There are very few dishes more quintessential Nova Scotian than the Cape Brenton Oatcakes. It’s sweet, crispy, and the perfect vessel for some melted chocolate, homemade jam, or sharp cheddar cheese. While it is made with some simple ingredients, they are incredibly satisfying to have with a nice cup of tea! 

While the oatcake mixture has a versatile structure and can be shaped into anything, I generally choose to use a circle cookie cutter but feel free to cut them into rectangles. 

There are endless ways you can top your oatcakes, but it really depends on personal preferences. Here are a few options for you anyways: 

  • Melted chocolate and sea salt
  • Homemade jam or galloping cows jams from Cape Brenton
  • Butter
  • Aged cheddar cheese – preferably from cows creamery.
Shaping the oatcakes

The History of Cape Breton Oatcakes

Flatten shortbread cookies made with rolled oats are of Scottish origin. Cape Breton Island is an area of Nova Scotia that has a high concentration of Scottish ancestry, and for this reason, oatcakes have become a loved snack throughout the island. 

Across Nova Scotia, this recipe is made in various ways but is ultimately loved by everyone! Two distinctive ways that these recipes are made are in a Cape Breton style and Halifax style. 

The Cape Breton style tends to be thin and crunchy, while the Halifax style is thick, hearty, soft and chewy. 

Tips For Nailing This Recipe

  1. Use room temperature butter, this will make the “creaming” process so much easier. 
  2. The mixture will be very crumbly, but there is no need to panic. When you pour the mixture onto the counter, use your hands to force the mixture together. Then use the rolling pin to roll the mixture out into a thin sheet. The mixture will continue to break apart, but don’t panic and just take your time.
  3. Let the oatcakes cool completely on the pan. If you try to remove them from the pan while they are hot, they will fall apart.
  4. If dipping in chocolate is, be sure to sprinkle with sea salt and allow to cool on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Baking Terminology 


Creaming butter and sugar mean when you mix the two ingredients together with a hand mixer or stand mixer. You want to make sure that you don’t rush this process and make sure the sugar gets fully incorporated into the butter, and this takes about 4-5 minutes.

Cape Breton Oatcakes

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Prep Time 15 minutes
Ready in 40 minutes


  • cups AP flour
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup butter


  • Pre-heat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Okay, first things first; let's mix together the dry ingredients. Into a large bowl mix together flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk to ensure there are no clumps.
  • Next up, in a separate bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Be sure not to rush the process as your want this mixture to get as smooth as possible. I generally mix with the hand mixer set to high for around 4 minutes.
  • From here, add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix to combine. If using the hand mixer be sure to mix on low. You want everything to be combined, but not over-mixed.
  • Pour the mixture onto a lightly floured surface. The mixture will be VERY crumbly, so I make sure to push the mixture together with my hands. If the mixture seems to be way to crumbly you can lightly dampen your hands under running water and use that moisture to work the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it's quite thin; generally around 1/4 inch thick. Then using a cookie cutter or a cup, cut out oatcakes and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Place the oatcakes into the oven for 12-15 minutes. You want the edges to be turning a nice brown. Once done, remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 5 minutes.
  • The next part is up to you! Enjoy these oatcakes as is, or spread on melted chocolate, delicious preserves, or butter.
  • Pour a cup of tea and enjoy!

Andy’s Notes

A couple of tips on nailing these oatcakes

  • Make sure you really mix together the butter and brown sugar. Don’t rush this process.
  • When you dump the mixture onto the counter surface, it’s going to feel quite crumbly. Be sure to push the mixture together with your hands in an effort to bring it together. If the mixture still feels too crumbly, wet your hands under the tap and form the dough into a ball. It should come together as you roll out the dough.
  • Get creative with the way you enjoy your oat cake! I love chocolate, butter, jams.
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