Heavenly Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on March 19, 2014

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I’m still digging up cookbook recipes that I didn’t include in the final book. It’s like finding buried treasures in my Google document! The beauty of all the recipe testing that went down over the past 2 years is that I have so much inspiration leftover to tweak and share here – such as this baked carrot cake oatmeal. It was a big hit with my recipe testers, but ultimately I decided to go with the baked apple and pear oatmeal for the book, knowing I would eventually share this version on the blog anyway. My stove-top Carrot Cake Oatmeal has been popular over the years, so this baked version was a natural next step. And boy, is this baked version incredible. It tastes so much like carrot cake I almost thought I was eating the real thing. Add a dollop of coconut whipped cream on top and you are well on your way to breakfast nirvana. I’m thinking it would be a great addition to an Easter brunch too!

/ Behind the Scenes: Cookbook, Part 1: Recipe Testers /

I haven’t written much about the behind the scenes of cookbook creation, but I thought I would share the process a bit more now that I’m not juggling both things at once. Initially, I wanted to share the process in real time, but I quickly realized that I needed to get through it once before I felt like I could share anything helpful. It took a long time before I felt like I had a good system in place. I felt like a crazy person most of the time. Lots of trial and error. If I write a second cookbook, I hope that the organizational flow goes a bit more smoothly. Wishful thinking, maybe!

Anyway, I’m going to first tell you about my cookbook angels, otherwise known as my recipe testers. Writing a cookbook is much different than blogging, I soon found out. On the blog I have immediate feedback (some of you make my new recipes within the hour and let me know how it went!) and it’s easy to know if I’m on the right track, but with a cookbook there’s always that sense of unease and doubt. I felt like I was blindly trudging along each day hoping my instincts and taste buds were not leading me astray. I always asked myself, “Would my blog readers enjoy this? Would someone who’s not into vegan cooking enjoy it too?” And once it’s in print…well, it’s in PRINT! An intimidating thought. Two and a half years proved to be a very long time to wait for feedback from you (and other vegan-interested/healthy food/glow-seeking peeps!); that’s why my recipe testers are so important. They let me know if I was on the right track or veering off course; at least, when it came to the recipes. My editor helped me with the written portion of the book (intro, chapter openers, headnotes, and overall flow) and pushed me to keep digging deep to allow my story to flow into words.

At first, I felt overwhelmed because I didn’t know how I would find the time to organize a recipe testing group while doing everything else, but we eventually came up with a system that worked for us. Eric created a private blog just for my recipe testers. Once I gathered my group of recipe testers (family, friends, and blog readers/bloggers), I gave them the password to the private blog. I started posting potential cookbook recipes 2-3 times a week (with a photo for each) to the site for over 6-8 months. The recipes took a long time to get through as you can imagine. Even though my posts on the blog dropped a lot some weeks, I was actually posting double or triple the content than what you saw here. In the comment section of each post, my recipe testers responded to a series of questions after they made the recipe. I wanted to know everything from recipe clarity to enjoyment rating (on a scale of 10) to whether their kids or husbands approved. And, of course, I only wanted honest feedback! No sugar coating. The beauty of using a private blog is that everything is in one tidy spot and all of the feedback for each recipe is posted directly below it. Anything that makes life a bit easier is a plus in my books.

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Here are some of the questions I asked my recipe testers:

How long did it take you to prepare the recipe (prep time)?

Rate this recipe on a scale of difficulty (1 – Easiest, 10 – Most Difficult)

Were the directions clear and concise? If no, please describe.

Did you do something different from the directions? If so, what did you change?

Were the ingredients readily available?

Were the “number of servings” correct? If no, please describe how many servings you got.

Rate how much you enjoyed the recipe on a sale of 1 to 10 (1 = didn’t like it at all and 10 = best recipe ever)

Is this kid/partner approved? (Yes/No/Not applicable):

Would you make this recipe again (yes or no) and why?

I’m sure these questions felt tedious to answer over and over and over, but it was personally so helpful, and it let me know if I needed to re-vamp a recipe or move forward.

carrotcakeoatmeal

When I dug up this oatmeal recipe and re-tested it recently, I thought it would also be fun to share some of the comments my recipe testers left about this carrot cake baked oatmeal. These comments are from over a year ago in February 2013!

“Grandpa liked it and even helped me make it (he grated the carrots). This recipe is a breakfast dish, but I think it is so tasty that it could be a pudding/cake dish too!”

“I’d say the number of servings is 6 because it’s the kind of recipe you can’t stop eating.”

“Healthy enough for breakfast, but tasty enough for dessert!”

“Yes, good variation on oatmeal. I would increase the raisins in my kid version to increase the sweetness for them.”

“My 9-month daughter seem interested in trying this and she loved it!”

Thank you, my dear recipe angels. And that goes for all of you who leave valuable feedback here on the blog each week! Your comments are not only helpful for me, but for others thinking about making the recipe or adapting it in various ways.

Here is the photo that I originally shot for the cookbook. At least, it gets to see the light of day! I’m glad this recipe does too. It’s a good one.

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4.8 from 49 reviews
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Heavenly Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free

By

Carrot cake lovers, this one is for you! Refined-sugar free and packed with carrots, this baked oatmeal has all the taste of the popular dessert with a healthier whole-grain twist. Try it for a lazy weekend breakfast and enjoy the leftovers in the days to come. I love this served with a dollop of my coconut whipped cream and a pinch of cinnamon. Heck, it even makes a nice snack or dessert too. Actually, there isn't a time of the day when I won't eat this oatmeal. Baked oatmeal isn't just for mornings anymore!

Yield
6 servings
Prep time
Cook time

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups rolled oats, certified gluten-free if necessary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups lightly packed shredded carrots
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or try ½ tsp ground ginger)
  • 1/4 cup raisins or pitted chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnut halves

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and lightly grease a 10-cup/2.5 qt. casserole dish. I used an 8" x 11" rectangular casserole dish.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: shredded carrot, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and fresh ginger.
  4. Add the wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until combined.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared dish and smooth out with a spoon. Press down on the oatmeal with a spoon (or your hands) so the oats sink into the milk. Sprinkle on the walnuts and raisins and press down lightly again.
  6. Bake, uncovered, for 32-37 minutes (I baked for 35 mins.) until lightly golden along edge. The oatmeal will still look a bit soft or wet in some spots when it comes out of the oven, but it will firm up as it cools.
  7. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with Coconut Whipped Cream, a drizzle of maple syrup, or some non-dairy yogurt. When the baked oatmeal is fully cool, it will firm up enough to be sliced into squares.
  8. Leftovers should keep for 3 days or so in the fridge or up to 2 weeks in the freezer. This is merely a guess because we tend to demolish all leftovers within a day. Enjoy it warm, at room temp, or chilled straight from the fridge.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size 1 of 6 large servings | Calories 300 calories | Total Fat 10 grams
Saturated Fat 1 grams | Sodium 180 milligrams | Total Carbohydrates 48 grams
Fiber 6 grams | Sugar 18 grams | Protein 7 grams

Nutritional info includes 1/3 cup pure maple syrup.
* Nutrition data is approximate and is for informational purposes only.

Tips:

For a nut-free option replace the almond milk with a nut-free non-dairy milk, such as coconut milk. Omit the walnuts (you can try sunflower seeds or pepita seeds for a crunch).

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/ OSG Virtual Cookbook Tour Reviews /

Lastly, I have more cookbook reviews to share with you. Thanks again to all the lovely bloggers who took part. You can find the full list of reviews on my book page.

Emily @ The Kitchn (review)

Canadian Gift Guide (review, giveaway)

Erin @ Erin’s Inside Job (review)

Nikki @ Food Riot (review)

Sarah @ My New Roots (recipe, review)

Gena @ Choosing Raw (review, recipe, interview)

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram @ohsheglows, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google+

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

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Melissa January 16, 2017 at 8:38 pm
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Making this soon for the second time, great recipe. It’s lovely to get some veggies in with breakfast. Thank you!

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Laura January 29, 2017 at 6:36 pm

My 1 and 2 year old loved this and its usually hard to get them to eat carrots. I used pre-cooked carrots that were leftover. Thanks for the idea!

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Angela Liddon January 30, 2017 at 11:19 am

So wonderful to hear the recipe won your little ones over, Laura!

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Lauren February 14, 2017 at 4:43 am
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This was AMAZING. So easy – the hardest part was waiting for it to bake!

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Kathy February 15, 2017 at 3:03 pm
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How had I not ever tried this recipe before?! I made it this morning (came together SO quickly), and it was SO good! I used almond-coconut milk blend because that’s what I had on hand, and I used dried cranberries instead of raisins, because that’s what I had, but otherwise followed the recipe. I’ve been snacking on it all day! I will be making this again on a regular basis!

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Terri March 17, 2017 at 7:51 am

I have made this several times now (along with the other baked oatmeals) and its a winner. So delicious and easy. I love that I can get it ready the night before and pop in the oven in the morning. Great to bring to work and warm up for a mid morning snack. Its like eating joy – is that even possible – it is now!!

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Sharice April 4, 2017 at 11:06 pm

Oh my gosh……I just made this and it is incredible! I finely shredded the carrots, subbed some of the Almond milk with Whole milk, and I added a few more raisins on top. Also, I got this crazy idea to mix up a little bit of cream cheese, maple syrup, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon, and make a glaze/topping to go on top, and holy cow, it was literally like eating decadent carrot cake! I freaking LOVED it! Now, I realize that adding this glaze on was just adding unnecessary calories….but oh man was it tasty. Thanks for the great recipe! I check your blog every now and then, but I need to start checking it more often!

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Anna April 24, 2017 at 9:28 am
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Hi! I made this for Sunday morning breakfast before church and it was amazing. Probably the best oatmeal I’ve ever eaten. I also used cow’s milk and added 1/4 tsp. of cloves. We served it with half and half poured over the top of each serving. Decadent without feeling guilty. Thanks for this great recipe!

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Sarah May 30, 2017 at 10:47 am
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This just made the first day back after a 3 day weekend suck a lot less. Sooooo yummy. I’m going back for seconds!

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Angela Liddon May 31, 2017 at 9:23 am

Hah, glad it could ease the transition, Sarah! ;)

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Liz McKenna June 8, 2017 at 6:29 am
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OMG- my roommate and I made this for breakfast this morning and it was amazing! We go to medical school in the caribbean and only have a toaster oven, but were determined to try this out. Even though it is so hot outside, having this in the morning was perfect and an amazing start to the day! Since our oven is small, I made the full recipe but divided it in half into 2 smaller dishes. I left it in the fridge overnight and woke up early to put it in the oven – worked great! I froze the other dish, so hopefully that works.
Thanks for the great recipe Angela! I got one of your cookbooks for Christmas and want to try making even more things from it. I am not a vegan but love seeing what other food there is out there and am open to trying almost anything. Keep on creating!

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Angela Liddon June 9, 2017 at 10:48 am

Thanks so much for the “glowing” (heh) comment, Liz! So happy you two enjoyed the baked oatmeal. It’s great to know the recipe’s doable in a toaster oven, too!

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Shona August 28, 2017 at 3:09 am
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Just made this and there is a serious danger I am going to eat the whole pan today. Soooo good.

Mine was super sweet (in a good way) but that’s probably because I had no maple syrup so used a combination of honey and treacle (molasses, I think?) instead…

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Angela Liddon August 28, 2017 at 1:15 pm

So glad to hear you enjoyed the oatmeal, Shona! A combo of maple and molasses sounds like a pretty good twist on this recipe…I bet they’d be lovely with the carrot cake flavours. :)

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Julie Bigras November 12, 2017 at 6:39 pm

Hi Angela, about the texture “below the crust”, is it supposed to be moist on the damp side? Top is crunchy but you can feel the liquid below..thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2017 at 8:09 am

Hey Julie, Yes the interior is quite wet if I remember correctly, a bit like stove-top oatmeal (but it shouldn’t have visible liquid at the bottom). If you’d like it drier you can try baking it for longer (covering the top with foil if it starts to brown)? The baked oatmeal also firms up a lot as it sits. Enjoy!

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Kelly November 19, 2017 at 4:29 am

Ahhhh, I have just finished eating this and it was absolutely delicious! We ended up eating an extra half portion each which is especially impressive for my partner who isn’t much of an oatmeal fan. The only changes I made were to omit the raisins and walnuts in favour of some toasted sunflower seeds. I made it in the dish last night (as seen on your instastories), left in the fridge overnight and then just bunged it in the oven this morning. A perfect Sunday breakfast – Thank you :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 19, 2017 at 8:14 am

Hey Kelly, Oh I’m so happy you saw this on my Insta Stories and were inspired to make it for your own weekend breakfast. I hadn’t made it in a while and I was like…WHOA! This is back in regular fall/winter rotation, heh. Next up is the apple and pear baked oatmeal from book one. That can be made in advance too.

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rebecca January 1, 2018 at 12:05 am
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THANK YOU so much!! as the title says, it is truly heavenly. hands down the best baked oatmeal ive ever esten <3 loving your recipes always

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 2, 2018 at 7:58 am

Hey Rebecca, So happy you made it! I’m glad it was a hit. We love it here…especially in the winter.

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Sandra January 9, 2018 at 9:00 am
Recipe Rating:

Just made your AMAZING baked carrot cake oatmeal. AWESOME! I’ve never replied to a blog post before, but needed to thank you for sharing this recipe.
My daughter is vegan and I am GF and my hubs will eat just about anything! His favorite cake is carrot cake – it was even the flavor of our wedding cake.
Your recipes are very helpful for our confusing culinary needs!
Best,
Sandra

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 9, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Hey Sandra, Aww :) SO happy you loved it so much! It’s a fave in our house too.

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Adelaide C January 26, 2018 at 2:31 pm
Recipe Rating:

Literally just made this — so, so good! The flavour is outstanding and there’s just the right amount of sweetness. Thank you!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 26, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Hey Adelaide, Sounds like the perfect Friday to me! haha. So glad you enjoyed it. :)

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Abbey Elliott April 10, 2018 at 7:12 am

This was amazing! I added an apple too. I only had a half cup of coconut milk so I used water for the rest of the liquid. Turned out great!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 16, 2018 at 7:50 am

I love your tweaks Abbey..thanks so much for sharing! Enjoy :)

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Kaelin September 5, 2018 at 7:00 pm

My kitchen smells heavenly. I made this for a quick breakfast. I might have to dig in before the morning!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 6, 2018 at 8:55 am

Hey Kaelin, oh boy do I understand that feeling. Then again, this baked oatmeal does make a pretty great snack or dessert too, so…. ;) I hope you enjoyed it!

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Vanessa Lingard September 24, 2018 at 6:26 pm

Hi do you know how many calories per serve. ? Much thanks, Vanessa

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 25, 2018 at 2:18 pm

Hi Vanessa, we’re currently in the process of adding nutritional info for our recipes. I just added it for you in the recipe! You’ll find it near the bottom — click the plus sign next to Nutritional Info. Hope this helps :)

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Paula November 1, 2018 at 11:37 am

Hi Angela!
Do you think you could use steel cut oats in this recipe??

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2018 at 6:36 am

Hi Paula, I’m sorry I’m not sure! Steel-cut oats take a lot longer to cook so I’m not sure if they’d cook well enough in this recipe and how you’d have to alter the liquid ratio. You might be able to use pre-cooked steel cut oats but I’m not sure. Sorry I can’t help you more!

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