Looking for a nutritious way to start (or end) your day? This Gluten-free Oatmeal Cake is a super easy recipe that's loaded with whole grains and lots of flavor and can be easily made vegan too.
It's a healthy treat that your whole family is sure to love!
Breakfast is a tough meal of the day for families on the go who are trying to be healthy. It's easy to lean on convenience foods so that everyone can grab something fast when they're headed out the door, and that can mean some not so good decisions, you know?
Breakfast When I Was Growing Up
When I was little, we had a lot of those "not so good for you" type breakfasts.
Some of the breakfast "foods" that I remember us having were:
Thomas'® English Muffins
Thomas' Corn Toast-R-Cakes®
Homemade Cinnamon Toast (made with margarine and white bread and granulated white sugar--yikes!)
Ka-Boom® Cereal (my sister's favorite)
Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Cream of Wheat
Get the idea :)?
Now that I've woken up to how important it is to have real food, things have changed. Oh how they have changed.
A Healthier Breakfast Option
We're basically an "all whole foods" family now, so things have changed.
Truth is, we are a little unconventional around here and have been known to have some unusual breakfasts. Like this Chocolate Chia Pudding, this Bean Fudge, or Homemade Protein Bars or Almond Joy® Bars for breakfast. Actually those Almond Joy Bars are amazing for breakfast--tons of healthy fats to get you going and keep you satisfied.
The way I see it - if it's healthy, you can have it for breakfast, right? Even if it's fudge.
Why not last dinner's leftovers, in fact?
This Oatmeal Cake Recipe is, of course, a little more of a conventional breakfast food.
The Origin of this Cake
Our Baked Oatmeal Cake obsession all started when our dear friend, Beckie, shared some baked oatmeal with us at her home one night after a homeschooling family gathering. I'd heard of baked oatmeal, but had never made it nor tried it.
Well, my kids gobbled it up and....when gobbling like that happens, I go on a mission. This time on a quest for the best Baked Oatmeal recipe that I could find.
I came home with Becky's recipe in hand and poked around on the internet a bit. I found a few recipes that intrigued me, but I ended up making a combination of my friend's recipe and this one from Baked Bree.
The resulting success story is what you see pictured above.
A Kitchen Mistake Gone Right
The funny thing about this recipe is it basically was a mistake. Remember I mentioned that Becky's recipe for for baked oatmeal?
Well, this recipe became a "cake" by mistake.
I knew it was important to soak grains (especially oats) and so when I set out to try out my version of the cake, I set the oats out to soak overnight.
The next day ended up being a flurry of too many things to do and so I didn't get around to baking the cake until about 24 hours later. The result? A delicious not-too-sweet-at-all cake that is so light, you won't believe that it is made from whole rolled oats.
In fact, when I took the 24-hour-soaked version over to Becky's house for her to try, she said, "You added flour to this, didn't you?"
Nope--the oats just turned out that way. Amazing. See how much soaking your grains can change the grains themselves?
Side note--for another "mistake turned family favorite, see my post on Chaat Masala.)
You could definitely make this dish the Baked Oatmeal Way, but I will most likely work on that to perfect it into another recipe.
But if you like experimenting, for a more Baked Oatmeal-ish recipe, simply soak the oats overnight only. Or you could simply not soak them at all. The top will be more like a cake, but the bottom of the dish will be more dense and like thick oatmeal on the bottom.
Either way--oatmeal yumminess.
The photos in this post are of the "soaked for 24 hour" option.
Don't know about soaking grains? I never had heard of this until a few years ago and I didn't really understand. The basic reason is that grains (and especially oats) contain phytic acid and other anti-nutrients that make digestion difficult. You can read more about this in my post on how and why to soak grains.
We like this recipe both ways, but I personally think the cake version is a bit nicer.
If you try it both ways, I would love to hear what you think!
Either way, this cake tastes special--especially topped with whipped cream or yogurt--and lots of fruit.
Won't the Cake Spoil If It's Left Out Overnight?
I get this question often.
The answer is no, it won't, if you are using an acidic medium (like cultured milk, whey, or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice).
If you are using regular dairy, then you MUST use an acidic medium to prevent spoilage. If you are not using dairy, you should be able to soak the mixture on the counter overnight with no problem.
- Topping Options: I make this regularly with walnuts and dried apples from our dehydrator. So many combinations are possible. Bananas and walnuts, fresh apples and pecans. For the cake in these photos we used berries and walnuts. We even once just blended shredded coconut (about 1/3 cup) into the batter and sprinkled both cinnamon sugar and extra coconut on top. Mmmmmm......
- Milk Options: Use any type of milk you prefer. I recommend healthy raw milk if you use dairy. Otherwise, any non-dairy alternative will work great like Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, or Rice Milk, etc. Here is a great organic store-bought coconut milk.
- Bake In Bulk: As with any tried and true recipe, I recommend Baking in Bulk to save time and money. I've made the mistake of baking new recipes in bulk before (and then I end up with way too much of something we may not like). But now I'm getting better at "new recipe restraint" and so now I just bulk bake with the recipes that we love. I typically mix up and soak 4 batches of this cake at time. Make a bunch and freeze for on-the-go breakfasts or snacks anytime you need them.
- Gluten-free Oats: If necessary, use gluten-free oats. Here is a great brand. I've heard that the GF Harvest Company's oats are very reliably gluten-free and they test for glyphosate too!
- Oil / Fat Options: You can use any other healthy fat for the coconut oil, or use applesauce for a fat-free / Trim Healthy Mama (THM:E) menu option.
- Sweetener Options: Although xylitol is a good candida-friendly sweetener, organic erythritol is as well. Or sub a liquid sweetener using my guidelines in Substituting Sweeteners. You can use an additional 1/3 cup of a healthy granulated sweetener instead of stevia. If using stevia, here is a great brand of stevia scoops. Also, see How to Use Stevia for some tips on stevia.
- Egg Alternatives: This is the egg substitute we used for years. See my Powdered Egg Substitute for a homemade option. This cake turns out great with either option.
- Baking Powder Option: If you would like to make your own baking powder, or need a corn-free or grain-free option, see this Grain-free Baking Powder.
- Cinnamon Sugar Substitute: See this Healthier Cinnamon Sugar for a homemade cinnamon sugar alternative.
- Soaking Notes - as you can see in my post on soaking grains, typically an acidic medium is recommended, but there are mixed thoughts on this. You may add the apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to the oats before soaking but you will end up with a slightly acidic taste to the oats.
Other Healthy Baked Goods to Try:
If you're a fan of whole grain baking, here are some other recipes that you might enjoy.
- Baked Cinnamon Doughnuts
- Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
- Super Quick Whole Grain Biscuits
- Soft Pumpkin Cookies
- Frosted Chocolate Mint Cookies
- 3 Ingredient Buckwheat Pancakes
Baked Oatmeal (or Oatmeal Cake) (gluten-free with vegan and sugar-free options)
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 4 cups coconut milk (see Recipe Notes for alternatives)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (optional) or lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar (or other sweetener as desired)
- 3/32 teaspoon stevia extract (or other sweetener as desired--see Recipe Notes)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 eggs (or egg substitute--see Recipe Notes)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup nuts (optional)
- 1 cup fresh or dried fruit (optional)
- cinnamon "sugar" (optional - for topping--see my post on Healthier Cinnamon "Sugar")
- Mix oats, milk, and sweetener(s) in a large bowl. Combine well.
- If soaking to remove phytates, add acid medium (apple cider vinegar or lemon juice).
- Soak either overnight (for a more baked oatmeal-type dish) or for at least 24 hours (for an Oatmeal Cake) at room temperature. Make sure to read the instructions about How to Soak Grains.
- Add remaining ingredients, saving baking powder and egg substitute (if using) until last.
- Mix well.
- If using nuts and/or dried or fresh fruit, put half of the nuts and fruit in the bottom of a greased 8x8 square baking dish.
- Pour the batter onto the nuts and fruit (or directly into the prepared dish if not using the nuts and fruit).
- Top with the remaining nuts and/or fruit if desired.
- Top with cinnamon sugar if desired.
- Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the middle of the cake is set.
- Serve either warm, with additional cinnamon sugar, nuts, fruit and milk, whipped cream or yogurt. Alternatively, eat at room temperature like a regular cake.
- Store in the refrigerator in a closed container or freeze for a longer shelf life.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
Note: This post was originally published on 12/22/11. It was republished on 6/1/19 with updated information and images. Following is the original image for reference.
I'd love to hear how you like this Baked Oatmeal Cake once you've tried it!