Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:


    9-by-13 inch Cake

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It may sound devilish, but this cake—which is like a dense banana bread with the flavor of a really good oatmeal chocolate chip cookie—is perfect for breakfast. It is like coffee cake for the cookie enthusiast. Of course, it is also ideal for either an afternoon or a midnight snack, but it was conceived as a breakfast treat. The original recipe was buried deep within a Time-Life cookbook, and it revealed a split personality: Half the cake felt like an ambrosia, while the other half felt like a fancy coffee-klatch dessert. It was the South (ambrosia) meets North (coffee klatch) aspect of the dessert that originally caught my eye, and I have been making it ever since. Though I am hesitant to mention it, the delicious cream cheese frosting is not necessary if you are attempting a strict coffee cake interpretation. If you are serving it as an afternoon snack, however, the frosting adds a sweet little sugar rush.

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For the Cake

  • 8 ounces chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon bourbon, Scotch, or favorite liquor
  • cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoons cinnamon

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Make the Cake

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and position the rack in the center. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-by-13-inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Heat 1¼ cups water to boiling.

Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and toss them with the bourbon until covered. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the flour over the chips and toss until coated. This will keep them from settling at the bottom during baking. Set aside.

Place the oats and cubed butter in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over the oat mixture, wait 30 seconds, and stir to moisten all the oats and melt the butter. Set the mixture aside for 25 to 30 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, both sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon until combined. Fold in the cooled oatmeal and stir until well combined. Gently fold in the remaining flour and then the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.

Make the Cream Cheese Frosting

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is completely smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.

Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (The frosting can be made 1 day ahead. Let it soften at room temperature before using.)

Assemble the Cake

Spread a thin, even layer of frosting over the cooled cake. Chill it for 15 minutes so that it can set. Slice and serve. The frosted cake can be kept, refrigerated and tightly covered, for up to 3 days. Bring the cake back to room temperature before serving. (An unfrosted one will keep for 3 days, tightly covered, at room temperature.)