Apple season is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than with this apple oatmeal breakfast cake! This recipe is chock full of fresh apples and warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. This apple oat cake is similar to baked oats but fluffier, with a cake-like texture that makes mornings feel like a treat. One bowl, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, and healthy enough for breakfast!
Why You’ll Love This Apple Oatmeal Breakfast Cake
I’m a big fan of both oatmeal and baked oats in the mornings. But sometimes it can get a bit boring eating the same thing day in and day out (even when you have fun recipes like these chocolate baked oats or these birthday cake overnight oats).
This oatmeal breakfast cake is a great way to start the day. This recipe is flavored with lots of Fall spices and in-season apples. Here are a few more reasons we love this recipe and you will too!
- Cozy Fall Flavor: This cinnamon apple cake is flavored with applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. I love enjoying a slice of it with a cup of tea or a cozy coffee as the weather starts to get a bit chillier.
- Healthy and Hearty: Made with healthy oats (which we grind into oat flour), this cake is a great way to start the day. You can make it into a healthier dessert with a drizzle of cinnamon icing.
- Simple & Great for Meal Prep: With only 1 bowl, and 10 minutes of prep time, this cake is easy to prepare on the weekend, so you have a filling breakfast all week long.
- Perfect for Every Moment: Whether as a snack cake, a dessert after dinner with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a slice to accompany your coffee, it fits every occasion.
Whipping up this oatmeal cake is straightforward with simple ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need.
- Old-fashioned Oats: The foundation of the cake, giving it a wholesome texture and hearty bite.
- Warm Spices: A comforting blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom pair so well with the apples and pecans.
- Maple Syrup or Agave Nectar: This cake uses natural sweeteners to keep it refined sugar-free.
- Unsweetened Applesauce: This replaces eggs in the cake (to keep it vegan), provides moisture, and reinforces the apple flavor.
- Vanilla Extract: A splash for aromatic depth and flavor.
- Almond Milk: Or your milk of choice, to bring the wet ingredients together.
- Melted Coconut Oil: Adds a touch of richness and ensures the cake has the perfect moist crumb.
- Apples: Whether you lean towards a pink lady or a tart granny smith, you can’t have apple cake without fresh apples!
- Pecans or Walnuts (Optional): For those who love a bit of crunch in their slice.
Missing an ingredient? No worries! Here are a few alternatives you can use:
- Almond Milk: If almond milk isn’t on hand, feel free to switch it with oat or soy milk for similar results.
- Natural Sweeteners: Out of maple syrup or agave nectar? You can use another liquid sweetener of choice like date syrup. I don’t recommend using granulated sugars (like brown sugar or white sugar) in this recipe because there won’t be enough liquid.
- Nuts: Swap out the pecans for almonds or hazelnuts for a different crunch and flavor profile.
- Oat Flour: This recipe uses old-fashioned oats which are ground into a fine flour. You can substitute another flour for the oat flour, like whole wheat, all purpose flour, almond flour or another gluten free flour. The texture may differ and you may need more or less wet ingredients.
- Coconut Oil: This can be substituted for vegan butter. Just make sure it’s melted, as cold butter won’t incorporate into the batter as well.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:
- High-Speed Blender or Food Processor
- Large Mixing Bowl
- 8×8” Baking Pan
- Parchment Paper
Step By Step Instructions
Exact quantities are in the recipe card below!
STEP 1: Blend 2 cups of old fashioned oats with the other dry ingredients in a high speed blender. It should be a fine flour.
STEP 2: In a large bowl, add the blended dry ingredients. Then to a well in the center, add the wet ingredients. Whisk the wet and dry together to form a batter.
STEP 3: Once the oat mixture is combined, you can fold in the remaining whole old-fashioned oats.
STEP 4: Next, fold in the diced apples and any additional mix-ins like pecans.
STEP 5: Transfer this oatmeal cake batter to a parchment-lined baking pan, making sure it’s evenly spread out in the pan. The parchment paper should cover the bottom of the pan and half sides to make removal easier. You can sprinkle the top of the cake with more oats and chopped nuts.
STEP 6: Bake until the top is golden brown and a tester inserted comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Let it cool on a wire rack before slicing!
This recipe is amazing when served warm, so I recommend heating it in the microwave or toaster oven for a few seconds prior to serving! You could also top it with a dollop of vegan yogurt, fresh fruit, or a drizzle of extra maple syrup for extra sweetness.
To make this breakfast cake into more of a dessert, you can also drizzle it with a bit of cinnamon icing like in the photos (recipe is in the notes section of the card down below).
Once your apple oatmeal cake has cooled, drizzle the cinnamon icing over the top, letting it ooze down the sides. The contrast of the sweet apples in the cake with the spiced icing is a match made in heaven. For an extra indulgent dessert idea, add a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream on the side.
Keep any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days. This breakfast cake will stay fresh for up to 5 days in the fridge.
If you’d like to freeze it, wrap the slices tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. The cake will stay fresh in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Best Apples for Baking
Choosing the right apple variety for baking can elevate your cake and enhance the flavor. When it comes to baking, you’ll want apples that hold their shape and have a nice balance of sweet and tart flavors. Here are some of the top apples for baking:
- Honeycrisp: Sweet with a bit of tartness and a crisp texture, they bake beautifully without becoming too mushy.
- Braeburn: A balanced sweet-tart flavor and firm texture make these apples a popular choice.
- Granny Smith: Known for their tartness, they hold their shape perfectly and are great for adding some tang to sweeter recipes.
- Golden Delicious: A softer apple with a sweet buttery flavor, perfect for blending with other apple types.
- Pink Lady (or Cripps Pink): Offers a tangy bite and effervescent finish. They are both tart and sweet.
Often, the best apple cake or dessert combines two or more apple varieties. By doing so, you can achieve a layered apple flavor. But, this recipe only calls for 1 apple, so pick your favorite out of the list above!
- For a moist cake: try not to over-bake the batter. The cake is done when it is golden brown and no longer jiggly in the center.
- Blend the oats for best results: blended oats have a flour consistency that helps create a cake-like texture. I blend the whole oats with the ‘mill’ setting on my blender for the best results.
- Use cooking spray: grease the baking pan and use parchment paper prior to baking for easier cleanup.
For best results, stick to old-fashioned oats. They provide the perfect texture.
The addition of apples and applesauce helps the cake retain moisture. Plus, avoid over-baking. A few moist crumbs on the tester are perfect.
Absolutely! Adjust the baking time accordingly and monitor the cake for doneness.
Did you make this breakfast apple oatmeal cake?
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