Pound cake that won’t pack pounds

Pound cake gets its name from its ingredients-a pound of sugar, a pound of butter, a pound of flour, a pound of eggs. And that doesn't include the "pounds" that we gain by eating this rich cake.

So when one of my friends sent the EatingWell Test Kitchen an over-the-top recipe for pound cake "enhanced" with margarine, a half dozen jumbo eggs and cream cheese, I knew that our ovens would get a workout as we tried to devise a healthier version. (Which we deliciously did!)

Here's how our recipe compares to the original:

Original Version:

  • 307 calories
  • 16 grams total fat
  • 0 grams fiber

EatingWell Pound Cake:

  • 217 calories
  • 10 grams total fat
  • 1 gram fiber

Our Cream Cheese Pound Cake is made with half whole-wheat flour, 38 percent less fat and 30 percent fewer calories-but still has the dense, fine crumb of the original. Serve our healthy makeover of pound cake on its own, sprinkled with powdered sugar or with either sour cherry sauce (as shown) or dark chocolate sauce.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

To make ahead: Wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
Equipment: 12-cup Bundt pan

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (see Ingredient Note, below)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk (see Tip, below)
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 large egg whites
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel)

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray and dust with flour.
2. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk whole eggs, buttermilk, oil, corn syrup and vanilla in another medium bowl until well blended.
3. Beat egg whites in a large clean bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until light and foamy. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar until stiff glossy peaks form.
4. Beat butter and cream cheese in a large bowl until creamy. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Alternately add the flour and buttermilk mixtures, beating until just smooth. Fold in about one-third of the egg whites with a rubber spatula until just smooth and no white streaks remain. Fold in the remaining egg whites. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.
5. Bake the cake until a skewer inserted into it comes out clean and the top springs back when touched, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife and turn out onto the rack; let cool for at least 1 hour more before slicing.

Makes 20 servings.

Per serving: 261 calories; 12 g fat (5 g sat, 3 g mono); 52 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 1 g fiber; 167 mg sodium; 73 mg potassium.

Ingredient Note: Whole-wheat pastry flour, lower in protein than regular whole-wheat flour, has less gluten-forming potential, making it a better choice for tender baked goods. You can find it in the natural-foods section of large super markets and natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.

Tip: No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions. Or make "sour milk": mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.

By Hilary Meyer

EatingWell assistant editor Hilary Meyer spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.

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