Remember not too long ago when everything was cake? Well, the new trend blowing up on social media is the inverse: Everything looks like cake, but is not in fact cake. Where's the fun in that, you ask? Open up TikTok and you'll see video after video of scrumptious-looking cakes, elaborately frosted and decorated, that turn out to be healthy breakfast foods in disguise.
Apparently oats, whizzed to a fine powder in a blender, can be baked into a pretty convincing confection that would not look out of place at a birthday party. Except, again, these recipes are healthy enough to count for the most important meal of the day.
I am a creature of habit and begin most mornings with a bowl of oatmeal. I also end most evenings (OK, all evenings) with dessert. The idea of having cake for breakfast appeals to me immensely, but due to the aforementioned evening sweets consumption, it is normally an indulgence I reserve for my birthday, which happens to be coming up on Monday. Could this sneaky breakfast cake be the beginning of a new chapter for me … where cake is on the menu every day … but I still fit into my pants if and when I should ever be forced to get "dressed" again? Obviously, I had to find out.
"For anyone who doesn't like the texture of oatmeal, this is one oats recipe they can truly get behind," she told me via email. "I love the concept of taking something I always make for breakfast and slightly changing the preparation to make it a novel new idea!"
She's taken to making her oat cakes in the microwave for her kids, but I was going for the full baking experience in the oven. First, I pulverized my oats. Many recipes say you can throw everything into the blender at once, but I was worried that wouldn't grind the oats finely enough, and I really wanted to get a convincing cake texture here. Then, I added everything else: banana, egg, maple syrup, baking powder, salt and optional cocoa powder. Blend it all into a silky goo, pour into ramekins and enjoy the smell of cake filling your house while it transforms in the oven.
I couldn't believe how beautifully the top puffed up in just a few minutes. Your breakfast is ready when you can poke the dome and feel some springiness, just like … you guessed it … a cake.
Then comes the fun part: decorating. I drizzled one ramekin with my favorite oatmeal topping of the moment, Fix and Fogg's almond cashew maple butter. The other got a healthy splash of Seed and Mill's chocolate date tahini, which I normally eat with plain Greek yogurt, as the dates make it quite sweet. I pulled some frozen berries out of the freezer and sprinkles from the pantry and truly felt like a kid on Christmas as I gussied up my breakfast treats. My humble daily oatmeal could never!
The only downside was that the dog was sad because usually I share my oatmeal with her when it doesn't have all this chocolate stuff in it. For any fellow humans joining me on the fake cake bandwagon in the morning, I do recommend eating it while it's still warm and fluffy from the oven for that extra gooey factor. By the time it cools and the texture gets a little tougher, you won't be marveling that it's not real cake anymore. It will taste healthy by then, and no one wants that.