A Berry Oat Cake for the Birthday Girl

It’s my birthday today! To celebrate the magic of the big 3-1, allow me to share a recipe for a sort-of-healthy birthday cake. Full disclaimer: I doubt I will actually bake this cake for my birthday today. I’ll probably be lazy (AGAIN) and let somebody else do the work, if I have cake at all. Chocolate could very well be involved in lieu of cake. My kitchen love affair gets a little cramped in the summer months. πŸ™‚

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I’ve already established how much I enjoy working in the kitchen on this here blog, yes? (I know for a fact I’ve already confirmed what a nut I am when it comes to cooking for road trips, and I’m pretty sure I’ve also demonstrated the peculiar/OCD issues I have with using other people’s kitchen utensils before, so if you’re not convinced of my love for cooking just yet, let’s just pretend that being a compulsive, nutty, non-borrower of other people’s crock pots equals Big Time Kitchen Love.)

I love making things from scratch whenever I can, and I’m also somebody who strives to waste as little as possible, food or otherwise. I’ve been making our own almond milk for over a year now and, after documenting a few initial mishaps (which of course were Freshly Pressed– WordPress loves celebrating failure!), I’ve become a well-oiled machine with the process: Soak almonds. Add water. Blend. Strain. Blend again with vanilla and dates. See? Simple!

The only thing I didn’t enjoy about making almond milk from scratch was having the almond grits left over. What to do with a bunch of soggy almond bits, save for tossing them in the compost bin? I tried making chocolate truffles with them before, but the results were mushy and gross, to put it politely. (I have a serious chocolate addiction and even I didn’t want to eat these truffles, if that says anything.) Anyway. I wanted to doΒ somethingΒ with the leftover almond curds, but unless I wanted to excel at food failure, it seemed that the compost heap was the only viable option.

Almond grits in all their glory

Enter the Berry Oat Cake.

The recipe for this cake (which is more like a mild afternoon loaf than it is like a hyperactive kid’s birthday cake) secretly came from a “diet” book (sssh!), but given the amount of times I’ve eaten a quarter-plus of a pan in one sitting, I can safely say that I’m not losing any weight from it. πŸ˜‰ What I like about this recipe– aside from its addictive, not-too-sweet quality– is that I can easily and deliciously incorporate my almond grits into it. So what if I make this cake exactly as frequently as I make almond milk, i.e. weekly? At least I’m not wasting any food by doing it! “Eat up, honey bunches”, I tell my husband when yet another Berry Oat Cake emerges from the oven: “We’re recycling!”

The edible version of “waste not, want not”

(Marty is an eco-warrior, too. He does his bit for the environment by dutifully eating his share of the berry oat cake each week.)

It goes without saying that this cake can be made without soggy almond grits, too. You don’t even have to make it weekly like we do– I’ll just keep my snide judgments about your commitment to recycling/future generations/God’s Green Earth to myself.

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Berry Oat Cake

(revised from the O2 Diet book recipe by Keri Glassman)


You Will Need:

– 1/2 cup finely ground almond meal (or soggy almond grits!)

– 1/2 cup turbinado sugar (looks big and crunchy compared to regular white sugar)

– 1 1/2 cups oat flour, plus 1 Tbsp oat flour (I’ve made this before with spelt flour and it was fine. You could probably even use regular flour if it pleased you.)

– 2 1/2 tsp baking powder

– 1/2 tsp sea salt

– 1 egg (or vegan egg replacement equivalent)

– 1/4 cup high quality cooking oil (canola, etc.)

– 1/2 cup almond milk (or milk of your preference)

– 1 tsp vanilla (I use my homemade extract, obviously)

– 2 cups mixed frozen berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries– all of these will work in any combination)

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a square (8″x8″) baking pan.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine almond meal, sugar, oat flour, baking powder, and sea salt.

3. In a small bowl, whisk egg with a fork, then add oil, vanilla, and almond milk.

Whisk together until emulsified and add to dry ingredients. Stir together until combined. Batter will be thick and sticky.

4. In a medium bowl, toss frozen fruit with extra 1 Tbsp oat flour to coat. Stir fruit into cake batter and transfer to square baking pan.

Hey– nobody said it was going to look pretty. Appearances aren’t everything, you know.

5. Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown on the top. Makes 9 diet-sized portions (or 2 to 4 “Hungry Man” portions. I won’t judge you if you eat half a pan at once, because I’ve been there before, not to mention last week.)

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Do you have a sweet tooth, dear readers?

Β  Β  Do you indulge your sweet tooth under the guise of recycling like I do?

Any birthday wishes for yours truly (hint, hint)?

53 responses

  1. Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you! May the big 3-1 be the bestest year ever, Ms. Dana! (At least until the big 3-2.) OK, you have given us the best possible gift ever on your birthday. I hate throwing away those leftover grits (never even knew what to call them before today.) Now there is a wonderful healthy answer, hurray! You are a birthday lifesaver. Enjoy at least a week of birthday now, will you?

    • Truth be told, I usually celebrate “my” birthday in January when Marty celebrates his. We normally have to work all day on my birthday (being in the summer months and all). Luckily, it poured rain today in Victoria, leaving us a whole day away from the Harbour. (Granted, we still worked like dogs, but it felt nice not to be outside on the causeway for once.)

      I don’t know if “grits” is the actual term for them. Seems fitting though, no?

    • Thanks, Laurie! It’s a pretty delicious cake, and I like how it can easily be converted to a vegan recipe, too. I’ve made it without the egg before, and I always use non-dairy milk in it. Delicious and “nutritious”! πŸ˜‰

  2. Happy birthday!!! May your day be filled with harbour sales (and sails too I guess), berry goodness, knitting fun and more sunshine for days to come!

    • Thanks, Mary! I have to admit that it was such a relief to see RAIN and MORE RAIN on my birthday. I never thought I’d welcome a downpour before, but it was great to be away from the Harbour for a day without feeling any guilt. A girl could get used to that!

  3. I love that you are looking for ways to recycle something that is totally suitable for the compost! That cake looks fantastic! And happy birthday ady! At least it’s raining and you don’t have to work right?

    • Well, we still worked today, just not at the Harbour. It’s still good, though– most people don’t get to take a complete day off of work just because it’s their birthday. πŸ™‚ Hope your trip is going well! Went to see the Rocky Mountain Express IMAX today. Yeah… I can see why you were a bit intimidated to get on that train!

  4. Happy 31st, Dana! I just have to point out that I have that exact same measuring cup and we’re the same age (I turned 31 in March)! Interesting coincidence?

    Also, thanks for sharing your Berry Oat Cake recipe β€” it looks so good!!

    • Hmmm… cosmic connections indeed!

      The best part about the cake is that it can easily be made vegan by subbing in your preferred replacement. I’ve made it with flax seeds instead of egg before, but I wasn’t sure how “crunchy” the cake would sound if I had flax seeds AND almond grits listed as ingredients. πŸ™‚

      • Haha! Yeah, ground flax would make a great replacement for the egg here (and I don’t think it’d make the cake sound too crunchy πŸ™‚ ). It’s definitely an easily veganized recipe.

        • I think you and I are a breed of people who have a high Crunchiness Tolerance Factor. A lot of people I know look skeptical and non-plussed even when I say “almond milk”, so maybe we’re not reflective of the general population at large? πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks, Lesley! I had a pretty great day yesterday despite all the work we did. No cake, but I knew there was no way I wanted to be baking on my big day. πŸ™‚

  5. Happy birthday yesterday, Dana! I hope you had a great one! This cake looks unbelievable. While I was reading the opening here, I was nodding along to the “I love making things from scratch whenever I can” part. I try to make everything from scratch, particularly cakes. BUT, I had no idea to what extent you were talking about — holy cow, you made your own almond meal! That is a level of dedication I’ve never achieved. Well done.

    • Almond MEAL! That’s the word I was looking for. I was thinking, ‘ground almonds’?, ‘almond bits’?, ‘soggy almond mush’?, and every other conceivable term, but MEAL is the word I was truly searching for. Thanks so much for setting my heart at ease. Little things like that pester my soul like mosquito bites pester the flesh.

      The first time I made almond milk, it was a gigantic deal (obviously), but now that I know what not to do, it’s the easiest thing in the world. Plus, it makes me feel smug and superior when I can use both the milk AND the meal in the cake recipe. πŸ˜‰

  6. Yay! Happy Birthday!!!
    I’ve made almond milk a few times, but that almond meal is kind of the reason I don’t do it more often… but that cake looks amazing! I once tried to make a pie crust with it (the recipe called for ground almonds), and it was a really weird disaster. I didn’t know pie crust could be rubbery!

    • I hear you, Dominique. It feels like such a waste to have a cup of soggy almond meal left over every time you make almond milk. The super extreme part of me wanted to buy a food dehydrator JUST so I could dehydrate the grits and see if they would store longer or make the powder-like substance you can buy pre-ground in the store. Making cake and muffins with moist grits is so much cheaper than buying a dehydrator, though (and more delicious to boot!)

    • I haven’t been doing a whole lot of baking this summer, but I can make you a *pretend* oat cake for your birthday– how’s that? πŸ˜‰ It will be the same *pretend* birthday cake that I had yesterday!

    • Hey, so nice to hear from you Stephanie! I was wondering where you’ve been lately. Hopefully your injury is all healed up now and maybe soon you’ll be back to the blogging world again? Take care!

    • Glad to hear I’m not the only one with an affinity for sweets, Holly. I had a wonderful birthday, even though it was surprisingly sweetless! (I must be coming down with something…)

  7. I can’t believe I missed your birthday, Dana, and this post, until today. 😦

    I’m disappointed in my bad self.

    Hope it was spectacular and deserving of 31 years of life on this “bettter-because-you’re-here-recycling” earth.

    β€œEat up, honey bunches.” Ah, music to my ears anytime there’s dessert in the vicinity!! πŸ™‚

    • No worries, MJ. I am chronically behind on reading blog posts, and if my memory serves me right, I think there’s a couple of your posts that I haven’t got around to reading yet. Patience, friend, patience. πŸ™‚

      I like bestowing ridiculously floral nicknames on Marty whenever possible, like honey bunches, or dearest bunnikers. I like to imagine that these names come out of my mouth manifested as the loopiest, girliest cursive writing imaginable and then land on his sweet face like a shower of kisses. Too much? Marty, bless his soul, puts up with my over the top cheesiness and eats his berry oat cake like a good boy. Oh, my dear husband! πŸ™‚

  8. Happy belated birthday! That cake looks really good. My daughter has a problem with dairy so I get soy milk for her, but I’m going to print out and try both the almond milk and cake recipes. You’ve inspired me, Dana.

    • Thanks, Peg! A word of warning about the almond milk recipe: it is SO MUCH EASIER to make if you can get your hands on a nut milk bag (or some sort of really-fine mesh bag). Cheesecloth and me have not been the greatest of friends, at least when it comes to this recipe.

      But the cake? So good!! Even if you sub in store-bought soy milk for the almond milk, and even if you don’t have your own soggy almond meal to add to the mix, it’s still super yummy. Good luck! (And thanks for the b-day wishes!)

  9. I’m late to the party so you’ll have to celebrate all over again. Happy, happy, happy birthday!! (I’d sing but nobody wants to hear that.)

    Your Berry Oat Cake looks and sounds delicious. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Robin! Celebrating a birthday never gets old, at least for me. (Maybe I’ll feel differently in my 70s or something, but so far, I feel okay getting older.)

  10. Happy Belated Birthday Dana!

    I love your recipe blogs (especially that one for Holy Shitake Soup).

    I have a serious sweet tooth. My “Indentured Servant” just made her eggless chocolate cake for me day before yesterday. Soooo yummy. This one looks tastey too.

    • Curse the sweet tooth, hey? (At least this recipe can easily be made eggless, too. Have you gone completely vegan or just veg for the most part?) Thanks for the birthday wishes! πŸ™‚

  11. Dana, are you still celebrating? tee hee. I always have a desire to comment on your previous blog when you haven’t posted a new one. Hope you still have some cake left.

    • Hey Kathy– thanks! Today is actually my mom’s birthday, so the celebrations continue. πŸ™‚ I have a scheduled post coming out on Sunday, but who knows when I’ll grab a few minutes to craft an entirely new essay? There’s lots of things to say, but hardly any time to say them…

      I hope you are enjoying your July of non-comment-response. πŸ˜‰

      • I **almost shamefully** am. It feels so freeing to just offer the blog post out in the sphere and then just let it be. And people will come & say what they want to contribute and you can just let that be, too. It seems to free up creativity. I feel a lighter presence here. We’ll see what August brings! Thank you for asking.

    • Thanks, Laura! No worries– the celebrations usually go on for months. I’m not above shamelessly promoting my birthday (long past the actual date) in the name of cake. πŸ˜‰

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