Start your morning with a slice of vegan polenta cake, or take it with you for snacking on the go! This cake is fudgy and dense, incredibly moreish and perfect when eaten with a thick layer of nut butter. Oil-free and gluten-free.
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I would consider this a breakfast cake. And yes, cake for breakfast is a thing. To be honest, so is cake for every meal and snack but specially breakfast. After all, mornings don’t get much better than a cup of your favourite tea/coffee/matcha latte and a slice of sweet deliciousness.
Despite how busy I’ve been, I still like a bit of slow ‘me time’ in the morning. Being a foodie, that often involves a luxurious breakfast – particularly at the weekend. And now that uni is just over a month away, I need extra energy to power me though the reading list and all the shopping that needs to get done. Aka, completely overestimating how many bowls and plates we can fit in the car. My preferred source of that energy? Homemade sweet treats like the polenta cake I’m sharing with you today.
Berry and almond vegan polenta cake
I rediscovered polenta a few weeks ago and became obsessed straight away. It’s wonderful by itself as a side dish with some nutritional yeast on top. But in desserts and sweet treats? Mesmerising. Hence, I went ahead and created a healthy polenta cake with blueberries, strawberries and almonds.
As I said already, the best time to enjoy these vegan polenta cake slices is for breakfast. Slather them with a nut or seed butter of your choice, sprinkle on some extra almonds and eat while journaling or drinking your morning beverage. But of course, it’s just as perfect for dessert after every meal. Both my mum and I love it with a thick layer of pumpkinseed butter and every time, the whole loaf disappears within a day even though there’s only two of us, lol.
However, this cake is definitely on the healthier side and therefore ideal for a make-ahead snack to take to work or school. While there are plenty of good pre-made vegan options out there, a coffee shop/cafe cake can easily cost £3-4. Even protein and energy bars can quickly add up. So, I prefer to make my own snacks whenever possible because they’re not only tastier, but far cheaper too, which is important when you’re about to become a university student!
How to make this healthy polenta cake
1. Stir together the dry ingredients
These are super simple: polenta, coconut flour, gluten-free rolled oats and baking powder. If you want to, you can add spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon to make the kitchen smell even better.
2. Stir together the wet ingredients
Firstly, mash some very ripe bananas in your mixing bowl. The more ripe, the sweeter they are, so this is a great way to use up any that you have lying around. Then, add in nut/seed butter (my favourite is peanut or cashew butter), liquid sweetener and nut milk such as almond or soya. Whisk everything together really well using either an electric whisk or a fork if you don’t have one.
3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and add a flax egg
Pour the wet and dry ingredients into a single mixing bowl and stir until they’re well combined. Add a flax egg, which is made by stirring together flaxseeds with double the amount of water, stirring well, and setting aside for 10-15 minutes. As you can guess, this is a fantastic egg alternative for sweet and savoury recipes alike. The batter should be quite sticky and firm, but if it’s too dry and doesn’t stick together well, gradually pour in a bit more plant milk.
4. Add strawberries, blueberries and flaked almonds.
How much you add is a matter of personal preference. I don’t go overboard because I like them as an accessory that doesn’t quite take the spotlight. However, if you want this cake to be more on the fruitier/nuttier side, feel free to go all out.
5. Bake at 200 degrees C for 35 minutes
I’d recommend using a rectangular/square baking dish or a loaf tin to make this. I used the 18cm one from Le Creuset. Press down the batter quite firmly (this is key to getting a fudgy texture) and if you want to, sprinkle some extra almonds/berries on top. Now, the exact baking time may vary depending on the size of the dish you use. Just keep checking every couple of minutes after the 25 minute mark to make sure it doesn’t start to burn around the edges. You know the cake is ready when it’s firm to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean when you test it.
6. Allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes.
I know it may be tempting to dig in straight away, but this step is once again important for dense fudginess.
7. Serve and enjoy!
Cut into either squares or rectangles, spread on some nut butter or a vegan chocolate spread and add a few fresh berries. ‘Yum’ is a massive understatement!
What is the final vegan polenta cake like?
- It’s dense and soft in the centre, and crunchy on the outside – almost like a slightly sweeter banana bread. The best for on-the-go snacking!
- You can store it in the fridge for 2-3 days without it drying out. Although, it’s unlikely that a treat this good can last that long. If you want to, reheat it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to make it just as good as when freshly baked.
- It’s gluten-free, as long as you use gluten-free rolled oats.
- Oil-free also!
- All the ingredients are healthy and minimally processed, making it a great alternative to store-brought bars as a pre-workout energy boost.
- It has just the right amount of sweetness: not too sweet, but definitely not bland either.
- Enthusiastically approved by non-vegans.
- Amazing for sharing with family or friends on a weekend morning – maybe whip some up for a brunch buffet?!
Tips and modifications
- Add other berries and nuts of your choice: the strawberry/blueberry/almond combination is just a very tasty suggestion. Walnuts or pistachios would work very well too, as well as figs and blackberries if you want to change up the fruit.
- You can replace the liquid sweetener with another 1/2 a banana.
Other sweet treat recipes you might enjoy:
- No-bake Blackberry Dessert Pizza – this is another sweet treat that’s just as good for breakfast!
- Vegan Cookie Sandwiches With A Date Caramel Filling – I love these for a quick, energising snack.
- Protein Chocolate Smoothie Bowl & Cookie Dough Bites – great if you’re looking for a higher protein option.
Let me know in the comments: are you a fan of cake for breakfast? If you end up giving this recipe a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) so I can see your creations!
Berry And Almond Vegan Polenta Cake
- 1 cup (170g) polenta
- 1/2 cup (60g) coconut flour
- 1/2 cup (40g) rolled oats
- 2 large ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter*
- 1/4 cup date syrup**
- 1/2 cup (118ml) plant milk
- 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flaxeed + 4 tbsp water, stirred and set aside for 10-15 minutes)
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 small handful chopped strawberries
- 1/3 cup flaked almonds
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