Oatmeal Cake

Oatmeal Cake Recipe

This kind of hearty oatmeal cake has been around for decades, long before any discussion of the nutritional benefits of oats. Its nubbly texture is a pleasure, and since oatmeal shows up mostly at breakfast, you’re allowed to take along a piece of oatmeal cake on a busy morning when you need something good to go. The popular modern version of this classic cake is baked in a 13-by-9-inch pan and frosted with a pecan-coconut frosting, using coconut toasted in the oven to make it fragrant and crunchy. I still love it as an everyday layer cake, frosted on top and between layers with a simple buttery white icing studded with coconut and pecans, its sides left plain to show off its handsome hue.–Nancie McDermott

LC Got Breakfast Cake? Note

We can think of no better accompaniment to this oatmeal cake than a tall drink of cold white stuff—whether cow’s milk or almond milk or yak milk or whatever milk you fancy. Even better, got breakfast cake? Cuz make no mistake, that’s exactly what this is.

Oatmeal Cake Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 50 M
  • 1 H, 50 M
  • Serves 8 to 10


  • For the oatmeal cake
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal (not quick-cooking)
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) butter, cut into 6 chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten well
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the boiled frosting
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) butter
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted if desired
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut


  • Make the oatmeal cake
  • 1. In a medium bowl, combine the oatmeal, butter, and boiling water, and stir to mix them together a bit. Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • 2. Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and generously grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans or one 13-by-9-inch pan.
  • 3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg, and stir with a fork to mix everything well. In a large bowl, combine the granulated and brown sugars, eggs, and vanilla and beat with a mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until thick and light colored, stopping to scrape down the bowl when neccessary.
  • 4. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture in 2 batches, beating just long enough to make the flour disappear after each addition. Mix in the oatmeal, stirring and folding to combine everything into a nubbly but well-mixed batter.
  • 5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cake is golden brown, springs back when touched lightly in the center, and begins pulling away from the sides of the pans.
  • 6. Cool the cake in the pan(s) on wire racks or folded kitchen towels for 10 minutes. If using a couple round cake pans, carefully turn the cakes onto wire racks, turn them over again so they are top side up, and let cool completely. If using a rectangular pan, let the cake cool completely in the pan.
  • Make the boiled frosting
  • 7. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, evaporated milk, and sugar, and place the pan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring now and then. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla, pecans, and coconut. Beat well with a wooden spoon, a whisk, or a mixer on low speed until you have a thick, cool frosting.
  • Assemble the cake
  • 8. If frosting a couple round cakes, place one of the cakes on a cake stand or plate and spread half the frosting on top. Carefully place the second cake on top of the first and spread the remaining frosting on top. Slice into wedges and serve. If frosting a single rectangular cake, leave the cake in the pan and spread the frosting over the top. Slice it into squares and serve it straight from the pan.
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