This oatmeal cake is near and dear to my heart. It is insanely delicious and comforting and just really, really plain good. The cake layer is soft and hearty, and the topping is caramel-y and coconut-y and full of amazing textures.
Really, this cake is just winning on so many levels that words don’t really do it justice.
I’ve seen a few variations for this cake across the internet. But this exact recipe was given to me by my college roommate (who has since married into the family). Her mom made it for them growing up, and my roommate would make it for us.
I always love thinking of the story she told us about her mom that went with the recipe… which is simply that her mom made this cake one day as a treat to share with her husband when he returned home from work. But she ended up eating half the cake before the end of the day! And then she was so embarrassed about what she had done that she ate the other half of the cake too! That way her husband would never know the cake had even been made in the first place.
We used to laugh so hard at that story– but every time she made it, I would think uh, I could totally eat this entire cake in one day.
At first I was actually really reluctant to try the cake– I mean, there’s no chocolate?! And…. it’s oatmeal. In a cake….? I could wrap my head around oatmeal cookies, but a cake?? That took some convincing.
But not much. And after one bite, I was totally hooked.
This recipe is one of my very favorites and most treasured recipes. It’s warm and comforting, and full of surprising textures and rich, decadent flavors. Be prepared to fall in love!
- 1 1/4 cup boiling water
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
For the topping:
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup coconut
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9x13 cake dish.
Add the oatmeal and the butter to a medium bowl. Pour the boiling water over top and cover with a kitchen towel or lid. Let sit for 20 minutes.
Add the sugar, brown sugar, and eggs to the bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredient to the bowl with the vanilla and mix to form batter.
Pour batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Make the topping by combining the butter, evaporated milk, brown sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil for 2 minutes. Pour over cake while still hot, then sprinkle on the coconut and pecans (sometimes I've stirred the coconut and pecans into the sauce and it works fine).
You can eat and serve right away, but it's really best if you let the cake cool and allow the topping to soak into the cake first. I prefer eating it at room temperature.