At the risk of sounding quaint, this is one of those recipes that gets handed down from generation to generation. Some may call it old-fashioned – we prefer to call it timeless.
The first time we had this cake, it was brought to the Oats Everyday kitchen by one of our staffers who was celebrating a birthday. Her mom had done what mothers everywhere do for their kids no matter how grown-up they are – baked her a birthday cake. The cake was a huge hit, and had us all asking for one for our birthdays.
With its moist, tender crumb (thanks to the oats) and an addictively crunchy coconut topping, it’s easy to see why no one could stay out of this amazing cake. Plus, the fact that it’s called Oatmeal Cake let us justify having it for breakfast.
At the end of the day, when our co-worker was packing up the cake pan, without even a single crumb left on it, we begged and pleaded her to get the recipe from her mom. Extra vacation days and prime parking spots were offered up, but, in the end, no bribery was needed. Her mom graciously gifted us the recipe, which of course we had to try out immediately.
We discovered the cake itself goes together quickly. The first step is to combine quick oats with boiling water, and let it stand for 20 minutes. You can use this time to mix the other ingredients, and add the oats last. After 20 minutes, the oats will have absorbed the water, so it’s like adding a bowl of oatmeal to your cake batter.
Oats retain this water during baking, making the cake perfectly moist. The oats also help lend a bit of substance to this deliciously soft and decadent dessert, not so much that it becomes dense, but just enough so you can enjoy the texture. The pairing of nutty oats with cinnamon creates an aromatic and irresistible taste.
The broiled coconut topping takes the place of a separate frosting. If you’re not coco for coconut, you can replace it with an equal amount of sliced almonds or pecans. No frosting also means that the cake travels well, so keep this recipe in mind for when you’re asked to bring dessert to a party or a picnic. It’s also an awesome cake for bake sales – it can be baked in a big foil pan, several smaller pans or even as cupcakes.
And be sure to bookmark this page. Whenever we serve this cake, inevitably someone will say, “Can I get the recipe?”
For the cake
- 1 cup quick oats (250 ml)
- 1 1/2 cup boiling water (375 ml)
- 1/2 cup butter (125 ml)
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed (250 ml)
- 1 cup white sugar (250 ml)
- 1 tsp vanilla (5 ml)
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups flour (375 ml)
- 1 tsp baking powder (5 ml)
- 1 tsp baking soda (5 ml)
- 1 tsp cinnamon (5 ml)
- 1 tsp salt (5 ml)
For the topping
- 6 Tbsp butter, melted (90 ml)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (125 ml)
- 1 tsp vanilla (5 ml)
- 1/4 cup milk (60 ml)
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut (250 ml)
Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Lightly grease a 9" x 13” baking pan.
- In a small bowl, combine oats and boiling water. Let stand for 20 minutes.
- In a large bowl, cream 1/2 cup butter, brown and white sugar. Beat in vanilla and eggs until light and fluffy.
- Fold in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Fold in oat mixture.
- Spread batter evenly in pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove cake from oven and turn on broiler
- For Topping – in a small bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and milk, stir in coconut. Spread topping over still-warm cake.
- Broil, approx. 6” from top element, for 1-2 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.
- Allow cake to cool 30-60 minutes before serving.