“Cake for breakfast” and “healthy” just don’t seem to belong in the same sentence. Fortunately, determined bakers have studied the problem of how to create coffee cake that manages to shed fat, cholesterol, and calories without dumping taste in the process and come up with a number of ways to succeed. Using low or nonfat sour cream, buttermilk instead of cream, and egg substitutes goes a long way toward lightening up a coffee cake without robbing it of yum. Skipping butter in favor of heart-healthy applesauce and adding fresh fruit provide fiber too.
By now, cooks, kids, and everyone else know that blueberries are not only a wonderful way to stain your tongue blue, but they taste good and are almost insanely good for you with over-the-top antioxidants. Blueberries and coffee cake have long been best breakfast buds, but trimming out fat is easy by replacing full-fat milk or cream with buttermilk. Health nuts like the addition of healthy nuts like pecans or walnuts as well.
For a holiday spread or to impress guests, another healthy coffee cake that indulges just a tad is a sour cream pound cake. This one’s claim to fame is an utterly melt-in-your-mouth moist interior, courtesy of Greek yogurt and, yes, a little sour cream. Using the low-fat kind helps ease the guilt, and sweetening the batter with mashed banana to cut back on the sugar helps with the guilt as well.
Think “holiday coffee cake” and most bakers’ minds go directly to the wonderful world of apple spice. In place of all the butter Grandma used to drench her dry ingredients with, the clever cook uses reduced-fat cream cheese along with just a little, light-flavored healthy oil, such as canola, to create a very satisfying, healthy coffee cake. Eggbeaters drop the cholesterol count, and lots of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground cloves add spice.
Anybody trying to stay off Santa’s naughty list can indulge in more than one slice of angel food coffee cake. Everyone knows that angel food cake is not only truly satisfying to a sweet tooth, but it makes the perfect mattress for a bunch of berries, peaches, or other fresh fruit. A dollop of Greek yogurt on top of the berries just makes this healthy coffee cake even happier.
Dedicated bakers know that coffee cakes don’t need to be made with bleached flour to taste great. Whole-wheat flour coffee cakes add some fiber, especially when the baker remembers to sprinkle in a little ground flax. Whole oats are another welcome addition to most healthy coffee cake recipes.