I had a craving for cake this morning, so of course I made muffins. I previously wrote about how muffins were dead to me. Usually we eat them because we think they are the healthy choice, even though we really want the doughnut, when the reality is they are not a healthy choice. As I note in that article, muffins often have more calories, more fat and more carbohydrates than doughnuts. Yes, there is sometimes a bit more fibre, but not much, and not enough to make them anywhere near healthy.
The truth of the matter is that muffins are cake. Breakfast cake, if you will. So let’s start calling it what it is so that we can make a proper decision about them. This morning, for instance, I really wanted some breakfast cake. So I made some. Eyes wide open to the fact that this is not a healthy breakfast choice. Which is okay sometimes. I’m a firm believer in the idea of eating healthily most of the time, but that it’s okay to be imperfect. As Dr. Yoni Freedhoff put it (maybe slightly paraphrased), “eat as healthily as you can reasonably enjoy”. This might mean something different for you than for me, and it means something different for me than for a person who is training for an elite level athletic pursuit. For me these days, it involves getting enough protein, vegetables, and water. But it also includes (home made) pizza, red wine, and on rare occasions, breakfast cake.
I resurrected breakfast cake for myself because sometimes it is exactly the treat I want. Especially chocolate chip ones. A good chocolate chip muffin is white cake with a liberal sprinkling of chocolate chips. What’s not to like? But let’s be clear: there is nothing healthy about it. It’s time we liberate the muffin from the shackles of its false brand and acknowledge breakfast cake!
Even though I recognize breakfast cake’s true self, I still found myself not fully getting it. The photo above is the tray of breakfast cakes just before putting them in the oven. The recipe includes a crumble on top made with cinnamon, flour, sugar, and butter. As I sprinkled it on top of the muffins, I thought to myself, “wow, I can’t believe I’m putting this much sugar and butter on top.“. And then I chuckled to myself. Yes, crazy to sprinkle flour, sugar and butter on top of a dough made up primarily of flour, sugar, and butter.
Now that we’ve addressed the true self of breakfast cake, give some thought to zucchini bread, banana bread, and apple loaf. While they each contain some fruit or vegetable, guess what? Cake.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some blueberry crumble breakfast cake to enjoy.
Elsbeth Vaino is a personal trainer who recognizes that people can be healthy without being perfectly healthy.