Thursday, March 7, 2013

Healthy Blueberry Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

The coffee cake I've made for years was adapted from a Cooking Light recipe, but because I wanted it to be as rich and luscious as possible, low-fat ingredients were replaced with their full-fat counterparts -- yes, counter-intuitive -- but man-o-man was it a good coffee cake! So, going back to the original recipe, I've decided to make it even healthier by replacing butter with canola oil, half the all-purpose flour with whole white, and incorporating nutrient- and fiber-rich blueberries with brown sugar and cinnamon to create a pretty swirl in the middle of each slice.  This adaptation is a doubled recipe. If you want to make a smaller coffee cake (8x8 pan or a bread-loaf pan - adjust baking time), halve the ingredients and proceed as directed.

Interior View ~ just look at that! (click for close-up!)

I'm not able to indulge in coffee cake or any cake for that matter, but I'm a baker and I have to bake!  So I am happy to offer it to my co-workers. For those who do enjoy this coffee cake, they can know that it packs a greater nutritional punch than the original with healthy oil, less sugar, more fiber, low-fat sour cream, and antioxidants. It has all that. Oh yeah, and a whole lot of flavor!

Oven - 375 degrees Farenheit
tube coffee cake pan, or angel food cake pan, sprayed with cooking spray

Coffee Cake Ingredients:
1/2 cup canola oil (I use Smart Balance)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
3 egg whites
2 cups low-fat sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole white flour (I use King Arthur flours)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup frozen blueberries (I use Wyman's Wild Maine blueberries - tiny and very flavorful)

In large mixing bowl, beat canola oil with sugar. Add egg, and egg whites, one at a time. Mix well. Add sour cream and extracts. Beat well. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix very well.

Spoon half of batter into prepared pan. Smooth to make an even surface. Sprinkle with brown sugar/cinnamon mixture, and distribute blueberries evenly over that. Add the rest of the batter and smooth top.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until cake tests done (springs back when lightly touched). If your oven runs hot, test at 40 minutes on.

Cool in pan for half hour. Remove pan and invert cake onto serving plate and continue to cool on wire rack. While still warm, spread glaze over top, and allow to run down sides a bit. Recipe follows:

Lemon glaze:

2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon Smart Balance spread, melted

Drops of water

Stir first four ingredients together as well as you can, and then add warm water, a few drops at a time, until the glaze is thick but loose enough to spread easily on its own. Be very stingy with the water as you add it. Even a few drops too much is too much. Pour over top of coffee cake and use the back of a spoon to spread it to the edges and nudge it so it spills over the edge here and there. If it's too thick to run, add a few more drops of water until it loosens up.


  1. Jeannie, I love this recipe. Not only because it looks yummy and is lower in fat but because it uses all "real" ingredients. Your blog promotes cooking and baking from scratch. To me that's what makes it healthy!

    1. Thanks so much, Fran! I so appreciate your saying that and I agree, scratch baking is definitely worth the time and not-so-much trouble. You end up with something you are proud to share! Love your comment!

  2. I agree with Fran. Baking from scratch and using real ingredients is the best ! Just one question about the recipe. If you did not use lemon extract in the cake ,would it affect any of the cakes properties or taste. CKJ

    1. Cindy, you can leave out the lemon and it won't affect texture at all. I like a little bit of lemon with the vanilla, and sometimes even add 1/2 tsp. almond extract to the mix, which, when combined give it that wonderful "bakery" flavor.

  3. Replies
    1. It is! Thanks so much for commenting, and I hope you keep reading and commenting! Have a great Friday!

  4. THis looks delicious JeannIe!! Watt and I were going to try the recipe this AM (how to fill the two hour delay!), but we don't have sour cream. Do you think you could substitute yogurt?

    1. You could substitute plain yogurt measure for measure, or Greek yogurt (use only 1 cup because it's so condensed, plus 1/4 cup milk), and if you do use Vanilla yogurt, reduce sugar by 1/4 cup since the yogurt is sweet. Thanks Marla!

  5. Looks delicious!
    We are what we are therefore, a baker must bake…
    And I know you will have a line of eaters who must eat waiting to sample your adaptations.
    Thanks for the inspirations

    1. Judy, my co-workers RAVED about this coffee cake and it was gone in a flash! It's an insanely busy time in our office, getting ready to mail decision letters to a record number of applicants, and it's just a flurry of activity. They were so happy to have a healthier version of a sweet treat! Remember, I owe you your prize, and if you'd like one of these, I'm happy to bake one for you! Thanks for your comment, my friend!

  6. I'm thinking about this for Easter Sunday brunch...but I don't own a bundt pan (got mad when it wouldn't 'release' my cake and beat the bejeebers out of it with a hammer) or a tube pan. Could I bake it in a 9 x 13 for less time?

    1. I'll drop off my bundt pan for you to borrow. :) And remind me never to make you mad!