Image of two slices of Cashew Cake stacked on top of each other

Cashew Cake (“Healthy-Ish”) – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

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This is my all-time favorite “healthy-ish” cake. Cashew Cake is made with roasted cashews and old-fashioned oats. This cake is dense, moist, and pairs perfectly with the reduced-fat cream cheese frosting — yum!

Try some of our other nutritious baked goods next like these Healthy Brownies (made with Greek yogurt), Healthy Carrot Muffins (no gluten, dairy, or refined sugars), or this Healthy Ice Cream made without bananas!

Image of two slices of Cashew Cake stacked on top of each other

What is a “Healthy-ish” Cashew Cake?

So, my definition of “healthy-ish” as it pertains to this cake is that as a whole it’s pretty darn nutritious. There are loads of good ingredients in it like the:

  • protein-packed eggs
  • hearthealthy fats from the cashews
  • vitamin-packed almond milk
  • fiber-loaded old-fashioned oats
  • anti-inflammatory spices (cinnamon)
  • calcium-rich butter

…which provide lots of good nutrition.

This cake also has a pretty low amount of sugar — especially when you compare it to other cakes that call for 2 or more cups of sugar! There is no flour (we use oats instead) and it can be made dairy-free (leave off the frosting and use a plant-based butter or coconut oil).

All this said, the cake still does have sugar, and the frosting (while optional) also has a fair amount of sugar. So as a whole, this cake stacks up pretty great nutritionally, but certainly isn’t perfect (what I like to call some great moderation!)

But wait up — we’ve just talked about the benefits of this Cashew Cake, and I haven’t even begun to tell you how delicious it is. Because first and foremost it is that — downright delicious.

What Does Cashew Cake Taste Like?

This Cashew Cake is truly one of the most favorite baked goods I have ever shared. It’s rich, moist, dense, sweet, and very nutty. If you love cashews and oats, you are going to go nuts for this cake! (Pun intended, haha!)

Process shots-- images of the cashews and brown sugar being added to a blender and it being blended together and then butter cubes being added in

Cashew Cake Ingredients

Below are a few ingredients worth diving deeper into:

  • Cashews. We love dry roasted and lightly salted cashews best — more flavor without any extra effort on your part. (Here’s what we use in this cake).
  • Old-fashioned oats. Although it would make sense that any oats would work since they’re getting blended anyways, it’s important to use old-fashioned to ensure you get the right measurement. Both quick and steel-cut oats are smaller, denser, and more compact, so measurements would be off and the cake would end up too dry.
  • Almond milk. Any milk will work in these bars; we tested them with cow’s milk and plant-based milk. The recipe is written with plant-based milk to keep these bars as nutritious as possible, but use whichever you prefer.
  • Corn starch. This is an important ingredient since we aren’t using flour and need some additional support and thickness.

QUICK TIP

While the ingredients in this cake are naturally gluten-free, make sure to check all your ingredient labels to ensure they weren’t processed in a facility with gluten. If you have celiac disease, the small amount of contamination that could take place is enough to cause serious problems.

Process shots of Cashew Cake-- images of the vanilla, milk, eggs, and dry ingredients being added to the blender

How To Make Cashew Cake

This recipe is quick and simple to make, but you do need a good, powerful blender (think Blendtec® or Vitamix®) to break down the cashews, butter, and oats.

We blend the entire batter in the blender in different stages. Make sure to stop the blender and thoroughly scrape down the sides to ensure everything fully integrates.

Process shots-- images of the blended dough being added to the pan and it all being baked and then frosted

Cashew Cake Tips

  • Use a light-colored 8×8-inch pan and line it with parchment paper for easy cake removal. 
  • This cashew cake does slightly cave in the middle. You’ll know it is done when it’s no longer glossy looking on top, the edges are firm and lightly browned, and a toothpick when inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Set cream cheese out at room temperature: We want the cream cheese to have plenty of time to soften, so start the process of making this cake by taking it out of the fridge.
  • Only frost the cake once it has completely cooled– otherwise, the frosting with change textures from the heat of the cake.

Image of the Cashew Cake slices stacked on top of each other ready to be enjoyed

Cashew Cake Recipe Storage

Frosted bars need to be tightly wrapped and stored in the fridge since there is dairy in the frosting. The fridge will turn the bars stale quickly, so they are best consumed soon after being made. (This cake is best eaten within 2-3 days.) 

  1. Cool cake completely before storing. Slice into bars.
  2. To freeze: Wrap individual cake bars in plastic wrap and then place all the wrapped cake pieces in large freezer bags.
  3. To thaw: Set out at room temperature or heat frozen cake in the microwave.

*There is some loss of texture and flavor when freezing and thawing this cake.

Use Leftover Cashews In One Of These Recipes:

Cashew Cake

This is my all-time favorite “healthy-ish” cake. Cashew Cake is made with roasted cashews and old-fashioned oats. This cake is dense, moist, and pairs perfectly with the reduced-fat cream cheese frosting — yum!

Cashew Cake

This is my all-time favorite “healthy-ish” cake. Cashew Cake is made with roasted cashews and old-fashioned oats. This cake is dense, moist, and pairs perfectly with the reduced-fat cream cheese frosting — yum!

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup (150g) cashews (Note 1)
  • 3/4 up to 1 cup (152g) light brown sugar (Note 2)
  • 8 tablespoons (113g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (53g) unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (106g) old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, fine sea salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons corn starch (Note 3)

Optional Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 ounces (56g) reduced-fat cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1-3/4 cups (210g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • Optional: additional chopped cashews to top

Instructions

  • PREP: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (162 degrees C). Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside.

  • CAKE: Add the cashews and brown sugar to a large powerful blender (Blend-tec/Vitamix) and blend until cashews are broken down and incorporated with brown sugar, 20-30 seconds. (Don’t blend too long– we don’t want to make cashew butter!) Add in the cubed butter and pulse to break it down. Scrape down the sides of the blender and add both eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add in the oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and cornstarch. Blend until batter is completely smooth, stopping and scraping down edges as needed, about 90 seconds.

  • BAKE: Pour completely smooth batter into the prepared baking pan, using a spatula to scrape out every bit into the pan. Smooth the top with the spatula and bake for 37-43 minutes or until the cake is lightly browned at the edges and set in the middle of the oven and bake until done–toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the middle.

  • FROST: Meanwhile, place softened cream cheese in a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese with the vanilla and salt until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, beating between additions, until smooth and creamy and to your desired consistency. Add milk and beat until smooth.

  • DECORATE: Frost the completely cooled cake with the frosting. If desired, top the frosting with chopped cashews. (See Note 1.)

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Cashews: We love dry roasted and lightly salted cashews best — more flavor without any extra effort on your part. (Here’s what we use in this cake).
Note 2: Light brown sugar: Make sure the sugar is soft and fresh for the best possible cake texture. If you are used to healthier treats, use 3/4 cup brown sugar, but if you’d like a sweeter cake, use 1 cup. I usually do 1 cup!
Note 3: Corn starch: This is an important ingredient since we aren’t using flour and need some additional support and thickness.
Nutrition: Calories do not include the optional frosting. With the optional frosting, one serving has 227 calories.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 167kcal | Carbohydrates: 15.9g | Protein: 2.8g | Fat: 10.4g | Cholesterol: 38.5mg | Sodium: 16.6mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 9.6g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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