Recipes, Photography, Musings

Tinnie’s Fabulous Oatmeal Cake

oatmeal cake with mug

This deliciously classic cake is spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, topped with a rich cream cheese frosting. The oatmeal lends a rich texture, combing old fashioned comfort with satisfying flavor. Because of a wholesome sweetness that tugs at the heartstrings, this cake can easily become a family favorite.

You may wonder why I call this cake Tinnie’s Fabulous Oatmeal Cake. Tinnie is my mother’s name, short for Christine, and for as long as I can remember, she has been making this cake for her children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. This cake is well loved by many in our family, and the wonderful aroma of it delivers me right back to her kitchen, with childhood memories of standing at the counter waiting for her to finish frosting the cake so I could dip my finger in the bowl and savor what was left.

oatmeal cake with daffodils

I have been wanting to do a post about this cake for awhile, and now seems like the perfect time. With many of us staying at home during these quarantine days, there is more time for baking. And with the uncertainty of the pandemic whirling around, there is a need for comfort among us. This cake is comforting and very easy to make, with basic ingredients, many of which you may already have on hand. And while it can be made as a layer cake, it works just as well as a single layer in a 9 x 13 pan.

oatmeal cake

Recently, my cousin, who now lives in England, was talking with mom on the phone, and inevitably the topic of her legendary oatmeal cake came up. My cousin had been planning to come back to Michigan for a visit this spring, but is now unable to, due to the lockdowns and travel bans. Although she dearly loves her life in England, she misses her family and is longing for a visit, but doesn’t know when that will be possible. So she decided to make an oatmeal cake to give herself a little taste of home.

girl eating cake with fork

The recipe below comes from my mom, and it is recorded in a well-used book of collected recipes by the Dexter Child Study Club from the 1970s. She’s been making it for so long that she doesn’t remember where she got it originally. This oatmeal cake is a balm for a turbulent soul and definite crowd-pleaser for sure.

Stay well and stay safe!

cake batter

Tinnie's Fabulous Oatmeal Cake

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Ingredients for the cake:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups of boiling water
  • 1 cup of quick cooking oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 and 1/3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 baking pan. Heat some water in a kettle. Once it starts to boil, measure out 1 and 1/4 cups in a glass measuring cup. In a small saucepan, add the butter and oats. Then pour the measured boiling water into the pan and cover. Let it stand for 20 minutes. In the meantime, in a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. After the 20 minutes are up, carefully spoon the butter/oats mixture into a medium bowl. To that bowl, add the sugars and eggs. Stir to combine. Then beat for a couple minutes, until creamy. Add the dry ingredients and beat again, until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared 9 x 13 baking pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set the cake pan on a wire rack to cool.

Ingredients for the cream cheese frosting:

  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (half a stick)
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups of confectioners sugar


In a large bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese. Beat them together until creamy. Gradually add the confectioners sugar, beating after each addition, until you reach the desired consistency. Once the frosting is to your liking and the cake is cool, frost the cake with a knife or spatula. Slice and enjoy!

crocus in sun


  1. sandys

    my mom use to make one – but after she passed away somehow her recipes got lost through the years. I’m going to try this – it looks delicious,, thanks.

    • Jenny

      Thank you Sandy, if you make this recipe, I hope it reminds you of your mom’s cake! 🙂

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