I’m partnering with Bob’s Red Mill® to bring you today’s recipe! I absolutely love their healthy, top-quality products (flours, oats, protein powders, and more!). They ensure my recipes turn out perfectly and taste delicious every time I make them!
Throughout my childhood, my grandma occasionally flew out to California to visit us. We drove to the airport to pick her up, parked in the short-term lot, and walked all the way to her gate to greet her. (This was ages ago before all of the 21st century airport security measures!)
Once we exchanged hugs, we headed for baggage claim to pick up her suitcase, and we carefully wheeled it out to the car. Back at home, Dad carried it up the stairs to the guest bedroom, and I eagerly bounced around in the hallway, waiting for Grandma to unzip it…
Because she often packed two homemade loaves of zucchini bread for us! Even though it had weird “green things” inside (I was a huge picky eater as a young girl!), the cinnamon and nutmeg and sugar masked their taste… And the texture was so moist and tender, just like pound cake!
Since it was technically called a “quick bread,” even with massive quantities of oil and sugar hiding inside, Mom let us eat slices as afternoon snacks. I often asked for seconds, and the first loaf always seemed to disappear by the time we drove Grandma to the airport for her return flight!
Looking back, I realized that particular zucchini bread probably should’ve been classified as dessert… But not this healthy zucchini oatmeal snack cake! With plenty of oats and no refined sugar, it’s definitely healthy enough for snacking — and even breakfast! Yet it still has the same irresistible spice flavors and supremely moist texture as those loaves from my childhood…
Which means this cake disappears just as quickly too! 😉
KEY INGREDIENTS TO MAKE A HEALTHY ZUCCHINI OATMEAL SNACK CAKE
Let’s go over what you’ll need to make this healthy zucchini oatmeal snack cake!
You’ll start with a combination of Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour (this kind!) and Bob’s Red Mill quick cooking oats (these ones!). Bob’s Red Mill products are huge staples in my pantry because they’re top quality and taste amazing — and they’re so dependable and affordable! With how many different flours and oats and grains that I use, I could probably single-handedly keep Bob’s Red Mill in business…
But getting back to those oats! They’re the key to this snack cake, both in texture and nutrition, so it’s important to use the correct kind. Quick cooking oats are also called “one-minute” or “instant” oats, and they’re smaller and thinner than traditional rolled (aka “old-fashioned”) oats. This smaller size means they soften faster, and because this snack cake doesn’t bake for very long, that’s really important to achieving a nice tender texture!
However, it’s extremely important to measure the flour and oats correctly, using this method or a kitchen scale. (← That’s the one I have!) Too much of either ingredient will make your healthy snack cake turn out dry or crumbly… Especially the oats! They act like little sponges and soak up lots of moisture from the batter, so make sure you measure them carefully!
You’ll also mix plenty of spices into the flour and oats: cinnamon (this kind works exceptionally well!) and nutmeg (like this!). The nutmeg was a special secret addition to Grandma’s zucchini bread, and after trying this snack cake both with and without… I totally understand why! The nutmeg adds a deep richness, depth, and fullness to the spice flavor, so don’t skip it!
With a mere ½ tablespoon of butter (yes, that’s it!) and 2 egg whites, the majority of this snack cake’s tender texture comes from Greek yogurt. I love using Greek yogurt in my healthy baking recipes because it adds the same moisture as extra butter or oil — but for a fraction of the calories! And it also gives your snack cake a big protein boost. Win-win!
You’ll skip the refined granulated sugar and sweeten your healthy oatmeal snack cake with pure maple syrup. You want the kind that comes directly from maple trees and only has one ingredient: maple syrup. It’s usually sold in thin glass bottles or squat plastic jugs (like this!).
Of course, we can’t forget the freshly grated zucchini! Before stirring it into the batter, remember to thoroughly pat it dry with paper towels to squeeze out the extra moisture. If you don’t, that extra water gets released into this cake while it bakes, which adds too much moisture… And that means your snack cake will turn out underdone in the middle and collapse while cooling. Not good! It only takes a couple extra minutes to squeeze out that moisture, and I promise the end result is worth it!
Tip: I like to place a double-thick layer of paper towels on a cutting board, evenly spread the grated zucchini on top, and firmly press down with another double-thick layer of paper towels until that top layer is completely wet. I continue to repeat this with a fresh set of paper towels on top until I can’t soak up any more moisture. It works like a charm!
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST HEALTHY ZUCCHINI OATMEAL SNACK CAKE
Now that you’ve gathered and measured your ingredients (you did take the time to do that properly for the oats and flour, right??), let’s quickly talk about how to make the best healthy zucchini oatmeal snack cake! There are four key things we should cover, starting with…
Alternating additions. This little trick yields the best texture in cakes! It’s a shorthand way of saying add some of the flour mixture, gently fold it in, pour in some of the milk, gently stir that in, and keep switching between them until you run out of flour mixture and milk.
Alternating additions help guard against overmixing. When batter is overmixed, the cake can turn out tough, gummy, or rubbery — not good! Yet when the batter is gently and carefully brought together, your cake will have a beautifully moist and soft texture.
Use a fork. Yes… As strange as it sounds, I highly recommend a fork to make the batter! Unlike the flat surface of a spatula or wooden spoon, the open spaces between a fork’s tines allow ingredients to pass through and mix together more efficiently. That helps guard against overmixing as well!
Tip: Skip your stand mixer and hand-held mixer! Even on their lowest settings, these often overmix low fat batters, such as this one. For the best results, use a whisk where explicitly instructed, and use a fork for everything else.
Bake. This cake doesn’t stay in the oven for too long! It’s done when the center feels firm to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Because of the really moist zucchini, the crumbs might not look entirely dry, but that’s okay. Focus on no raw batter!
Cool completely. Yes, I know… It’s incredibly tempting to cut into this cake while it’s still warm. That cozy aroma gets to me too! However, a cake’s structure doesn’t fully set until the cake is completely cool. If you slice into it while it’s still warm, you’ll disrupt that process… So for the best texture, wait until your cake has reached room temperature. (But you can pop it in the fridge once the pan is cool enough to touch with your bare hands to speed up the process!)
Doesn’t that look tempting?? And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy zucchini oatmeal snack cake!
Healthy Zucchini Oatmeal Snack Cake
- 1 ½ cups (150g) Bob’s Red Mill Quick Cooking Oats (gluten-free if needed and measured like this)
- 1 ¼ cups (150g) Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour or Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour (measured like this)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¾ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tbsp (7g) unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large egg whites (room temperature)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (180g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 6 tbsp (90mL) pure maple syrup
- ½ cup (120mL) nonfat milk
- 2 cups (180g) freshly grated zucchini (see Notes!)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and coat a 9”-square pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg whites, and vanilla. Add in Greek yogurt, stirring until no large lumps of yogurt remain. Stir in the maple syrup. Alternate between adding the oat mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the oat mixture, and stirring just until incorporated. (For best results, add the oat mixture in 3 equal parts.) Gently stir in the zucchini.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350°F for 28-32 minutes or until the center feels firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely to room temperature in the pan before slicing and serving.
This post was sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill®. As always, all text, photographs, recipes, and opinions are my own.
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Zucchini Oatmeal Muffins
♡ Healthy Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies
♡ Healthy Banana Oatmeal Snack Cake
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Snack Cake
♡ Healthy Gingerbread Oatmeal Snack Cake
♡ Healthy Carrot Cake Oatmeal Snack Cake
♡ Healthy Blueberry Oatmeal Snack Cake
♡ Healthy Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy snack cake recipes and healthy zucchini recipes!