Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Frosting

Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Frosting
We have a tradition in our family that the birthday person gets to choose their favorite dinner and favorite birthday cake for me to make. This year my husband chose my oatmeal cake with coconut frosting. This is a recipe that I grew up with that is one of my all-time favorites. It totally reminds me of home. I remember having it for my Dad's birthday. He's a sucker for this cake.

This cake is awesome. It's moist, dense, and reminds me of why I love brown sugar. It has a slightly caramel taste and the frosting totally compliments it. The frosting I could just eat by the spoonful. The vanilla extract makes the frosting rock and this cake isn't complete without it. I almost never make this frosting to go on German chocolate cake. It's always reserved for oatmeal cake. When I was little it was kinda tradition that we'd eat the leftover cake for breakfast the next morning. That's probably not the most healthful, but it's made with oatmeal so it completely justifies having seconds, right?

When I make this cake for a special occasion I like to do the double-layer round, but if you are in a hurry or just want a cake for a simple dessert, then a 9x13 works well. Sometimes we just make this cake for a treat and I almost always do it in a 9x13. But because it was my husband's birthday, I did the double-layer. The cake actually comes together in about an hour and a half for the double-layer, but a 9x13 takes less than an hour, so you can plan accordingly. I always make my frosting while the cake bakes and it saves a lot of time. If you do the double layer, you will want each cake to cool almost completely so that the layers don't break. I usually frost mine when it's slightly warm when you touch it because I'm a little impatient. The frosting is okay to be slightly warm also when you frost it. If doing it in a 9x13 pan, I usually let the cake cool for about 5 minutes and then I put the frosting on it and then let it cool completely before serving. This cake also tastes amazing after it sits a day. The frosting makes it even more moist.

Here's what you need:
-1 1/2 C oatmeal (I use rolled oats, but you can use quick oats if that's what you have)
-1 1/2 C boiling water
-1/2 C (one stick) butter 
-1 C brown sugar
-1 C white sugar 
-2 eggs
-1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (sometimes I double this)
-1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

Frosting (do a double batch for a double-layer cake):
-2/3 C evaporated milk
-2/3 C brown sugar
-2 egg yolks
-1/4 C real butter
-1 1/2 C sweetened flaked coconut
-1/2 C toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine oatmeal and boiling water in a large mixing bowl and let it stand for 5 minutes. Add the butter, white and brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and baking soda and mix with an electric mixer. Mix for about a minute until all ingredients are well incorporated. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated.

2. Grease and flour (2) 9 in. round pans. I usually grease with butter-flavored Crisco. I also trace the bottom of the pan on a piece of waxed paper and cut out a circle to put in the pan. This really helps the cake not to stick. Separate your batter evenly into both pans. If using a 9x13 pan, grease and flour and pour all batter into the pan.

3. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30-35 minutes. Do the toothpick test after 30 minutes and check. (Mine usually bakes for 33-35 minutes). Rotate your cake halfway through baking to ensure that it gets baked evenly. (You should do this for all baked goods.)

4. While cake is baking, make the frosting. Combine milk, sugar, egg yolks, and butter in a medium sauce pan. Stir over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Boil for a minute or 2 until the frosting begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and coconut. Set aside.

5. For a double-layer cake: Remove pans from oven and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes. Take a knife and run it around the cake pans. Take a cloth and flip the cake onto your hand holding the cloth to remove from pan. It should come out easily. Remove the waxed paper from the bottom and transfer the cake to a wire rack for cooling. Repeat for the other cake. For a 9x13 cake: Remove pan from oven and allow to sit 3-5 minutes and then add frosting. Sprinkle with pecans

6. Double-layer cake: Once cakes are cooled completely, get your serving platter or cake stand. Take 3 strips of waxed paper and form a triangle on the platter. Place bottom layer on top of waxed paper strips. If the top isn't even, trim the top with a knife to make it even.

Place a big dollop of frosting on the first layer. Spread to the edges and then garnish with 1/2 C of toasted pecans. Add the next cake layer on top. Add a dollop of frosting and spread to edges. Continue frosting the cake all the way around to completely cover cake.

Once frosted sprinkle with remaining toasted pecans. Remove strips of waxed paper.

Let the cake cool completely and then serve. Enjoy and resist the temptation to eat the cake entirely to yourself. :)

Enjoy and Happy Baking!

Here's the printable recipe.


  1. Mmmm.. Just made this today! It's a delightful change of pace from the box mixes I usually make. Very moist and flavorful! LOVED IT! Thank you for a great recipe!

    1. I'm so glad you loved it! This cake is our family favorite! I have to resist eating it for breakfast. :)