Saturday, June 23, 2012

Healthy Cherry Lemon Coffee Cake

I bought a pound of cherries at the farmer's market last weekend, and they sat in my refrigerator getting softer by the day until I just HAD to do something with them, before it was too late!

I had originally wanted to make hand pies, but the thought of making and rolling out a crust for all of those little pies was just....thoroughly unappealing.

Cherries are deliciously tart and sweet on their own, but so many of the recipes I came across required cooking them down in cups of sugar.

Then I found a recipe for Healthy Cherry Coffee Cake. No crust, no need to cook the cherries!

I made some tweaks — subbing olive oil for the butter and a combination of whole wheat and unbleached flour for the white, for example — and the result was a light yet hearty tasting Cherry Lemon Coffee cake. The lemon flavor really comes through, and the cake has a nice dimension of nuttiness thanks to the whole wheat flour and oats.

Healthy Cherry Lemon Coffee Cake

First, you need cherries!

I used twice as many as the recipe called for, because they were about to go bad. This made the cake a little soggy (because of the extra cherry juice!) so stick to one cup. You'll need to pit the cherries.

Just use a paring knife to cut the cherries in half, then remove the pit from whichever side it remains lodged in. 
It's time consuming, and lots of juice will get on your hands...
but aren't they just GORGEOUS?

Set the cherries aside, and combine the wet ingredients, along with the sugar and lemon zest, in a large bowl.
Fat free sour cream, olive oil, lemon juice, lemons zest, egg, sugar, honey, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Then add the dry ingredients to the wet. The batter will be very thick. I chose to spread half of it in the pan, then layer with cherries...

...then cover with remaining batter.

The batter is very thick, so it might be easier to just add it to the pan all at once, and layer the cherries on top, gently pressing them into the batter.

Combine 1/4 C oats, 2 T brown sugar, and 1 T olive oil until crumbly; sprinkle over top of the cake.

Place in a 350° oven, and bake about 45 minutes, or until golden brown.


So, was it as good as coffee cake made with butter, white flour, full fat sour cream, and all white sugar instead of honey?

Well... no. BUT!!! It is a perfectly tasty, healthy substitute for when you just can't pass up the chance to bake a yummy treat!

Full Recipe

Healthy Cherry Lemon Coffee Cake


2T light brown sugar
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1T olive oil


1/4 c Honey
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 cup of fat free sour cream
1 large egg
1 Tbsp vanilla
2t lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
3/4 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
dash cinnamon
1 cup of pitted cherries

Preheat oven to 350

Add honey, sugar, olive oil, sour cream, egg, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest to large bowl. Whisk until combined. 

In a separate bowl, mix together flours, bakin powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon until blended. 

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir just until incorporated. The batter is VERY thick - almost like the batter for drop biscuits.

You can either: spread half the batter on the bottom of an 8" round or square pan (sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper), layer the cherries, and cover with remaining batter OR spread all of the batter in pan and top with cherries.

Mix together oats, sugar, and olive oil until crumbly; sprinkle over top of batter.

Place in oven and back for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown. 

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