Grandma’s Oatmeal Cake by Natalie


Have you been hunkered down? Are you stress-baking, too?

Lately I’ve been craving things from my childhood. Like this oatmeal cake my Southern Grandma made for us when I was a kid.

Although my Grandma Inez doesn’t do quite as much magic in the kitchen as she used to, she’s known for her delicious desserts and cozy comfort meals.

And she has converted MANY people to baby lima beans. She’s a magician, I tell you.

So, this oatmeal cake. Let’s chat about that.

It’s a fluffy, cinnamon-scented cake with a coconut-pecan topping — similar to what you’d put on a German chocolate cake. But better.

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I noticed the card for this recipe in my binder—in my grandma’s handwriting. And I know it needed to be made soon.

Do you have recipes in your grandmother’s handwriting? My grandma has such perfect script. And she shows her love by feeding you delicious things.

I think I take after her in that way. But not the perfect script.

Let’s make this cake!

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First soak some rolled oats in boiling water for about 20 minutes while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Or take a quick shower.

Or make a cup of cocoa.

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Cover it with a towel, too.

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Beat the butter and sugar and add the eggs. This should feel familiar if you’ve ever made cookies.

I really hope you have. It’s an important life skill.

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Then fold in that oatmeal, which is pretty much cooked through by now. There shouldn’t be any water left in the bowl.

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Sift in the dry ingredients (don’t forget the cinnamon!) and stir it gently.

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You’ll end up with mixture that looks like a cross between oatmeal cookie dough and porridge.

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Now grab your tube pan (the one you make angel food cake in—is there any other use for it? Asking for a friend.)

Make sure it’s buttered and floured well, too.

What if you don’t have a tube pan?

Well, because it has a topping that goes on it, using a bundt pan would be really awkward.

You could use a 9×9-inch pan, but you may have to lengthen the cooking time so the middle will be cooked through nicely.

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Bake it for about 45–55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. It’ll be a rather dark golden brown, too. Mmm.

VERY IMPORTANT: DO NOT TAKE IT OUT OF THE PAN YET.

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Like I mentioned before, this cake has a special topping: a buttery, caramelly mixture of nuts and coconut. I used pecans because they’re my favorite.

And they remind me of my grandma explaining how they’re pronounced “puh-KAHNS” and not “PEE-cans”.

How do you say it where you live?

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This topping goes right on the cake—that’s still in the pan.

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Put the cake under the broiler for just a few minutes, until the coconut is toasty brown.

Toasted coconut is one of my favorite things ever.

You’ll want to let this cool off quite a bit before attempting to get it out of the pan.

Of course, I’m impatient and reckless and would rather risk burning myself or destroying the cake just to get the cake into my face faster.

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See how the butter from the topping soaked down into the sides of the cake? I die.

To get the cake out of the tube pan, run your knife around the edge of the pan and around the middle tube. Then, push the bottom of the pan up and out of the edge piece of the pan. (The pan is two pieces, in case you’ve never used a tube pan.)

I also run a knife under the bottom of the cake to separate it from the other part of the pan. I actually cut the cake in half and transferred each half to a cutting board.

You could try to get it out in one piece by lifting both sides at once. You might need a partner for this.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I should have asked my grandma how SHE does it!

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This cake, y’all.

(I was raised in Idaho, but my mom is southern, so I feel like I can get away with y’all.)

It’s SO, SO good.

We polished this off in two days, but only because we had some restraint and wanted it to last longer.

This is one of many recipes that reminds me of my grandma, too! I love how food can hold such strong connection and memories with family.

Do you have any recipes or meals that remind you of your childhood? Of special occasions? Of your family members?

I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below and let me know!

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