Low-fat Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake

A thing of beauty!

A thing of beauty!

Wait, did she just say… low-fat? Hellz yes I did.  This delicious cake uses a grand total of three tablespoons of canola oil — three! That’s less than a quarter cup, yet the cake manages to stay light and moist.  Dry and crumbly “diet” cakes begone!

Right, and now for an explanation that’s a little less random.

Yes this cake is a low fat version of the popular lemon poppyseed cake.  For a while now I have been wanting to try so called “lite” baking to see how these goods compare to the real deal.  Now as I’ve done some recipe perusing before, I had a vague idea of what ingredients to expect.  Namely, using applesauce as a fat substitute (in place of butter or oil) and egg whites instead of whole eggs.

The applesace adds moisture to the cake that would normally be contributed by butter, oil or some other fat.  Same moist texture, much fewer calories!  The egg whites help keep the cake light, in my inexpert opinion.  They are whipped into soft peaks and then gently folded into the rest of the batter, so as to retain as much fluffiness and air in the cake as possible.

I was a bit wary as to how this cake would turn out.  After all, I’d never whipped egg whites into soft peaks before.  Luckily, google was very helpful in providing me with an idea of just what exactly ‘soft peaks’ look like.  I also had a little surprise when I went to the fridge to discover that what I thought was plain applesauce was in fact apple and peach sauce.  So, I shrugged my shoulders, dumped in the peach flavoured apple sauce, added a little bit of lemon extract to boost the citrus flavour, and hoped for the best.  My first taste testers got the anxious questions of “how lemony is it? Can you taste anything else?”.  As none of them were able to detect the hint of peach, I’d say that the peach and apple sauce had no real effect on the overall taste of the cake.

For the record, this cake is good, really good.  In fact, as one of my taste testers declared, it’s “f***ing awesome” (I have no control over what people say about my baked goods. ;] ).  It has a light texture and a mild lemon taste, which is revved up a notch or two by the lemon glaze.  If I were eating this cake, I wouldn’t have guessed that it’s low fat.

Ooops! What happens when you're camera lens fogs up because the cake hasn't cooled yet.

Ooops! What happens when you're camera lens fogs up because the cake hasn't cooled yet.

I can’t wait to experiment and try adding different fruits to the batter.  Lemon blueberry cake, here I come!

Low-fat Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake

adapted from Astray Recipes

serves 12


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of cake flour (1 cup cake flour = 2 tbsp of corn starch + rest of 1 cup all purpose flour or 1 cup all purpose flour minus 2 tbsp of flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup of apple sauce
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp of lemon juice (juice of one lemon + top up of bottled lemon juice)
  • 1 tbsp of lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract (optional)
  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds


1. Spray a 10-cup bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the flours, 1 cup of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl whisk together the applesauce, oil, lemon juice, lemon extract (optional) and lemon rind until blended. In another medium bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until foamy and almost double in volume. Slowly beat in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar until whites form soft peaks.

3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the applesauce mixture, and stir until just combined. Mixture will be quite thick. Stir about 1/4 of the egg whites into the batter, gently fold remaining egg whites into the batter and fold in poppy seeds. Pour batter into prepared pan; shake gently to distribute batter evenly.

4. Bake 35 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes; turn onto rack to finish cooling.

For glaze: Mix one cup of icing sugar with approximately the juice and rind of one lemon.  Spoon over cooled cake. Dust a little bit of icing sugar over the glazed cake, if desired.

Glaze me.

Glaze me.

Enjoy your healthy (well, maybe if you squint) treat!

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