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April 19, 2023
Strawberry Corn Flake Cake Is Part of a Complete Breakfast

Does adding cereal mean you can have your cake and eat it too? 

While there is nothing morally wrong with eating cake for breakfast—I do it all the time—there’s always a small whisper in the back of my head telling me that I’ll be hungry again in half an hour. Even though a cake contains what are arguably the building blocks for an acceptable breakfast—eggs, flour, and milk—wouldn’t I be better off with a hearty omelet? Then I remember the cereal commercials of my early 2000s childhood, where a bowl of milky cereal was announced as being “part of a complete breakfast.” If a bowl of strawberries and a glass of orange juice could turn sugary cereal into a full meal, why couldn’t they do the same for cake? 

Recently, while making a favorite recipe for strawberry cake—a fluffy cornmeal cake punctuated by pockets of juicy fruit—I noticed a box of unopened corn flakes staring me down from the top of my fridge, and I had the sudden urge to throw a handful on top of my cake. I came up with a nutty, salty-sweet, brown-butter corn flake topping that was the perfect contrast to the season’s first berries. 

Adding cereal to cake is certainly not a new concept. A quick internet search will yield cakes made with every cereal imaginable, from Froot Loops to Cap’n Crunch. Corn flakes are my favorite cereal—boring, I know—but I’ve always loved their feathery-light crunch and mild corn flavor. At first, I wanted to get corn flakes in the cake as well as on top of it, so I experimented with grinding the flakes down to fine crumbs and adding them to the cake batter in various quantities. But after a lot of trials, I decided there was a reason I had never seen corn flake crumbs in the ingredient list of a cake batter—they left an unpleasant, bitter aftertaste and created a slightly mushy texture. The corn flake topping stood out much more against the backdrop of a plainer cake, adding a moment of contrast with the fluffy crumb. Not to mention, grinding cereal into a powder is an extra step that most people would probably rather skip.

Obviously, it’s not just the cereal that makes this cake a perfect contender for breakfast. The light crumb, crunchy topping, and juicy berries make it reminiscent of any good coffee cake—which we all know can be enjoyed at any time of day. But whether it’s part of a complete breakfast or simply breakfast in and of itself—I promise not to tell. 

RECIPE: Strawberry Corn Flake Cake

Zola Gregory

Zola Gregory is a writer and recipe developer based in Seattle. Having previously worked as a pastry chef and baker, she now enjoys helping others find success in their own kitchens through her stories, recipes, and baking classes.