Make Ahead

Maple Oatmeal Princess Coffee Cake

April 16, 2012
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Makes one 8-inch square pan, or 8 to 9 servings
Author Notes

This is a riff on the Oatmeal Coconut Princess Coffee Cake from Jim and Patty's, a local coffee shop. It's a moist, tender, decadent coffee cake with a somewhat gooey coconut pecan topping. I wasn't able to perfect it in time for the maple contest, but now I think I've got it! I used a recipe for Coconut-Topped Oatmeal Cake I found online from Taste of Home as my starting point. I slightly prefer the mace to the nutmeg, but both work well with the maple flavor. I prefer the texture of sweetened shredded coconut in the recipe, but if you can't find it, sweetened flaked will work. The recipe can be doubled and baked in a 13- by 9-inch pan if desired. —hardlikearmour

Test Kitchen Notes

Every cook should have a great cake recipe like this in their arsenal. I loved the fact that this cake is easy to make, can be prepared with pantry ingredients, and is perfect for a bake sale, coffee with friends, or just for snacking on during the afternoon. Despite having only a moderate amount of fat, it has a delicious, moist crumb. The oats, maple syrup, and spices add warm flavors, but the crowning touch is the glaze: an addictive mix of more maple syrup, butter, coconut, and pecans that can be assembled while the cake bakes. All of my tasters gave this delicious cake very high marks. —cookinginvictoria

What You'll Need
  • Oatmeal maple coffee cake
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground mace or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (grade B or dark amber grade A)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Coconut pecan topping
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (grade B or dark amber grade A)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, lightly packed
  • 1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons créme fraîche or sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F with a rack near the middle.
  2. Place oats in a small bowl, and add the boiling water. Allow oats to soften and soak up the water, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, butter an 8-inch square baking pan, and set aside. Place remaining dry ingredients (flour through salt) in another bowl, and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  4. Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl, using a stand or hand mixer. Once the mixture is light and fluffy, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and beat until well combined. Scrape the bowl again. Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredient mixture. Beat to combine, starting on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened, then increasing to medium until well combined. Add the oatmeal mixture, and again beat to combine. Add the remaining dry ingredients, and beat to combine. Beat an additional 30 seconds to help create structure.
  6. Transfer batter to prepared baking pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted near the center comes out with no more than a few crumbs clinging to it.
  7. While the cake is baking, make the topping. Combine the butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low until the butter is almost fully melted, then increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a full, rolling boil, then allow it to boil for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Remove mixture from the heat, then stir in the créme fraîche and vanilla. Once the mixture is homogenous, stir in the coconut and pecans. Set aside.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven. Pour the topping over the center of the cake, and use a fork to spread the topping evenly over the surface of the cake. Scrape any remaining syrup from the pan and drizzle over the cake. Allow to cool completely on a rack before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • chezjenne
  • Laura415
  • Olympia Schorr
    Olympia Schorr
  • Maureen McDermott Lyons
    Maureen McDermott Lyons
  • Kathryn Vai
    Kathryn Vai
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

46 Reviews

chezjenne September 19, 2022
My family and I loved this cake and I saved it in my Favorites! The texture of the cake is superb with the softened oatmeal in it. I made it as written except I forgot the nutmeg in the batter so I added it to the topping, which was AMAZING.
Wheezy C. July 1, 2022
Doesn't Jim broil the top a little? I used to live right down the street from J&P's on Fremont, and I've got a Princess addiction.
Laura415 May 15, 2019
I've done this cake many times now. I make it gluten free using oat flour among other GF flours. I doubled the recipe for a thick cake or make some muffin cakes with no topping for the anti-coconut crowd. The rest was made into a cake with the topping almost as thick as the cake. A tiny piece will do. I also use unsweetened coconut, greek yogurt instead of creme fraiche and a splash of bourbon. Very forgiving and easy recipe.
Olympia S. February 12, 2017
Can I replace the pecans for walnuts? Also, I'm out of organic butter can I replace it with coconut oil or expelled canola oil ? 😬
hardlikearmour February 13, 2017
My opinion is that any nut you like will work. I suspect you can replace the butter w/ coconut oil though butter has some water in it so I can't promise it will work perfectly.
Olympia S. February 13, 2017
Thanks for the advice.
Karen February 9, 2015
Ok must share this tidbit: this is cake is so good that I accidentally (this is a not wearing my glasses in the kitchen while multi-tasking story) used the shredded parmesan cheese for my broccoli soup that was waiting on the side INSTEAD of the shredded coconut. Worst part was I accused the dog of stealing the parmesan! And then realized too late that I had just topped the cake with a pecan and parmesan topping!! It STILL tasted good. I just threw the coconut on top at the end. Thank you again!!
DoubleNegative May 14, 2015
That is seriously one of the funniest things I have seen in print in a long, long time. You couldn't make this stuff up! Thanks for the laugh, Karen...being Italian I can vouch that parmesan goes with everything (except seafood, according to my Pop Pop). Hug the dog for me, poor guy, he probably looked totally guilty upon your maligning too, being a dog ain't all gravy.
Karen January 24, 2015
I LOVE this cake. This time I made it with Greek Yogurt (to be honest all I had was the full fat Honey Salted Caramel flavor). It as great. I am generous with the pecans because they are a favorite. The oatmeal is a great addition. Great recipe. Thank you so much!!
fearlessem November 16, 2014
Made this a few days ago, with unsweetened coconut for the topping. It didn't rise as much as I'd hoped, which meant it was quite dense. However it did seem to get better each day -- I baked it on Friday night, and my husband said the scraps that were left on Sunday night were the best. I might try this again but would add more baking powder to try to get little more lift in the cake part...
emily March 4, 2014
Anybody tried to veganize this? I have vegan butter and thought I could use some type of vegan cream for the topping...just wondering how it would react if I subbed out the egg for something else. Baked goods are always a challenge for this!
Barbara B. February 20, 2014
Can you substitute unsweetened yogurt for the creme fraiche or sour cream? Looks delicious!,,
Maureen M. February 19, 2014
Would the cake be worth making without the topping? Hubby won't eat either nuts or coconut but I think he would like the cake itself.
Hina February 19, 2014
This cake sounds great! What are some possible substitutes for the creme fraiche or sour cream?
Kathryn V. February 19, 2014
I have made a similar recipe out of a cookbook I have had for 30 years! It was one of the simple, luscious cakes in the "More-With-Less Cookbook", a Mennonite cookbook with recipes from around the world. I have used that cookbook so much, pages are falling out of it!
swrk December 21, 2013
we live just a few blocks from J & P's, and my daughter loves this Princess coffee cake. is it because it's cake, or because it has Princess in the title? Hard to say. But thank you for figuring out the recipe, we'll be making this soon!
Dimitrios October 14, 2013
On a whim I searched for "princess cake" not thinking a recipe would actually show up. Low and behold this is the exact cake from Jim and Patty's that I'm trying to recreate. Looking forward to giving this recipe a whirl.
fearlessem May 30, 2013
Making this tonight, but don't have creme fraiche or sour cream in the house. How essential are they to the topping? Can I get by without them?
hardlikearmour May 30, 2013
I'm sure you can get by without them. They just cut the sweetness of the topping a little.
JessicaBakes May 12, 2013
I put a splash of bourbon into the topping. Really cut the sweetness and added something awesome. Highly recommended!
hardlikearmour May 14, 2013
Brilliant! I will definitely add bourbon next time!
tastysweet February 19, 2014
Jessicabakes: did you still add the sour cream?
JessicaBakes February 19, 2014
yes. i kept everything else the same.
Barbara G. April 29, 2013
Great cake. Super tasty. Brunch guests loved it. I think I will make one and a half portions the next time to have a deeper cake. Added cinnamon to cake and a thimble full of brandy. Used toasted walnuts.
hardlikearmour May 14, 2013
HFog April 27, 2013
cake was great, but the topping very, very sweet. next time will sub unsweetened shredded coconut for sweetened.
hardlikearmour April 27, 2013
Sounds like a great idea! I confess to having a pretty strong sweet tooth when it comes to desserts, so I can definitely see that it would be too sweet for lots of folks!
cookinginvictoria April 29, 2013
I can attest that unsweetened coconut works well with this recipe. I have made this cake, using unsweetened coconut for the topping and without adjusting anything else. Everyone I served this cake to agreed that the sweetness level was perfect -- sweet but not TOO sweet.
piacere April 27, 2013
This reminds me of a family fav recipe that originated with a friend my mom's when I was a kid. We made it many, many times as it always held well and was a hit with whatever age group, from kids to adults, and no matter what time of day. This version, with the maple syrup added, sounds even better. I'm eager to try it. Thanks for sharing! It is on next week's "agenda".
hardlikearmour April 27, 2013
I hope it measures up!
fiveandspice April 13, 2013
Dang this looks amazing HLA! My oat-barley-rye intolerance seems not as bad right now, which of course means I'm asking for it and have been eating small amounts lately, and as long as things stay good, this cake is going on the must make list.
hardlikearmour April 13, 2013
Thanks, Emily! I hope you are able to try it.