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.
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.
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.
Heavenly Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal
6 large servings
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 sprinkle 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!
- 2 1/4 cups (225 g) gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups (130 g) lightly packed grated peeled carrots*
- 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
- 1/4 cup (36 g) raisins or pitted chopped dates
- 1/2 cup (35 g) chopped walnut halves
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) and lightly grease a 10-cup/2.5 qt. casserole dish. I use an 8" x 11" rectangular casserole dish.
- In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: shredded carrot, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and fresh ginger.
- Add the wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until combined.
- Pour mixture into prepared casserole 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 (or dates, if using) and press down lightly again.
- Bake, uncovered, for 32-37 minutes until lightly golden along the edges. 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.
- Let cool for about 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with Coconut Whipped Cream, a drizzle of maple syrup, or some vanilla non-dairy yogurt. When the baked oatmeal is fully cool, it will firm up enough to be sliced into squares.
- Leftovers should keep for 3 to 5 days in the fridge or 3 to 4 weeks in the freezer. Enjoy it warm or chilled straight from the fridge!
* If you don't mind visible, chewy strands of grated carrot in the baked oatmeal feel free to use the standard-sized grate hole. If you want the carrot to be virtually undetectable (this is sometimes a nice thing when feeding picky eaters), then use the smallest grate hole size.
For a nut-free option, replace the almond milk with a nut-free non-dairy milk, such as coconut milk. Also, omit the walnuts (you can try sunflower seeds or pepita seeds for a crunch).
If you'd like to save time in the morning, this can be prepared the night before. Simply cover the casserole dish with foil and place it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, remove the foil and bake. I find it needs about 5 minutes LESS bake time when the mixture sits overnight in the fridge.
Nutrition Information(click to expand)
/ 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)
This looks delicious. I just got your book for my birthday this week and I can’t wait to cook up some dishes from it.
Oh my gosh, Angela. This looks amazing! I love carrot cake; we’re even thinking about having it at our wedding so this is a ‘must make’ asap. Thanks for the insider info into the cook book. I’ve always wondered about what goes into making it. That reminds me, I need to go get yours! Can’t wait for it! My fiance always loves my “oh she glows” dinners :)
Ah, looks so good! Carrots are one of the few veggies I’m happy to include in breakfast :P I’ll be trying this soon :)
I made this wonderful recipe this morning. Delicious. My husband loved it and so did I. We also had it tonight after dinner. It is like a dessert. Easy to make. I will definitely make this again. Especially for the grand kids or guests. Makes eating oatmeal a tasty treat!
I love that you’ve put so much effort to create something amazing for us to enjoy! Thanks so much! I can’t wait to work my way through your book. I’m not vegan but I absolutely love almost every single recipe you post! Also – my brother IS vegan and he LOVES when I cook for him :)
Anisa – The Macadame. xx
I’ve never tried carrot cake oatmeal and I really love carrots! I love all your recipes, they are so delicious, healthy and simple. Thanks a lot! :)
OMG Angela its 4:20 am in Vegas and I turn on the tv HLN weekend express and your beautifullness was on doing your interview, you look great…. Hope sketchie is well as I was finally referred to a Cancer doctor and am working currently to see if I have leukemia. Well great job you . heck I don’t know you but you did wonderful great job you, maybe during my treatments when I start eating and walking again all focus on eating primarily Vegan not vegetarian. Well thanks … have a positive day
Hippy Mom–OMG Angela its 4:20 am in Vegas and I turn on the tv HLN weekend express and your beautifullness was on doing your interview, you look great…. Hope sketchie is well as I was finally referred to a Cancer doctor and am working currently to see if I have leukemia. Well great job you . heck I don’t know you but you did wonderful great job you, maybe during my treatments when I start eating and walking again all focus on eating primarily Vegan not vegetarian. Well thanks … have a positive day
this sounds delicious! such a good change up from boring old oatmeal ;)
I normally loathe grating carrots, but this recipe looked so simple that I had to try it! I’m so glad I did because I couldn’t believe how easy the ingredients came together and the taste is out of this world delicious that I almost want to serve it as dessert! I ended up printing out a copy of the recipe and added it to my copy of your cookbook.
This recipe is so delicious! I’ve made it twice now. It’s a huge hit with my 15 month old daughter.
I made this delicious recipe this morning for the family! We all loved it!! I cut the recipe in half because there were only 3 of us and it cooked perfectly in small ramekins. Thank you so much!!
I also made your caesar salad dressing and we can’t wait to have it with our vegan vegetable lasagna later today!!
I love your book! It is so beautiful! xoxo :)
I tried your recipe this morning with a few modifications (nutmeg, soy milk, pecans) and it turned out great. I wish I’d had some coconut milk in the fridge for the cream, but we had to forgo that part because I didn’t read ahead. :) Next time! Thank you so much and congratulations on the new book!
What do you mean IF you write another cookbook! Pitter patter, get at ‘er!
I am currently making recipe number six from your cook book. I am cooking my way thru it. So far, all worked very well. Your tempeh recipe has made me a tempeh believer. Thank you so much!
haha that made me laugh ;) I guess I better get at it!
Glad you are enjoying the book so far (especially the tempeh…it made me a believer too!!!)
I made this, but found it a little lacking in sweetness (as compared to carrot cake bite size cookies, which i adore). I might try a sweetened almond milk next time.
Could I let it sit wet in the fridge over night and bake it in the morning? I bet the raisins would be super plump !!
Hi Angela! I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now. I’ve made several recipes from the blog and your cookbook (which I’m SUPER excited about, btw. We’ve got 3 dinners planned from it this week!) and have loved every single one. So I decided that I can’t be silent anymore. It’s time to start leaving comments. :) This oatmeal was amazing! I saw the recipe last night and knew I was going to make it for breakfast this morning. (I’m pretty sure I dreamed about coconut whipped cream last night.) It made our kitchen smell heavenly, and my husband and 2 yo both loved it. Full disclosure: We didn’t have enough carrots, so I subbed kale. HA! Just kidding. :) I used sweet potatoes. Also added about 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg. I thought the sweetness was perfect. The fresh ginger adds a really great kick. I love the idea of adding pineapple (per an earlier comment). Maybe also some coconut? I’d also be interested in adding chia seeds (just for kicks) and wonder whether I’d need to up the amount of liquid. I’ll have to play around with it. Thank you for all the care you put into these recipes. They are a joy to read, see, make, eat, and share with friends and family. <3
I made this for my boyfriend – a certified carrot cake aficionado – on the weekend and he looooooved it. Delicious for a weekend breakfast treat.
Oh my!!!! This looks delicious, specially with the coconut whipped cream!!!. I can’t wait to try it. I’m so excited I came across your blog. Next I’ll order your book! Cheers!
Made it for brunch and friends loved it including the kids.
Made this this weekend. Sooo good. I’m going to add pineapple to the next one, and possibly more walnuts. Really yummy!!
I’m wondering – do all your recipes have nutrition info or just some of them? Also, is there a way to search for a specific recipe? I made a pot of black beans and wanted to type in recipes with black beans and see what comes up. Thanks for any help! LOVE your cookbook. :)
I made this last week and it was sooo good. I had a couple of serving for breakfast, and then dessert after dinner, and then breakfast again the next day. I am ready to make it again. Due to allergies, I didn’t add the walnuts and used rice milk. I also used the ground ginger instead of fresh. Thanks for a great recipe and congrats on the pregnancy!
Made this today and my husband and I both enjoyed it! He ate 1/2 the pan. I had to hide a piece to have as “dessert” later on. Thank you for all the time you put into creating such healthy, tasty food everyone can eat.
Springtime just turned to winter again in Pennsylvania so I whipped this breakfast up for a warm start to a cold day. It is absolutely delish and I would definitely make it again! Love the idea of adding pineapple, too! Thanks for all you do and I can’t wait to see how your new little one growing inside of you will inspire new recipes!
It’s a good one! Knew it would be a great breakfast after my Pilates class on a Saturday morning, so I mixed the dry ingredients ( and prepped the carrots) before class. Just added the wet and baked when we arrived home.
Healthy Yum, had leftovers 2 times this week.
Oh my goodness this is my new favorite breakfast! Unfortunately I didn’t have anyone to share it with (my boyfriend was turned off by the carrots – silly him for missing out), but I had 3 servings things week and froze 3 for next week. I topped it with a little bit of greek-style coconut yogurt and maple syrup and it was divine. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
This baked carrot cake oatmeal is minutes away from coming out of my oven. So hungry I don’t know if I’ll be able to let it cool for a full 10 minutes. :) Yesterday I bought 2 copies of your book!! One for me and one for my mom.
Had overnight guests and made this recipe for breakfast. It was a major hit, especially with my adult son who steadfastly claims to hate oatmeal. No one could believe it was healthy because it tasted so good.. A definite keeper!
I’m making this for the second time in three days. My whole family absolutely loves it! The first time I prepped it at night and put it in the fridge overnight so we could bake it fresh in the morning. Turned out great! Today I added some dried organic cranberries and I think that will add the tanginess I love in baked goods. Thanks for another great recipe!
*Forgot to mention I put it in a pan that fits in my toaster oven so I didn’t have to warm up the stove for one small pan! Now I can love it in the summer without having to warm up the house!*
I made this last night so I’d have a sweet treat at night and then breakfast for today. It was delicious! I added shredding coconut and I really liked how it tasted with it. The carrot shreds I made didn’t really bake into the oatmeal like I’d hoped like it has with carrot cake cupcakes I made, so next time I’ll probably shred them with a finer grader. But I’m definitely making this again!
YUm!! This looks DELICIOUS! My husband LOVES oatmeal so I have to try this one day very soon :)
That’s so nice of you to give thanks to your recipe testers – I see how much you appreciate them. I bet they super appreciate being able to test your recipes =)
This sounds like an awesome breakfast Angela!
ps. if you need more recipe testers for the next cookbook – lemme know, I’m more than happy to help =D
I just made this recipe and it was delicious! Instead of using almond milk, I subbed carrot juice. It lent the oatmeal an even deeper orange hue and contributed to the carrot cake effect. It may also be a good option for people who cannot consume nuts (if the walnuts are also subbed, of course).
Also- congrats on your cookbook and baby! I have already made many of your recipes from the book, and have been enjoying every one.
I’m enjoying my first bowl of this right now. It is SO good, probably the best oatmeal I’ve ever had! The maple syrup (along with the raisins and carrots) add just the right amount of sweetness. I didn’t even feel the need to top it with yogurt or more maple syrup. I will definitely be making this again and again.
Is there any nutritional information available for this recipe? it looks great!
This is soooo delish! That coconut whipped cream goes perfectly on top. Love your cookbook too and have recommended it to everyone I know :) thanks for your lovely recipes!
I have made this twice, now. It is absolutely delicious and suitable for company! In fact, plan to serve it at Easter Brunch. Thank you so much for a clever recipe – have baked my oatmeal in the past but never thought to make it carrot cake style.
Can you store left overs? There are only 3 of us and I would love to keep left overs if possible, rather than having to throw them out.
I made a 1/2 recipe with great success to avoid leftovers however, I have stored baked and stovetop oatmeal before in the fridge for 3-5 days or freezer for longer! I like to pan fry my oatmeal to reheat it but a micro or oven would be fine too!
My and my BF finally had a morning off together so I jumped out of the bed to make this recipe! To quote him “This is probably the best recipe with vegetables you’ve ever made….for breakfast”.
It was simple, quick, and so sinfully delicious! The best part is I usually have all these ingredients on hand (except raisins because I detest them but they were good in this dish so I will now be keeping raisins in stock).
Another winner thanks to Angela @ Oh She Glows!
This recipe is insanely delicious! My hubby and I just finished a 30 day juice fast, and this was our very first meal eating food again. It did not disappoint…and the coconut whipped cream! Where has that been all my life?
Thanks for the awesome inspiration and recipe ideas!!!
Just made this, it was delicious! At first I was concerned the liquid wouldn’t absorb, but thankfully it did. Next time, I’ll probably add a bit more maple syrup and maybe use a vegan whipped cream from the can- I don’t think my parents liked the coconut flavor. But the walnuts and rasins really made the dish.
This sounds really interresting and good. I will try it. I also loved your Chia Chocolate pudding.
could this be done in the crockpot overnight? That is how I usually do oatmeal and it turns out great.
really fabulous. All your stuff is good, but this is a total keeper for when I want something sweet.
I love this recipe but my oatmeal is still mushy on the bottom when the top is crispy. I don’t want to burn the top. Any suggestions? I baked it at 375 for 32 minutes. Thanks!
I have hated oatmeal my entire life, and for years have been trying it in every form and recipe possible because I feel I should like it. I keep trying, and I keep losing hope. I made this today and all I can say is HOORAY! I FINALLY found an oatmeal recipe that I like. One that I will eat. One that I will look forward to eating. Thank you!
This was delicious! It really tasted just like carrot cake! Next time I make this (and there WILL be a next time!) I will grate the carrots, since I used bagged “shredded carrots” for convenience.. they were too thick and didn’t cook so they were too crunchy (especially for my 18 month old). I would also use a smaller pan… I used the recommended 8X11 and it seemed a little dried out, so I think a smaller square pan might work well next time. Thank you for the wonderful recipe – everyone loved it!
I should also mention that I baked this in an RV when we were camping at the beach, and I’m not sure the oven was regulating well – I think it was too hot. That may be the reason for it being dried out, and not a reflection of the recipe! :)
Just made this tonight and it is delish!