3 Layer Upside Down Apple Pecan Breakfast Cake

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on November 22, 2010

Good morning!

I spent the entire weekend working on my Challenge #8 post for Project Food Blog. I’m happy to have most of the baking and shooting done as tiring as this weekend was. I also have about 50% of my draft post written up. I was hoping to finish the entire thing this weekend, but that was wishful thinking…I always underestimate how much time my ideas will take!

It is a gloom and doom weather day here in my neck of the woods. I woke up to dark skies and rain and it doesn’t look like it is leaving any time soon. I was feeling pretty ‘blah’ this morning (thank you PMS and gloomy weather!) and I knew if I started the day off on the right foot with a workout it would make all the difference.

After a lot of debate and trying to talk myself out of it, I finally got on the treadmill and had a mood-boosting 4 mile interval workout.

I did 1/4 mile intervals switching between 7.0 mph and 2% incline and 6.0 mph and 4% incline. I pause my workout after each mile for a quick, mini break and water replenishment. Breaking up the workout into 1/4 mile intervals and 1 mile spurts makes it so much more manageable! I say to myself, ‘Just 1/4 mile to go’ and ‘only 1 mile left’ instead of ‘I have 4 miles to run in a row’.

Huge mental difference even though the physical distance is the same. Of course, I felt great afterwards.

For breakfast, I didn’t feel like pancakes, VOO, cereal, a Green Monster, or hot oatmeal.

Nope, I was thinking about making a breakfast cake.

I made this 3-layer apple pecan breakfast cake that was a breeze to throw together and adds a fun twist to common hot breakfasts. The best part about this recipe is that you will have leftovers all week to enjoy to make for really quick breakfasts on the go. This cake would also make a fun afternoon snack!



3 Layer Upside Down Apple Pecan Breakfast Cake

This hearty and comforting breakfast cake will be a reason to get up on those cold and gloomy Winter mornings. Have fun playing around with the flours, fruit, and nuts!


  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (other flours probably work)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon + more for garnish
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance (or butter), melted
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup + 1 tbsp, divided
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce


Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Peel and chop the apples. Grease a small casserole dish and then spread 1 tbsp of maple syrup on the bottom of dish. Now, spread a layer of chopped apples followed by a layer of pecans on the bottom of dish. Use just less than half of both the apples and pecans. In a large bowl, mix the following dry ingredients (whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, kosher salt, cinnamon). Whisk together. In a small bowl mix the wet ingredients (applesauce, 1/2 cup maple syrup, vanilla, and 1/4 cup melted Earth Balance (or butter). Mix.

Add the wet to the dry and mix well. Now spread on a layer of this batter over top of the apples and pecans. Use about half of the batter.

Now spread a layer of apples and pecans again, making sure to leave at least 2-3 tbsp of each for the top of the cake. Follow this by a final layer of the cake batter (use all of it up). Spread as evenly as possible.

Now sprinkle on the remaining apples and pecans. Add on a sprinkle of cinnamon and place in the oven for 55 mins at 350F. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 4-6.


Gather up the dry ingredients…


and the wet…


And let’s make magic.

Peel and chop 2 granny smith apples (or other baking apple).


In a small casserole dish, add 1 tbsp of maple syrup.


Add a layer of apples and pecans on the bottom of the dish. Use just less than half of each.


In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients (whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, kosher salt, cinnamon) . In a small bowl mix the wet ingredients (maple syrup, vanilla, applesauce, and Earth Balance/butter).

Add wet to dry and mix well.


Add a layer (about half) of the batter on top of the apple and pecans.


Now add on another layer of apples and pecans reserving about 2-3 tbsp of each.


Now add on the rest of the cake batter.


And finally the last of the apples and pecans. Garnish with cinnamon.


Bake for 55 minutes at 350F.


Allow to cool for 15 minutes.


Now run a knife along the sides of the cake and flip onto a cake stand or plate.

20101122-IMG_2747 20101122-IMG_2748

Carefully tap the bottom of the dish and slowly lift up.



A few of the apples stuck to the bottom of the dish, but you could probably prevent this by using a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of the casserole dish before you add your ingredients.


The result was a chunky, delightful breakfast cake.


I really wasn’t sure how this breakfast cake was going to turn out, but I was quite pleasantly surprised!

It has a hint of maple and cinnamon and a comforting and gooey apple pecan crunch. It is lined with earthy and wholesome cake layers that are a bit undercooked in the middle, but add to the cake’s appeal.


I give it two breakfast thumbs up. :) Oh and by the way, it also is incredible with Banana Soft Serve…


Have a great one!

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{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 22, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Cake for breakfast is always a good thing. Especially on a Monday!


mindy @ just a one girl revolution. November 22, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I must make that ASAP.


Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun November 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I hate how time slips away and you can never get as much done as you think. That happens to me on a daily basis.


Alina @ Duty Free Foodie November 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm

One could argue this is sort of a nutritious breakfast.
Also, I am slightly wishing I hadn’t talked myself out of running at lunch today. I definitely need the rest today, but I also know I would have a lot more energy right now had I done as you did and run anyway.


OSGMOM November 22, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Oh, I’m definitely making this for breakfast! You never cease to amaze me with your creative ideas :)


Amanda (Eating Up) November 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Your recipes are always delicious and beautiful! Even your green monsters pictures look like model shots!


Melissa November 22, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Yum! This looks devine! I can’t wait to try it… I made your Holiday Soup for the Soul and pumpkin pie banana chunk oatmeal cookies over the weekend and they were both fabulous!


hippierunner November 22, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Doesn’t get better than breakfast cake!


Ella November 22, 2010 at 12:40 pm

cake for breakfast?! i’m in.


Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher November 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm

This looks amaze, Angela! Can you or have you done a post on time organization? You get so much done!


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm

This doesn’t even LOOK like breakfast! Well done!


[email protected] Stepping to the Brightside November 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm

oh my stars! cake for breakfast- now we’re talkin’… beautiful AND delicious. i’m looking so forward to your upcoming project food blog post :)


Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine November 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm

I am always so impressed with your creativity. This looks so fabulous- and it’s GORGEOUS!!


Maria @ runningcupcake November 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Yum- apple and cinnamon anything is good in my book :)


Lauren November 22, 2010 at 12:48 pm

I just made your pumpkin spice whoopie pies…they are incredible, especially the frosting. I cannot stop nibbling on the frosting!


Cassie @ Back to Her Roots November 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Your photos are some of the most beautiful food photos in the whole world. You should do a Food Photography 101 for us sometime. I’m assuming you use natural light; I’d love to see your set up!


Estela @ Weekly Bite November 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Wow Angela, that looks delicious! I love all those big chunks of apples!


[email protected] November 22, 2010 at 12:54 pm

I seriously wish that I lived next door to you. My day is gloomy as well, and I know this cake would make all that gloomyness go away.


anonymous November 22, 2010 at 12:54 pm

cake for breakfast? Oh yea! I’ll make this for Thanksgiving breakfast :)


Bronwyn Coyne November 22, 2010 at 12:56 pm

That does look delicious. I really want pecans lately. they’re so good for baking. And just eating.


Julie November 22, 2010 at 12:57 pm

this is like a healthy apple pie for breakfast mmmm, can’t wait to make it & nibble on it for snacks :)


Charlie November 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm

This cake looks delicious! Love the big pieces of apple :).


Traci November 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Cake…did somebody say cake? :) looks delish


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Yummmm! This would have been a delicious way to start my morning… too bad your house isn’t conveniently on the way to my work! ;)


Alison (Fueling for Fitness) November 22, 2010 at 1:13 pm

YUMMM!! I’ve been going through a breakfast rut lately – not really craving cereal, smoothies or hot/cold oatmeal. I am going to try to make time for this though! :D

Thank you!


Andrea November 22, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Wow looks amazing! Can’t wait to try this.


Shanna November 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I’m loving pecans lately and have been incorporating them into my breakfasts too.

Yesterday and today I had pecan spice cake with maple frosting..yummmm


Leia November 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Ooh this looks absolutely delicious! Now I just need to figure out how to make homemade vegan butter and applesauce…!


Mary @ Bites and Bliss November 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm

3 layers of pure deliciousness :)


Lily @ Lily's Health Pad November 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Gosh, I wish my breakfasts looked like yours!!


[email protected] November 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Oh..my…goodness. Yet another reason to love breakfast. This looks fabulous and super versatile!


Gwen~healthymamma November 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Holy Yummness! I think I will make this tomorow and It’s so pretty and rustic looking I think I see a new Christmas morning breakfast tradition in the making! thanks for sharing!


Holly @ couchpotatoathlete November 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm

This looks so good — like a super delicious, healthy fruit cake :) (and it probably doesn’t weigh 500 lbs like other fruit cakes!)

I can’t wait to see your next Foodbuzz entry. I’m sure it is wonderful!


Ashley (Taste For Healthy) November 22, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Mmmmmmm… I love it! :)


grocery goddess jen November 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm

So creative for first thing Monday morning! I applaud you. And I’d like a piece, please.


Maddie (Healthy Maddie) November 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Yum! I’m all for delicious cake for breakfast.


Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow November 22, 2010 at 2:47 pm



Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! November 22, 2010 at 2:47 pm

This cake looks so fabulous! I just did almost the same workout yesterday (the one that you wrote about last week) by alternating 1/4 mile of 6.0mph @ 2% with [email protected] 2% for 3 miles (plus 1/2 mile warm-up and cooldown). It was such a great workout! Thank you so much for the inspiration. Happy Thanskgiving week!


Marathon Bound Gal aka Grace November 22, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Hmmmm, now this looks scrumptilicious! Did I miss the “print recipe” push button on this one or was it not included? I’ve gotten it on all of your recipes but not this one.


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 22, 2010 at 10:02 pm

whoops adding it in!


Camille November 22, 2010 at 3:01 pm

I love this idea! You can never go wrong with cake for breakfast :)


Erika @ Food.Fitness.Fun November 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Your recipes never fail to make my mouth-water! I must make this! :-P


Jenny November 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm

This sounds great! I wonder how oats would do in this…?


[email protected] November 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Yummmm….I bet this would be wonderful with melted PB/AB on top :-)


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) November 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm

What a glorious looking cake!

And major props to you for spending the ENTIRE weekend on your CHallenge Post. Wow. The work that you ladies are putting into these things is mindboggling. I hope that even though it’s “work” that you’re still having fun with it…I know these things can kinda take on a life of their own sometimes :)

Glad you got a stellar workout in at least!


Moni'sMeals November 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm

this is the one…I will be making this one!
It looks perfect to me in all ways. Mmmm.

Thank Angela.:)


Erin November 22, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Yummy – this would have been perfect for Calgary this morning (-19 C / -30 C with the wind chill)! Speaking of alternative flours, I usually use barley flour because my son and I are allergic to wheat (and spelt, kamut, etc.). Barley is lower in gluten so it works great as a substitute for pastry flour and is super for cookies, muffins and cakes. It’s not so great for yeast breads though because it is soft and doesn’t provide the gluten structure to make loaves rise properly. My favorite kind is made right here in Alberta: http://www.hamiltonsbarley.com/


Kathryn November 22, 2010 at 4:24 pm

You are tearing it up with PFB! AWESOME! I love that you put the posts on your recipe page too, I go to them often!

Fall is finally hitting here in northern CA!


katie November 22, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Are you going to post the cake in a jar smores recipe soon??!! I’ve been dying to get it!


Ashley November 22, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Pecan? Breakfast? Cake? Uhhhmazing!!!! xo


Lisa November 22, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Seriously. GET A COOKBOOK. Then, do a book sigining. I’d be the first in line!


Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather November 22, 2010 at 5:49 pm

I love the big chunky apples! I could totally see this as a nice apple cake for dessert. So pretty like everthing you make :)


Jennifer and Jaclyn @ Sketch-Free Vegan November 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm

oh my! I’m going to make this with my gluten-free flour mix, and can i sub the butter for coconut oil???


Healthy_Chocoholic November 22, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Oh wow!!!!! I don’t even really like pecans, and you have me drooling over this cake!!!! I might even have to go out and buy some pecans now and try this out!


Felicia (a taste of health with balance) November 22, 2010 at 6:25 pm

You are truly amazing. This looks beautiful, healthy, and delicious. Almost every recipe I am making for thanksgiving is coming from you, so thank you for sharing everything you do- you are the best!


GFree_Miel November 22, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Oh my God that looks good!
You always inspire me to want to run. I keep telling myself to go buy a pair of running shoes and get started, but then life gets in the way once more. I think I’ll do it this week, at last.


Heidi - Apples Under My Bed November 22, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I LOVE this idea :) Pecans and apples = heaven.
Heidi xo


Gypsy November 22, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Sorry you’ve been working so hard! Just know how much all your readers appreciate it :)
We are all rooting for you!!!

I made the pumpkin swirl pecan bread last night and my fiance said it’s the best bread/cake he’s ever eaten!
It was really moist and delicious and from what survived our attack last night, the rest is tupperwared and ready to go on our roadtrip.
Thank you!


Trish November 22, 2010 at 7:23 pm

This is just pure genius. I saw the photo of the finished product and I gasped. No kidding – a gasp. Also worth noting – I had to say “oh my goodness!” It looks that good. Must make ASAP. Hmmm . . . wonder if I could leave work early to go bake. ;-)


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin November 22, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Your Project Food Blog entry sounds like it’s so much work! I can’t wait to see it. :D


Melissa @ I Never Imagined November 22, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Amazing! I’ve been looking for a new recipe to try, and now I’ve found it! Thank you!! (Now I just have to wait until I get back from my Thanksgiving vacation, d’oh!)


Fanta November 22, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Honestly, my boyfriend and I Thank You!! :)


Faith @ lovelyascharged November 22, 2010 at 8:15 pm

This looks STELLAR, and I love that there’s just maple syrup and applesauce to sweeten instead of straight up sugar! MMMM!


Tracey November 22, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Hey Angela, am new to your site but LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Cake for breakfast? Please! This recipe has my name written all over it. Thanks for sharing.


Valerie C. November 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm

OH MY GOSH!!!! this looks amazing…and I love the ingredient list!! I think this is going to make it to my thanksgiving table :) Thank you so much.


Paige November 22, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I saw this recipe tonight and made it!! I was thinking we could have it for breakfast tommorrow but it is almost gone! My whole family loved it! Thank you so much! I love your recipes and wake up every morning in anticipation of your next recipe.


Cara Craves... November 22, 2010 at 8:41 pm

What a beauty, I love it.
It’s always fun to freshen up the breakfast routine
with something different.


stacey-healthylife November 22, 2010 at 8:46 pm

It looks so festive.


Liana @ femme fraiche November 22, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Mmmm this will definitely need to be saved for a morning when I have a few minutes! Doesn’t an am workout just make the gloom that much bearable? Good luck with your PFB post!


Rebecca November 22, 2010 at 9:09 pm

I have never thought of having cake for breakfast, the more I think about it, the more I find there is nothing wrong with the idea.


Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table November 22, 2010 at 9:28 pm

It looks like it is mostly apple and pecan rather than cake. Finally, a way to eat cake every meal! :)


Meghan (Making Love In The Kitcne) November 22, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Wow! That looks amazing. Will definitely try this out- but with gluten-free flour for my crowd and I.


Carolyn November 22, 2010 at 9:57 pm

That looks sooo good! I am curious how it holds up for the next day though since I have no one to share it with.


Larinna @ iheartspandex.com November 23, 2010 at 12:25 am

OHH I love how you can cut it up for pieces for breakfast each week! genius idea!


jodye @ 'scend food November 23, 2010 at 1:17 am

This looks like such a decadent and delicious breakfast, and so easy, too! I actually think I’m going to make it tomorrow morning!


Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes November 23, 2010 at 6:16 am

Cake for breakfast…yum! :)


Kristy November 23, 2010 at 7:34 am

This is such a fun idea! You are so creative!


tweal November 23, 2010 at 7:58 am

Mmmm yummy yummy, I want that for breakfast right now! Pecans are the best, and I bet a pear version would be really delicious too. Isn’t everything better with banana soft serve?? :)


Teresa November 23, 2010 at 8:40 am

Oh how great! I’ve been trying to figure out what to make for Thanksgiving (American) morning breakfast. And now I know! We have family coming to stay with us, and I am also hosting Thanksgiving dinner. I can’t wait to stuff them with all my healthy and delicious food!


Embodying Freedom November 23, 2010 at 9:56 am

I’ll have to try that interval stuff. I’ve been attempting to “become a runner” lately but I don’t last very long on the treadmill! Maybe breaking it up will help instead of seeing how long I can run. Thanks for the tip!


Amber K November 23, 2010 at 10:41 am

Looks beautiful! What a fun recipe. :)


Cherine November 23, 2010 at 10:58 am

This cake is fabulous!!


Anne November 24, 2010 at 9:38 am

I made this last night. OH EM GEE. I cannot stop eating it!! So good!! Unfortunately, mine did not turn out NEARLY as pretty as yours (I missed the memo about waiting 15 minutes… the smell was driving me WILD), but it was DELICIOUS! Next time I just may skip the layering steps and just mix it all together and dump it into a pan. I’ll be able do dig in sooner ;)


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 24, 2010 at 9:45 am

that is a GREAT idea about mixing everything together!!


Alaina November 24, 2010 at 2:48 pm

I cannot get over how much I love your creations!! :-) Everything is mouth watering.


Gwen~healthymamma November 28, 2010 at 10:25 am

made this yesterday. my wet batter was waaaaaay thicker than your pic, did you add any water at all?


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 20, 2010 at 11:15 am

hmm not that I recall! If I remember correctly my batter was very thick


Caroline December 20, 2010 at 11:12 am

Hi Angela!

I just recently (2 days ago) discovered your page and I am SO happy that I did :) I’ve so far tried 2 recipes here. First the “Vegan peanut butter muffins bomb” wich was DELICIOUS!! And just half an hour ago I made the “Healthy Peanut Butter Coconut Swirl Pancakes”. I made the hole too big in my plastic bag so the “swirls” were to big haha. But they tasted good. I don’t know what it is but I could only eat 2 of them and then I was FULL (??) Phew, but they were so good!
I’m a vegetarian so I like the fact that many of the recipes are vegan and even if they’re not you can always adjust them.

This cake also looks delicious :) You are now an owner of a bakery, or did I misunderstood?

Best regards,
Caroline from Sweden.


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 20, 2010 at 11:14 am

Glad you enjoy the blog and recipes :) Yes I own http://www.globakery.com/Cart


Jen Noel January 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Do you think you could use coconut oil instead of the earth balance?


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013 at 9:49 am

I cant see why not :)


Kristeen February 11, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Fantastic recipe!


Vegan Radhika Sarohia February 20, 2013 at 4:15 am

This looks awesome


Disha July 11, 2013 at 10:25 am

Wonderful recipe
I wanted to know can i add teff flour or sorghum flour rather than wheat flour
And is there any substitue for apple sauce ?


Katherine December 9, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I have made this twice in the last month. I was looking for a breakfast treat when I didn’t have any eggs. Instead of applesauce I substituted pumpkin butter and increased the amount since it is thicker than applesauce. It was delicious.


janine March 5, 2015 at 9:38 am

this sounds delicious! can i use oil instead of butter? dont eat eggs or butter!


Susan Shields March 16, 2015 at 7:37 am

Has it been done with any gluten free flours such as Pamelas? If so, do you have to adjust anything?


Lilan November 1, 2015 at 8:25 am

This looks so yummy!! Is the recipe enough for a loaf pan?


debbie December 21, 2015 at 5:57 pm

I love the looks of this recipe. Do you have the Nutrition information for it?


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