.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.