Recipe Review

TikTok’s Favorite Baked Oatmeal Is the Best Way to Eat Cake for Breakfast

published Mar 13, 2021
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Credit: Naomi Tomky

All jokes contain a grain of truth, or so the theory goes. And the same can be said for viral recipes that claim to taste like something other than what they are — there is some kernel of truth to this mirage. Cauliflower will never taste like pizza crust, but if you mash enough cheese into it, there’s some plausibility. Zucchini will never be noodles, but if you just need a noodle-like vehicle for sauce, it’s a great substitute. And now, the latest TikTok trend — baked oatmeal that supposedly tastes like cake — has some truth in the comparison.

The trend, which mixes up an oatmeal-based batter, has been all over TikTok. There’s a ton of variations on baked oatmeal as you can see in this compilation. It can be chocolate cake, fruit-based cake, or confetti cake with icing, but it all starts with the same oatmeal base. 


ok but these baked oats taste just like cake🤯recipes will be up on my instagram @tazxbakes ##bakedoats ##recipe ##fyp

♬ original sound – Alec Townsend

Watching this video, I had to wonder: Does this really taste like cake? Is it actually a suitable option for breakfast? I decided to try it and find out.

How to Make the Tiktok Baked Oatmeal

I used the recipe behind the first version in the compilation linked above, thinking that chocolate caked seemed like a fantastic way to start my day. The creator also posted the recipe on Instagram, so it was easy to follow along. Here’s what I did.

  • I mixed 75 grams of plain oats and two tablespoons of cocoa powder — right in the middle of what it recommended — and blended them.
  • I added the 3/4 of a teaspoon of baking powder, pinch of salt, and a tablespoon-and-a-half of sugar (again, aiming for the middle of the suggested range).
  • I stirred in the single egg and the 55 milliliters of milk and put it into a small ramekin. I actually ended up splitting it into two, since mine were the recommended size, but fairly shallow — and topped with a combined handful of chocolate and butterscotch chips.
  • I checked throughout the baking process, but at 375°F in the convection toaster oven, my toothpick came out clean right at the 10-minute mark, then I let it rest for five more minutes.
Credit: Naomi Tomky

My Honest Review of the Tiktok Baked Oatmeal

As I prepared the batter for this recipe, I realized something: I was actually making a cake, for all practical purposes. This wasn’t a cake substitute; it was simply a quick cake made slightly more nutritious with oat flour.

On Instagram, the poster says this recipe is not a cake, because there isn’t much sugar and there’s no butter or oil. But honestly, I just don’t think that’s true. There’s still a fair amount of sugar, and that description also elides the fact that chocolate chips are basically made of sugar and cocoa butter. 

Regardless of nomenclature, my main impression was that it was tasty, but surprisingly oaty. You would not mistake this for something made with anything other than oats as the main ingredient. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — I happen to love oatmeal! But because it looked and hinted at the idea of cake, I also really wished it had about twice as much (or more) of both the chocolate and sugar. The most cake-like thing about it was the smooth, airy texture, which very much could have passed as the real thing. 

I would definitely make this again, and think it’s a totally great option for breakfast. While I wouldn’t say this exceeded my expectations, I understand the hype. Next time, I’ll play around with icings (I didn’t frost mine) and sugar levels to balance out the oatiness, or possibly using fruit fillings to lean into the oatmeal concept while retaining the lovely texture.

Whether or not you consider this a cake, the amount of work that goes into it is easier than a cake, but harder than oatmeal: You’re basically just blending, whisking, and baking. Then the outcome is only ever-so-slightly improved over just making regular oatmeal and adding cake-like toppings. But that wouldn’t look quite as good on social media.