My Grandma’s Oatmeal Cake is an old-fashioned cake made with rolled oats and a delicious coconut almond topping. As they say, “an oldie, but a goodie”!
This recipe comes straight from my grandmother’s recipe box, and it’s been one of our family’s favorites for decades! Other recipes I love that came from my grandmother include: Baked Rice Pudding, Fresh Apple Cake, and Peach Cobbler.
Grandma’s Oatmeal Cake
I have so much love for this delicious cake! It’s in a league of it’s own as far as taste–it’s uniquely delicious, and most people haven’t tried it before and go crazy for it! I think the best part is the coconut/almond topping that gets broiled at the end. It adds a sweet crunch that pairs so well with the extra moist oatmeal cake.
How to make perfect oatmeal cake:
- Add oatmeal and butter to a bowl and pour boiling water on top. Set aside.
- Combine wet ingredients. In a mixing bowl combine the eggs, brown sugar, and white sugar and beat well.
- Combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. Add to the bowl with wet sugar mixture and stir to combine.
- Add oatmeal mixture and stir to combine.
- Bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Make the coconut frosting. While the cake is baking, make the topping by combining all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Broil. Remove the cake from the oven and turn the oven to high broil. Spread the topping evenly over the warm cake and place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until the coconut is golden brown.
Making Oatmeal Cake Ahead of Time:
This cake can definitely be made in advance. In fact, it tastes just as good if not better made one day ahead of time. Allow it to cool to room temperature and store it on the counter tightly, covered in tinfoil.
TWO Things that set this recipe apart from the others:
- No quick-cooking oats. You’ll notice many recipes call for quick oats. I think true old-fashioned oatmeal cake deserves old-fashioned rolled oats. Plus the texture and flavor are better with rolled oats.
- Coconut Almond topping. I love the flavor and crunch of the chopped almonds in the topping. You could also use walnuts (walnuts were used more often in my Grandma’s day), but I like the almonds better for this cake.
CONSIDER TRYING THESE POPULAR “OLD-FASHIONED” DESSERTS:
- Peach Cobbler
- Apple Crisp
- Banana Cream Pie
- Baked Apples
- Raspberry Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce
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Grandma's Oatmeal Cake
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the topping
- 6 Tablespoons butter , room temperature
- 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup nuts
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13'' pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Add the oatmeal and butter to a bowl and pour boiling water on top. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl combine the eggs, brown sugar, and white sugar and mix well.
- In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.
- Add to the bowl with eggs and sugars and stir to combine.
- Add the oatmeal mixture and stir to combine.
- Bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking, make the topping by combining all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Remove the cake from the oven and turn the oven to high broil.
- Spread the topping evenly over the warm cake and place under the broiler for 2-4 minutes or until the coconut is golden brown.
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Have you tried this recipe?!
RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.
I originally shared this recipe July 2015. Updated August 2019.
This has to be one of the best oatmeal cakes I’ve ever tasted! I did add some raisins I soaked in a spiced rum (1 cup), but that’s the only thing I changed. I took this cake to a birthday dinner, and people came back for seconds. I was told over and over how much they really loved this cake. Thank you for an awesome recipe!
Love this recipe. Tried it last night with a little twist. I added a bit of dates to replace the sugar and it was really good. Thank you!
Moist and delicious.
This recipe gas also been in our family for many years.I am almost 70 and always asked my Mom to make this cake for my birthdays. After she was gone, I baked it for myself. The only thing different is that I put it in an 8×8 square pan to bake. I am making it for my granddaughter today as she has been working hard. You can’t go wrong with this cake.
Just made this. Never heard of it before. Easy instructions. Delicious!!!! This is a keeper!
Soooo many compliments. Interesting cuz young adults had never tried it let alone even heard of it. It was so good and got to spend the afternoon thinking about my mom and her mom when they used to make it! My daughter just texted asking g for the recipe.
Delicious as was my mom’s but had to bake longer than called for. Thank
I’ve made this cake twice. The 1st time I made it I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out very well, the 2nd time I altered the recipe slightly. I added 1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp of nutmeg and 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice. So good!! My husband loves this cake! ( both versions)
Just made this with a few changes. Used diabetic sugar, but only had real brown sugar. Added a dash of pepper to enhance the cinnamon. Baked as cupcakes in my air fryer 12-15 minutes. Did not add the frosting. They don’t need it!
You can add a dash of cinnamon to dishes like chili to enhance the pepper flavor, too.
This is the exact same recipe my grandma used to make her home made oatmeal cake! She used to make it for my cousins and I whenever we’d spend the night at her house. Because I loved it so much growing up, she gave me this wonderful recipe (along with several others I’d enjoyed in my youth – as she was a fantastic cook) as a wedding present nearly 50 years ago. I was pleasantly surprised to find your recipe on this site and thought I’d make it for old time’s sake. It didn’t disappoint! Still moist and delicious. My grand kids enjoyed every bite I served them and asked for more.
Moist, delicious, and easy. Great!
Love this cake! As a kid we had “Mush” for breakfast. My mom would use the extra oatmeal mush for this recipe ❤️
Hi, this looks delicious! can this recipe be cut in half and baked in an 8 x 8 pan?
Yes, that would be fine!
Yes, my recipe calls for an 8×8 pan.
I’ve requested this as my birthday cake since I was a little girl. My grandchildren now enjoy it with me every year. The only change I make is to use a little more coconut. And I prefer pecans.
Cake is in the oven baking.
I only have quick oats on hand currently. Is there anything I should change to make sure so it maintains consistency?
This cake was easy to make and delicious! My family loved it! Thanks for another great recipe. 🙂
Do you think I could leave out the nuts? Or is there something else you’d recommend in their place? My son is allergic to all nuts but peanuts. Thank you!
Yes, you can leave them out. Enjoy!
Recipe was excellent. It’s a snowy cold day here and this was on point to warm us up for an evening snack. It was 10 out of 10 perfect. I’m sure almonds would be wonderful but I’d love pecans so I use them. And I did not have evaporated milk on hand but I did have coconut milk on hand so I just replaced that I’m probably added just a couple of more tablespoons actually. But nonetheless either way I’m sure the recipe is as perfect as what I ended up with. I will be making this forever. Thank you for sharing.
I love this recipe. It was so easy. I didn’t have baking soda so I substituted 3 teaspoons of baking powder and it came out delicious . Thank you for sharing it.
This was so easy to make. And smells Devine! I’m taking it to a family dinner tomorrow and can’t wait to try it and get their reaction! Smells just like autumn has arrived!
Hi, do you think I can sub evaporated milk with something else? Am dairy intolerant and would really love trying this out!
Sure, a dairy free milk should be fine!
Are use coconut milk and it was wonderful.
This was my Mom’s go to cake for camping! Because it tasted as good the first day as the last. Now that she is gone I make it for special events when my sibs get together! Our favorite!
The recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but no baking powder? Isn’t it too heavy?
It’s not heavy. It’s quite similar consistency to most cakes.
This was delicious! I’m trying to use up some oats in our food storage, so this was great. We ate it warm with some vanilla ice cream. Thank you!
This is very much like the oatmeal cake my grandmother made.
I am really pleased to have found such a similar recipe!
Had it halfway put together and realised no coconut, just added more almonds to the topping! Turned out fantastic!
I have been making this cake since I was 10 I am now 71. Great cakes last a lifetime
Baking right now
Can not wait for this cake
this is sooooo delicious!!!Kelly Isfeld
Can i skip the eggs and replace them with something else?
I need make eggless cake
That should be fine-Here’s a resource with some ideas for egg substitutes in baking. I’d go with the flaxseed and water substitution. https://www.thekitchn.com/5-vegan-substitutes-for-eggs-in-baking-tips-from-the-kitchn-136591
This cake is also great with 1 cup of grated carrot added as a final ingredient.
Great idea! I’ll have to try that.
Very delicious!!!! I followed the recipe as is, no revisions or substitutions, and it was so easy and decadent. The broiled topping is what *makes* oatmeal cake.
Can I substitute evaporated milk with cream or regular milk… I don’t get evaporated milk easily here
Yes, cream would work best! Enjoy!
Can I add frozen blueberries
Sure, that would be fine!
This recipe came together so easy. Everything stirs together without a mixer. And it tastes divine. Thank you. I did use a 9×9 pan at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. (I don’t have a 0x13 here) it was fine.
Love this cake!!!! I have been making this cake for years and is one of my family’s favorite. Thanks for the suggestion of almonds. I always use pecans or walnuts but will definitely try the almonds. Thanks. I am soooo happy that I found your sight!!
So excited to make this for my dad for Father’s Day this weekend! Question: The recipe says 9×13 pan, however the photo shows a smaller square pan. Please confirm size of pan. Thank you!
Yes, bake in a 9×13 pan. Enjoy!
I am “grandma.” I made this cake monthly (between church potlucks, family dinners, gifts for friends). It was a family favorite for sure. Yes, it keeps well. It seems to become more moist with each passing day, but that’s just fine. Adds to the flavor. Note how easy this is to make. BTW, when I was Suzie Homemaker, we didn’t worry about whether or not our butter was salted or unsalted. In fact, I think I used Crisco if I didn’t have butter. No matter what, it’s a winner. Now I might use a tad less sugar, but I do that for many recipes these days.
Thanks so much for the great feedback!
I’m interested in making this for our Christmas celebration. Would it be possible to make mini cakes or cupcakes instead of one large cake (May family is really into individual sized desserts).
Also, how far in advance can this be made and does it freeze well? Thanks!
I haven’t tried them in cupcakes but I think it should work fine. Definitely shorten the bake time (about 15 minutes).
Making the cake 1-2 days in advance should be fine. I also think it would freeze ok. I haven’t tried it but I think it will work. The nuts may get a little soft.
So glad to find this recipe!! I have made this cake for years and lost my recipe during a move?. My Mom requested this cake for her birthday. It’s always one of our favorites. If you have a mailing list, please add me to it. Thanks again!!! Jennifer
Can you sub oil for the butter in the me part?
I haven’t tried it to say for sure, but I wouldn’t suggest it for this recipe…sorry!
JI tweak it a bit, the recipe is awesome!
My husband’s favorite cake of all time!
Great recipe! It is very moist and actually is better the second day!
Hi. I wanted to check with you whether you used salted or unsalted butter.
This recipe has salt in it, so it is for unsalted butter. If you want to use salted butter, just reduce the salt by about 1/4 tsp.
Hi I just made this cake for a neighbor. I’ve made it before & I really love it, hope she does too.
My favorite cake for many years! I am going to try making it chocolate. I may just add an amount of coco I think is enough. Wondered what you might do? It going to be a German chocolate cake for father’s day, husband’s request!
I’m so happy you liked it! Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend making this cake chocolate–I don’t think the flavors would blend together very well. I do have an amazing German Chocolate Cake recipe you may like to try instead. It’s a tried and true family favorite: https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/german-chocolate-cake/
This popped up on my iPad and I had everything to make it! I’m in love, so moist! My hubby doesn’t do nuts so we used bacon bits on a part of it, I used pecans on the rest. So very good, thanks!
Does it have to be quick oats or can it be regular oats ?
Hi Diane, you want to use regular oats here.
This looks awesome! I would need to use gluten free flour and sub in a lactose free evaporated milk recipe. Think I would also need xanthum as well? Anybody?
Can molasses be substituted to granulated sugar?
I haven’t tried it to say for sure–it will definitely change the taste. Let me know if you do 🙂
Hi Lauren, I just found this recipe today and decided to make it for our bible study tonight. It was a huge hit! I had several requests for the recipe. There was only a small piece left. Since it’s full of oatmeal I claiming it fit for breakfast ?.
Thanks for another winner!
I’m so happy to hear everyone liked it–I love this recipe! Thanks so much for commenting and following TBFS!
This is in addition to my previous questions-
The cake in the picture looks brown-like chocolate.
But, there is no cocoa powder or anything like that listed in the ingredients….what gives it this brown chocolatey color?
Hi Kimberly, I’m sorry for the confusion, I’ve updated the ingredients to be more specific–granulated sugar and regular rolled oats. The cake get’s the golden brown color from the brown sugar and cinnamon when everything is baked together.
The recipe calls for white sugar-is this granulated sugar or powdered sugar? Also, specifically-what kind of oatmeal?
Instant, 3 minute, steel cut, etc….
Is that 6 tbsps of butter or 6 tsp of butter??
Hi Pat, it’s 6 Tablespoons of butter (Tbsp). Hope you love the cake!
Hi, really want to make this. Can you tell me what size of pan was used. Looks maybe like an 8 in square. Would you double the recipe for a 9 x 13 pan. thanks
Hi Angie, I’m sorry, I just updated the recipe with the pan size. The recipe is for a 9×13” pan. (You can half it for an 8” pan, like I did in the photos.) I’d love to hear how you like it!
Saw this on Pinterest but cannot see the recipe on your website which I am really enjoying. I’d love to try this cake but I would need the full recipie.
Hi Wendy, I’m so sorry, my site is having technical problems with the recipe card when viewed on a desktop or tablet device. You will be able to see the recipe if you pull it up on your mobile phone. I’m trying to resolve the problem ASAP. Sorry for the inconvenience!
Hi Lauren, this looks wonderful. Just wondered what kind of canned milk you used, evaporated, sweetened condensed, or ? Tahnks
HI Dianne, Use evaporated milk! Hope you like it!
I used regular milk and it turned out amazing and delicious.