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Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Pound Cake (Lightened)

20 April 2012 9 Comments

Have I ever mentioned that I love cinnamon?
Oh, do I.  I love, love, love it!

So I was very happy to see that this cake was chosen to be April’s Cake Slice cake – the Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Pound Cake.  NOW we’re talkin’!

The Problem

As I’ve mentioned previously, however, we are working on getting healthier at my house. Learning to eat real, and at the same time trying to lose a little weight. That made this oh-so-tempting Cinnamon Swirl cake a bit of a problem. When confronted with a delicious cake like that, just sitting there on the counter…. calling to us to eat it….

Well.  I don’t think my willpower is *quite* that strong.

So, a little tinkering on this recipe was in order.  Judging by the other bakers in this group, the original recipe is just about perfect as it is, if you’re not worried about the calories. But at my house, a few changes made this a recipe we could enjoy without guilt (and who doesn’t want that?).

The Tinkering

One of the first things I decided was to do baby bundts instead of a full-sized bundt – automatic portion control.  I know my man, and when cutting a slice from a full-sized cake, well, let’s just say that the number of servings indicated on the recipe is likely to be less in real life.   So, individual servings takes care of that little problem.

Next, I swapped in white whole wheat flour in place of the all purpose.  This added a little nutrition in the form of whole grains and fiber, but did you also know that white whole wheat flour is just a little bit lower in calorie than all purpose flour?  Bonus! I left the cake flour alone, so as to hopefully keep from altering the tenderness *too* much.   Next time, I may experiment with some whole wheat pastry flour to see how that affects the texture.

I reduced the butter in the cinnamon swirl by half, and it worked fine.  Still delicious as could be.  Oh, and I increased the cinnamon to 1/2 tsp (original recipe only calls for 1/4), just ’cause I love it.  Then, I swapped in greek yogurt for some of the butter, and reduced the sugar just a bit, in the cake batter recipe.  Still came out plenty tasty.

Nothing too drastic, but enough to drop the calories per serving by about half and increase the nutritional value a bit.  Oh yeah – I left out the orange zest too, just because I didn’t have any (we didn’t miss it, though I’m sure it would be lovely).

The Outcome

A dense, tight crumb (as a pound cake should be), with a lovely cinnamony, slightly crunchy layer in the middle – this is right up my alley. Delicious by itself, topped with a dusting of powdered sugar, or with some vanilla ice cream on the side, it’s a bit of sweet happiness at the end of a meal, with no guilt to dim the glow.

Once again, I’ll tell you that this is a good book. Every recipe I’ve tried so far has been delicious (even with my tinkering). So I’m not going to provide the original recipe.

Instead, here’s my somewhat healthified version.    Zapped in the microwave for 10-20 seconds and topped with powdered sugar for after dinner, or just plain in our lunch boxes, we’ve been enjoying these little baby bundts all week.

Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Pound Cake (Lightened)

12-16 servings

Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Pound Cake (Lightened)


  • 1/2 cup (2.1 oz) white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed (2.5 oz) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt (I use kosher)
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • CAKE:
  • 2 cups (8.5 oz) white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I use kosher)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cups greek yogurt (or 1.5 cups applesauce)
  • 8 oz sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk


Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 F. Grease and flour a cupcake tin, mini-bundt pan, or a 10" regular bundt pan.


Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add melted butter and mix until well blended and crumbly. If necessary, use your fingers to break up large clumps so that the entire mixture is relatively even in texture.


Into a medium bowl, sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom. Whisk until well blended and set aside.

Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, beat softened butter at medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until very creamy. Slowly add the sugar, then beat at medium-high until very well blended, light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Reduce speed back to medium and add eggs one at a time, beating well after each and scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Reduce speed to low and add your flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, and mixing until just combined (don't overmix).

FOR A FULL-SIZED BUNDT (approx. 12 larger servings)

If you're doing a full-sized bundt, pour half of the batter into your prepared pan and tap pan against counter to even the top. Sprinkle the cinnamon swirl mix evenly over the batter. Top with dollops of remaining batter, then lightly smooth with a spatula into an even layer (without messing up the swirl layer, as much as possible).

FOR BABY BUNDTS (approx. 16 smaller servings):

Using a disher, or a measuring cup, scoop about 1/4 cup batter into each tin opening. Spoon about 1 tablespoon cinnamon swirl mixture over each (then go back and add a little to each until it's all used up). Then top each with another 1/4 cup (or so) batter. Carefully smooth so that it completely covers the cinnamon swirl.


Bake a full-sized bundt for 65 - 75 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

For baby bundts, bake for 20-25 minutes (begin testing at 20 minutes) or until a skewer comes out of the center clean.

For either, after removing from oven, cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then invert onto the rack and cool completely.

Dust the cake lightly with powdered sugar right before serving.


Nutritional Information calculated using Calorie-Count
Original Recipe
(12 servings)
Lightened Recipe
(12 servings, full sized bundt)
Lightened Recipe
(16 servings, baby bundts)
Calories:448 321243
Fat:19.9 g11.8 g8.6 g
Cholesterol:102 mg73 mg59 mg
Sodium:307 mg250 mg187 mg
Sugar:40 g27.3 g22.3 g
Carbohydrates:63 g47.9 g38 g
Fiber:0.9 g2.7 g2.3 g
Protein:5.5 g7.6 g4.7 g

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  • Becca - Cookie Jar Treats said:

    Your little individual bundt cakes are so cute. I love the instant portion control because when it comes to cake, I have no control, haha. :)

    Great job!
    Becca – Cookie Jar Treats´s last blog post ..Gooey Lemon Brownies

  • Paloma said:

    Beautiful individual bundt cakes! They look amazing! :) And I am so happy you made it like this! I might try it myself! I am also trying to lose weight/eat healthier but I DID make it just the way it was originally in the book… I am always afraid of things not working out if I “make adjustments” and then just having ingredients go to waste… So I just abstained myself from eating any of this cake… (tasted it though… and it is absolutely delicious!) so… I’m very thankful you shared your version! Definitely something I will try in the future.
    Paloma´s last blog post ..Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Pound Cake

  • Digigirl said:

    Thanks for the kind word ladies. I’m a big fan of “mini” things anyway, but individual servings definitely helps me with portion control. It’s just oh so easy to let the knife slide over when it’s time to slice from a whole cake and end up with a giant slab. And of course, once it’s on the plate…. you know what happens! :)

  • Kim said:

    Good work trying to make these treats a little more healthy, also cinnamon is soo good for you!

  • Digigirl said:

    Agreed! I keep trying to remember to add cinnamon to other things more often, like my morning oatmeal!

  • Cucina49 said:

    I love some of the changes you’ve made here–substituting yogurt for some of the butter and making baby bundts instead.
    Cucina49´s last blog post ..Better than Starbucks

  • Katie said:

    Wow you did a fab job and I love the mini Bundt pans. So cute and the perfect size. I adore cinnamon too :)
    Katie´s last blog post ..The Cake Slice April 2012: Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Bundt Pound Cake

  • emily said:

    Yup, this cake is goooood! Lovely spices!

    And thank you for the instructions on mini ones!

  • TastefullyJulie said:

    Pound cake that doesn’t have a pound of butter in it? With CINNAMON?! Count me in :)
    TastefullyJulie´s last blog post ..How to Poach an Egg. My Way.

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