Dr Pepper oatmeal cake with a coconut and pecan topping

Dr Pepper oatmeal cake | Homesick Texan

Isn’t January supposed to be a healthy month, a time when you renew your gym membership, eat soups and salads and have a piece of fruit for dessert? That’s what I always thought, but since New Year’s Day I’ve had at least eight people email me and ask: “How do you make a cake with Dr Pepper?”

While I hadn’t had one since I was a kid, I seemed to recall that we would take a chocolate sheet cake recipe and substitute Dr Pepper for the water. This is the advice I gave people over email and they replied that indeed it worked. Now, if there were so many queries about Dr Pepper cake, I figured this cake was worthy of discussion. I’m usually not very organized, but I penciled onto my calendar for this week’s post: “Dr Pepper cake.”

I wondered, however, if there were other options available. While researching, I found a curious recipe in The Dallas Morning News that combined Dr Pepper with oatmeal. It seemed unusual but the end result was wonderful—a tender, flavorful cake topped with a buttery coconut crunch. I loved it, as the spices kept you warm and the oatmeal made you feel virtuous. This Dr Pepper cake was a perfect cake for January.

Dr Pepper oatmeal cake | Homesick Texan

Then something changed.

As most of you know, Dr Pepper Snapple recently settled a lawsuit against bottler Dublin Dr Pepper by buying out its rights to make and distribute its cane-sugar version of the beloved Texas soft drink. This means that the Dublin, Texas bottler will no longer bottle Dr Pepper, which had been a huge source of pride and revenue for this Central Texas small town.

The Dublin bottling company was the oldest in Texas that had continually produced Dr Pepper from the original recipe, never switching to high-fructose corn syrup. The bottler drew hordes of tourists who came to see its collection of Dr Pepper memorabilia, antique bottling equipment, and to enjoy sodas and floats in its soda shop. And every June, Dublin would change its name to Dr Pepper, Texas for its annual Dr Pepper birthday celebration.

While cane sugar Dr Pepper tastes good, I think another thing that made Dublin Dr Pepper so beloved was what the brand represented to people in this busy world. When you drank Dublin Dr Pepper in its old-fashioned glass bottles, you felt connected to a less chaotic place—a place where people say howdy to their neighbors, a place where roads only have two lanes, a place where fireflies light up the night, a place where people know your name.

My hope is that those Dublin Dr Pepper employees who lost their jobs find new ones soon and that the town of Dublin’s economy does not suffer from this loss. There is, however, some good news: you will still be able to buy cane-sugar Dr Pepper (though it won’t have the “Dublin” on the label), the Dublin bottler’s Dr Pepper museum and soda shop will remain open, and the bottling company will still make other cane-sugar soft drinks, including another Texan native—Big Red.

Dr Pepper oatmeal cake | Homesick Texan

In the meantime, I had only five bottles of Dublin Dr Pepper in my refrigerator and I wanted to share them with as many people as possible. And this simple, old-fashioned Dr Pepper oatmeal cake felt like the best way to say good-bye.

Dr Pepper oatmeal cake | Homesick Texan
5 from 1 vote

Dr Pepper oatmeal cake with a coconut and pecan topping

Servings 16
Author Adapted by Lisa Fain from a Dallas Morning News recipe


Ingredients for the cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups Dr Pepper (not diet)
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground allspice
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Ingredients for the icing:

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or half and half
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pecans


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and grease a 9×9 cake pan. (You can also use large cast-iron skillet if you prefer.)

  2. Pour the Dr Pepper over the oats and let it sit for 10 minutes or until the oats are hydrated.

  3. Cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until well blended. Add the beaten eggs and vanilla and stir until fluffy. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and kosher salt. Add flour mixture and Dr Pepper and oatmeal to the creamed butter and eggs, and stir until a thick batter is formed.

  4. Pour the cake batter into the pan, and bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

  5. Ten minutes before the cake is done, make the icing. On low heat, melt the butter, and then stir in the brown sugar, buttermilk, cinnamon, salt, coconut and chopped pecans.

  6. When the cake is done, turn on the broiler. While still warm, spread on top of the cake the icing, and place the iced cake under the broiler for 15-30 seconds are until lightly browned.

Recipe Notes

If you’re not a coconut fan, this cake would also be great with a cream cheese frosting. And if you don’t won’t to use Dr Pepper, you can substitute root beer.

  1. Michelle Stiles

    What a great way to share the wonderful Dublin Dr Pepper. This is a great idea and I bet the cake tastes wonderful. I am going to make it for my in laws next time they are up who are Dr Pepper drinking Texans

  2. Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

    This sounds unique and interesting, so worth trying! Thanks!

  3. Lisa Fain

    Michelle–If you like spice cake and buttery coconut, you'll love this.

    Debbie–You're welcome.

  4. My grandma used to add coke to her cakes.
    This icing sounds absolutely amazing!

  5. Pixie O'Kneel

    Going to have to try this one!!

    I keep looking for a "print" button on your blogs and can't find one. Is there one and I'm just dumb and can't find it? If there's not, it would really be great if you had to print the recipes because I always copy and paste so I can print without getting 75 pages for one recipe and the copying and pasting sorta makes me feel like I'm ripping you off.

  6. My grandparents live in Proctor, just outside of Dublin, and we're so sad about the outcome of the suit. This cake sounds like a lovely tribute, though. Thanks for sharing it, and for sharing the story, too!

  7. When I lived down in Sugar Land the stores always seemed to have Dr. Pepper made with Imperial pure cane sugar. I've never been quite sure of the provenance of this Dr. Pepper as it doesn't seem to be from Dublin but I also don't think it was part of the Heritage Dr. Pepper promotion either. I assume it has something to do Imperial Sugar's headquarters having been in Sugar Land. In any question I never questioned my good fortune but just enjoyed it. Seems I'll have to make a run down to Sugar Land now to pick up some cake ingredients.

  8. Lisa Fain

    Sarah–Coke is another popular cake ingredient, especially chocolate cakes.

    Pixie–Unfortunately, this software doesn't offer a simple solution to the print problem.

    Jacey–You're very welcome.

    Keith–Dublin wasn't the only one producing it as there are bottlers in Temple, Waco and North Carolina that also use cane sugar. Maybe it came from one of them.

  9. Anonymous

    Using the drag and copy funcion of your mouse to select the text you want to print.

    Then, right click and select the print function. In the print dialog box, down on the bottom left, select the "selection" option.

  10. Lisa Fain


  11. Kelly @ EvilShenanigans

    Lisa – What a wonderful tribute, and farewell, to a Texas classic! Well done!

  12. Lisa Fain

    Kelly–Thank you!

  13. This looks good, but I'll use Coca-Cola. Can't stand Dr. Pepper–it tastes terrible.

  14. Lisa Fain

    Margie–Hope you enjoy it with Coke!

  15. I just use the print preview button and then print only the recipe page.

  16. Lisa Fain

    Teresa–Thanks, that's a great tip and one I've never heard before!

  17. I don't drink soda anymore, but I would cave for a cane sugar Dr. Pepper. And I've been on a coconut kick lately, so it all works perfectly for me.

  18. Meister @ The Nervous Cook

    Oh man! My husband (a proud Okie) loves him some Dr Pepper, and if I can find a proper substitute for both coconut and pecans (neither of which he's particularly fond of, sadly), I think you just provided me with his birthday cake!

    (We're also terribly sad about the Dublin Dr Pepper news. What a party pooper Dr Pepper Snapple is!)

  19. Just took it out of the oven and now it has to cool. This is pure torture. The cake looks and smells wonderful. What a perfect way to pay tribute to a unique and lovely part of Texas cuisine.Dublin Dr. Pepper will be missed by so many folks.

  20. By the way… gave your cookbook to my daughter for Christmas.She just graduated from college (LSU)and plans on moving up north soon. It has been the perfect gift for her! We have been taking advantage of her free time and making her cook for us… well your recipes are the best!

  21. Maureen

    holy cow this looks good!

  22. Lisa Fain

    Deanna–I think it's worth the indulgence!

    Meister–It would be terrific with a cream cheese frosting. Blend together 4 ounces cream cheese and 4 ounces butter (both at room temperature) with 2 cups of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Frost the cake once it's cooled.

    Jacqui–That was fast! Thank you for sharing my book with your daughter–I hope it helps her feel less homesick when she moves up north.

    Maureen–If you like spice cake with a coconut topping, it's pretty amazing.

  23. DessertForTwo

    The news about Dublin seriously upset me. I went to college in Waco and we would always drive over to the Dr Pepper museum for a few bottles of the 'real thing.' Ever put peanuts in it? 😉

  24. Lisa Fain

    DessertForTwo–It's wonderful with peanuts in it!

  25. I'm curious, is there any particular reason not to use diet Dr. Pepper in the recipe? Does it turn bitter or anything?

  26. Lisa Fain

    Joanna–Yes, the artificial sugars in diet soft drinks can't take the heat and turn bitter.

  27. So sorry for Dublin! Been there and it is a sweet little town. So you say they do Big Red? Have you ever made a pound cake with Bid Red??? I had a slice of one, many years ago, and the lady wouldn't share the recipe! Maybe you could come up with one….it is a Pretty Pink Pound Cake!

  28. Lisa Fain

    Karen–According to their web site they do have Big Red. I've never made a pound cake with it (they don't sell it all up here in NYC), but it sounds fun!

  29. Lisa Fain

    Kelly–Thanks for sharing!

  30. Rocky Mountain Woman

    I am all over any cake with oatmeal! Sign me up!

  31. I have also made soda cake using a boxed cake mix and 1 can of soda for all of the add ins. Dark soda for chocolate cakes and something like sprite for white cakes. Of course I was in a dorm room at the time and had to cook it in the microwave but it tasted great!

  32. Jen Johnson

    Lisa this sounds wonderful and I will be making it tonight! I bought your cookbook in November and have been making recipies from it weekley!! Love the cheese enchiladas with chilie con carne, jalepeno buttermilk dressing (made weekly) and the jalepeno mustard roasted chicken. oh and texas sheet cake … oh and — well you ge the idea.

  33. Lee MacGregor

    We have a fishing lodge in British Columbia, Canada and this cake is a mainstay on the menu, never had it with Dr. Pepper though! Everyones' favorite cake from the 70's. I make it with walnuts in the icing and it is divine and have never broiled..have made it with chocolate icing as well..I make 2 at a time and freeze the extra one..wonderful cake.

  34. texasinafrica

    This looks SO good. I have a closely-guarded recipe for Dr. Pepper cake, but it doesn't involve oats. Will have to give this a try. Thanks!

  35. Kelly B

    Hey Lisa, We were sad to hear the news of Dublin too. It will be hard to beat that sugary sweetness. I have a recipe Big Red recipe for you though. I had it on my blog several months ago and I would love to share it with your readers to. It is Big Red Cupcakes.

  36. librarianjen

    I subscribe to your blog updates, and I audibly squealed when I saw this recipe title in my email today – those are all of my favorite words! I was born in Waco, just like Dr Pepper. So sorry to read about the outcome of the Dublin suit. Thanks so much, though, for sharing this recipe!

  37. Off the topic of this wonderful looking cake, but I made the sour cream chicken enchiladas from your cookbook last night. Really, really good!

    I wondered: have you ever made the sauce with cream/milk instead of the sour cream and just had it as soup?

  38. petitgars

    I'm a church organist in Hamilton, about an hour from Dublin, and Wednesday night last week at the end of choir rehearsal, right after the prayer list, a member who owns a few convenience stores in town told us the bad news. I went straight to his closest store ASAP and bought a case of cans plus a 6-pack of bottles. This after vowing to never keep Cokes (in the Southern sense) in my house anymore!

    That said, I really, really want to make this cake.

  39. David Wieland

    I approve! This is tasty.

  40. This cake looks amazing and hearty. And with oats and nuts and coconut, I could probably convince myself that it's really breakfast food. Nothing better than cake for breakfast! Yum!

  41. Kate Lewis

    I am excited to make this cake — looks fantastic! But, I was wondering, did you use sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut? Thanks!

  42. That is so sweet of you! What a kind way to say goodbye to one our Texas traditions.

    Blessings to you!

  43. Lisa Fain

    Rocky Mountain Woman–Consider yourself signed!

    Clara–Cake in a microwave? Oh, my!

    Jen–You just made my day, thank you! I'm so pleased that you're enjoying the book.


Lee–Yep, we're big fans of Coke cake in the South, too. 

    Texasinafrica–Now you have me intrigued!


Librarianjen-You're welcome, enjoy!

    Kay–I haven't' done that, but it sure does sound good!

Petitgars–You should try the cake, then!

    David–Thank you!

    Katie–That's what I told myeslf!

    Kate–I used unsweetened. 


  44. kale @ tastes good to me!

    Love the recipe, and your words. A great way to honor Dublin Dr Pepper!

  45. This looks really good! I may have to use one of my precious Dublin DP stash and give it a try. After my supply is gone, there will be no Dr Pepper in my home. I hope it's as good with Coke!

    And someone asked about peanuts and DP above… I had peanuts in my Dublin DP today! A special treat for the few remaining in my stash.

  46. Oh, and by the way, the cane sugar Dr Pepper is NOT as good as the Dublin Dr Pepper. I don't know what the differences are, but I could tell.

  47. Got a bit of PA Dutch in there today 😉 "While still warm, spread on top of the cake the icing,…" kinda like "Throw Papa down the stairs his hat" Sad that another tradition is gobbled up by big business in the name of progress.

  48. Anonymous

    I was sick to my stomach when I first found out about Dublin Dr Pepper!

    My family drinks a lot of Dr Pepper Snapple products, especially Dr Pepper, Schwepps, Canada Dry, A&W and Stewarts. We are boycotting them all in protest!

    In many ways, Dr Pepper will never taste the same again.


  49. Anonymous

    Delicious! My husband must be New Zealand's biggest Dr Pepper fan so I made it for him this weekend and wow what a cake! I'll definately be making this again.

  50. If I had known, I would have picked up some Dublin Dr. Pepper while I was at my sister's in San Antonio last month. This cake looks like it will be yummy, though, even with the regular DP I can get here in Iowa. (Oh — and a friend in SA got me your cookbook for Christmas, and I love it!)

  51. Anonymous

    I'm in the UK, fairly sure our Dr. Pepper (made by Coca Cola) is made with cane sugar (as are most soft drinks here) so will this do for the recipe or is it nothing like the Dublin DP?

  52. Lisa Fain


    Terri–I haven't had it with Coke but I have had it with root beer and it's good.

    Stef–It is a shame.

    Lee–So many people feel the same way.

    Anon–Glad y'all liked it!

    Janna–I'm so glad you're enjoying the book!

    Anon–Yep, that will be fine.

  53. I remember first hearing of oatmeal cake with coconut/pecan frosting from Marcia Adams in her Cooking from Quilt Country series on Amish cooking. Yum. Adding Dr. Pepper to this cake seems brilliant.

  54. racingyogagirl

    I made the cake and our family inhaled it! So much for serving 16….how about 6!

  55. Sampy70

    This cake is delicious and a BIG hit with my co-workers! I'm really not much of a baker, but you put recipes up here that may be turning me into one – thanks Lisa!

  56. Wow! This looks amazing!!! Dr. Pepper is my fav. Can't wait to try this.

  57. Anonymous

    My friends and I stopped in Dublin every time we drove from Dallas to my family's ranch to buy their Dr. Pepper. I was so sad and shocked to hear what happened. We will still stop in town on our trips…at least they still have the museum (I will switch to Big Red when we go)! Thanks for the recipe.

  58. Lawgirl

    Very Sad about the Dr. Pepper plant in Dublin. A legacy that has died.

  59. This looks delicious! I'll need to try this since I'm married to a Texan and I'm 99.9% sure Dr. Pepper runs in his veins.

  60. Anonymous

    Could this be served warm or should it just be room temp?

  61. Lisa Fain

    Anon–Either way.

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