Carrot Apple Pecan Breakfast Cake

First we eat, then we do everything else.

- M.F. K. Fisher

What else could she have been talking about but breakfast? M.F.K. (whose name, because profanity always makes me giggle a bit, gives me great sorry, Mary Frances) Fisher's words were ringing in my ears the other day as I was out for my ritual morning walk* and dreamed up the idea for this hearty breakfast cake. A cake, but a good one, one you can feel good about eating for the first meal of the day. Lots of protein, ground almonds, yogurt, that sort of thing. It shouldn't feel too healthy though, there should be a certain amount of sin built in, just enough to promise fun for the day to come, so some sweet-and-ever-so-slightly-salty toasted pecans and a hit of real sugar in there, too. Gluten-free? Why not. Texture? Grated carrot and apple, for some extra sweetness, as well. Shape? Definitely a Bundt**. Let's do this breakfast thing.

( *The reason for getting out of bed at daybreak and doing that whole morning ritual walk thing in the first place? Two adorable, wet-nosed reasons. See below.

( **I've got Bundts on the brain lately, it seems)
Also, I've got to mention it just one more time....nominations for the 2015 Saveur Blog Awards close tonight, March 13th at midnight EST. Please consider nominating this site for this round of awards (just highlight/copy, then click over here to cast your nomination in Best New Voice/Best Writing/Best Photography, it couldn't be easier!), it would mean the world to me even to be a finalist in the best awards in food blogging. 

Carrot Apple Pecan Breakfast CakeSweet Laurel: Carrot Apple Pecan Breakfast Cake

I promise to keep the recipes for delicious things like Carrot Apple Breakfast Cake coming for a long time to come! Thanks for reading, all. On to the cake!!

Carrot Apple Breakfast Cake with Toasted Pecan Glaze*

( *Gluten-free!)

1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup tapioca starch, plus about 1 tablespoon extra for dusting the pan
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup almond meal
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 cup Greek yogurt + 1/4 cup milk (you could also substitute 3/4 buttermilk for this mixture)
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup grated apple
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces, divided
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon water (or more)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a cake pan (I used a 6-cup Bundt pan), lightly dust with tapioca starch, then tap off the excess. While oven is heating up, toast pecans on a baking sheet for a few minutes, until warmed and just beginning to brown. Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl to cool (nuts burn easily; if you leave them on the hot baking sheet they may darken too much. Ask me how I know this. Go on, ask me).

Place oats, brown rice flour, almond meal, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl, stir to combine thoroughly. In another bowl, whisk together sugar and oil, then add egg and beat until well combined. Add yogurt + milk mixture (or buttermilk, if subsituting) and beat until smooth.

Add liquid mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients, stir until everything is blended. Add carrot, apple, and 3/4 cup of pecans (reserving the rest), mix until just blended. Pout batter into prepared cake pan and place in preheated oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the thickest part can be removed cleanly. Remove and let cool. Turn cake out onto a plate.

Place 1/2 cup toasted pecans (this should leave you with 1/4 cup of pecans remaining) in a food processor with confectioner's sugar and water, blend into a smooth paste (you may need to sprinkle in additional amounts of water to keep blending, do this sparingly). The ideal, pourable consistency for this mixture is something like honey, it should be a runny enough glaze to spread down the sides of the cake when you pour it on. Add the rest of the pecan pieces, toss to coat, then pour the mixture evenly over top of cake. Serve once glaze has set up a bit, after twenty minutes or so.

Add a cup of coffee to this morning cake ritual and experience paradise. Trust me. :)