Recipe: High-Altitude Chocolate Oatmeal Snack Cake

I’ve enjoyed cooking more than baking for a long time, in good part because when we moved to Colorado, it became frustrating to bake things like cakes, which would rise beautifully and then always fall disastrously.  I’ve started to study the science of high-altitude baking a little bit and am beginning to understand a bit more about how to adjust and create recipes that perform beautifully even at 7,400 feet, which is the altitude of our new home.

This recipe for Chocolate Oatmeal Snack Cake has been adapted for high altitude and I hope it performs well for you!  It’s a cake that’s very easy to throw together (hence the term “snack cake” and is very moist – plus, the oatmeal makes you feel the adjective healthy could be applied if you wanted to.


I can’t decide if this cake is better warm or cool.  It’s amazing with a glass of milk when it’s still slightly warm from the oven, but if you cut it before it’s completely cooled, it will be a bit crumbly.  If you let it sit overnight, the cake’s flavor is much more full and it is very moist.  My solution is to eat a piece when it’s warm, and eat another when it’s cool and then you have the best of both worlds!

High Altitude Chocolate Oatmeal
Snack Cake


1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup rolled oats (quick oats are OK, too)
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking pan.

Stir the boiling water, oats, butter, and cocoa powder together in a small bowl, allowing the butter to melt.  Allow to cool.

Whisk the flour, sugars, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined and no clumps remain.  In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk together thoroughly and then whisk into the cooled oat mixture.  Add the oat mixture to the dry mixture and gently fold until just combined.  Spread evenly in prepared baking pan, sprinkle chocolate chips on top, and bake for 28-32 minutes.  The cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or center bounces back when very gently pressed.




  1. You could use leftover coffee for part or all of the liquid in the recipe, and it will boost the chocolate flavor.

    I’m guessing that if you sub’ed out the entire 1-1/2 cups it would change the name to “Hi-Alt. Mocha Oatmeal Snack Cake.”

  2. Do you stir the chocolate chips into the batter or just sprinkle on top before or after baking? Sounds really yummy.

    • Whoops, I left that out! I sprinkle them on top before baking – though I think when I took the picture above, I didn’t put them on top until after. Oops!

  3. Almost any recipe can be adjusted for high altitude by reducing leavening 25-50% and reducing sugar 2-3 tablespoons per cup. In extreme cases, an extra egg can be added but I have never increased oven temperature or added flour, that just makes your baked goods drier and we definitely struggle enough with that here!

    • Yes, very true – I usually have to make the recipe several times to figure out the best way to make it, though, so I’m trying to adapt my favorite recipes to a “permanent” high-altitude recipe. :)

      • Good luck, you will have more extreme adjustments at 7400 ft than here in town, but I know you will be happy once they are made and you can return to the love of baking.

  4. I got into baking about 4 years ago, when I lived at 17 feet above sea level…and then we moved here 6 months after that. I’ve struggled with baking for the last 3.5 years but I’m getting the hang of it.

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