Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting


Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

My father in law is a huge fan of desserts, so he is very lucky that his wife Coleen is an excellent baker. When we were visiting them in Idaho a few weeks ago, Coleen made several mouth watering desserts – this oatmeal cake was my very favorite. It’s a moist and delicious cake with the best frosting ever – toasted coconut pecan. We were heading to a friend’s house for dinner recently and I wanted to bring something fun and sweet so I instantly thought of this tasty cake. It’s extremely easy to make. My son helped make the cake portion and my daughter made the frosting. It was a huge hit with our friends and a VERY HUGE hit with both my kids…they gave it a double thumbs up and asked for seconds. If you like coconut pecan frosting, you are sure to love this cake. Coleen got this recipe from a lady my father in law used to work with named Julia. Thanks for the excellent recipe Coleen and Julia.

Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting:
Recipe and photos by For the Love of Cooking
Original recipe from Coleen Nelson and Julia

  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal
  • 3/4 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of shortening

Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

Mix the oatmeal with the boiling water, stir and cover. Mix the remaining ingredients then stir in the oatmeal mixture. Grease and flour a 8×8 inch pan. Pour batter into pan and bake at 350 for 23-25 minutes.

Coconut Pecan Frosting:

  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan FrostingCombine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Carefully spread frosting over the top of the cake.

Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

Broil until coconut is just brown. Watch very closely – it doesn’t take long. Cool, slice and serve. Enjoy.


Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

Click here for a printable version of this recipe – For the Love of Cooking.net

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  1. Should the frosting go on the cake when it is just out of the oven or when it has cooled? This looks amazing and I want to make it soon. But I want to make it right. I’ve never made Coconut Pecan frosting, it’s always come from a can. So I’m pretty excited.

    1. Wait until it has cooled a bit but remember you broil the frosted cake so the coconut gets browned.


    2. Paula Van Dyke says:

      No. You don’t have to wait for it to cool. Put on in small amounts and spread around with a light hand. It doesn’t tear up cake at all. Then toast by broiling as instructed.

  2. Christina says:

    I would say wait until it is at least a little cool. Every time I have ever frosted anything while warm, it crumbles and the frosting won’t spread. =) I’m making this tomorrow!

    1. How long would you let it cool?

    2. Teresa,

      You can let it to cool for a 10-15 minutes to allow the cake to set better, if you would prefer.


    3. Miriam Elder says:

      I let it cool after it comes out of the broiler before serving.

  3. this is delish . For whatever reason. most of my family does not like frosting of any kind and this cake wins for moisture content hands down. I’ve made it several times and have added apple pie filling from time to time.

  4. jan jones says:

    love this! my mom used to make this when we were kids, and it was SOOO good! Yours is a smaller version, which is perfect for a quick and easy dessert.

  5. If you don’t have the quick cooking oats, what is the final amount of oatmeal that should be incorporated? Thanks so much! I can’t wait to make this for my hubby:)

    1. Morgan,

      I have no idea! I am sorry, I have only used quick cooking oats in this recipe. I wish I could be of more help.


  6. You can make your own quick cooking oats by putting whole oats into a food processor and pulsing in a few times/until desired consistency is obtained. Remember, you are looking for texture-not flour 🙂

  7. I saw this recipe on Pinterest. I’ve made it twice this week! Once to test and since it was so good, I’m taking it to work tomorrow for a meeting. It is an exceptionally good cake that is quick to make with ingredients I always have on hand. Everyone loves it! Thanks for posting it!

  8. Looks delicious, but what if you don’t like the coconut part? Any suggestions?

    1. Coconut is a huge part of this cake so if you don’t like it you may want to find another cake recipe to try. I wish you liked coconut because this recipe is SO good! I hope this helps.


    2. Barbara Porter says:

      Pam is correct that the coconut is a big part of this recipe but since you don’t like coconut, why not frost the cake with a cream cheese frosting and then sprinkle pecans on the top. My recipe for this cake is a little different and makes a bigger cake but the coconut pecan broiled topping is a big part of the cake. We like it so much, we double the topping recipe. LOL

  9. So simple, so good! This recipe is a must keep! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I don’t have a broiler, what would be second best to do the frosting??

    1. I guess just putting it back into the oven for a few minutes until the coconut browns. I hope this helps.


    2. You might want to toast the coconut and pecans separately (lightly) first so putting the cake back in the oven doesn’t overcook the cake by the time the frosting browns. I’m guessing not broiling will also change the texture of the frosting, since the quick heat of the broiler will not only toast the coconut and pecans but caramelize the brown sugar 🙂

    3. A torch that you could use for other things can be found as cheaply as $20, less with a discount, especially at a home type bedroom/kitchen store, not sure if I can say where. Also if you have a toaster oven, that can be carefully used, and can be used for more things, but is more expensive, usually $30 and up from what I could see, but more $60 and up. In the old days my husband had one of those in his dorm room, and made pork chops, baked potatoes, toast, etc., in it. My inlaws still have one in their senior living apt.! They use it many mornings to warm rolls wrapped in foil for breakfast when they don’t want to go down to eat, because they don’t like to use the micro for bread.

    4. If you don’t have a brouler, just cook the frosting in a pan on the stove until it starts to boil, then spread it on your baked cake.

  11. Hello…I actually would love to make this recipe to give as Christmas gifts this year. I was thinking it would be great to bake it in an individual paper loaf pan…do you think that would work?!? I think it would be absolutely perfect! Thank you for posting! 🙂

  12. any part of this able to be frozen ahead of time? We go on a family trip in September and I try to have all the cooking done ahead of time and frozen so when we get there all I have to do is pull it out, thaw and cook.

    1. I’ve never tried freezing it so I am no help. Let me know how it goes if you do try it.

  13. Joy Cherry says:

    Did you use all purpose flour and what type of shortening did you use?

    1. I used all purpose flour and regular Crisco shortening.

  14. Elizabeth Hines says:

    I made your Oatmeal Cake recipe today. It is delicious! I found it very quick to make, it has ingredients that are readily available in my kitchen. Highly recommend it to your readers. It’s a keeper, I will make this recipe again.

  15. Is there anything toy can substitute the egg with? My sister has an allergy.

    1. One egg can almost always be replaced with 1/4 cup of applesauce in baking recipes. My son has an egg allergy.

    2. Dalene Rosas says:

      I ran into this interesting article the other day, using the liquid from a can of chick peas or garbanzo beans juice from the can as an egg replacer. The link I’m including is where I found the egg replacer, although the whole concept boggles my mind as it sounds so weird right! But what a great way to help those with egg allergies! Give it a try…….I know I can’t wait to try this cake! Here’s the link https://food52.com/blog/13271-a-magical-new-egg-replacement-that-s-already-in-your-pantry. Regards, Dalene

  16. just made these tonight, they are amazing! couldnt wait for them to cool all the way so got them while they were still warm..i will be making these again later this week to give as a gift.

  17. i made these 2 days ago and am making two more batches again tonight, they went so fast and everyone loved them, they are so easy to make and even easier to eat, they stay so moist. omg im in love thank you, thank you, thank you for this recipe.

    1. I think they would work just fine! You will need to cut the cooking time down. Let me know how they turn out.


  18. I made this today with a gluten free flour mix (and a dash of xantham gum), coconut oil, and coconut sugar…turned out amazing!!!

  19. Though I am much older now, I got this recipe many years ago from my grandmother as a child. Both me and my daughter (28 years later) won blue ribbons in 4-H club with this cake recipe.

  20. This was Yummy… Someone mentioned not liking coconut .. I have had this cake with caramel icing instead

  21. the pic show’s a glass dish. should pyrex be used or any 9 by 9 metal baking pan? does the frosting need to be just mixed cold or does it need to be heated in pan on stove top? before putting on cake. most coconut/pecan frosting I have made were cooked to boiling on stove top, then spread over hot cake. thank you.

    1. Troy,

      I used a glass 9×9 pan.

      I mixed all of the coconut frosting ingredients together then spread it on top of the cake before broiling it. It’s all in the instructions when you read the recipe.


    2. Thank you.

  22. Linda Reynods says:

    Made this for a church function tonight. Doubled the recipe, tripled the icing recipe. Used coconut oil instead of shortening. Cooked it 10-15 minutes longer. Fantastic!

    1. Thanks for sharing about the coconut oil. I thought it would be a healthier and tastier ingredient than shortening. Is the coconut oil the reason it needs to be baked longer, or did you do that for another reason?

  23. OK not sure what i did, so any suggestions would be great! Made this today and put in individual loaf pans to give as gifts and just pulled out the oven and the center collapsed! It still taste good. I just filled in the center with the filling and since it still tasted good went ahead and gave it to the neighbors! But not sure what happened?

    1. Shoot! I am sorry they collapsed. I am not sure why that happened. I’ve only made this recipe a few times but I’ve never had them collapse. I hope it turns out better next time!


  24. Just made this cake and frosting. Can’t wait to to try it! I have one question…the frosting just doesn’t look quite right, not very creamy at all. I have read the recipe over and over, thinking I missed something. Or is that just the way it is? I guess I will find out once I put it on the cake and then get to try it!!!!

    1. The frosting isn’t creamy – it’s chunky. I hope it tasted good! We sure love it in my house.


  25. I made this and LOVE it! The frosting spread out under the broiler, covering the entire top of the cake beautifully. As mentioned in the comments above, I also substituted coconut oil for the shortening. I stirred it into the hot oatmeal so it would melt. I also added a splash of vanilla to the batter.
    This cake has that old fashioned taste that makes me think of great grandma.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  26. I have made this cake 6 times in the last 3 weeks. We love it. I forgot to put the vanilla and milk in the frosting on one of the cakes I made. It made the topping almost crisp. It still tasted good but I prefer the original version. It gave me a good excuse to make another one. So happy to have found this recipe. Thanks for sharing it. I will try the coconut oil next time.

  27. I used this recipe many times when my kids were growing up. You might be interested to know I first saw it in a Mennonite cookbook called “More With Less” back in the ’80’s. I’m not surprised at all the enthused reviews. Thanks for posting it.

  28. I am planning on making this to take to a family function. Does it need to be refrigerated, or can it stay at room temperature. Thanks.

  29. This was Wonderful! So Moist and Delish! Making again tomorrow for neighbors that just had a baby. Think it will be a nice treat!

  30. Sue Clark says:

    I am a collector of Pyrex and cookbooks for the past 50 plus years. I have never seen a ( 9″ Square ) baking dish! Could yours be an 8″ Square? I contacted Pyrex and they replied they had never offered one. Want to make your oatmeal cake but am confused about correct sixe…Thanks,

  31. So did u use shorting if solid form or did you melt it

    1. I used it in the solid form. I hope this helps.


  32. Also was the shorting miced into cake batter? Or just used to grease the pam?

    1. It’s mixed into the cake batter.

      I greased and floured the pan with butter & flour.

  33. This was yummy!
    It’s in my nature…can’t leave recipes alone. I tweaked this JUST a tiny bit: I added 1/3 cup of cocoa powder to the cake and upped the fat (butter, instead of shortening) by about a tablespoon. SO rich and delicious! I also melted the brown sugar and butter together (frosting) and brought to a boil in a small saucepan. My coconut was already toasted and I didn’t want to burn it by broiling the frosting (which clearly needed to de-crystallize).

    The ONLY issue I had with this is that I used my 9×9 stoneware pan which honestly seemed a bit too large. I would use an 8×8 pan next time. As a result, the frosting wasn’t quite enough to cover it as thickly as pictured. I would probably double all of it next time and do in a 9×13.

    I love that the oatmeal just kind of melts in!

    1. I too melted the brown sugar in the butter as it was in hard chunks and it seemed to help. I did however broil it in the oven but the nuts seemed to brown to fast for the coconut but I liked the way it glazed the cake better.
      Also, since I do not have a 9×9 pan, I used an 8×8 and I think that I makes it more of a cake than a bar. I will do it the same way next time. And believe me, I will make this again.

    2. So glad to hear that butter works, as we do not use shortening! Thanks for the information!

  34. We love, love this Yummy Cake:) I always end up doubling the recipe as it disappears so fast! I substitue butter/margerine for the shortening as I never have that on hand. I use the same amount and let it soften, cutting into small pieces before I mix it in.

  35. Hi – this is a lovely cake recipe! I was on a FB page looking for some of my stolen pictures when I came upon yours. Part of your name had been cropped off but it is YOUR picture with the entire recipe in the comments. The address says macon county recipes but the name of the page is Adair County Recipes. Just thought I would let you know. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/maconcountyrecipes


  36. FB friend posted this and I had to make it. It is very good and easy to make. I had to bake it abt 5 minutes longer. Soooooo good! Love your blog!

    1. I made this and simply love it, my problem was the frosting did NOT stick to the top of the cake, But, yet it was Delish, and idea why the frosting did not stick, I followed exact instructions ..love this site Thank you

    2. Kathy,

      I am glad you loved the cake. I am not sure why the frosting did not stick – mine always does. I am sorry I am no help.


  37. I saw this on FB this morning and decided to whip it up. It was wonderful. I will for sure make it again as it was simple and quick. I see that some are asking about when to frost the cake. I pulled the cake from the oven and then I made the frosting. When I poured the frosting on the cake both of them were still warm and it seemed to stick well. Then it immediately went below the broiler. The problem I had was that the pecans browned and some burned before the coconut browned. Good luck

  38. LOVE this cake and have had nothing but compliments. Taking it camping this weekend cuz the whole family loves it. I want to double the recipe and use a 9×13 pan. Any suggestions on how long I should bake it?

    1. Tracy,

      I would check it after 25-30 minutes then keep checking every 3-5 minutes or so.


  39. OMG! Made this last nite and it was completely gone by noon today! BTW, just two of us! Really easy and the way the sugar and pecans got crunchy under the broiler, reminded me of southern pralines. Thanks for my new “go to” recipe!

  40. I made the cake and it is cooling after having it in the broiler for the coconut icing. The only change I might make is to double the frosting next time. I barely had enough to cover the cake. There were some bare spots. I don’t know what I did wrong. But it did not look like the picture. But I am sure it will taste fine!

    1. I am sorry there were bare spots. Doubling the frosting recipe is a great idea. I hope it still tasted good.


  41. Paula Van Dyke says:

    Oh my wow! This is delish! And oh so easy!

  42. Double the batch? Triple the topping!

  43. Baking mine now, checked it after 25 minutes, it’s like mush! Maybe it’s the high altitude??

    1. It could definitely be the altitude difference. I am sure you had to bake it longer. I hope it turned out okay for you.


  44. Hi had this cake Saturday, the woman who made it omitted the nuts and coconut and it made this brittle-type topping which was yummy. The flavor and texture was so yummy and dense I wanted to add raisins and or carrots, can’t wait to try it with the omitted ingredients!!!

  45. Kendra Bryant says:

    I’m excited to make this for my husband! This is his favorite cake from when he was a young boy! Thanks for the recipe! I know he says his mother let it set for a day before she would let them eat it. Something to do with how moist it was?

  46. I have made this cake, only doubled in size for a 9 x 13 pan, for over 50 years. My recipe is pretty much identical except mine also has cinnamon and nutmeg, and uses old fashioned oats and not quick cooking. Try adding 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg, and it will be even better! I more than double the topping, too! It’s my favorite cake! If you make it double size, bake at 350 for 50 to 55 minutes. No one needs to wait to eat this wonderful cake. You can cut it as soon as it has cooled. Have it right after dinner and some more before you go to bed. It’s fabulous.

  47. Julie Tietje says:

    I’m making this tonight. Subbing candied pecans for plain ones since I can’t add coconut. My husband is allergic. Can’t wait for it to be done! Smelling good in here!

  48. there are so many comments i dont have time to look through all of them to see if somebody else has asked. can this recipe be doubled? will it still turn out? thank you!!

    1. Misty,

      I’ve never doubled the recipe but I don’t see why you couldn’t. You may have to bake it longer. Let me know how it turns out.


  49. YUM! Just made this today after finding this on pinterest =) I posted a “tipsy” version on my blog, but linked to your recipe…did not repost your recipe, just my modifications. Thanks for a great cake!

  50. Lynda Baile says:

    This was great, I cooked mine for 35min at 350′ came out toothpick clean used butter instead of shortening because that what I had and used 1 cup of coconut for the topping the first time ,second 3/4 coconut and 3/4 nuts both versions were an increase in the toppings I liked both. This was all cooked in a sprayed with Pam type spray 8×8 inch pan perfect size .

  51. I have made this many times. It’s also really good with sliced almonds instead of pecans.

  52. Dalene Rosas says:

    Pam I was wondering if you can double this recipe and us a 13×9 pan or would I need a bigger pan? I have a bigger one but can’t remember exactly the dimensions? Thanks can’t wait to make this as it reminds me of a cake my Mom had made years ago and when I taste it I’m sure it will confirm! Can’t wait! Regards, Dalene

    1. Yes, I would use a 9 x 13 baking pan if you double the recipe. I hope you love the cake!


  53. Mary Jones says:

    I can’t believe this is the same cake my mom and grandmother used to make. I make it also. For some reason most men tend to love it. I take it to church suppers and always get who made this cake. Its doesn’t last long. It’s a moist yummy cake for sure.

  54. Dawn Thruman says:

    Can you use something else besides shortening a substitute because I have a love one that has heart problems

    1. Dawn,

      You can use the same amount of vegetable oil, coconut oil, or canola oil. I hope this helps.


  55. This took way longer to bake than 23-25 minutes more like 35.