Gluten-free Oatmeal Cake {gluten-free with vegan option}

Looking for a nutritious way to start (or end) your day? This Gluten-free Oatmeal Cake is a super easy recipe that's loaded with whole grains and lots of flavors and can be easily made vegan too.

It's a healthy treat that your whole family is sure to love!

gluten free oatmeal cake with berries in a white baking pan

Breakfast is a tough meal of the day for families on the go who are trying to be healthy.  It's easy to lean on convenience foods so that everyone can grab something fast when they're headed out the door, and that can mean some not so good decisions, you know?

Breakfast When I Was Growing Up

When I was little, we had a lot of those "not so good for you" type breakfasts.

Some of the breakfast "foods" that I remember us having were:

Thomas'® English Muffins
Thomas' Corn Toast-R-Cakes®
Homemade Cinnamon Toast (made with margarine and white bread and granulated white sugar--yikes!)
Ka-Boom® Cereal (my sister's favorite)
Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Life Cereal
Cream of Wheat

Get the idea :)?

Now that I've woken up to how important it is to have real food, things have changed. Oh how they have changed.

soaking oats for baked oatmeal cake
Stir the oats to prepare them for soaking.

A Healthier Breakfast Option

We're basically an "all whole foods" family now, so things have changed.

Truth is, we are a little unconventional around here and have been known to have some unusual breakfasts. Like this Chocolate Chia Pudding, this Bean Fudge, or Homemade Protein Bars or Almond Joy® Bars for breakfast. Actually those Almond Joy Bars are amazing for breakfast--tons of healthy fats to get you going and keep you satisfied.

The way I see it - if it's healthy, you can have it for breakfast, right?  Even if it's fudge.

Why not last dinner's leftovers, in fact?

This Oatmeal Cake Recipe is, of course, a little more of a conventional breakfast food.

The Origin of this Cake

Our Baked Oatmeal Cake obsession all started when our dear friend, Beckie, shared some baked oatmeal with us at her home one night after a homeschooling family gathering.  I'd heard of baked oatmeal, but had never made it nor tried it.

Well, my kids gobbled it up and....when gobbling like that happens, I go on a mission. This time on a quest for the best Baked Oatmeal recipe that I could find.

I came home with Becky's recipe in hand and poked around on the internet a bit. I found a few recipes that intrigued me, but I ended up making a combination of my friend's recipe and this one from Baked Bree.

The resulting success story is what you see pictured above.

A Kitchen Mistake Gone Right

The funny thing about this recipe is it basically was a mistake.  Remember I mentioned that Becky's recipe for baked oatmeal?

Well, this recipe became a "cake" by mistake.

I knew it was important to soak grains (especially oats) and so when I set out to try out my version of the cake, I set the oats out to soak overnight.

The next day ended up being a flurry of too many things to do and so I didn't get around to baking the cake until about 24 hours later.  The result? A delicious not-too-sweet-at-all cake that is so light, you won't believe that it is made from whole rolled oats.

In fact, when I took the 24-hour-soaked version over to Becky's house for her to try, she said, "You added flour to this, didn't you?"

Nope--the oats just turned out that way.  Amazing.  See how much soaking your grains can change the grains themselves?

Side note--for another "mistake turned family favorite, see my post on Chaat Masala.)

You could definitely make this dish the Baked Oatmeal Way, but I will most likely work on that to perfect it into another recipe.

But if you like experimenting, for a more Baked Oatmeal-ish recipe, simply soak the oats overnight only. Or you could simply not soak them at all. The top will be more like a cake, but the bottom of the dish will be more dense and like thick oatmeal on the bottom.

Either way--oatmeal yumminess.

Soaked oats in a bowl and berries and walnuts on a plate
Layer nuts and fruit in the bottom of the baking dish.

The photos in this post are of the "soaked for 24 hour" option.

Baked oatmeal cake topped with berries and walnuts in a white baking pan
Oatmeal Cake ready to go in the oven.

Don't know about soaking grains?  I never had heard of this until a few years ago and I didn't really understand.  The basic reason is that grains (and especially oats) contain phytic acid and other anti-nutrients that make digestion difficult.  You can read more about this in my post on how and why to soak grains.

We like this recipe both ways, but I personally think the cake version is a bit nicer.

If you try it both ways, I would love to hear what you think!

Either way, this cake tastes special--especially topped with whipped cream, coconut whipped cream, or yogurt--and lots of fruit.

Won't the Cake Spoil If It's Left Out Overnight?

I get this question often.

The answer is no, it won't, if you are using an acidic medium (like cultured milk, whey, or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice).

If you are using regular dairy, then you MUST use an acidic medium to prevent spoilage. If you are not using dairy, you should be able to soak the mixture on the counter overnight with no problem.

vegan oatmeal cake with berries on top in white pan with spatula

Recipe Notes

  • Topping Options: I make this regularly with walnuts and dried apples from our dehydrator. So many combinations are possible. Bananas and walnuts, fresh apples and pecans. For the cake in these photos we used berries and walnuts. We even once just blended shredded coconut (about 1/3 cup) into the batter and sprinkled both cinnamon sugar and extra coconut on top.  Mmmmmm......
  • Milk Options: Use any type of milk you prefer.  I recommend healthy raw milk if you use dairy.  Otherwise, any non-dairy alternative will work great like Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, or Rice Milk, etc.  Here is a great organic store-bought coconut milk.
  • Bake In Bulk: As with any tried and true recipe, I recommend Baking in Bulk to save time and money. I've made the mistake of baking new recipes in bulk before (and then I end up with way too much of something we may not like). But now I'm getting better at "new recipe restraint" and so now I just bulk bake with the recipes that we love.  I typically mix up and soak 4 batches of this cake at time. Make a bunch and freeze for on-the-go breakfasts or snacks anytime you need them.
  • Gluten-free Oats: If necessary, use gluten-free oats. Here is a great brand. I've heard that the GF Harvest Company's oats are very reliably gluten-free and they test for glyphosate too!
  • Oil / Fat Options: You can use any other healthy fat for the coconut oil, or use applesauce for a fat-free / Trim Healthy Mama (THM:E) menu option.
  • Sweetener Options: Although xylitol is a good candida-friendly sweetener, organic erythritol is as well. Or sub a liquid sweetener using my guidelines in Substituting Sweeteners. You can use an additional 1/3 cup of a healthy granulated sweetener instead of stevia. If using stevia, here is a great brand of stevia scoops. Also, see How to Use Stevia for some tips on stevia.
  • Egg Alternatives: This is the egg substitute we used for years. See my Powdered Egg Substitute for a homemade option. This cake turns out great with either option.
  • Baking Powder Option: If you would like to make your own baking powder, or need a corn-free or grain-free option, see this Grain-free Baking Powder.
  • Cinnamon Sugar Substitute: See this Healthier Cinnamon Sugar for a homemade cinnamon sugar alternative.
  • Soaking Notes - as you can see in my post on soaking grains, typically an acidic medium is recommended, but there are mixed thoughts on this. You may add the apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to the oats before soaking but you will end up with a slightly acidic taste to the oats.
pieces of gluten-free oatmeal cake with coconut yogurt and berries on top

Other Healthy Baked Goods to Try:

If you're a fan of whole grain baking, here are some other recipes that you might enjoy.

gluten free oatmeal cake with berries in a white baking pan

Baked Oatmeal (or Oatmeal Cake) (gluten-free with vegan and sugar-free options)

This Gluten-free Oatmeal Cake is so simple and healthy, you'll love how easy it is to make and your family will love the hearty, not-too-sweet taste.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, THM:S, Vegan
Keyword: gluten-free oatmeal cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Soaking Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 55 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 435kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 4 cups coconut milk (see Recipe Notes for alternatives)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (optional) or lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar (or other sweetener as desired)
  • 3/32 teaspoon stevia extract (or other sweetener as desired--see Recipe Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs (or egg substitute--see Recipe Notes)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup nuts (optional)
  • 1 cup fresh or dried fruit (optional)
  • cinnamon "sugar" (optional - for topping--see my post on Healthier Cinnamon "Sugar")

Instructions

  • Mix oats, milk, and sweetener(s) in a large bowl. Combine well.
  • If soaking to remove phytates, add acid medium (apple cider vinegar or lemon juice).
  • Soak either overnight (for a more baked oatmeal-type dish) or for at least 24 hours (for an Oatmeal Cake) at room temperature. Make sure to read the instructions about How to Soak Grains.
  • Add remaining ingredients, saving baking powder and egg substitute (if using) until last.
  • Mix well.
  • If using nuts and/or dried or fresh fruit, put half of the nuts and fruit in the bottom of a greased 8x8 square baking dish.
  • Pour the batter onto the nuts and fruit (or directly into the prepared dish if not using the nuts and fruit).
  • Top with the remaining nuts and/or fruit if desired.
  • Top with cinnamon sugar if desired.
  • Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the middle of the cake is set.
  • Serve either warm, with additional cinnamon sugar, nuts, fruit and milk, whipped cream or yogurt. Alternatively, eat at room temperature like a regular cake.
  • Store in the refrigerator in a closed container or freeze for a longer shelf life.

Nutrition

Calories: 435kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 289mg | Potassium: 477mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 5.2mg | Net Carbs: 19g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

Note: This post was originally published on 12/22/11. It was republished on 6/1/19 with updated information and images. Following is the original image for reference.

Baked oatmeal cake in a white bowl

I'd love to hear how you like this Baked Oatmeal Cake once you've tried it!

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237 Comments

  1. I am new with soaking oats but when I have soaked, I have always drained and rinse before using. Do I drain and rinse the oats after soaking? I am guessing not because there would be no liquid in the recipe but I just want to make sure I am not missing something. Thank - Karen

    1. Just use them as is :). I don't think you need to drain your soaked grains - the phytates should be neutralized. But I now use 1/10 buckwheat flour w/ my oat to add phytase to the mix. Hope that helps.

  2. Have made this "baked oatmeal" several times, with several fruit/nut combinations. I have to say...it's amazing! Amazingly easy, amazingly yummy, amazingly nutritious, amazingly frugal... And it's portable! I share this recipe on "recipe chains" and even give it to people who don't like oatmeal. Everyone loves oatmeal cookies, and this is like a giant, soft, gooey oatmeal cookie (well, sorta!)

    Anyway, thank you for the great recipe(s) and tips. What a blessing as our family embarks on soaking, whole foods, herbals, unprocessed, wholesome life changes.

  3. I made this yesterday, and we really liked it. I skipped the cinnamon and sugar because I used 3/4 C homemade apple butter. I also used pumpkin seats and room temp eggs from our hens. It was super yummy!
    Next time I'll use pecans from our trees (I hate shelling those!) and perhaps some dried cranberries. Thank you for the great "soaked" recipes!

  4. I love baking in bulk. I am wondering about this one though. You say you soak 4 batches. If I was to use eggs and things that do not last long I could not do this in bulk if I didn't want to eat it every day, right? Even then - I would be afraid of this sitting in the fridge for several days. Do you cook all 4? Freeze something? How do you do this in bulk? Sorry for my ignorance.

  5. I was just wondering if you soak them in the fridge. I don't have a lot of experience in soaking (just almonds in water). Thank you!

    1. You should soak at room temp so the grain has more of an effect. The warmth helps. :). Did you see the free soaked grain book for subscribers in my sidebar? You might enjoy it!

      1. Thanks. But what if you are using raw milk as mentioned at the bottom of your recipe? Just curious... πŸ™‚

        One other question, I'm in Guatemala and the oatmeal doesn't say if it is "quick" or "rolled". Directions say it has to cook for 5 minutes, then sit for 5 minutes, so would you think it's "rolled" and could be used in this recipe? Thanks!!

        1. Are you worried about spoilage? I really can't be "on the hook" for that. I just know that soaking is typically done at room temp :). Quick oats usually take about 5 minutes so that sounds like you have quick oats :). The situation with the dairy is that it is culturing so it should be making good bacteria. Of course, don't leave it out for 10 days. :).

            1. I've never tried it but I just read somewhere that you could do that but the texture will be more mushy. So I guess try it and see :).

  6. I can't wait to try this recipe - I am avoiding grains completely right now but in about two-three months I'll be able to add them back in, and this sounds like a perfect recipe to try! I used to love oatmeal, but I've never tried it baked! Yummy!

  7. Hi, I'm sorry if this has already been asked, but have you ever tried this with a flax/chia egg substitute? Do you think it would work if you haven't? Thanks so much! πŸ™‚

    1. I don't think I have but I think it would work. it just might not get as much leavening. Let me know if you try it!

  8. Adrienne, I made your cake this morning. It turned out super yummy! For me it resembles bread pudding... you know the cake you make with leftover bread. We loved it!! It's dry enough that you can cut it up and eat without a fork.

    I used homemade coconut milk, regular sugar and cranberries. I loved that it is not overly sweet.

    I wonder how it would turn out if I put chocolate chips in it or whole cranberries and apples?? Hummm... we will try that next.

  9. This came out gummy! I let the oats soak over 24 hours. It is not like cake or baked oatmeal I've ever had! I have tried it twice with the same results. I believe I followed the recipe exactly. For milk I used rice milk. It smells good, but no one will eat it. And, I quadrupled the recipe. πŸ™

  10. Hello Hun
    Thank you for this recipie, I am gonna try it out tomm. I was wondering can I use steel cut oats? Would I have to soak them longer? Would the result be the same? Also, how do I use quinoa seeds? Could they be added to sweet recipies as such? And would it be a bad idea to add fresh apples to this or they are best dehydrated?
    Thank you πŸ™‚

    1. Hmmm..I'm not sure about the steel coats. I have never tried it but for sure the texture will be different. I have never used quinoa seeds so I can't speak to that...I have never heard of those being used in baking.....what have you done with them? I think fresh apples would work just great. One of the recipes I looked at to make this one used fresh fruit. I just found a recipe for baked oatmeal using steel cut oats. I am thinking you should try it....It will probably be a lot more like oatmeal. Check back in and let me know how it goes!

  11. Thank you so much for your thorough reply! I made this today and O.M.G. *drool* It's almost all gone between me, my DH, my six-year old and my 1.5 year old. (Okay, it's mostly me, though my older son would have kept up with me had I let him.)

    My oldest has fructose malabsorption, so I struggle with what to feed him. I'm hoping to "cure" him by healing his gut, but I'm flailing a bit in how to do that, exactly. Not sure we're up for GAPS. If he could swallow pills I'd have a lot more options!

    I also want to thank you for the work you do. I really enjoy your website. Your compassion comes through in how you respond to your readers. Thank you!

    1. Thanks, Kay. I am so glad you enjoyed it!!! Fructose malabsorption - wow. How do you manage that? No fruit I assume - and what else? I have contemplated GAPS as well and SCD. Not sure what we will do next. I am better than I used to be but I wonder about the next step. I am very happy w the Nutritional Balancing that I am doing but sometimes I wonder as well about that.

      You could get a mortar and pestle for your son. That's what I did w/ mine until he could swallow pills. I should write a post on getting kids to take supplements. If you need help before then, let me know.

      I am trying hard to balance everything, but it's hard. I really appreciate your kind words :-). Hope to see you around again.

  12. I'm a bit confused by the recipe. In step one, you say "Mix oats, milk, (except eggs, if using) and sweeteners in a large bowl." What do you mean about the eggs? Aren't you supposed to soak the oats with just the milk & sweeteners?

    Also, the title says "sugar-free options," but in the recipe you list sugar and then stevia. Do you mean JUST sugar or stevia, or both? If it's both, what's the sugar-free option?

    Thanks! This looks super yum & I'm trying to come up with more ideas for breakfast around here. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Kay. Sorry for the confusion. I will try to clarify. What I meant is yes, you don't soak with the eggs. I think I wrote that meaning you don't need to add the liquid from the egg replacer. You are right - it's confusing so I'll change it.

      About the sweetener, I have a hard time w/ my recipes b/c I use things like xylitol and erythritol or vegetable glycerine to make my recipes sugar free. Others consider sugar free to be something made with honey. I am going to have to work on this. Some of my readers aren't ready to go completely free of sweeteners that don't feed candida or raise their glycemic index. I personally have gone off all of those sweeteners. So....I guess I should say, "ACD friendly" instead of sugar free.

      Then, someone could use xylitol or erythritol for an ACD friendly recipe. The only other sweetener that I am at all comfortable w/ that doesn't feed candida is yacon and it is very expensive.

      Thanks for alerting me and I so hope you like it!!! And let me know if it's still confusing!

  13. I tried this recipe, and my daughter and I loved it. We added some apple cider vinegar to the soaking mixture, which gave it a good buttermilk taste. I let it soak for almost 24 hours, though, and it definitely still came out oatmeal, not cake.

    1. Hi Allison! Love your recipes!! I'm not sure what happened. Mine always comes out like cake - but occasionally the center is a little moist. Maybe try is again w/o the vinegar? I think sometimes I measure wrong and that's why it ends up a little gooey in the inside.??? The other thing is that adding 1/10 ground buckwheat helps b/c it has phytase in it. But I've made it w/o that numerous times w/ no issues. Hope that helps!!

  14. Just wondering, with this recipe, do you soak the oatmeal and coconut milk along with lemon juice. From what I understand, there should be some sort of acid to help break it down to become more easily digested.
    Can you please clarify?

    1. There's a lot of new info coming out about soaking. Really the acid might not be needed at all. I do think subbing in about 1/10 of the oats with buckwheat or wheat is a good idea. I use buckwheat since we are gluten free. I hope to post on the new soaking info soon.

  15. Hi Adrienne, I subscribe to your blog, but just came across this recipe last night. I'm new to soaking grains and have several questions. If not steel cut oats, which ones do you use? I assume it's the "regular", not quick cooking oats (we buy the "regular" oats in bulk, organic). I assume you soak the oats in the fridge because of the milk? When I soak (other) grains in water, I usually leave them out on the counter. (Side note: I live in a humid climate, not sure if I should continue to leave them out, even in water in summer...) . Thanks!!

    1. Hi Katja. I used regular oats, actually ones that I've flaked myself, but you can use ones you've bought. You are supposed to soak at room temp regardless of the milk. I use dairy alternative. There is some new evidence that soaking in dairy actually inhibits the reduction of the phytic acid. So.....you can choose to do what you wish. But I have read numerous recipes calling for soaking grains in milk at room temperature. That being said, my son has a life threatening allergy to dairy so I don't soak in cow or goat milk here. Enjoy!

  16. I'll be looking forward to that post. The whole thing is really quite complicated, especially when GF/DF. I've already started the soak, so should I add some buckwheat flour to the mix (but then I'd have to grind it, and I was hoping to be done in the kitchen for tonight), or do you think the plain water would be okay? I was making half the recipe to try out the water thing, so I used 2 cups oats and 2 cups water. I had been previously using homemade rice milk, just with water and brown rice. Would it really be that different?

    1. I'd just let it go for tonight - no sense getting stressed out about it. Just do the buckwheat thing next time. I am not clear what you are asking by "Would it really be that different?"