Healthier Lemon Cake

For years pound cake has been a staple dessert. It’s so easy to make: a pound of butter, flour, sugar, some flavoring and eggs and the cake is done–and delicious!  There is no better accompaniment to a steaming cup of coffee, an ice cold glass of milk, or a warm cup of tea than a slice of traditional pound cake. Over time the traditional pound cake began to be incorporated into other dessert dishes with fresh fruit, ice cream, fresh whipped cream, or chocolate. Pound cake has earned its place in the dessert world!

While pound cake is delicious, I feel it has too many ingredients which make it not the bests choices for anyone attempting to eat healthy. I decided to take a closer look at pound cake and see if I could change up the recipe into something as delicious and equally as versatile. I found that if I cut out the butter and a lot of the sugar I came up with a moist, creamy, delicious lemon cake that can rival any traditional pound cake.

My version is lower in saturated fat and sugar but still has the same amazing flavor, texture, and moistness of a traditional pound cake. This recipe uses Greek yogurt that provides some extra protein and velvety texture to the cake that regular butter cannot. Like traditional pound cake, my Healthy Lemon Cake can be used in a variety of other recipes like trifles, shortcakes, ice cream desserts or it can be grilled, drizzled with chocolate, paired with fresh fruit or dipped in fondue. It freezes well and a small, thin slice can satisfy a craving for something sweet. The possibilities are endless!

Healthy Lemon Cake

Serves 8

  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt (or vanilla or honey flavored)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 ¼ tablespoon olive or vegetable oil (or add in same amount of unsweetened apple sauce or additional Greek yogurt)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Glaze: ¼ cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or water

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or use vegetable spray on an 8 x 5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice and oil (or applesauce or additional yogurt if using), and vanilla extract until combined.
  3. In a second bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt and sugar until combined.
  4. Pour yogurt mixture into flour mixture gradually, stirring after each addition until combined and mixture is not lumpy.
  5. Pour cake mixture into loaf pan and bake for 25 minutes until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool, 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. After cake cooks, remove from loaf pan and invert. Allow to cool completely.
  7. Mix glaze. Use additional lemon juice or water until desired consistency. Spread glaze evenly over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Glaze will harden as it cools. 
  8. Store cake in a cool, dry place, Refrigerate or freeze if needed. Serve in 1 to 2 inch slices with additional fruit, fresh whipped cream, or alongside a cup of herbal tea.

Featured photo by Honey Fangs 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.