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Courtney Hamilton’s Blog

Cake for Breakfast

Courtney Hamilton

Posted April 8, 2008 in Living Sustainably

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During the winter I had this brilliant idea: sign up for a weekly delivery from an organic foods co-op of sorts and never have to walk through the snow with groceries ever again.

The idea was great. Only there were two hitches: 1) over the course of the entire winter there were maybe two major snowfalls in Manhattan and 2) they always delivered carrots (I hate carrots). 

But salvation was not far off: I love eating carrot cake for breakfast.

I am not a baker—I’m lazy with measuring things, and like to taste as I go along—so it was not without mishaps that I developed the recipe that follows. 

This specific recipe is made to be flexible and “seasoned to taste” (in fact in my apartment, most of the raw batter is consumed well before the liners hit the muffin tray), it is delicious, moist, and above all, healthy enough to eat in the morning, while sweet enough to taste… guilty.
 

According to NRDC's Food Miles website most of the ingredients in this recipe (carrots, carrots, more carrots) are in season year round in California and even in North Dakota are available in a nearby state 9 months out of the year. In short, this recipe is useful year round, and particularly appropriate for celebrating the last two weeks of carrot season on the East Coast (which FYI ends mid-april for hot-house carrots).

 a free stock photo of carrot cake muffins found online

(and for those of you that don’t believe me that this is actually an acceptable form of breakfast, I beg you to check out the nutritional content as estimated by an online calculator and compare it to say… the nutritional information of a bowl of cereal or a bagel)

 

[Recipe]

Makes about 24 muffins (they go quick)
 

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup oat bran

1 cup sugar**

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp your choice of spices (I usually use a mixture of cinnamon/ clove, or pumpkin pie spice)

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

 

3 tbs ground flax seed whisked with 9tbs water **

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup unsweetened apple sauce

4 cups grated carrots

1 ½ cup dark raisins

1 ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Get out two non-stick muffin pans, and if you want, line with cupcake liners. 

Mix together the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl (the dry ingredients), then slowly mix in the oil, flax mixture, apple sauce and carrots (the wet ingredients) until you achieve an even consistency. Taste. Adjust spicing/ sweetness/ ratios as necessary. Add raisins and walnuts, as many or as little as you want. Taste.

Scoop batter into muffin trays, filling each muffin well until it is ¾ full. At home this recipe makes about 24 muffins. Leave the remaining muffin wells empty.


Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Muffins are done when toothpick inserted in the center comes back mostly clean, and/or when centers spring back when gently pressed.
 
Let cool for 5 min on a wire tray (if you have one). Can be stored at room temperature on your countertop, covered in aluminum foil.
 

Serving suggestions:

Serve plain, with butter, cream cheese, with your favorite yogurt, or paired with a second muffin.
 

 

NOTES/ TIPS 

** Organicness

All ingredients can be found organic for not much extra $$. The only thing that’s not consistently organic in my recipe is the flour and the oil.

** Sugar

The measurement above is inexact. I usually start at a half cup and then just add more as needed. Depending on the sweetness of your applesauce/ carrots/ palate you may need less than a full cup.

**For those that want to go super local

If you live anywhere outside of Hawaii, Florida or Louisiana, sugar is probably not a locally produced product. In this recipe the use of apple sauce reduces the need for sugar, and I always use organic… but if you still feel guilty or feel that you can do better, try switching the sugar out for the appropriate amounts of Maple syrup, or if you live near Mexico, Agave.

**Ground Flax

First of all, grinding your own flax seeds in a food processor until they look like a coarse flour before mixing with the water produces a moister muffin. Pre-ground flax meal makes fluffier dryer muffins. And as a third alternative you can replace each tbs of ground flax with an egg, but frankly the muffins don’t taste any better, and adding egg reduces the ecological benefits of avoiding refrigerated animal products.

** Apple Sauce/ Oil Ratio

You can mix and match the quantities, so long as it adds up to 1 cup you’re good. (the ratio here is my favorite)

** Eat the Batter

Taste it before you pop it into the oven, if you like the flavors great, but if not add a little more of whatever’s needed. Or just eat raw. It tastes good!

 

 

RESOURCES: 

http://www.localharvest.org/

http://www.nrdc.org/health/foodmiles

http://www.chowhound.com/  (can help you find local organic restaurants and connect with local foodies)

 

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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