A baked oatmeal that’s like having a personal carrot cake for breakfast. Gluten-free with a vegan option.
What’s your favorite type of cake? Chocolate? Vanilla? Banana? Something incredibly inventive that I’ve never heard of?
If I had to choose, I think I’d pick good ol’ carrot cake. Sweet and spicy and full of carrots – that’s my kind of cake. While I can only handle a spoonful of those rich, decadent chocolate cakes, I could probably eat carrot cake forever. Hmm… maybe that’s not a good thing.
The only things that can rival carrot cake, in my humble opinion, are apple and cinnamon muffins. But they’re not cakes, so it doesn’t count.
I’m someone who firmly believes that carrot cake cannot just be carrots, spices and sugar. Wrong, wrong, wrong! The true excitement behind carrot cake is the array of mix-ins. For this oatmeal, I’ve included some shredded coconut, walnuts, raisins and either crushed pineapple or grated apple.
Is there anything else you like in carrot cake? Pecans or dates perhaps?
Despite the my strong feelings on the subject, I only discovered carrot cake fairly recently. Whenever I heard the words ‘carrot cake’ I always thought, ‘What? Carrots in a cake? Blech!’ But then one day I actually tried carrot cake, and, well you can guess what happened.
This oatmeal is my favorite cake turned into a more filling, more breakfast-appropriate form. It’s soft and a little chewy, filled with fruit and vegetables, and so much easier to make than an actual cake.
For something extra special, top the baked oatmeal with a cream cheese frosting! In these pictures I’ve included a super simple frosting – it’s just spreadable cream cheese and maple syrup whisked together. While I like to use a plain cream cheese spread, you can also use regular cream cheese that’s been softened (i.e. left out of the fridge for a bit). I haven’t tried making this with a dairy-free cream cheese (such as Tofutti), but I imagine it would work.
As I mentioned, this baked oatmeal calls for crushed pineapple or grated apple, and I honestly don’t know which version I prefer. With the pineapple you get bursts of fruit, which I love, but then apples pair perfectly with the warming spices in this recipe. In the end, the pineapple versus apple debate comes down to what’s in my kitchen.
If you go for the apple option, it doesn’t matter what type of apple you use – red, green, uh, blue?
(Okay, don’t try blue. That apple’s lost in funkytown).
- 1 small carrot, finely grated (~1/3 cup grated carrot)
- 2 tablespoons canned crushed pineapple OR ¼ apple, grated
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup almond milk (or other milk)
- 2 tablespoons apple juice (or more milk)
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- ½ - 1 tablespoon raisins
- 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts (about 3 walnut halves)
- 1 tablespoon shredded coconut
- Optional: Simple Cream Cheese Frosting (see notes)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a ramekin very well.
- In a bowl, combine the grated carrot, crushed pineapple (or grated apple), maple syrup, vanilla extract, milk and apple juice.
- Mix in the rolled oats, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Stir in the raisins, walnuts and coconut.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared ramekin. Bake for 22 to 27 minutes. Enjoy!
Use a fork to whisk 2 tablespoons spreadable/softened cream cheese with 1 tablespoon maple syrup. It will take a few minutes to become smooth.
For a sweeter frosting, add in more maple syrup (or powdered sugar). For a thicker frosting, whisk in more cream cheese.
Vegan/Gluten Free Notes
Recipe will only be vegan if non-dairy cream cheese is used in the frosting (or if you make the baked oatmeal sans frosting).
To ensure this recipe is gluten-free, use certified GF oats.