Meatloaf Cake, Or, When Cooks Go Smug

So it was 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon and I was blasting through Amy Green‘s Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free cookbook, looking for something quick and easy. I came across a recipe for Apple Carrot Breakfast Cake and as I skimmed the ingredients list and instructions, I thought to myself, “I can do this nooooo problem.” I love having quick breads for Lupe to take to school for her mid-morning snack and this recipe looked similar enough to my muffin recipe that I felt confident.

Maybe too confident.

Too confident to read the instructions carefully. Especially the line about putting the apples and carrots and a few other ingredients into a blender or food processor.

Warning: the following image is graphic, horrific, disturbing, offensive, wrong, and unfortunate.

The saddest thing, aside from the senseless, wanton waste of apples and carrots and expensive gluten-free flours? I actually scoffed as I dumped chunks of carrots and apples into the batter. I thought, “There’s no way this is going to work. What is this author thinking? Ha. I’ll show her how wrong this recipe is when I make it and it doesn’t turn out.”

That’s right. I knew it wouldn’t work. What’s more, I didn’t want it to so I could feel superior to a published cookbook author. I laughed maniacally at my own genius, then took a closer look at the recipe.

And caught the bit about blending the apples and carrots to smithereens.

Oh, dang.

Thoroughly chastened, I gave it another go.

Ta da.

I took a moment to reflect as I bit into this cake. Here are the highlights:

a. Don’t ever assume that you’re smarter than you actually are.

b. Assume that you’re smarter than you think you are. If you think it doesn’t make sense to drop stew-sized wedges of carrot and apple into a cake batter, then listen to your gut.

c. Don’t try to be superior to others. We are all students.

d. Read instructions slowly and carefully. What’s applicable to everything from the SATs to prescription medication is good for recipes.

e. If at first you don’t succeed, laugh it off and try again. The old me would have hidden the evidence in the compost bin, but I’d like to think that I’m evolving. Plus I know that you tens of you get a bigger kick out of my food bloopers than my actual recipes. So I’m playing to my crowd.

And so, adapted from Amy Green’s recipe, which she adapted from a blender manual, is…

Apple Carrot Breakfast Cake

9 servings


2 cups gluten-free flour

1/4 cup agave (or 1/2 cup sugar)

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 extra-large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 apples, cut into wedges

3 medium carrots, washed well and chopped

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8 x 8 inch glass baking pan with nonstick spray.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl.

3. Place eggs, carrots, apples, vanilla, and agave in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until you have a smooth mixture, scraping down sides of container as needed.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined. Add walnuts if using. Pour into the cake pan and bake about 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pan.


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2 responses to “Meatloaf Cake, Or, When Cooks Go Smug

  1. loren

    I so enjoy your mess ups- keep em coming! They make me smile.
    Also, I had no idea roasting vegetables was as quick and SOOO much tastier than steaming them. Thank you for that recipe. Keith loved it and I’m trying it out with califlower next time!

  2. Lita

    Hi I’m new to your site. I got here via your spicy tofu with string beans recipe. Trying to learn new ways to use tofu and the recipe seemed reasonable. I was hungry and not in the mood to experiment or wing it so I carted my laptop into the kitchen and followed your instructions to the letter. It turned out great and now happily back for more ideas and laughs.

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