Duke’s Oatmeal Cake

Duke's Oatmeal Cake | Hansen-Spear Funeral Home - Quincy, Illinois

This Thanksgiving, Theresa was in charge of desert for dinner at Will’s home. Rather than opting for a traditional pie, she went with a gluten free option that pairs very well with frozen yogurt or ice cream. The recipe is included at the end of this note.

In addition to being delicious, there is a great story behind it. It revolves around a Colorado search and rescue dog named Duke.  Duke was a neighbor of Mike and Lori Zamora near Colorado Springs.  We got to know the Zamora’s quite well as they were the family that hosted our son, Nick, when he had leave from his duties at the Air Force Academy.

Lori’s parents were Rex and Barbara Holmes from Augusta, Illinois. She had always been interest in being a sponsor of a cadet. When she found out from her cousin, Jim Dennis, there was a kid from Quincy coming to USAFA, she immediately signed up.

On one of our visits we got to meet Duke and his parents, and learned the story of Duke’s Oatmeal Cake. These neighbors trained search and rescue dogs.  The training is pretty intense for the dog involved. Duke was a very good rescue dog.

The neighbors were in the process of training a new dog and Duke needed a place to stay. The Zamoras were the logical choice.  While Duke was there, Lori made her Oatmeal Cake and had it cooling on the counter when she had to leave to run some errands. Much to her horror, when she returned the cake was gone and Duke lay in a motionless heap on the floor.  She certainly felt like she had been responsible for Duke’s untimely death. Fortunately Duke was just feeling like many of us do after a great Thanksgiving meal, stuffed like a turkey!  No harm was done, and every time we crack out this recipe we remember this hard working dog and how much he liked the recipe, too.


Duke’s Oatmeal Cake

“Duke’s Favorite” by Lori Zamora


Mix and cool:
1 ½ cups hot water
1 cup oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda

Combine and mix:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
½ cup oil
¼ cup butter
2 cups flour

Add oatmeal and mix

Pour into greased 9X13 pan or a 10×14

Bake 375 – 20 minutes


Spread the following on top and bake 20-30 minutes longer

2 stick butter, melted
2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup brown sugar or the Stevia Brown sugar blend
1/2 cup canned evaporated milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups coconut

“I heat this on the stove and while warm spread it on the cake.”


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