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Two Great Mennonite Recipes for Oatmeal Cake

July 25, 2014

oatmealcake7 (2)

I wanted to make Mom’s very quick and easy oatmeal cake but had a small recipe emergency. Couldn’t find the index card in my box and was in a rush to throw the cake together before heading to work, to have for the annual Lion Club family summer potluck that evening. I had a nagging thought that maybe it was typed and on my computer, but I couldn’t walk 20 steps to go find it. Plus I couldn’t print it out, no printer. So I would have to commute between the back bedroom and the kitchen for the whole recipe. Not good.

So I grabbed one of my favorite recipe books where I thought I most logically would find a similar recipe, Mennonite Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley. Bingo.

As I worked, I realized it may have been practically the same recipe as my mother’s but instead of a one-bowl wonder, it dirtied 3 bowls in separate steps! Not my thing.


(I just realized my first three paragraphs ended with crisp one, two, or three word sentences. Grammar freaks be warned. The way mom writes her letters. Quick.)

I’ll first share the recipe from the above cookbook from Sandi Good (who also happens to be from Harrisonburg) and then the slightly easier one from my mom. You might find it interesting, as I did, the variation in steps resulting in much the same cake (Mom’s might be a little richer, using butter instead of oil) and calls for nutmeg in addition to cinnamon.

Oatmeal Nut Cake (from Sandi Good)

1 cup quick oats (dry)
1 ¼ cups boiling water
¾ cup white sugar
¾ cup brown sugar, packed*
½ cup oil
2 eggs
1 ½ cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon


2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
4 Tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
3 Tablespoons cream or milk
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

  1. Add boiling water to oats and let stand for 20 minutes. (First dirty bowl)
  2. Mix together sugars, oil, and eggs. (Second dirty bowl) Beat for 5 minutes. Add to oats when oats have softened.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to creamed oats batter.
  4. Pour into greased 9 x 13 in pan. (Third dirty pan) Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
  5. While cake is baking, mix together topping ingredients.
  6. Spread over baked cake while cake is still hot. Return to oven for 10 minutes of until bubbly.

* I had another recipe emergency while throwing this together: not enough brown sugar on hand. I pulled out More with Less Cookbook to find the right ratios for making your own out of dark Karo syrup (or molasses) plus white sugar, which is 1 tablespoon syrup to 1 cup sugar. Emergency averted.


My Mother’s Oatmeal Cake

Note that all of the ingredients for this are mixed in one bowl. No mixer needed. You can even mix the topping in the used cake bowl (maybe rinse out) when the cake is in the oven. Both cakes are very moist. This one uses slightly more sugar.

Oatmeal Cake – from Bertha Miller

Cut 1 stick (1/2 cup) of margarine into pieces in bowl.
Add 1 ¼ cup boiling water
1 cup quick oatmeal

Let stand 20 minutes.


1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten lightly

Mix well by stirring.


1 and 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda

Mix well. Pour into greased 9 x 12 pan.

Bake in moderate oven 35-40 minutes.


While baking, prepare icing:

1 ¼ cup packed brown sugar
6-7 Tablespoons melted margarine
4 Tablespoons milk or cream
1 ¼ cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans or other nuts

Put icing on top of warm cake; put in oven for 10 minutes until bubbly or under broiler for 2 minutes till browned (but not burned).

Either of these cakes are great to take to a summer potluck, reunion, picnic, or cake walk. I like the fact they use a hearty cup of oatmeal and nuts to add more nutritional value than a standard cake. And almost as easy as a box cake, especially my mom’s version. Goes well with ice cream, but what doesn’t?


Do you have a recipe for oatmeal cake? How does it compare?


What are your favorite substitutions?


What makes these Mennonite recipes, besides the fact that I got them from two Mennonite women? I’m not sure, but it helps when people search for things like that. There are lots of duplications online.

Pillsbury calls their’s old fashioned. Another good search term.

Taste of Home likes old fashioned too.

  1. Athanasia permalink

    No, I have never made an oatmeal cake. Might try. I do use broiled icing every so often, usually when I made a “just yolks” cake because I have used up the whites in something else. Instead of bothering with frosting then I just do the broiled icing on the one layer pan.

    Substitutes…hmmm. Well, I make my banana bread with no oil because I just substitute 1/2 cup more of mashed bananas for the 1/2 cup of oil. I have tried it with other recipes too, but some of the children do not like “surprise banana”, like in brownies .

    • You know, oatmeal cake doesn’t sound that good, but it is surprisingly delicious, moist, flavorful, I don’t know how to describe it.

      And I have never heard of the “just yolks” concept–sounds like truly creative. And I understand when kids don’t like surprise banana in brownies. !! Thanks for adding to the ideas here.

      • Athanasia permalink

        Extra yolks left over, like when you make an angel food cake or schaum torte and just use whites. You can cakes with just the yolk. I usually just make a sheet cake. Use 2 yolks in place of 1 whole egg.

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