Healthy Habits: Blueberry Oatmeal Cake

“How do I….?”

My oldest has been in Germany since the beginning of August, and if I had known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have cried so much when she left! Though she is across an ocean, I have heard from her every single day. The reason? To pepper me with questions about how to cook this or prepare that. Now that she is on her own for the first time in an apartment, she has to cook for herself, and every evening, as she prepares her dinner, she texts or calls with several questions.

So, not only am I not missing her because we speak more than we did while she was in college, but I have been happy to note that she is doing all she can on a limited budget with little cooking supplies to still try to eat as healthy as she can. In fact, she has an app she uses to help her make sure she gets all the nutrients and vitamins she needs from the food she eats. I am pleased that some of the lessons I imparted actually took root!

In the past couple of weeks, I have been working on those same lessons for healthy eating and revamped a couple of cake recipes for an uncle who is diabetic. He likes his sweets but white flour and sugar products don’t like him! Since dessert is something he often looks for, though, I put my hand to creating a couple of cakes which might be slightly better for him to consume.

To make a healthier cake, I chose to begin with whole grain, whole rolled oats because they contain a lot of fiber and protein. Then, I removed the sugar, opting instead to use smaller amounts of coconut sugar and/or agave and fruit like blueberries and chunky applesauce which contain fiber as well. My last change was to reduce the fat by swapping a reduced amount of oil for the usual butter and to use egg whites instead of whole eggs.  And of course, I made them gluten, dairy and tree nut free so I could eat them as well!

Below is the blueberry oatmeal cake recipe.

Blueberry Oatmeal Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups gluten free, whole grain, whole rolled oats

2 cups boiling water

1 cup gluten free flour blend

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup agave

1/2 cup extra light olive oil

1/2 cup liquid egg whites (or two whole eggs if you’d prefer or 2 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tbsp water if you want it vegan)

1 cup to 2 cups fresh blueberries (depends on the ratio of cake to berries you want and the size of your berries)

Optional Topping:

In a pan, melt 2 tbsp of vegan butter, add 1 cup of whole rolled oats with 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1 tbsp agave or coconut sugar. Mix well and cook for another minute. Sprinkle on top of the cake before putting it into the oven to bake.

Baking Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper or grease as you prefer.
  2. In a bowl mix the oats with the boiling water and let them sit until the oats have absorbed all the water. Usually only takes about five minutes.
  3. In another bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl with the oats, add the agave, olive oil and egg whites and mix well.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix well.
  6. Fold in the blueberries.
  7. Spread the batter into the prepared pan (adding the optional topping if you’d like now), and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is puffed, golden, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Enjoy!

 

Recipe Revamping: Oatmeal Crumb Cake

“But it’s a craving….”

When I was pregnant, I never craved the unusual combinations like pickles and ice cream. I always craved one type of food. So, with my oldest I couldn’t eat enough whole grain bread, which was odd because I tended to prefer rice to bread as a norm – probably the Asian influence. With my middle child, I wanted vegetables all the time – fresh, cooked – how didn’t matter, but quantity did. My youngest seemed to want protein, chicken in particular, which struck me as ironic since with my middle child, I couldn’t eat chicken without feeling sick.

It’s been years since I’ve been pregnant, but I find that from time to time my body will crave something for days, and I usually take it to mean that I’m missing some nutrient or vitamin that my body needs.

Last week I wanted oatmeal. I couldn’t stop thinking about oatmeal, but I really wasn’t in the mood for eating a straight bowl of oatmeal. The weather was nice and sunny, and oatmeal for breakfast has always struck me as a cold weather food.

I started looking around for an oatmeal cake, but I discovered that most oatmeal cake recipes don’t actually have a lot of oatmeal in them, and the oatmeal cake recipes I found seemed to call for a lot of sugar, butter, and eggs. So, I set to work revamping a recipe….

Original Recipe:

Cake:  1 1/2 cups butter, 2 cups sugar, 4 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking soda

Crumb topping:  2 cups flour, 3/4 cup light-brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups butter

Revamping the Recipe:

  • The oatmeal/flour ratio and substitution: Since I wanted a cake which had a lot of the goodness of the oats, the first thing I did was swap the oats to flour ratio. I opted to use 2 1/2 cups of gluten free rolled oats with 1 1/2 cups of gluten free sorghum flour. For the topping, I added 2 cups of gluten free oats to the recipe and cut the flour down to 1 cup of gluten free sorghum flour.
  • The butter: 3 cups of butter is just nuts! I decided to use 1/2 cup of vegan butter in the cake and added 2 1/2 cups of mashed, ripe bananas instead to help make the cake moist without all the fat. (You won’t taste the bananas in the cake, which was good for me because my middle child doesn’t like bananas but loved this cake!) For the topping I cut the butter to 1/2 cups of vegan butter, so that overall the new recipe had 1/3 the butter of the original.
  • The eggs:  4 whole eggs seemed a bit much so I decided to use only 2 eggs, but I added 1/2 cup of a homemade buttermilk (1/2 cup soy milk plus 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice) to keep my liquid amounts the same and to keep the protein I’d be losing from the extra eggs.
  • The sugar: Since I don’t use refined sugar, I swapped out coconut sugar for the refined sugar and cut the amounts, using only 1 cup of coconut sugar in the cake and 1 cup in the topping.
  • The spices: The cake didn’t call for any flavoring other than salt and vanilla. I cut the salt in half to 1/2 tsp, increased the vanilla to 1 tbsp, and added 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp ginger. For the topping, I increased the cinnamon to 1 tsp.
  • The pan:  The original recipe called for baking the cake in a 9 x 13 pan.  I opted to use a 11 x 15 pan to increase the ratio of cake to crumb topping.

The results were wonderful. Everyone who tried the cake loved it, and my children decided it was their new breakfast choice and have asked me already if I can make it again, now that they’ve finished off the original. The complete recipe is below for anyone who wants to try it.

Oatmeal Crumb Cake

Ingredients:

1/2 cup vegan butter

1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas

1 cup coconut sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup soy (or other milk) plus 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

2 cups mashed ripe bananas

1 tbsp vanilla

1 1/2 cup sorghum flour

2 1/2 cups gluten free rolled whole oats

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

2 tsp baking soda

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup sorghum flour

1 cup coconut sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup vegan butter

Baking Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and either grease or line a 11 x 15 pan with parchment paper.
  2. Blend the butter with the 1/2 cup of banana and coconut sugar; then add the eggs, milk with lemon juice, rest of the banana and vanilla.
  3. Combine the flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, and baking soda.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Combine the oats, flour, coconut sugar and cinnamon. Using a pastry knife cut the butter into the dry mixture until all the butter is incorporated and crumbly clumps are formed.
  6. Evenly distribute the topping over the cake.
  7. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden brown. The cake would have puffed and will be firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean.
  8. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Keeps well on the counter top for days.