Wednesday, February 24, 2010

(Healthy!) Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Something about the words "healthy" and "coffee cake" together just seems wrong. But folks, I kid you not, this cake is actually pretty healthy. With a mix of whole wheat pastry flour, ground oats, a modest 1/4 cup of brown sugar, low fat sour cream and an amount of butter that would horrify butter queen Paula Deen, there's not much to fear here. Though not as decadent as some coffee cakes I've made in the past, this guy certainly fulfilled my primal need for sweets and made the house smell like a dream (or a cake batter Yankee Candle, take your pick). 

Healthy Sour Cream Coffee Cake
The streusel topping's full of rolled oats, brown sugar, glazed walnuts and just a tad of butter, so I was pleasantly surprised at how satisfying it was sans all the butter.  Instead of an overly sugary topping, the mix added a lightly sweet and crunchy taste to the cake.  Though I was a huge fan of this recipe adapted from Cooking Light, I found that the cake tasted best on the day I baked it.  Afterward, a 20 second nuke in the microwave brought it back to life! 

Brown Sugar Oat Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Healthy Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Adapted from Cooking Light March '10

3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats, divided (not quick oats)
Cooking spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (though I'd like to keep this healthy, I'd bump this up next time - maybe double!)
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) carton light sour cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
2.5 tablespoons finely chopped glazed or candied walnuts
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon,
1 tablespoon chilled butter, cut into small pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Spread oats in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 6 minutes or until oats are barely fragrant and light brown.

3. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray; set aside. (I don't have a springform so I used a 9 inch pie pan and lined the bottom with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray)

4. Reserve 1/4 cup oats; set aside. Place remaining oats in a food processor; process 4 seconds or until finely ground. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine processed oats, flours, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and salt; stir with a whisk.

5. Place granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/3 cup butter in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. (Batter will be slightly lumpy because of oats.) Spoon batter into prepared pan; spread evenly.

6. Combine remaining 1/4 cup oats, remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, nuts, and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until well blended. Sprinkle top of batter evenly with nut mixture. Bake at 350° for 38 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, top is golden, and cake begins to pull away from sides of pan. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes; remove from pan.


Jennelle said...

Mmmm, sounds delish!

MaryBeth said...

Wow...this looks great, just like a big soft & chewy granola bar but way better..

Bridgett said...

I am always up for a healthier version of the cakes I love. The topping looks fabulous.

Kerstin said...

I love streusel-topped coffee cakes and your lightened up version looks great! I really need to get my hands on some whole wheat pastry flour.

grace said...

awesome. the texture looks exactly as i prefer it in my coffee cakes--not the least bit dry or crumbly. the topping's great too.
now, as someone who's been fiercely tempted to take a bite out of a cake batter candle, i'll go ahead and say that i prefer the aroma this cake would provide--it'd be much more palatable. :)

kat said...

always nice to find a healthier version of a sweet!

dawn said...

never thought I'd see healthy and coffee cake in the same line. but alas you've done it.

Joanne said...

This sounds perfect for those times (every day in my case) when you want something sweet without all the guilt. And it looks delicious!

The Blonde Duck said...

I bet my mother in law would love this. If she's nice, I'll make it for her.

pigpigscorner said...

It does sound good! Looks really moist.

biz319 said...

I saw that recipe and its on my list of things to try.

Don't try the bacon ranch mac n cheese though - it tasted like ass as written - I needed TONS of Tabasco to bring it around at lunch today.

Hayli @ Superior Nut said...

I am currently visiting some family members who don't do "healthy," so maybe I just won't tell them. Haha, thanks for the tips! By the way, here's a great recipe for glazing walnuts if you don't want to make your own:

Sarah said...

Yum, looks delicious! I love streusel topping of nuts and oats, and it's great to hear that it still came out well with less butter. I too try to wittle off as much butter as I can without disgracing a recipe. I think the traditional American way is coffee cake for breakfast; I can't stomach that at this point, but it makes a wonderful tea time treat IMO. I wonder what would happen if you added some berries to the batter??

Sasha said...

Ooh yum. Who doesn't love a good coffee cake? : )

Sharon said...

Sarah, blueberries would be AWESOME. Great idea!!

Pam said...

I love coffee cake but don't make it often because it's so unhealthy. This recipe looks fabulous!

Fresh Local and Best said...

This coffee cake looks absolutely delightful!

MaryMoh said...

Looks really moist and delicious!

Gabriella said...

Dear Culinaryadventuresofanewlife, your healthy sour cream coffee cake looks incredible! I like how you wrote and the start of the post how the words coffee cake and healthy might seem to not go together. I actually thought sour creme and cake would not go together, but I have found that sometimes odd combinations make up my favorite foods! Reminds me of gourmet food. I felt like I had stepped into Gourmet Magazine. It was so well presented, clean, photos clear and professionally positioned. I shall return for another bite of this wonderful blog. Thank you for sharing.
Cheers, Gaby
You can always visit me at

Emily said...

Wow. I'm all for this. This cake looks amazing. Isn't Cooking Light the best?

Mmm Yankee candles.

SteamyKitchen said...

ooooh perfect breakfast food! i have that new cooking light cookbook (forgot the name of it but it's in a 3-ring binder) and love the recipes in there.

Barbara Bakes said...

I love healthy in the same sentence as coffee cake! I dropped in from DessertStalking. I'll be baking this up soon!

Maria said...

I love that this is a lighter recipe! Looks yummy!

The Blonde Duck said...

I showed this cake to my MIL and she demanded I make it..what a sacrifice. :)

Sophie said...

A yankee candle smelling cake that's lean? Impressive :)! I'll take a slice or two!

Chef Fresco said...

Healthy coffee cake?! Looks delicious! Cooking Light has the best recipes.

City Mouse said...

After finding this recipe early yesterday, I made it last night. It's really an incredible cake!
I ended up using whole wheat flour and plain cake flour, and I plan on substituting the sour cream for yogurt next time!
Totally great way to start the day.

Anonymous said...

My husband, 1y.o. son and I all loved this. I was surprised how tasty it was considering how much sugar and butter is cut out compared to other coffee cakes. Thanks for sharing. We will use this as our go-to recipe. We stirred in a cup of frozen mixed berries and that was quite the treat.