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Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake (with Coconut Pecan Topping)

If you’re looking for a healthy version of a delicious oat cake, one filled with flavor and texture, this is the recipe for you! In this post I’m going to show you how to make an over-the-top oatmeal cake. Best of all, it’s gluten-free! 

Oats. . .a Wonder Food!

Over the past several weeks, as I’ve been diving deeper into my healthy eating choices, I’ve found myself using oats more and more. 

The old me would have used quick oats. And, of course, some folks swear by steel cut oats. But I’m here to tell you—Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats is the way to go for most baking tasks. 

Why, you ask? Because they don’t break down as quickly as quick oats, and leave you with the loveliest texture. They’re not coarse, like steel cut, so they’re easy to eat. 

I happened to have a huge container of oats on hand and wanted to use some in guilt-free dessert. That’s what led me to this recipe!

Oatmeal Cake? What’s That? 

As the name implies, oatmeal cake is an honest-to-goodness sweet cake with oats as a primary ingredient. This gives the cake a heartier texture, much like you would see in a coffee cake or breakfast cake. 

These recipes are relatively simple—combining oats with butter, eggs, sugar, and flour. In that regard, they’re tasty, but not terribly healthy. I found several basic recipes online, but (as always) decided to make several tweaks. 

I was setting out to make a healthier version, and decided to add gluten-free all-purpose flour, as well as some almond flour. But if you’re not gluten-free, you can use all-purpose. . .no problem! 

This is a great “foundational” cake, meaning you can add to it. This recipe includes coconut and pecans in the topping (a favorite combination for me, as you probably noticed in my Italian Cream Cake post or my German Chocolate Pound Cake post.) 

The process for this cake is simple: Bake it up and add the coconut pecan topping, much as you would for, say, a German chocolate cake. This cake is warm and comforting, and will make you feel like you’re seated at your grandma’s table once again. 

Oatmeal Cake Ingredients

You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’re going to need to make this cake. As I said, it’s versatile, and you can make it your own with other add-ins. 

FOR THE CAKE:

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting
  • butter, room temperature (I used salted but unsalted is okay)
  • coconut sugar (or brown sugar, your choice)
  • large eggs, room temperature
  • almond flour
  • gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • baking soda (gluten-free version)
  • cinnamon
  • warm almond milk (or whole milk or oat milk)
  • rolled oats
  • vanilla extract
  • salt (if you use unsalted butter)

FOR THE TOPPING:

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting
  • butter (salted or unsalted, your choice)
  • milk (any kind)
  • coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • finely chopped pecans
  • shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, your choice)

How to Make Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Grease a 9x-13-inch baking dish and set aside. 

Pour warm milk into a medium mixing bowl. Add oats and stir well. Set aside. 

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

In a separate large mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients except the sugar: flours, salt, baking soda).

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

Add cinnamon and whisk together. Set aside. 

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

În a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment cream the butter and sugar until well combined. 

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

Add vanilla and eggs and continue to beat. 

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

Now alternate the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients (soaked oats) until all are fully incorporated. You will end up with a loose batter, but it will bake up just fine, I promise! 

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

Pour cake batter into prepared baking dish and place in preheated oven. 

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until cake springs back to the touch. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Check out that dark golden brown color!

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

Make the Topping

While the cake is baking, make the topping. 

Place butter, milk, and sugar into a heavy saucepan over low heat. Keep a close eye on it, stirring as the butter melts. You don’t want the butter to burn. (We’re not creating a browned butter for this recipe, like in my Brown Butter Walnut Cake.) 

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

Once the butter is fully melted, stir in the coconut and pecans. You will end up with a thick mixture. 

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

Spread over the top of the cake while it is still warm. This will help the mixture spread. 

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

Let cake cool for several minutes before attempting to serve. 

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

What to Expect from this Cake

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

I cannot tell a lie: I was completely and totally mesmerized by this cake. Turns out, oat cakes are delicious!

To me, (in spite of the lack of chocolate) this old-fashioned oatmeal cake actually tasted like a rich German chocolate cake. I’m not kidding, y’all. This is going to be a new healthy family favorite, for sure!

Maybe it was that delicious coconut pecan topping. Maybe it was the richness of the cane sugar. I honestly don’t know. But if I hadn’t known this wasn’t German chocolate cake, well. . .I wouldn’t have know!

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

It’s got a lovely texture, a delicious flavor, and you can feel good about the fact that this is a much healthier-for-you version of a delectable cake. It’s perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.

Store at room temperature, tightly covered in plastic wrap or in an airtight container. It should stay good for about 3 days. You can also refrigerate for 4 – 5 days.

Variations on this Simple Oatmeal Cake

If you’re not able to eat sugar, you can easily use sugar substitutes for your delicious treats. I use a lot of monk fruit in my house, but you use whatever makes your heart happy. There are lots of options out there. 

Chopped dates: I almost added a handful of these but decided I would make the cake simpler the first time around. 

Chocolate Chips: You can add a few minis to the topping or stir in half a cup directly into the batter before baking.

Apple: Are you a fan of apple season? Have too many apples on hand and don’t know what to do with them? No problem! Finely chop an apple or two and add to the batter. I’m guessing apple would be delicious! I’m also guessing it might add an additional 5 minutes to your baking time. 

Craisins: If you decide to add craisins, you might want to soak them for a while first to plump up. But craisins are always a good idea! 

Banana: This is a given! Bananas and oats pair beautifully, as I learned when making my Banana Blueberry Oat Bread. You might get away with substituting some of the butter if you use a couple of bananas in this recipe. You could even cut back a little on the sugar, since the bananas will add additional sweetness. 

Ripe bananas: You can easily turn this into an oat banana cake with the addition of a couple of over-ripe bananas to the batter.

Peanut Butter: Peanut butter and oats? Yes, please! 

Maple Syrup: Add a small amount of maple syrup to the coconut pecan frosting for added depth of flavor.

Layer Cake: If you want to make a double layer cake, use two 8″ round cake pans. Stuff the topping between the layers. Yum!

Other Oat-Themed Desserts from Out of the Box Baking

Whole grains are so good for you, and they’re not just for breakfast! You can enjoy your oats in any of the following tasty treats!

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies: In this post I’m going to show you how to make the most delicious oatmeal cookies ever! They’re loaded with flavor and texture and are easy to bake.

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake: If you love the combination of cinnamon and sugar and you happen to love streusel topping with crunchy toasted pecans, then I’ve got the perfect recipe for you. This Easy Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake is perfect for breakfast. . .or any time of day!

Overnight Oats: If you’re looking for a delicious breakfast treat, one loaded with flavor and texture, this is the recipe for you! In this post I’m going to show you how I make the most delicious Banana Walnut Overnight Oats! 

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars: Sometimes you’re just in the mood for something sweet, even for breakfast. And if you love the ease of a bar, then this recipe will satisfy not just your sweet tooth, but your need to grab-and-go. 

That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoyed this healthy dessert recipe. Whether you are gluten intolerant (have celiac disease) or you’re just trying to cut back on glutens for other health reasons, this is the cake for you!

If you make this recipe and love it, don’t forget to leave a review and a comment below. And while you’re at it, go ahead and pin some photos to your Pinterest boards!

See this recipe at 

Full Plate Thursday 

Weekend Potluck

The Lazy Gastronome

Busy Monday 

About the Author

Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 165 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cake

Yield: 24
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

If you’re looking for a healthy version of a delicious oat cake, one filled with flavor and texture, this is the recipe for you! In this post I’m going to show you how to make an over-the-top oatmeal cake. Best of all, it’s gluten-free!

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature (I used salted but unsalted is okay)
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar, your choice)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 2/3 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (gluten-free version)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups warm almond milk (or whole milk)
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if you use unsalted butter)
  • FOR THE TOPPING
  • 1/2 cup butter (salted or unsalted, your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon milk (any kind)
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, your choice)

New Group

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a 9x-13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  3. Pour warm milk into a medium mixing bowl.
  4. Add oats and stir well. Set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients except the sugar: flours, salt, baking soda). Add cinnamon and whisk together. Set aside.
  6. În a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment cream the butter and sugar until well combined.
  7. Add vanilla and eggs and continue to beat.
  8. Now alternate the dry ingredients with the soaked oats until all are fully incorporated. You will end up with a loose batter, but it will bake up just fine, I promise!
  9. Pour into prepared baking dish and place in preheated oven.
  10. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until cake springs back to the touch.
  11. Make the Topping: While the cake is baking, make the topping. Place butter, milk, and sugar into a heavy saucepan over low heat. Keep a close eye on it, stirring as the butter melts. You don’t want the butter to burn.
  12. Once the butter is fully melted, stir in the coconut and pecans. You will end up with a thick mixture.
  13. Spread over warm cake, which will help the mixture spread.
  14. Allow to cool for several minutes before attempting to serve.

Esmé Slabbert

Thursday 7th of March 2024

Oh my word, that topping is something else, will pin and try it I visited you via Miz Helen’s Cottage: Full Plate Thursday, 684 My links: 43+44. We will be delighted if you share your post links with us at SSPS. Link under BLOGGING

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