Morning Glory Cake

Morning Glory Cake is my variation on Morning Glory Muffins! This cake has so many wonderful flavors inside! It will surely brighten up your morning! It is super easy to make!

Photo by NastyaSensei on

Morning Glory Muffins were invented by the owner of the “Morning Glory Café” in Nantucket, Pam McKinstry. In 1978, she created the original recipe for Morning Glory Muffins. Then Gourmet magazine printed her recipe in 1981. Morning Glory Muffins are made up of many different ingredients like flour, carrots, apples, raisins, nuts, orange, and sometimes coconut. There are many variations on these muffins, but the main ingredients are always the same; carrots and apples. Morning Glory Muffins are meant represent a good harvest because they are made with many produce items.

The idea for this cake came from grating too many carrots. I was making my recipe for Vietnamese Spring Rolls and grated half a cup more than I needed of carrots. So I packed it up and stared at this little container of grated carrots for two days in my refrigerator. My first thought for the carrots was to make my Carrot Cake Cupcakes, but I really wanted to bake something new and different. Thus I tore through some of my favorite cookbooks to find Morning Glory Cake, which derives from Morning Glory Muffins. What I liked about it was the base and spice palette was similar to carrot cake. From what I could tell it was a “kitchen sink” kind of recipe, where it has a lot of ingredients in it that one can usually find around the house. I was intrigued by how much fruit and carrot could fit into a regular sized cake.

I modified the recipe I found and got to work. I cut up apples, scooped up coconut, and mixed together all the ingredients. I poured the batter into a cake pan and put it in the oven. I could tell that this would be a popular recipe because before it was even done baking in the oven my husband came downstairs to investigate. The smell of the cake wafted upstairs and he wanted to know if the cake was finished yet. We loved the finished product and I hope you do to. Please enjoy!

Morning Glory Cake Recipe

6 to 8 servings

Specialty Tool: Electric mixer

Prep time: 15 min

Bake Time: 35-45 min

Inactive Time: 2 hours and 15 min

Drink Pairing Suggestions: Milk or black tea


3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon orange zest

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

1/2 cup carrot, grated

2 cups apple, grated

1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped


Preheat oven to 350 F

Coat 8-inch square non-stick baking pan with nonstick spray and flour. Line pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl add sugar and eggs. Whisk for one minute, until mixture is pale and a little frothy.

Add orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix until smooth, about two minutes.

With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the coconut, carrot, apple, and 1/2 cup pecans into mixture.

Add flour, baking soda, and baking powder to the bowl and mix until everything is well incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top of the batter with a rubber spatula.

Top the batter with the remaining 1/4 cup of pecans.

Bake until the cake is puffed and golden, about 35 to 45 minutes.

Make sure a tested inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes.

Then take the cake out of the pan and let it cool on a cooling rack until it has cooled completely, about two hours.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a cup of tea!

To store the cake make sure it is well wrapped. It can be kept at room temperature for two days and in the refrigerator for four.

This recipe also works with a 9-inch round non-stick cake pan! Adjust the time as necessary. The cake will take about 45 to 50 minutes to bake in this pan.

Feel free to omit the nuts if you want the recipe to be nut free.

If you want a variety of nuts, substitute the 1/4 cup pecan topping for 1/4 cup walnuts instead!

I used Honeycrisp apples in this recipe, but feel free to experiment with any type of apple you like! Pink Lady, Jonagold, or Granny Smith Apples can also be fun choices!


Tag @culinary_cupcake when you upload your photo on Instagram and hashtag #culinary_cupcake


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