Reduced Calorie Cinnamon-Walnut Coffee Cake

2013-01-20 11.58.29


A few months ago I received a pile of cooking magazines from a family friend.  By a “pile” I mean 2 large cardboard boxes of hundreds of issues of stuff like Bon Appétit and Cooking Light.  After meticulously going through eat magazine, I removed all of the recipes that I wanted to someday try.  With these I assembled my own custom cookbook.

This recipe was from an old issue of cooking light, which is why it is a reduced calorie coffee cake.  The recipe says it is about 250 calories for a serving (and it yields 16 servings).  My cake came out even lighter than the original though, as I opted to use unsweetened almond milk in place of buttermilk–simply because I didn’t have buttermilk or any lemon juice to make faux buttermilk with.  Also I really like almond milk!



  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp almond extract


1) Preheat oven to 35o°F.  Set out 3 bowls, ideally 2 large bowls and 1 small bowl.

2) Using the smallest bowl, mix the first 4 ingredients (the chopped walnuts, brown sugar, 3 tbsp of flour, and cinnamon).

     What you will end up with should look something like this:

2013-01-20 10.03.46

4. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray (if you are trying to keep calories down) or you can use butter.  I think this would add a nice flavor to the cake.

I opted for cooking spray because I wanted a less fattening/greasy cake and I also wanted to use up the container of cooking spray that has been lingering in the cupboard.

5. Take 1/3 cup of the nut/sugar/flour mix and sprinkle it around the bottom of the pan.  Set the rest of the mix aside.

6. In a second bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups sugar, 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, and vanilla.  Beat until well blended, then beat in one egg at a time.

Here is what my water/egg/oil mix looked like:

2013-01-20 10.11.42

7. Using your third bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add flour mixture to liquid mixture alternately with the almond milk.  Mix until milk is fully incorporated and there is nothing extra lingering around the sides of the batter.

Side Note: If you don’t have or like almond milk, any other milk would be appropriate. 

You could use anything from soy milk to half and half to skim milk.  Keep in mind though, that each milk will affect the final product slightly differently.  Using heavy cream or half and half will definitely add a richer quality to the cake (as well as more calories). 

I found the almond milk did not add a lot, rather it helped bind the ingredients without making the cake too heavy.  I personally wanted a cake that was not rich/overly moist, so almond milk worked well for me this time.   

Below is a how my batter looked before I had fully blended the almond milk with the batter:

2013-01-20 10.15.53

8. Measure 2 cups of batter and set them aside.  Pour remaining batter into your Bundt pan (fully covering the nut/sugar mixture you previously sprinkled in it).

9. Take the extra sugar/nut mixture from earlier, and sprinkle all of it on top of the batter.

10. Next, pour the remaining 2 cups on batter into the pan.

2013-01-20 10.26.47

11. Bake at  350 F for 45 minutes (or until a wooden pick or knife inserted into the center comes out dry).  Let it cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.  Once it has been removed from the pan, let it cool on wire rack for about an hour.

To make an icing/glaze for you cake:

The coffee cake recipe I followed did not include an icing glaze.  I just like most coffee cake tastes better with some icing!  The icing I made for this cake is very simple.

All you need:

  • Almond milk (or some other liquid, water, cream, milk, depending on how rich you would like your icing to be)
  • Confectioner’s sugar (aka powdered sugar)
  • Cinnamon

When I made the icing for this I just kinda eyeballed it.  Liquid + Confectioner’s sugar is a really basic combo for a simple icing.  I took about maybe 2 cups powdered sugar and slowly added a LITTLE TINY bit of almond milk at a time.  Confectioner’s sugar dissolves QUICKLY!  So you do not need a lot of liquid to create a nice glaze.

Once you have the icing at the consistency you want, drizzle it back and forth over the cake.  I like to do this while it is still on the cooling rack, so all the excess icing drips into the counter and away from the cake.


I found this to be a very satisfying and light cake.  It was not overly moist or rich, though I would not say it was very dry either.  Kind of in the middle.  And because it wasn’t loaded with as much fat as your average cake, it was easy to keep eating it.  I didn’t feel a sugar overload or that sensation of a rich food weighing down my stomach.

That said, it was not a really stunning piece of bakery.  It was not the sort of thing you eat and think oh man this is so good, rather it was just good, but nothing special.

I am not sure I would make this again, only because it was not sensational and I have a plethora of coffee cake recipes I would like to try in the future.


Madeline aka The Hopeful Hestia


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s