Healthy Oven Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

  • Serves: Makes one 8- or 9- square pan
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
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  • Comments: 20

This is quick enough to make for the family on the spur of the moment, and elegant enough for a company brunch. Its nutty flavor doesn't come from the nuts themselves, but from nutlike cereal nuggets (Grape-Nuts, sprinkled on top to add fiber but hardly any fat (as opposed to nuts).


Do NOT substitute whole wheat pastry flour with whole wheat or all-purpose flour; the recipe will not work.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (spoon into measuring cup and level top) -- available from the grocery store. Freeze extra.
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup 1 or 2 percent low-fat milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg

If your family loves spice as much as mine, double the topping mixture.

2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons Grape-Nuts cereal

1. Position a rack in the center pf the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray an 8-inch square baking pan with oil.

2. To make the cake, in a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined. Set aside.

3. In another medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer set at high speed, beat the sugar, milk, water, oil and egg until frothy, about 2 minutes. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture. Using a spoon, stir just until combined (the batter will still be lumpy, but that's okay). Do not overmix. Spoon into prepared pan.

4. To make the topping, in a small bowl, combine the applesauce, sugar and cinnamon. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto the batter. Swirl a knife back and forth through the batter. Sprinkle the Grape-Nuts over the top.

5. Bake until the top of the cake springs back when gently touched in the center and the sides pull away from the pan, 30 to 35 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool in the pan on a wire cake rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm or cool completely in the pan on a wire cake rack.

Nutritional Analysis: Per serving - About 194 calories (8 percent from protein; 73 percent from carbohydrates; 19 percent from fat), 4 grams protein, 37 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fat (less than 1 gram saturated fat), 24 milligrams cholesterol, 158 milligrams sodium

Sarah Phillips, The Healthy Oven Baking Book, Doubleday, 1999

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