Top 100 Cake Blog

Top 100 Cake Blog

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rochelle's Oatmeal Cake

Taste, like all the senses, can transport us to another time and place. And so, wanting to recreate a childhood favorite of my dear friend Jay, I baked this cake. And you know what? It worked!

"I haven't tasted this in 30 years," said Jay, as he had a slice in my office the other day.
It always amazes me how everyday things like flour, butter, eggs and sugar -- put together in a certain way -- can become a time machine. Forget H.G. Wells; a good piece of cake is all you need!

Printed in a c. 1960s spiral-bound cookbook from the Immanual Lutheran Church in Spirit Lake, Iowa, this recipe surprisingly calls for the batter to be beaten for 20 minutes. When questioned about this unusual instruction, Jay's mother, Rochelle, (who kindly sent me the recipe), wrote: "This recipe is a golden oldie -- time was measured differently way back then." Still, without a standing mixer, one would need not only time, but patience and arm strength.

Bottom line: The cake is delicious albeit very sweet (not that there's anything wrong with that!). And very simple to prepare. So far, it's my dear husband's favorite, and he especially loves the topping which (as he noted) is almost identical to the frosting used on German chocolate cake.

(If you want to attempt it without a standing mixer, go ahead. I found two similar recipes in my copy of the Indiana Rural Letter Carriers' Auxiliary Cookbook, and neither call for the 20 minute beating.)

Oatmeal Cake
1 cup quick oatmeal
1 stick butter
1 1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda

Pour water over butter and oats. Cover.
Let stand for 20 minutes.
Add sugar and eggs, nutmeg, flour, salt
and soda. Beat with mixer for 20 minutes.
Bake in greased 13" x 9" pan at 350 degrees
for 35 minutes.


1 stick butter
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Bring to a boil, add 1/2 cup chopped nuts
and 1 cup coconut. Spread on cake and
place under broiler until brown.


  1. forgot to comment that i LOVED this cake. it was probably my favorite of all the ones you've made so far but i'm a sucker for that coconut topping....

  2. who is that delicious-looking man eating that delicious-looking piece of cake?

  3. Looks deeeeeeeeeeeelish
    I think one ingredient is missing, how much oats?

    Would love to try it.
    Thank you,

    Marie (aka beautiful lady)

  4. Marie: Wow! Good catch! I've ammended the recipe to include one cup of quick cooking oats. Thanks for pointing out this essential missing ingredient. Please post back after you make the cake; I'd love to hear how you like it.

  5. Sounds good. As soon as I knock off the box of donuts and my sister's Pecan Tassies (she's a "method" actor and cooking through the recipes of M'Lynn for Steel Magnolias production in Harrison), I am going to bake this -- and eat that too!

  6. I made the cake and backed off a little on the brown sugar ...maybe a generous half cup. Also just sifted confectioner's sugar on top instead of frosting. Excellent, muffinish cake. I beat it a good 15 minutes with the stand mixer. I wonder what that's supposed to do?

    1. Linda, I have no idea why it needs to be beaten so long. Generally, beating serves to aerate batters, but most cake recipes warn against overbeating because it makes for a less tender result.

    2. Susan, I made the cake again and beat it for only about five minutes. It was denser and wetter, so it's definitely aerating the batter. But it was still tasty, so perhaps that is why other recipes don't call for the extra beating time.