Even if you instill good habits and encourage healthy taste buds in your little one, they go out into the world and discover it is full of refined sugar and chemicals that want to trick us into thinking that we want more and that they taste good. When I asked my two year old what she did yesterday when came home from daycare, she said “I ate cake.” There was a birthday party at daycare and the day was full of sweets loaded with refined sugars. As she was falling asleep, I asked her what she wanted to eat over the weekend and of course she responded “cake.” So I decided to honor her wishes and make her a cake. For breakfast. My way. No gluten, no milk proteins, no refined sugars.
Then I decided to take it to the next level – soak it in a spiced coconut milk, dip it in granola and fry it into a french toast. O.M.G.
For her birthday last month I made her whole wheat, no refined sugar, 100% cacao, avocado frosting cupcakes and she loved them (She exclaimed “Mama, I like it!”). The kids at daycare ate them up. She will be exposed to the world’s processed foods, so the key is to develop her taste buds early and teach her she can eat almost anything in a healthier form.
I made a flour/meal from raw almonds and used whole dates for the sweetness, which adds to the fiber and lowers the sugar rush. I made this cake with eggs and ghee but also made another version that was vegan with flaxseed and banana instead, for egg replacer and coconut oil for the fat which is just as good, but did not fluff up as much as the egg version pictured here.
The cake on it’s own is very tasty and neutral – great with a cup of coffee as is, with a side of yogurt and fruit, coconut oil or butter, whatever you wish.
But I remembered having an amazing vegan french toast encrusted in granola once (made with a thick sourdough bread). I love challah french toast because the bread is sweet, thick and moist…but full of refined white flour. I thought that the moistness and thickness of this nut based cake would be a perfect substitute…I was right (even the vegan version was perfect!)
For the “egg” that the bread is soaked in, I used coconut milk spiced with vanilla and cinnamon and thickened with arrowroot powder.
The cake was soaked on all sides for about 10 seconds each – you don’t want it to be soggy, just moistened.
Then it was pressed into granola, again on all sides. I used a super nutty granola which is made from rolled oats (not quick oats), coconut flakes and nut pieces, but you can use any granola you choose.
I heated my cast iron skillet with coconut oil over low heat and cooked the encrusted cake on all sides until golden brown.
It was heavenly. It is a great dessert or brunch or breakfast. Again, we ate it with yogurt and fruit, but you choose how you like it best (perhaps with a side of chocolate ganache or salted honey based caramel for dessert?).
Yum! My little one loved the cake with yogurt. And no matter what she receives as treats every so often at daycare, I can still be reassured she learns good habits at home (her favorite food is still roasted brussel sprouts!)
Moist Almond Cake (recipe adapted from Bob’s Redmill’s recipes)
- 1.5 cups raw almonds (or 1.5 cup almond meal)
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup pitted dates, soaked 2 hours- overnight or in hot water for 15 min
- 3/4 cup ghee (use coconut oil for vegan or unsalted butter if you don’t mind milk proteins)
- 4 eggs (vegan replacement 1 ripe banana pureed + 2 tablespoons ground flax seed mixed with 6 Tbs water)
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 vanilla bean innards or 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 12 pan with coconut oil.
Place almonds in a food processor and process until broken up into a course flour or meal – about 5 min. Place into a bowl and mix with coconut flour, salt and baking powder thoroughly and set aside.
Place dates into food processor and pureed with 1/2 – 1 cup hot water until a thick paste is made..Place into a bowl and add ghee (or other fat) – using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream together until smooth. Add in egg (or pureed banana and flaxseed mix) and beat until blended. Add in vanilla and almond milk and mix until combined. Add in dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. The batter will be more firm and sticky than a typical cake mix.
Layer into the greased pan so it is evenly distribute and bake for 30 min until golden brown, moist but cooked.
- Almond cake sliced
- 2 dates, soaked 2 hours- overnight or in hot water for 15 min
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 vanilla bean innards or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
- 1 cup granola
- coconut oil for cooking
Place dates and a small amount of coconut milk into a food processor and blend until a paste. Add remaining coconut milk, vanilla and cinnamon and blend together. Add in arrowroot powder and blend until incorporated. Place into a bowl. Place granola into a separate bowl. Heat coconut oil in a skillet over low heat.
Dip bread into coconut milk for about 10 secs on each side (including edges) but do not let it get soggy as this will cause the cake to break. Dip each side in the granola and place into skillet. Cook on each edge until golden brown. Repeat, adding oil into the skillet as needed.