Cake for breakfast? Yes, this heart-healthy, homemade breakfast cake recipe is an easy bake and made with ancient grains. It's cut into cute cake bars, perfect to enjoy as an individual coffee treat for breakfast, brunch, or as an afternoon snack.
Small chunks of walnuts and dried apricots add a lovely sweet surprise to each bite. Enjoy this healthy cake as-is—it's delicious—but feel free to top your piece with a dollop of your favorite yogurt, jam, or compote—let's bake!
This recipe includes a vegan-friendly option.
It's always fun to make this breakfast cake because it so quickly comes together, and it's the ideal fall or winter morning bake that pairs so well with that cup of coffee or tea.
The chopped walnuts add healthy fats and texture, while the dried apricots and a tad of maple syrup make it slightly sweet.
The applesauce replaces any butter in this baked good but adds plenty of moisture.
Make a fresh batch on Sunday, and then store it in an airtight container to enjoy during the week. You can leave it on the kitchen counter for up to 5 days, maybe even a couple of days longer.
Recently, I bought two glass storage canisters. They not only look beautiful on a kitchen island but keep any baked goods quite fresh.
Ingredients and some extra notes
- I love the walnut and apricot combo. The nutty and naturally sweet flavor adds a beautiful texture and taste — especially the apricots with their faint tartness. However, feel free to switch it up with maybe pecans, raisins, or dried prunes.
- This healthy breakfast cake is dairy-free, but you can easily make it also without eggs and thus vegan-friendly. I give directions in the recipe notes on how to substitute the eggs.
- Fresh or roasted almonds are pulverized and added to the flour (see recipe note) for an extra lovely nutty and an almost buttery undertone. You can replace this with prepackaged almond meal made from whole almonds—not to be confused with almond flour which will change the texture and consistency of the cake.
- The organic rye flour adds a satisfying nutty taste with each bite and I've noticed that it will keep the cake fresh for longer when stored at room temperature. It is also a wholesome grain that is richly nutritious. I love One Degree Organic Foods, which is more of a light to medium rye flour. You can opt for a more darker one like a Bob's Red Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour, but note that it will result in a more intense rye flavor and a cake that has a more denser texture. Another more reasonably priced option is the rye flour from Arrowhead Mills.
- Feel free to swap this ingredients with Spelt flour. A delicious ancient grain that will give these cake bars a light texture with more complex flavors.
- Note: the cake might look a bit darker or lighter in color depending on the choice of flour.
How to make this healthy cake for breakfast
You can either use an almond meal or quickly grind whole almonds for a few seconds into a meal using a coffee grinder or blender. The texture should be coarse rather than fine.
Then whisk the dry ingredients into a bowl. I like to use a whisk to break up any lumps in the flour. Then stir in the chopped walnuts and apricots until they completely disappear into the flour mix.
Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl. Then spoon in the dry ingredients until you have a wet but fairly thick cake batter.
Drop the cake batter into the prepared pan.
With a spatula, spread it evenly so it reaches all sides of the corner.
Bake for about 30 minutes and until golden brown at the top. Always test if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready to come out of the oven.
Let it cool for 5 minutes before removing the cake from the pan. I like to use a sharp, thin-bladed knife and carefully run it around the cake's edges once cooled to make sure the cake isn't stuck to the pan and the breakfast cake can't break when taking it out.
Cut into nine cake bars, or make them smaller if preferred.
Eat cake for breakfast—Serving ideas
- This yummy cake is healthy enough to enjoy as-is for breakfast, and it pairs well with that hot cup of coffee or tea.
- If you like them a tad sweeter, cut the cake bar in half, spread some (coconut) butter and your favorite jam on top—I recommend an apricot jam or orange-flavored spread.
- Another option is a dollop of your favorite (cashew) yogurt with extra walnuts.
- It is filling, incredibly satisfying, and a smart to-go option too for when you are in a hurry.
- If you pack it for lunch or snack, just wrap it in baking paper or brown bag it.
- More often, we enjoy one as an afternoon snack—it is a lovely cake for tea time.
- These cake bars can also become the center of a breakfast board surrounded with healthy fruits, extra nuts, homemade nut spreads, jam and yogurt, and maybe some hard boiled eggs and cheeses on the side.
An almond meal is usually a coarse grind of whole raw almonds into a flour-like consistency that looks speckled with bits of almond skin. Almond flour is also made from almonds, but the grind is much finer (it almost looks like a fine flour with a creamy tan) and is usually made from almonds with the skin removed (blanched almonds). In this bake, you want to use almond meal instead of almond flour to add a rich nutty and almost buttery texture to these cake bars.
Unsweetened applesauce adds moisture and a delicious sweet texture to this cake and works as a butter alternative in this recipe and not as an egg substitute. So, whether you use two eggs or an egg replacement, always add the same amount of applesauce.
The simple answer is no. This cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days. It will be fine in the refrigerator for a few days beyond that.
It's flour made from milling rye grain—a cereal grain—and comes in different varieties such as light, medium, or dark, depending on how much husk and germ have been removed. This flour is not gluten-free but contains far less gluten than regular or wheat flour and is much easier to digest. I love the taste of rye flour in cakes as it adds an earthy sourness that balances any added sweets. It also adds moisture and therefore results in a denser bake. If you've never baked with rye flour before, I suggest using light rye flour at first, as a darker variation is more intense in flavors but, of course, also more nutritious.
Unlike rye flour, Spelt flour is a type of grain in the wheat family, although it is quite different from wheat. It also contains gluten but tends to be more easily tolerated by people sensitive to wheat. This ancient grain is highly nutritious and a complete source of protein. I love baking with this ancient grain because, to me, it has a soft sweet flavor that lends to delicious soft cakes without any bitter aftertaste.
It depends. Go for sun-dried organic Turkish Apricots if you like juicier and sweeter apricots directly dried under the sunlight. They are usually darker in color—more brownish. For a more pronounced sweet-tart flavor, choose Californian apricots—usually more orangy in color and chewy in texture.
More ancient grain recipes
- Apple-Bacon pancake with buckwheat flour
- Orange cake loaf (a quick bread recipe)
- Homemade speculoos cookies
- Italian-style Sicilian pizza with Spelt flour option
Enjoy, and don't forget to subscribe to my monthly newsletter!
- 2 cups (204g) organic rye flour or Spelt flour
- ½ cup (80 grams) whole almonds, grind into a flour (see note), or about 75 grams almond meal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ cup (100g) packed dried apricots, chopped
- 1 cup (100 grams) chopped walnuts
- 2 eggs or 2 egg substitutes (see note)
- 1 cup (245 grams) applesauce
- ½ cup (155 grams) maple syrup
- Coconut or olive oil to grease the pan
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/ 180 °C.
- In a bowl, combine the flour, almond meal, and baking powder. Use a whisk to sift through the flour and break up any clumps.
- Then stir in the dried apricots and walnuts until wholly submerged into the flour mix, set aside.
- Combine the eggs (or egg substitute), applesauce, and maple syrup in a separate bowl. Stir until everything is well combined.
- With a large (wooden) spoon, fold the reserved flour mixture into the wet ingredients bit by bit until everything is well combined and you get a slow dripping batter.
- Coat the inside of a 9-inch square baking pan with some oil, then shake in a bit of flour (coating all sides), and tap out the excess.
- Drop the cake batter into the prepared pan and, with a spatula, spread it evenly, so it reaches all sides of the corner.
- Bake in the middle of the oven rack for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let it cool, then take it gently out of the pan and slice it into squares.
- Keep the cake at room temperature in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.
Egg substitute: for this recipe (replacing two eggs), I used 2 tbsp Bob's Red Mill gluten-free and vegan egg replacer, mixed with 4 tbsp of water, and let it sit for one minute to thicken.
Grinding almonds: place whole almonds (raw or toasted) into a food processor, grinder, or blender. Pulse the nuts in short small bursts into fine, coarse sand. Please don't run the blender continuously, as the nuts will release their oil and become nut butter. Using almond meal instead of almond flour adds extra moisture to this fat-free cake.
Storage: It's best to keep the cake in an air-tight container and store it at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 281Total Fat: 13.6gSaturated Fat: 1.2gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 17mgCarbohydrates: 35.4gFiber: 7.8gSugar: 14.9gProtein: 9.5g
(% Daily Value) Vitamin D 3mcg 17%, Calcium 115mg 9%, Iron 3mg 15%, Potassium 511mg 11%,\. The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice. Disclaimer: This nutritional data is calculated using third-party tools and is only intended as a reference.
This post was originally published in December 2019 and has been updated with new pictures and new information.