Carrot cake is highly underrated, forever unfinished at parties and pushed aside on dessert trays in favor of chocolate anything and cheesecake. It doesn’t help when bakers feel the need to paint a huge carrot in orange and green icing on the top; that just makes children run in fear. I’ll admit, when faced with the choice, I have almost always opted for the chocolate as well. But after giving it a chance, I have discovered that certain components of the over-ignored dessert can be downright magical. Take these carrot cake pancakes–thick and fluffy with a sweet blend of spices, creamy maple glaze, and aromatic toasty nuts. What’s not to love? I can honestly say that they rank right up there with blueberry chocolate chip, and that means a ton coming from this chocoholic.
Another wonderful spin is carrot cake oatmeal. Thick, creamy oatmeal is taken to the next level with voluminous shredded carrot, tender sautéed apples, chewy raisins, toasty pecans, soul-warming flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and vanilla, and a maple cream cheese glaze that is to-die-for. Perfect for curling up with on a chilly Sunday morning to enjoy life’s sweet comforts.
And guess what? You get veggies, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, protein, and nothing artificial. It’s hearty and satisfying but not too heavy, and great for kickstarting any day.
Carrot Cake Oatmeal
- 3 oz carrots (about 1 large; I use pre-cut sticks)
- 1 cup (80g) dry quick-cooking oatmeal
- 2 cups milk of choice
- ~1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 packets stevia OR 1 Tbsp coconut sugar OR additional maple syrup, to taste
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- handful raisins
Shred the carrot sticks using the shredding blade of a food processor; transfer to a medium saucepan. Add to the saucepan oats, milk, and about 1/4 cup water. Bring to a light simmer and cook several minutes, stirring occasionally and adding additional water as needed. When the liquid is absorbed and the oats are fluffy, remove from heat and stir in spices, maple syrup, sweetener, vanilla, and raisins.
- 1/2 – 1 apple, chopped (My favorite is Fuji)
- a little coconut oil
- sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg
While the oats are cooking, rub some coconut oil in a small skillet and heat over medium. Throw in the apples along with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. Sauté until crisp-tender, then add to the oatmeal.
- 2 Tbsp reduced fat cream cheese
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- dash cinnamon
- small handful (8-12g) pecans
Add cream cheese, maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon to a small bowl. Microwave about 10 seconds. Stir until smooth.
Toast pecans in a skillet or toaster oven until fragrant; chop.
Divide oatmeal and apple between 2 bowls. Drizzle with maple cream cheese, then sprinkle with walnuts.