Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Icing

So there I was on a Saturday afternoon, pining away for a dessert recipe that would not leave me feeling a. guilty, and b. fat.  That pretty much ruled out anything chocolate and/or whipped cream-y.  But I still wanted something luscious, and not too terribly rich.  And yes, I wanted cake.  And wouldn’t it be ever so nice if it was just a little bit sort of healthy? 

I mean, how often are wishes granted in such an agreeable fashion?  After a brief hunt, I came upon this recipe for an oatmeal cake that couldn’t have been more perfect.  I only wish that I had wished for this cake a long time ago.... a moist, slightly dense, oatmeal-y cake with a coconut topping that provides the perfect textural counterpoint.

It would be so tempting to add a little something to this cake, like chocolate chips, raisins, nuts or some such trifling, but just don’t do it.  OK, I confess.   I tried, and it was sad.  I couldn’t resist adding a few chocolate chips to the batter the first time I made it, and the whole balance of this cake’s universe was thrown into disarray.   It was meant to be a simple, honest, comforting cake that you just want to curl yourself around, savoring each bite without distraction.  No need for embellishment.  None.

And perhaps one of my favorite things about this cake?  It is wonderfully lovely at breakfast the next morning.  Sigh.  Here’s the recipe…


Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe Courtesy of the Portland Press Herald 

The original recipe used a 9x13 pan to bake this, but I prefer using a 9-inch springform cake pan.  If you cut out a piece of parchment and place it in the bottom of the pan, it come out quite easily and makes for a nice presentation. 

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal

2 eggs

1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk or low-fat plain yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

11/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt 


2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons low-fat milk

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup coconut 

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9-inch springform cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cut out a pieced of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and place in the bottom of the pan.  Spray again with a little cooking spray and set aside.

2. Boil the water and pour it over the quick oats in a small bowl. Stir and set aside to cool.

3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then beat in the sugars. Add the oil and beat again. Add the buttermilk or yogurt and the vanilla, and beat again.

4. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon (if using) and salt. Set aside.

5. Beat the oatmeal into the egg mixture. Then add the flour mixture and stir to mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

6.  Let the pan cool for about 15 or 20 minutes in the pan. 

7. For the topping, in a small pan over low heat, melt the butter with the milk and the sugar. Add the coconut and stir. Spread over cake and broil for 2 to 3 minutes.  You can add the icing right after baking or let it cool a few minutes, it really doesn't make a difference. Remove the cake from pan to a serving platter.

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