Coconuts About You—Caramel-Topped Oatmeal Cake


My Caramel-Topped Oatmeal Cake will make you go coconuts!

Welcome to Day 4 of VeganMoFo 2019. I’m so excited to share today’s recipe with you because it is a cake full of memories for me. This was the cake my mom made for us when I was a kid, not for birthdays, but the “I love you and decided to make a cake today” cake. You know, the one that you find on the counter on Saturday afternoon after you’ve been playing outside all morning? It was also the cake Mom made when we went to the beach and on EVERY camping trip as it traveled well in the 9×13 pan it was baked in, plus it didn’t have frosting that would melt in the heat, so it stayed nice without refrigeration.

Caramel-Topped Oatmeal Cake was not a whole food, plant-based, oil-free vegan cake, however. The version of my childhood was full of eggs, margarine, and cream. But with a little imagination and substitution, I’ve veganized this old recipe from the family recipe card file and brought a little bit of my childhood back into my life. And it’s soooo good, maybe even better than when I was a kid! You’re going to want to make this cake, trust me!

The base of this cake is really an oatmeal spice cake. You start by preparing some instant oats with boiling water. We don’t generally eat instant oats as they are more refined than old-fashioned or steel cut, but I do have them in our pantry for making Alan’s instant oatmeal mix that he takes with him when he travels for work. The oatmeal keeps this cake really moist.

Pour the boiling water over the instant oats, stir, and let them hydrate for 20 minutes.

Next you’ll need to make a flax egg. The original recipe called for two eggs, so this is a double flax egg. Flax is a wonderful whole food egg replacer, along with banana and silken tofu. To make a flax egg, you simply add water to ground flax and whisk it until it’s frothy. I like to let mine sit for a bit so it gets well hydrated. So do this while you’re waiting for the oatmeal to finish it’s 20 minute rest.

Flax egg made with ground flax and water is a great whole food egg replacer.

Next you’ll cream the applesauce and sugars. The applesauce substitutes for margarine in the original recipe. I could have used pumpkin or sweet potato puree, but because it is a spice cake, applesauce just seemed like the perfect pairing. Cream these just like you would margarine and sugar.

Cream the applesauce and sugar just as you would margarine or butter and sugars.

Next add the flax egg and prepared oatmeal to the creamed sugars and mix thoroughly.

Combine the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a separate bowl before gradually adding them to the wet ingredients and beating well. Pour the batter into a 9×13 pan lined with parchment paper. The parchment eliminates the need to oil the pan and also makes it easy to later lift the entire cake out and place onto a platter or tray for cutting and serving, if desired.

Cake batter in parchment-prepared pan.

Bake at 350˚F for 30-40 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Just before the cake is done, make your topping by combining shredded coconut, chopped nuts, brown sugar, coconut cream, and melted coconut butter. Coconut butter is a better alternative to margarine or coconut oil because it is less refined, still containing the fiber from the coconut. You can make your own coconut butter just like making peanut or other nut butters by processing the coconut until it’s smooth and creamy. The coconut butter solidifies after it’s made, so simply melt it in a saucepan or in the microwave before mixing into the topping.

Topping ingredients.

As soon as your cake is done, pull it out of the oven, turn on the broiler, and evenly spread the mixed topping all over the cake. Pop the cake under the broiler for 2-3 minutes for the magic to happen—that topping mix caramelizes and the coconut and nuts get all toasty.

Carmelized topping after broiling.

Let the cake cool before slicing and serving.

Caramel-Topped Oatmeal Cake will make you go coconuts!

Enjoy!  The cake is moist and spiced from the cinnamon with just a hint of apple while the topping is crunchy, sweet, and caramell-y. It’s really a perfect bite. It’s just so dang good, no one would ever guess it’s been veganized. And take a hint from mom, it travels great, so take it along on your next picnic, potluck, or vacation and share it with others.

And take a hint from childhood me…it’s really good for breakfast! It has oatmeal in it, c’mon!

Don’t forget my new giveaway in celebration of VeganMoFo 2019!

Fast & Easy Vegan Cookbook Giveaway

I’ll draw one winner August 21, 2019 for JL Fields’ new , before you can even buy it online or in stores!

You want this cookbook! It brings a new selection of fresh meals to your table, pronto! From one-pot to pressure cooker, choose your favorite cooking method―without being held hostage for hours in your kitchen. It includes 100 quick and tasty vegan recipes, plus tips for ingredient substitution and other easy customizations, and handy labels for gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free, or soy-free diets.

So hurry and enter by August 20th. Open to U.S. residents only.

JL Fields Fast and Easy Cookbook Giveaway

You can also pre-order the book or order it after the contest is over on Amazon.

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5 from 3 votes

Caramel-Topped Oatmeal Cake

This moist spice cake with it's crunchy, sweet, and caramell-y topping will knock your socks off! It's just so dang good, no one will ever guess it's vegan. And it travels great, too, so take it along on your next picnic, potluck, or vacation and share it with others.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Camping, Kids, Party, Soy-Free
Keyword coconut, oatmeal
Servings 16
Author Cindy Thompson, MS, NBC-HWC | Trimazing! Health & Lifestyle Coaching



  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • 1 cup Instant (quick) oats
  • 5 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt


  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup chopped nuts pecans, walnuts, almonds, your choice, or more coconut for nut-free
  • ½ cup brown sugar well-packed
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut butter


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.


  • Pour boiling water over oats and let stand 20 minutes.
  • Mix the ground flax seeds in water to make a "flax egg."
  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream applesauce, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.
  • Add prepared "flax egg," vanilla, and oat mixture, mixing until well-blended.
  • In another bowl, sift together flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add gradually to wet ingredients and beat until well-blended.
  • Bake in a 350°F oven for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


  • Right before cake is finished baking, mix together the topping ingredients.
  • When cake is done, remove from the oven and spread on topping.
  • Turn on oven broiler and return topped cake to oven for 2-3 minutes or until the topping bubbles and browns. Let cool and then serve.

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