Maple Flax Breakfast Cake

By Ann Fulton

Bursting with health appeal, flavor, and convenience, Maple Flax Breakfast Cakes are a twist on a reader-favorite mug muffin—and a personal go-to breakfast!
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Bursting with health appeal, flavor, and convenience, Maple Flax Breakfast Cakes are a twist on a reader-favorite mug muffin—and a personal go-to breakfast that I’ve enjoyed countless times.  






Several years ago, a reader request inspired me to share a simple mug muffin that I frequently whip up to start my day.  (Full disclosure: Although it’s quick and easy, I typically make it the night before because every extra minute in the morning is appreciated, right?)

What I really like about this muffin, aside from its great taste and ability to ward off hunger for hours, is that the main component is über-nutritious flaxseed meal.  (Note the handy canister I get from Barlean’s, pictured further down the page.)


A single-serve, flax meal-based muffin that’s tender, delicious, and so very healthy

For something so tiny, flaxseeds lay claim to some big benefits. Flax is an excellent plant source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants called lignans. It’s rich in most of the B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, and fiber. These are just some of the reasons why flax consumption is linked with reducing inflammation, improving heart and digestive health, lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and fending off some forms of cancer.

To reap the reported health benefits, a daily “dose” of at least two tablespoons of flax meal is recommended.  Realistically, the typical sprinkle over oatmeal, yogurt, or a smoothie falls short of that.

These muffins are a game changer.  (For the quicker cook times, I’ve been making these in ramekins instead of mugs recently.  “Breakfast cake” and “muffin” can be considered interchangeable here.🙃)

Bursting with health appeal, flavor, and convenience, Maple Flax Breakfast Cakes are a twist on a reader-favorite mug muffin—and a personal go-to breakfast!

Over the years, I’ve made that muffin so many times, experimenting with and tweaking the original recipe.  It’s said that baking is an exact science, but sometimes the margin for error is greater than others. This muffin is a good example.

I’ve made it with oil or a variety of nut and seed butters for the fat component and tested an egg white in lieu of a whole egg.  (For those who prefer not to eat the yolk, it works with no need for additional liquid, albeit with a little less overall rise.)  I’ve made it with and without fruit puree, and a variety of types and amounts at that.  (Two to four tablespoons of puree will work with slight variations on the overall cook time.  Three tablespoons of mashed, overripe banana is my personal favorite, although applesauce, apple butter, and pumpkin butter provide worthy options.)

The use of a naturally sweet fruit, like overripe banana, allows for minimal added sweetener.  Lately, I’ve been reaching for maple syrup, although honey or a granular sweetener of choice may be used instead.  Moreover, the level of sweetness can be adjusted to personal preference.  The same goes for any add-ins like nuts, raisins, shredded coconut, and/or chocolate chips.

Of note, the one substitution I have never made is with the flax meal, although the recipe would likely work with all-purpose, oat, or almond flour instead.  The flax meal tastes great, produces an excellent crumb, and is just so healthy.  It seemed silly to replace it!

When my friends at Barlean’s recently asked me to create a recipe incorporating their flax meal, I had an idea.  In addition to the standard flax meal, Barlean’s offers flax meal blends, which in addition to the flax, contain wholesome ingredients like chia, coconut, and berries.

Bursting with health appeal, flavor, and convenience, Maple Flax Breakfast Cakes are a twist on a reader-favorite mug muffin—and a personal go-to breakfast!

I wondered if the blends would work, and perhaps offer a slightly different flavor profile, than the standard flax.  I tried several of the blends, like the pictured Superfruit Seed Blend, and found that the replacement does, in fact, work.

After several trials, I discovered that, because of the additional components in the blends, the recipe worked better when an extra tablespoon was incorporated.  Though the blends are available in a variety of flavors, those flavors are subtle and do not substantially alter the final taste of the breakfast cake.

noteworthy aside: Those who have followed my blog have likely noticed that I’ve developed quite a few recipes for Barlean’s over the past several years.  In addition to creating quality products, the company cultivates good people and spirit of giving. They recently matched a $200 donation my husband and I made to Girls on the Run, an organization for which I’ve long volunteered and that is near and dear to my heart.  That money will allow several girls to participate in this truly transformative program.❤ 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️

Bursting with health appeal, flavor, and convenience, Maple Flax Breakfast Cakes are a twist on a reader-favorite mug muffin—and a personal go-to breakfast!

Maple Flax Breakfast Cake
Yield: 1 serving
Bursting with health appeal, flavor, and convenience, Maple Flax Breakfast Cakes are a twist on a reader-favorite mug muffin—and a personal go-to breakfast!
  • 3 tablespoons mashed overripe banana or applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (or nut or seed butter of choice)
  • 1 egg*
  • 1/4 cup (25 grams) flaxseed meal (like Barlean’s regular or one of their flavored blends**)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons maple syrup (may sub honey or sweetener of choice, liquid or granular)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/16 teaspoon (a pinch) kosher or sea salt
  • Optional add-ins:  1 tablespoon nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, and/or shredded coconut
  1. Stir the fruit puree and nut butter in a ramekin or bowl with a capacity of approximately 8-10 ounces until smooth.  There is no need to grease the ramekin.  (A mug may also be used; keep in mind that narrower, taller proportions will increase cooking time. Ultimately, you want a microwaveable vessel that the batter will fill about halfway to allow for rise.)
  2. Whisk in the egg  (I do this with a dinner fork), followed by the flax meal, maple syrup, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and any optional add-ins,
  3. Make sure all of the ingredients are well combined, and then wipe the edges of the mug with a small piece of paper towel.
  4. Microwave for 90 seconds on high.  (The time may vary based on microwave and container size.  Check 10-15 seconds early the first time.  If you have an older microwave, it may take longer.  After making the first one you will figure it out.  You just don’t want to overcook the muffin, as it will dry out.  As a test, I undercooked a muffin by 15 seconds and then popped it out of the mug to find it slightly uncooked in the center.  I immediately returned it the mug, cooked for 15 seconds more, and the texture was fine.  You may wish to try this method the first time.)  The muffin will easily pop out of the mug with a gentle pry of a knife.  It will be moist (and very hot) from the steam at first but will quickly dry as it cools.

*For those who prefer not to eat the egg yolk, I have tried this recipe with one egg white, keeping all other measurements the same.  This will work, although the cake will have slightly less rise.

**If using one of the flax meal blends (which contain ingredients like finely shredded coconut, chia, and fruit) in place of the standard flax meal, I recommend adding an additional 1 tablespoon of the blend to match the rise of the cake when pure flax meal is used.

A few more things...

You may mix all of the ingredients, cover the ramekin, and refrigerate overnight.  When cooking cold from the fridge, you’ll likely need to add 5-10 seconds of cooking time. (In this case, there is no need to stir again before cooking.)

Optionally, you may cook the muffin the night before, remove to a plate to cool completely, and then cover and refrigerate until morning.

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The above recipe calculation is based on the use of banana, 1½ teaspoons maple syrup, and does not include optional add-ins.  

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  1. Christine

    Wow, these were so tasty! I ground up some flax seeds in a spice grinder and made one with homemade applesauce and the other with some fig puree from my dad’s tree.
    I cooked mine in a slow cooker….what a terrific breakfast to wake up to on a cold morning. Thank you.

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Christine, I’m so glad you enjoyed these and love that you made one with fig puree. That sounds fantastic…and how fabulous that your dad has a fig tree!

    2. Christine

      This is an update — I’ve been making these several times a week, since the beginning of the year. They are still a favorite, obviously, and I fresh grind the flax seeds and sometimes, grind up some rolled oats and chia or pumpkin seeds (in a spare coffee grinder.) I put the batter in a 16 ounce ceramic mug, sprayed with coconut oil and place it in the slow cooker, on high. It’s also delicious with fresh berries ladled over the top!

      1. Ann Post author

        Hi Christine, I appreciate your update and love that these have been a standby.Thanks for mentioning some of your tweaks and the slow cooker method!

    1. Ann Post author

      HI Rachel, I’m so glad you like! For various reasons, I don’t typically include nutritional stats but this recipe is straight-forward enough that I added it for you. You can see the details just below the recipe card.

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Steph, You could treat it like a single muffin and bake in the oven. I’d start with 375℉, checking after 10 minutes and adding time as needed until you know how long it takes in your oven. Overall time will also depend on the dimensions of your ramekin or oven-safe bowl. This is one of my longtime favorites, so I hope you enjoy as much as I do!

  2. April

    I’ve just discovered your site and I am anxious to try this recipe. I’m wondering if this could be easily baked in oven? We try to not cook much in microwave. Would you do 350 degrees and maybe 10 minutes? Thanks!

    1. Ann Post author

      Wonderful and welcome! I think an oven version at 350 would work well and would estimate 10-12 minutes, depending on oven and proportions of mug or ramekin used. Hope you enjoy these as much as we do, April!

  3. Ellen Post author

    I’ve been a fan of your original flax muffin for several years now. I’ve probably made hundreds of them!!