Oatmeal Cake

Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cake is a classic cake that tastes like a spice cake and has the wonderful texture of oatmeal. The rich caramel frosting is packed full of nuts and coconut. This cake is not to be missed.

oatmeal cake with coconut pecan frosting on a cake stand and a slice on a plate.

The Unknown Origin of the Oat Cake Recipe

It’s hard to say if this recipe had its origin from the Scottish oatcake. Or if this cake came from trying to use up leftover oatmeal. No matter where this cake originated, you will find it is a complex cake that is a perfect dessert to serve with coffee or tea.

What Makes this Moist Oatmeal Cake so Good

In this oatmeal cake recipe, there are a few stand-out ingredients that make this cake one that begs to be made.

One of my favorites is the amount of brown sugar in the cake. Often times cakes use most if not all regular granulated sugar. Brown sugar, especially dark brown sugar, adds such a wonderful robust flavor and moisture to the oatmeal cake.

The real highlight of this cake this the frosting. The caramel coconut pecan frosting is rich and full of flavor. The nuts toast just a bit as the frosting cooks. Topping this slightly spiced cake with complex flavors is a real delight.

If you are trying to figure out what the frosting would taste like, it is similar to German chocolate cake frosting, which is also extremely delicious.

What is the difference between Old Fashioned Oats and Quick Oats for Baking?

Old fashioned oats are the whole oat that has been rolled, tend to be a little bit on the thicker side, and hold their shape a lot more when baked. They also take longer to cook.

Quick oats are chopped into pieces instead of a flattened oat. Plus, they are also rolled a lot thinner and steamed longer when made. Quick oats get their name because you can make them quickly! Since they have been processed more they will cook faster, but do not hold their shape as well as old-fashioned oats.

For cakes like this, quick oats are great because they will blend in more and are sure to be cooked through by the time the cake is done.

Read more about the different types of oatmeal.

Oatmeal Cake Recipe Ingredients

This recipe does not have that many different ingredients than you would use for a standard white cake, but it does have some variations. So take a look at the list and make sure you have everything to get started making this delicious oatmeal cake.

Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Quick-cooking oatmeal
  • Water
  • Cinnamon
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Brown sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vegetable oil
  • Evaporated milk
  • Butter
  • Vanilla
  • Chopped nuts, pecans recommended
  • Sweetened shredded coconut
oatmeal cake with coconut pecan frosting ingredients on a tray.

Should I use light or dark brown sugar?

For this recipe, you can use either light or dark brown sugar. I prefer to use dark brown sugar when making an oatmeal cake.

When you use dark brown sugar you get a deeper, more flavorful cake and frosting. So for this reason, I always use dark brown sugar if I have it.

If you only have light brown sugar you can use that as well. The flavor will not be as rich and strong as it could be. The cake will still taste great.

How to Make Oatmeal Cake

  1. Pour boiling water over oatmeal and let it stand while preparing the batter.
  2. Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Place brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and oil in a large bowl. Stir or whisk to thoroughly combine.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and oatmeal. Mix well.
oatmeal cake batter and a whisk in a mixing bowl.
  1. Pour the batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan, it’s also ok to use cooking spray if you spray it on in all of the cracks and crevaces.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Place brown sugar and condensed milk in a saucepan. Stir to combine.
  4. Add butter and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture boils and becomes thick.
oatmeal cake frosting caramel base in a pan.
  1. Remove the pan from the heat. Add vanilla, nuts, and coconut. Stir to combine.
  2. Pour the frosting over the cake while it is hot.
slice of oatmeal cake with coconut pecan frosting on a plate.

Recipe Variations

One of the nice things about this cake is that you can make it your own a bit. If you like more texture in your cake you can put some chopped pecans or walnuts in the cake, or even some shredded coconut.

Or if you aren’t a fan of coconut, you can leave it out of the frosting.

You can replace the evaporated milk with whole milk or half and half.

If you love almond flavor, you can either replace the vanilla extract with almond extract or use half vanilla and half almond extract.

To add more flavor to the cake, you could consider adding in a half teaspoon of nutmeg or cardamom to make it a spiced oatmeal cake.

Don’t have a bundt pan? You can use a 9-inch round cake pan.

Why is oat cake crumbly?

Cakes are very fragile and can be overworked. If you are mixing a cake for too long you can activate the gluten in the cake and turn it into a tougher, more crumbly cake.

The other reason could be that you did not use enough fat for the recipe or did not measure the dry ingredients properly.

When there is too much flour, there will not be enough fat to saturate the flour and hold it together well and keep it moist.

Can oatmeal cake be made ahead of time?

Yes, you most definitely can make this cake ahead of time. If you know you will be busy the day you need this cake, do not hesitate to make it a day or two in advance.

Freezing Oatmeal Cake

Since this is a moist cake, you are able to freeze it. Wrap it in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. You can store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just pull it out a day before you need it and let it thaw at room temperature.

How long will oatmeal cake last?

Since this is a moist cake, it will stay fresh for 5 to 7 days when you store it covered with plastic wrap in the fridge. It will last 2 to 3 days when stored covered at room temperature.

overhead view of oatmeal cake with coconut pecan frosting.

Love to bake cakes? Try these recipes!

Favorite Recipes with Oatmeal

Check out more of my easy cake recipes and the family favorite recipes here on CopyKat!

Before you try this old-fashioned oatmeal cake, please leave me a comment and let me know what is your favorite cake.

oatmeal cake with coconut pecan frosting on a cake stand and a slice on a plate.

Oatmeal Cake

I’ll let you decide if this oatmeal cake is dessert or breakfast!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cake Recipes, Oatmeal Cake, Oatmeal Recipes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 579kcal



  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Boiled Caramel Frosting

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 can coconut



  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan.
  • Pour the boiling water over the oatmeal and let it stand while preparing the batter.
  • Combine the brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and oil in a large mixing bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add these dry ingredients to the sugar, egg, and oil mixture.
  • Add the oatmeal and mix well.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

Boiled Caramel Frosting

  • Dissolve the brown sugar into the milk over medium-high heat.
  • Add the butter and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture boils and becomes thick.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Add vanilla, nuts, and coconut. Stir to combine.
  • Pour the frosting over the cake while it’s still hot.


You can use either quick-cooking oats or old-fashioned oats for this recipe. It makes no difference in this recipe. The old-fashioned oats will be thicker and give a more pronounced flavor.
You can use a 9-inch cake pan instead of a bundt pan.


Calories: 579kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 348mg | Potassium: 171mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 64g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 1.7mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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