I didn’t realize exactly how much until a few months into our time living abroad. I knew that not every country celebrated the morning meal the way we do in the U.S., or in countries such as Ireland or the U.K. But I was taken aback by the confused looks I got when describing pancakes, omelets, bacon, biscuits, and grits to our new friends.
Brazil is a bread or pastry and coffee culture when it comes to breakfast. In many ways, I guess we are around here too, except for the weekends. Oh the weekends! Or rather, the weekend breakfast!
So when I get a cookbook that highlights this meal you can imagine my excitement. This time it was CakeLove in the Morning by Warren Brown.
Cake? In the morning? I’m in!
I’ll admit when I first looked through this cookbook, I thought it might be best for a beginner in the kitchen. With recipes such asApple-Cranberry Oatmeal and Zucchini Bread, it provides excellent instruction for the basics.
But then I took a closer look.
I’ve reviewed one of Warren Brown’s cookbooks before and I used to watch his show on the Food Network. While I remembered that he is a lawyer turned baker, it had escaped me that he has a degree in public health and practiced health care law.
My point? Upon my closer look at the book, his background in health is evident.
His recipes have a delightful combination of healthy, whole ingredients from buckwheat flour to yams, and I was even introduced to a new oil that I have yet to explore, rice bran oil. This book would be perfect for health-minded beginners, but it has plenty to keep those of us who cook a bit more interested as well.
Aside from baked goods such as White Chocolate Waffles and Chocolate Chip Bacon Pancakes, there are several savory breakfast recipes, and condiments to go with it all – Dairy-free Butternut Squash Frittata, Breakfast Lasagna (I know! Isn’t that a great idea?), Jalapeno Honey Butter. And you can’t forget cake in the title; there are a few of those too.
I went with a traditional favorite that had an interesting twist – Coconut Milk Flap Jacks. This whole grain recipe uses whole wheat and buckwheat flours, oats, honey and, of course, coconut milk.
I am no expert pancake maker, and these turned out beautifully. They were light and fluffy despite the hearty grains. I agree with the recipe description that the pancakes bring the flavor of the Caribbean. That’s why I added a little mango on the side!
This one is perfect for Mother’s Day brunch, and you can serve them with the cookbook on the side because it would make a great gift.
Coconut Milk Flap Jacks
From Cake Love in the Morning by Warren Brown, reprinted with permission for Abrams Books
1 cup (about 6 ounces) banana, mashed
1 cup coconut milk (or milk)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole-wheat flour
¼ cup whole rolled oats
2 tablespoons buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil
Cinnamon and Allspice to sprinkle
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F to keep the finished pancakes warm.
Combine the banana in a medium bowl with the coconut milk, egg, lemon juice, honey, and vanilla extract. Set aside for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk to combine the whole-wheat flour, oats, buckwheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Gently fold the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture, but don’t fully combine. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes to soften the oats.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. When the surface is hot, add the butter or vegetable oil and spread it out.
Using a ¼-cup measure, drop 4 to 6 pancakes into the pan. Flip when bubbles appear, after about 3 to 4 minutes.
Cook for another minute, then remove the pancakes to a heat-resistant plate in the warmed oven.
Sprinkle with a dusting of cinnamon and allspice and serve with warmed maple syrup.
Disclosure: A review copy of this book was sent to me by Abrams Books. I was not required to post about it and received no compensation for doing so. I only review books and products that I enjoy enough to have in my own kitchen.
Lori Rice is a freelance writer, recipe developer, food photographer and nutritional scientist. Fake Food Free is a creative outlet that allows her to connect with people from around the world who share a love of travel, food culture and cooking.