Appalachia Appalachian Food

Kenneth Roper’s Oatmeal Cake

Kenneth ropers oatmeal cake from appalachia

Kenneth Roper has been telling me about his Oatmeal Cake for ages. A few weeks ago I decided it was time I tried the recipe out myself. The cake was every bit as good as Kenneth said it was.

Here’s what Kenneth told me about the cake-and how he told me to make it:

“When I was about 18 or 19 I worked with David Solesbee at American Thread for a couple of years. At our dinner break, David would have this wonderful cake made by his wife Shelvagine. She sent me a piece of this Oatmeal Cake and I really liked it. So a couple years ago, I called her and asked if she’d give me the recipe. She said “Lordy, I don’t know if I can remember what I did 48 years ago”…but she did.”

Oatmeal cake from appalachia

OATMEAL CAKE by Shelvagine Solesbee

Pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over 1 cup Oatmeal and salt as if it were to be cooked.
Let stand while mixing the following: (if minute oats are used, don’t let stand this long.)

1 1/3 cups self-rising flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon soda

Traditional appalachian oatmeal cake

Mix all ingredients together and add oatmeal. Mix all together, then pour into a 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 about 25 or 30 minutes or till done.

Oatmeal cake from western nc



1 stick of margarine or butter
1 cup brown sugar (I use light brown)
2 tablespoons sweet milk
1 cup or 1 can of coconut
1/2 cup pecans (optional…I used small can of crushed pineapples)

Melt butter and mix all topping ingredients together, adding nuts or pineapples and coconut
last. Pour over cake and put under broiler in oven till top is brown. (Watch real close cause it burns real easily. As soon as I take the cake out to put the topping on, I put the oven on broil.)


Best oatmeal cake

Have you ever had oatmeal cake before? If not, give Kenneth and Shelvagine’s recipe a try I know you’ll be glad you did-YUM! Perfect with a cup of coffee or a tall glass of milk.


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  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    October 22, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    This is a fabulous cake and a family favorite. My recipe is very similar.

  • Reply
    March 29, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    And here I’ve been saying I could get by without replacing my oven…look how wrong I was!

  • Reply
    Beth in Ky
    March 25, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Got this recipe from a southern friend who called it Hurricane Oatmeal Cake. She said they made it before a hurricane was predicted cause it would keep without being in the fridge. Made with the pecans its toasted and crispy right out of the oven. Beth

  • Reply
    March 25, 2014 at 6:41 am

    I’ve never had oatmeal cake before. This recipe sounds a bit of a trouble to make but I am going to give it a try over the Easter break, when I have more free time. I love trying out new recipes.

  • Reply
    Perry Winkler
    March 24, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Put yourself back to 1874 and imagine trying to make this cake. Where do I get coconut, brown sugar, nutmeg or cinnamon? What is self rising flour? Vaniller can be found at the store if you’ve got cash. Can I swap something for it? A nutmeg too but I would have to grate it myownself. Cinnamon is a curly piece of bark. How do I measure a teaspoonful? And ‘lasses would do for brown sugar I suppose. How hot is 350? How long is 25 minutes? The clock is in the front room and I chayn’t stay in there justa watching it. Shortening is lard so that’s not a problem. We git that from the hogs. And eggs are just henberries. We find them everwhar here. Lessen the foxes has eat all the chickens.
    Sody comes from the store and so does soap and salt, but they ain’t asking for no salt here. Nor soap neither! ‘Course soap ain’t for cooking noway! Just for cleanin up afterwerge.
    I think I know Shelvagine. Ain’t she the oldest youngin of Weaver Cochran and Maeberyl DeHart. She’d be a cousin to you and me both, Kenneth, if I ain’t mistaken.

  • Reply
    Darlene LaRoche
    March 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    This cake is delicious, I had received the recipe from a dear friend years ago, she has since left this world, I think of her whenever I made the cake.

  • Reply
    Shelia Nelson
    March 24, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Oh, Oatmeal Cake is deeeelishus! My Sweet Little Momma made it often when I was growing up back in the 60s. She wrote the recipe down for me, but I haven’t thought of it for years. Thanks for the reminder, I’m going home this afternoon to hunt my Momma’s recipe!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    March 24, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    That Oatmeal Cake may be a little bit
    of trouble to make, but it is Good!
    I was surprised to see the receipe
    today, but you’re right in between my
    two daughters, and I’ve never been able
    to figure them out either. Hope Chitter
    and Chatter had a blast at Martin’s
    Creek on Saturday, I couldn’t make it.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    March 24, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    this is one yummy cake — I’ll bet the pineapple is a good addition.

  • Reply
    March 24, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Made this great cake years ago and had forgotten it. Will be baking it again soon and thanks!

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    March 24, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Tipper, I am looking forward to making Kenneth’s Oatmeal cake. I can have one slice and if I can keep Truman out of it we can limit ourselves to one slice a day. maybe just maybe we want gain our weight back. Kenneth Roper I enjoy your comments as well. I enjoy all post.
    Tipper your the Appalachian Queen of these there hills. Oh how I love these mountains and all the good cooks who share with us their recipes and wonderful memories of days gone by.

  • Reply
    Mrs. K
    March 24, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Never have had oatmeal cake, but that’s about to be remedied! Thank you for the recipe.

  • Reply
    Deb Wright
    March 24, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Hi all,
    I made a version of this recipe for my daughters on birthdays. I used apple juice instead of hot water over the oats, and honey for most of the brown sugar, added chopped nuts and or currants. I used cream cheese blended with vanilla for the layer filling and top. I will get that recipe dusted off and put it back in use.

  • Reply
    March 24, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Thanks Kenneth and Tipper. Looks delicious and certain to be another recipe to go into our BP recipe folder!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 24, 2014 at 10:02 am

    and Ken….Asked if I had ever eaten Oatmeal cake?
    Welllll, only “Little Debbies” !
    Sounds like this would be a real healthy cake. You know with the oatmeal, nuts, pineapple, eggs, milk, spices etc.
    It’s mixing all the other stuff in it like the sugars, flour,
    fat and coconut etc…Sure sounds like it would be a winner all mixed up..
    Wonder if one could bake it in a round cake pan. Making several thin layers! Stir up a good cream cheese iceing. Ice between layers and end up with one “Big Little Debbies”…LOL
    I betcha’ Black Walnuts would be good in this cake with all the good sounding spices etc…
    Thanks Tipper and Ken for sharing
    Shelvagines recipe!

  • Reply
    March 24, 2014 at 9:34 am

    I’ve never tried anything like this. It not only looks delicious, it sounds delicious, and now I think I must try making this. It’s healthy eating, right? Thanks for sharing another great recipe!

  • Reply
    Herbal Oma
    March 24, 2014 at 9:24 am

    This sounds yummy. I know what is for dessert tonight. Thanks

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    March 24, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Sounds and looks delicious! And, I think I’ve just gained a pound reading this post about it :o)

  • Reply
    Kerry in GA
    March 24, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I made this cake for my son’s birthday this weekend. I got the recipe out of a Cades Cove book my brother and his wife got me for my birthday. The only thing different was the topping recipe called for 2 egg yolks also. 🙂

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 24, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Yum, printed this one out for today, I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  • Reply
    March 24, 2014 at 8:21 am

    I’ve never had this cake before, but after looking at the pictures of the one you made, I will be trying this recipe soon! Oatmeal cookies are among my favorites and I know I would love this cake.

  • Reply
    Patty Howe
    March 24, 2014 at 8:20 am

    I got this recipe from a woman I worked with in our school kitchen. I have made it for over 20 years. Oh, we are in Kansas. Love the cake and your blog.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike
    March 24, 2014 at 8:02 am

    How can I resist? Shelvagine’s recipe contains every delicious item in the kitchen.
    Don’t FORGET the 04-17 DATE at the Folk School! See you there hopefully!
    Eva Nell

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