Recipe Revamping: Oatmeal Crumb Cake

“But it’s a craving….”

When I was pregnant, I never craved the unusual combinations like pickles and ice cream. I always craved one type of food. So, with my oldest I couldn’t eat enough whole grain bread, which was odd because I tended to prefer rice to bread as a norm – probably the Asian influence. With my middle child, I wanted vegetables all the time – fresh, cooked – how didn’t matter, but quantity did. My youngest seemed to want protein, chicken in particular, which struck me as ironic since with my middle child, I couldn’t eat chicken without feeling sick.

It’s been years since I’ve been pregnant, but I find that from time to time my body will crave something for days, and I usually take it to mean that I’m missing some nutrient or vitamin that my body needs.

Last week I wanted oatmeal. I couldn’t stop thinking about oatmeal, but I really wasn’t in the mood for eating a straight bowl of oatmeal. The weather was nice and sunny, and oatmeal for breakfast has always struck me as a cold weather food.

I started looking around for an oatmeal cake, but I discovered that most oatmeal cake recipes don’t actually have a lot of oatmeal in them, and the oatmeal cake recipes I found seemed to call for a lot of sugar, butter, and eggs. So, I set to work revamping a recipe….

Original Recipe:

Cake:  1 1/2 cups butter, 2 cups sugar, 4 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking soda

Crumb topping:  2 cups flour, 3/4 cup light-brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups butter

Revamping the Recipe:

  • The oatmeal/flour ratio and substitution: Since I wanted a cake which had a lot of the goodness of the oats, the first thing I did was swap the oats to flour ratio. I opted to use 2 1/2 cups of gluten free rolled oats with 1 1/2 cups of gluten free sorghum flour. For the topping, I added 2 cups of gluten free oats to the recipe and cut the flour down to 1 cup of gluten free sorghum flour.
  • The butter: 3 cups of butter is just nuts! I decided to use 1/2 cup of vegan butter in the cake and added 2 1/2 cups of mashed, ripe bananas instead to help make the cake moist without all the fat. (You won’t taste the bananas in the cake, which was good for me because my middle child doesn’t like bananas but loved this cake!) For the topping I cut the butter to 1/2 cups of vegan butter, so that overall the new recipe had 1/3 the butter of the original.
  • The eggs:  4 whole eggs seemed a bit much so I decided to use only 2 eggs, but I added 1/2 cup of a homemade buttermilk (1/2 cup soy milk plus 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice) to keep my liquid amounts the same and to keep the protein I’d be losing from the extra eggs.
  • The sugar: Since I don’t use refined sugar, I swapped out coconut sugar for the refined sugar and cut the amounts, using only 1 cup of coconut sugar in the cake and 1 cup in the topping.
  • The spices: The cake didn’t call for any flavoring other than salt and vanilla. I cut the salt in half to 1/2 tsp, increased the vanilla to 1 tbsp, and added 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp ginger. For the topping, I increased the cinnamon to 1 tsp.
  • The pan:  The original recipe called for baking the cake in a 9 x 13 pan.  I opted to use a 11 x 15 pan to increase the ratio of cake to crumb topping.

The results were wonderful. Everyone who tried the cake loved it, and my children decided it was their new breakfast choice and have asked me already if I can make it again, now that they’ve finished off the original. The complete recipe is below for anyone who wants to try it.

Oatmeal Crumb Cake


1/2 cup vegan butter

1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas

1 cup coconut sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup soy (or other milk) plus 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

2 cups mashed ripe bananas

1 tbsp vanilla

1 1/2 cup sorghum flour

2 1/2 cups gluten free rolled whole oats

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

2 tsp baking soda

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup sorghum flour

1 cup coconut sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup vegan butter

Baking Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and either grease or line a 11 x 15 pan with parchment paper.
  2. Blend the butter with the 1/2 cup of banana and coconut sugar; then add the eggs, milk with lemon juice, rest of the banana and vanilla.
  3. Combine the flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, and baking soda.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Combine the oats, flour, coconut sugar and cinnamon. Using a pastry knife cut the butter into the dry mixture until all the butter is incorporated and crumbly clumps are formed.
  6. Evenly distribute the topping over the cake.
  7. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden brown. The cake would have puffed and will be firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean.
  8. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Keeps well on the counter top for days.



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