They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But on busy mornings, making a complete meal can seem like more effort than it’s worth. Eating a healthy breakfast, however, is the best way to kickstart your day — filling you with energy so you can tackle your to-do’s with tenacity. And if you think the first meal of the day has to be bland to be good for you, think again. Breakfast can, in fact, be both healthy and deliciously dessert-like. As evidence, I offer the hearty-meets-tasty oat cake. Here’s how to prepare this microwave baked treat that’s packed with nutrients.
Why should I be eating oatmeal?
Aside from being a cozy, warm, and delicious way to start your day, oatmeal has a host of health benefits. Medical News Today notes that it’s packed with beta-glucan, a dietary fiber that lowers “bad” cholesterol. Oatmeal also contains important nutrients and minerals, and can help prevent heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, and high blood pressure.
Oats also keep you full until lunchtime or longer, helping stave off snack cravings (which supports weight loss). A study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that oatmeal kept participants fuller for a longer amount of time than ready-to-eat breakfast cereal. Another study reported that oats increase hormones associated with appetite control for four hours after eating.
What kinds of oats are the best?
All types of oats have health benefits. But because there are different kinds — like instant, steel-cut, and rolled oats — you need to figure out which to buy. Get the scoop on the differences between each kind from food site The Kitchn below.
Instant Oats: Also called quick oats, these cook faster than steel-cut or rolled, but are the most processed. They are dried, pre-cooked, and then pressed very thinly. When cooked, they are the softest of the three varieties.
Steel-Cut Oats: These oats are made by chopping the oat kernel into several pieces. Because they are more coarse, they take longer to cook and have a chewier texture.
Rolled Oats: These oats, also called old-fashioned oats, are steamed for softness and then pressed for flatness.
For microwave baked oat cake, you’re blending the oats first, essentially forming oat flour. You can use any kind of oats you have — instant, steel-cut, or rolled. Do keep in mind that steel-cut oats may need additional blending to get smooth, though, and they make twice as much oat flour per cup, says food blog Cookie And Kate.
How To Make Microwave Baked Oat Cake
If you’re anything like me, you will start eating this microwave oat cake so much you’ll quickly memorize the recipe. But until you get to that point, here are instructions from Feel Good Foodie.
- ½ cup rolled or quick oats
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or less if you’re cutting down on sugar or using other sweet add-ins)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- Cooking Spray
Additional notes: You can use steel-cut oats too; just keep in mind the above warning about increased yield. If your oat cake comes out too tough or rubbery, I recommend adding milk or almond milk and letting it soak in to soften. Keep playing with the recipe until you achieve your desired texture.
- Combine ingredients in blender, and blend until smooth and pourable.
- Coat large (twice the size of the batter, since the batter will rise) microwave-safe bowl with cooking spray; pour in oat batter.
- Cook 90-120 seconds.
- Let cool, then top as desired.
This recipe is the perfect canvas for any flavors you want to add. Here are some ideas to customize it further:
- Frozen blueberries and a splash of vanilla for blueberry muffin cake
- A tablespoon of pumpkin purée and some pumpkin pie spice for pumpkin cake
- A tablespoon of cocoa powder and chopped strawberries for chocolate cake
- Cinnamon and chopped nuts for banana bread cake
My Taste Test
This morning, I added frozen blueberries, vanilla, and cinnamon to my blended oats — plus, some almond milk to soften the texture. Because of the egg, this microwave baked oat cake tasted almost exactly like a pancake in warm, spoonable form. For the time it took (less than 5 minutes from beginning to end!), it’s a breakfast that’s impossible to beat.
Say goodnight to mushy, bland oats and good morning to quick-baking microwave oat cake. After all, what better way is there to start your day than with (healthy) cake?