Family Recipe: Grandma LeGrand’s Oatmeal Cake

Today is my mom’s birthday, so we spent the weekend at my parents’ house and had a wonderful celebration for a wonderful woman.  The whole family was together – Mom, Dad, Me, Tim, our dog Josie, Ryan (my brother), Jill (his wife), and their dog Murphy.  Incidentally, it was also Grandma and Grandpa Pulver’s 60th wedding anniversary, so we had a lot to celebrate!

Of course I decided to cook my mom a fabulous birthday feast.  We had this amazing penne dish with roasted vegetables and turkey sausage, which I’ll post later.  While I was planning the menu for Mom’s birthday meal, I asked her what kind of cake she would want.  I threw out several options: chocolate, cheese, lemon, fruit, red velvet, peanut butter, spice, carrot, and several others.  I thought I had all of the bases covered, but what she came back with was, “my mom always used to make me oatmeal cake.”  So, oatmeal cake it was!  I’m so excited to share this family recipe with you.  This cake is made entirely from scratch, but it’s pretty simple.  My sister-in-law, Jill, and I made it for my mom, and I must say we were very successful in our first attempt, because it was freaking delicious!  (Shout out to Jill for her sous chef skills!  She was totally getting into it, adding commentary and everything, knowing I was going to post it on my blog.)  I stayed pretty true to Grandma’s recipe, except I used half white flour and half wheat flour.  The cake was moist and flavorful, with just a hint of cinnamon, while the nutty topping was the perfect crispy texture to compliment the cake.  Normally, I’m a chocolate dessert kinda gal, but I have to say, this was worth every calorie.  Everyone loved it, and I’m not naming any names, but some people went back for seconds.  I think Grandma would be proud. 🙂

Grandma LeGrand’s Oatmeal Cake

Ingredients (for cake):

  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (can use half white and half wheat)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

(For topping):

  • 6 T butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup ground/finely chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour 1 1/2 cups of boiling water over 1/2 cup of quick cooking oats.  Stir and let stand for 15-20 minutes.  Cream together shortening and sugars, and then beat in the eggs one at a time.  In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Slowly add about 1/3 of the flour mixture into the cake batter, then 1/3 of the oatmeal, and repeat until all of the ingredients are incorporated.  Stir in 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.  Bake for 35 minutes.

After you take the cake out, turn on your broiler.  Set the cake on a rack to cool a bit while you make the topping.  Mix together the butter, powdered sugar, coconut, and nuts.  Spread over warm cake and put under the broiler, but be careful!  Keep the door cracked to let some of the heat out and keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn.  It will only take a couple of minutes for the topping to brown.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

P.S.  This is not how you mix shortening.  Couldn’t do it again if I tried!

Just a fun family photo from today’s festivities…if you’ve read this far down!  Notice Mom’s new Kindle Fire – props to Dad for getting her such a great gift!

13 thoughts on “Family Recipe: Grandma LeGrand’s Oatmeal Cake

  1. What a wonderful tribute to mom, she taught us all so much….I miss her! The lunch and cake were wonderfully scrumptious and although I wasn’t allowed in the kitchen it sounded like they were having lots of fun creating it. I had a perfectly wonderful birthday, thanks to my awesome family!!! I can hardly wait till my next birthday!

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