Oatmeal Cake

This simple, unique, and tasty oatmeal cake takes advantage of the flavor and structure of quick-cooking oats. Topped with a decadent frosting, it’ll fast become a home baking favorite.

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

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Why an oatmeal cake is an old-fashioned cake recipe you must try 

There are plenty of high-end, sophisticated baked goods out there. But when you want something tasty and comforting, it’s best to look to those reliable, time-tested recipes that have been filling stomachs for generations. Oatmeal cake is doubtlessly among them. Whether you’re looking to recreate a relative’s old favorite or looking to try something simple and delicious, this oatmeal cake is a top choice.  

Why this is the best recipe for oatmeal cake

This humble recipe dates back to an era when many cooks didn’t have money to spare on fancy ingredients. Today, it remains among the more affordable cakes out there. It also relies on only the most basic techniques, making it accessible even to beginners. 

The ingredients are also almost entirely non-perishable, meaning it’s easy to keep them socked away in the pantry if you need a last-minute dessert. All you’ll need to supplement them is a few eggs and some butter. Even the dairy comes from shelf-stable evaporated milk!  

Oatmeal cake ingredients

Experienced bakers will recognize many of the same ingredients as a typical white cake among the list for oatmeal cake, with a few key additions and variations:

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

How to make oatmeal cake

There’s nothing complicated about whipping up a delicious oatmeal cake. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Boil water and pour it over the oatmeal in a medium bowl. Allow this to sit while you prepare the rest of the batter.
  2. Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Whisk brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and oil in a large bowl until combined. 
  4. Add the dry ingredients and soaked oatmeal to the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. 
oatmeal cake batter and a whisk in a mixing bowl.
  1. Pour the batter into a buttered and floured Bundt pan. Cooking spray is also okay, as long as you spray it in all of the cracks and crevices.
  2. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 40 minutes. 

Meanwhile, make the topping. 

  1. Add brown sugar and condensed milk to a saucepan. Stir to combine.
  2. Add butter and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture boils and thickens.
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 this topping over the cake while still hot.
slice of oatmeal cake with coconut pecan frosting on a plate.

Recipe variations   

One of the best parts of oatmeal cake is that it can be adjusted to the cook’s preferences and available ingredients. For example, it’s easy to swap out the pecans for other nuts like walnuts or leave out (or add more) shredded coconut. 

Other easy variations include replacing the evaporated milk with half-and-half or whole milk or using almond extract instead of vanilla for flavoring. You can also add a half-teaspoon of nutmeg or cardamom to create a unique spiced oatmeal cake. 

You can even swap out the pan, using a traditional 9-inch round cake pan if a Bundt isn’t available. 

What to serve with oatmeal cake

Oatmeal cake is a wonderfully versatile dessert or snack. For an indulgent treat, add a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. On the opposite end of the spectrum, fresh fruit like apples or berries can provide a healthy boost to your cake.

And when it comes to drinks, there are plenty of options, too. A steaming mug of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa pairs perfectly, as does an ice-cold glass of milk. 

How to store

For the longest lifespan, keep your oatmeal cake in the fridge covered in plastic wrap for five to seven days. Covered at room temperature, the cake will last for two to three days. 

Freezing oatmeal cake

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

How to reheat

Oatmeal cake is satisfying cold or at room temperature but can be especially tasty when heated up again. Place it in an oven at 300°F for a few minutes until warmed through. In a pinch, a few short bursts in the microwave will also work.

oatmeal cake slice on a plate and the cake on a cake stand.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

Quick oats are chopped into pieces instead of flattened. They’re also rolled a lot thinner and steamed longer when made. 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.

Should I use light or dark brown sugar?

You can use either light or dark brown sugar for this recipe. I prefer to use dark brown sugar when making an oatmeal cake. Dark brown sugar creates a deeper, more flavorful cake and frosting. 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, but the cake will still taste great.

Why is oat cake crumbly?

Cakes are very fragile and can be overworked. Mixing a cake for too long can activate the gluten 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 it, making it tougher to hold it together and keep it moist.

Can oatmeal cake be made ahead of time?

Absolutely! If you’ll be busy on the day you need the cake, it’s OK to make it a day or two in advance. 

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 5 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
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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