As you know, I make a lot of layer cakes.  They are so much fun for me, and I spend plenty of time dreaming up new combinations of cakes, fillings, frostings, and garnish.  Sometimes though, I just want plain ol’ cake.  Cake to eat when the kids are finally in bed for the night.  Cake to enjoy with a big glass of milk.  Cake with no frills, no fuss, just good texture and even better taste.  This cake would never win in a beauty contest against some fancier varieties, but make no mistake about it – this is still very good cake.

If the word “oatmeal” in the title is a bit off-putting, don’t be fooled.  This bears no resemblance to the stuff we eat for breakfast.  It simply gives the cake a nice sturdy texture and a tiny bit of chew.  The broiled icing takes just minutes to mix up and is akin to a quick version of the filling or topping for a German chocolate cake.   As far as time and effort go, this is a very quick and easy dessert.  I was able to mix up the cake batter and have it in the oven in the few minutes it takes my little piglet to inhale her squash puree before she is handed off to me for her nightcap of milk.  She goes to sleep, the icing is browned, and poof!  Cake for dessert.


For the cake:
1 cup quick-cooking oats (not old fashioned or instant oats)
¾ cup water, at room temperature
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of ground nutmeg
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the icing:
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tbsp. milk
¾ cup sweetened shredded coconut
½ cup pecans, chopped


  • 01

    To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, combine the oats and water.  Stir together, then let sit until absorbed, about 5 minutes.  In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  In the bowl of a mixer, combine the butter and sugars and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-4 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl as needed.  Blend in the egg and vanilla until incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions and mix just until incorporated.  Add in the soaked oats and mix until combined, about 15 seconds.

  • 02

    Spread the batter into the prepared pan and tap lightly against the counter to remove any air bubbles.  Smooth with a spatula.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes.  Let the cake cool slightly in the pan, at least 10 minutes.

  • 03

    While the cake cools, place an oven rack about 9 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler.  In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, melted butter and milk.  Stir in the coconut and pecans.  Spread the mixture evenly over the warm cake.  Return the pan to the oven and broil until the topping is bubbling and golden, about 3-5 minutes.  Let cool in the pan at least 1 hour.  Use the foil to lift the cake from the pan, then discard.  Slice and serve.


  • This looks like the perfect afternoon tea snack to take to work. Yum!

  • jennifer healy

    Trying to use what I have in the cupboard, and this works! It sounds delicious… Cant wait to bake it TODAY :)

  • What a lovely treat! So simple and tasty looking :)

  • Ooh, that looks ooey, gooey and comforting! All the great requirements for a great recipe in my book!

  • Wow, that looks so flavorful and moist! Can’t wait to give it a try!

  • Crystal Power

    This reminds me in looks of a spice cake that my Grandma used to make. It looks delicious and easy. I can’t wait to try it!

  • Stephanie

    Looks delicious! Sweet, but not overly so. Can’t wait to try!!

  • Leanne

    You are amazing– I want to whip this cake up between feeding and bedtime, too! My husband and I just found out we’re expecting and I’m overwhelmed even in the first trimester– I hope I can find an equilibrium as you have after the baby is born, and then keep it. (Leave it to a pregnant woman to be inspired and swept away by cake ;)

  • That sounds delicious! I love anything that combines coconut and oatmeal. Thanks for sharing.

  • Camila Lipsi

    Hi! I’ve been following your blog for quite a while and for some reason never stopped to comment. But when I saw this recipe, I had to! I live in Brazil and this is very close to a cake I make and it’s called “Bolo Junino” something like a special cake for our cultural celebrations in June – which is winter down here. It reminds me of my mother in law as we loved to have this cake with a nice hot cup of English tea (she was British) while enjoying the sunny but crispy and chilly season. Glad you had a chance to try, it’s really delicious!

  • this looks so yummy! {and i don’t even like oatmeal}. if you ever want to send me something you made, be my guest. i’ll blog about it for you. ;)

  • Allison

    I love this recipe! We call it Ask for Seconds Cake – I’m sure you can guess why!

    Thanks for the great recipes!

  • Allison

    I love this cake! My family calls it Ask for Seconds Cake – I’m sure you can guess why!

    Thanks for the great recipes!

  • Sarah

    My great grandmother used to make this cake for me! It is a wonderful treat in the evenings! Going to make this for our dessert tonight! You have been in my kitchen a lot lately! I always look forward to making one of your delicious recipes! Thank you again!
    I am getting ready to make your apple pie cupcakes for a family gathering at a pumpking patch this weekend. Can’t wait to try them! :)

  • Pam

    That broiled topping looks unbeatable! You give a whole new meaning of yummy to “oatmeal.”

  • Patti T,

    I have been making this cake for several years and it is sooooo good.

  • Looks delicious. I love the coconut in the frosting.

  • This looks so tasty! I bet I would love this…I want to make it soon but I’m afraid I’d eat the whole pan ;) Thanks for sharing!

  • Like!!! It’s funny when you said not the prettiest, I had to laugh! This is beautiful! And another funny thing when you said broiled, I thought you meant boiled. That’s what I get for thinking! This is a neat recipe!

  • looks fantastic!

  • Your kids and hubby are SO lucky to have you! You’re like wonder-woman… :)
    This cake, btw, looks amazing! I’ve never made broiled frosting before, but armed with this great recipe, it looks like now is the perfect time!

  • Sweetums

    Hello Annie,

    Nice recipe, especially topping with coconut and brown sugar :p
    Thank you for posting.

  • This cake looks really yummy. I can see why you call it a snack cake, I can’t wait to try it.

  • This sound awesome.

    Of course, everything that has oats and cinnamon sounds great :)

  • Melanie

    Just pulled this cake out of the oven – so yummy!!!! My kids won’t eat coconut or nuts so I left out the coconut and sprinkled half of the cake w/ nuts and left the other half with just the plain icing. I sprinkled mini choc chips all over the cake while still warm.

  • This looks like a really nice recipe so hopefully I will give it a try. I am a big fan of oatmeal and coconut. The photograph is really nice also.

  • Madonna

    I just made a pumpkin version of this cake! Thanks for giving me a great base to start with :)

  • Lucy

    I made this cake for my cafe and it went down a treat!
    Thank you x

  • This looks like my kind of cake! Simple, sweet, and satisfying. I would love to eat this warm in a bowl filled with milk (it’s a family tradition!)

  • Donna Roth

    FYI…you can make this cake with old-fashioned oats…just grind them up a bit first so they can absorb the water easier. I don’t buy quick oats because they are less nutritious. I made this cake last night and it turned out perfectly! My whole family loves it.

  • this simple cake is an all-time favorite of mine–that topping is perfection itself!

  • Stephanie

    Made this cake! To me it tasted gently spicy- reminiscent of a “crumb type” doughnut from Dunkin’s back in the day… down to the coconut topping- delicious!

  • I really love desserts with oats…love the chew it gives to it!! This looks delicious :)

  • Sarah

    You think there is another thing to put instead of coconut, maybe leave it out?

  • Annie

    Hmm, not sure. It will change the texture quite a bit without it. Maybe more pecans?

  • Megan

    Made this tonight for dessert when my in-laws were over. I topped it with whipped cream – super yummy! The only thing I would change was I broiled mine for the full 5 minutes and it was a little too done (started to get black in spots), next time I will do 4 and I think it will be perfect!

  • Christy

    I made this tonight and loved it! Thanks for another great recipe :0)

  • Rebecca

    This is a wonderful recipe. I’ve tried it twice in a week, and it’s come out beautiful. Lovely texture, lovely flavours, and just the right quantity. Substituting the pecans for slivered almonds works nicely.

  • Made this today. So quick and easy and oh so good! Thx for sharing!

  • Hscherme

    This is amazeballs! I feel like I’ve been making a lot of the same sweet treats lately and this was a nice switch up!

  • Delicious! The cake was nice and moist and the topping was sweet and crunchy. I had to make the topping nut-free this time, so I used all coconut (1 1/4 cups) and it turned out perfectly.

  • Gmcluff

    Thanks for that tip. I too only have old-fashioned oats and really wanted to make this.

  • I made this tonight, but as cupcakes instead of a regular cake. I did a peanut butter buttercream filling and frosting, as a play on the Do-si-dos Girl Scout cookies. SO YUMMY! Thanks for the recipe. :)

  • Juliana

    I just made this today & it’s SO delicious!!! I served it with a side of vanilla ice cream.