Whole Story

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Make it Natural: Blueberry Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel

By Alana Sugar, May 6, 2009  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar
Ava, one of our Whole Story readers, sent us this idea for a recipe makeover just in time for a Mother's Day brunch:
Blueberry Coffee Cake This recipe is very good, however it's bad for your figure and unhealthy... Can you give me a healthy look on coffee cake? 2 tbs. butter 1 box white cake mix 3 eggs 1 cup sour cream Crumb topping 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup finely chopped nuts 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
Blueberry Coffee Cake Coffee cake can be a sweet start to your day or an evening dessert, but the word "healthy" does not necessarily come to mind when this baked good is mentioned. We've improved the nutrition profile of this crowd-pleaser by making a few substitutions: whole wheat pastry flour in place of conventional boxed cake mix, nonfat plain yogurt instead of sour cream, and extra blueberries rather than the whole amount of sugar. Check out the recipe we developed for Blueberry Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel incorporating these changes to make a healthier cake:
  • Using 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour adds about 12 grams of fiber to the cake. Not only do whole grains such as whole wheat flour contain additional fiber that helps promote digestive health, they also contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • By using 1 cup of nonfat plain yogurt instead of a cup of sour cream, we saved about 300 calories, 45 grams of fat (26 grams of saturated fat) and 115 grams of cholesterol. In addition, 235 mg calcium and 300 mg potassium were gained with this substitution.
  • We doubled the amount of blueberries in the recipe to rely more on the natural sweetness of the fruit rather than just added sugar. More is usually better with blueberries, because they are very low in calories and packed with vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants.
  • Making the recipe from scratch lets you choose the spices. We used cardamom and cinnamon to complement the berries.
  • We chose almonds for the nut topping, as they are the most nutrient-dense nut. A one-ounce serving (about 23 almonds) is an excellent source of vitamin E and magnesium, a good source of fiber and protein, and offers several other minerals.
A 3-ounce serving of our new cake contains 150 calories, 4 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar and 5 grams of protein. Happy baking! Send us Your Recipe Request! Do you have a recipe you'd like us to make natural? Post it in the comments section below! If we select your recipe for a healthy makeover and publish the improved version on our website, we'll send you a $25 Whole Foods Market gift card.




recipes says ...
I love Cake. My favorite is chocolate cake but this coffee cake also looks very delicious.
05/06/2009 6:19:03 AM CDT
Joan says ...
How come you don't give the directions for this bluberry cake?
05/06/2009 1:39:31 PM CDT
Jane says ...
Do you need baking powder or baking soda to replace what you're not getting from the packaged cake mix?
05/06/2009 2:07:05 PM CDT
Carol says ...
If you ever want to make it Vegan, try the Cinnamon Coffee Cake recipe in the "Joy of Vegan Baking" by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Before adding your fresh or frozen blueberries(do not thaw them), toss them with a little flour so the berries don't float to the bottom while baking. This is, truly, an excellent coffee cake. I brought it to a breakfast gathering and all were amazed it was Vegan.
05/06/2009 2:15:28 PM CDT
Lisa says ...
You might also try substituting almond flour for half of the flour to cut down on carbs.
05/06/2009 2:41:02 PM CDT
mcbobby says ...
I love most of your recipes. BUT, please do not give us something that says 1 PACKAGE of something. If we are going to bother to make something then we're making it from scratch. I don't even know what is in this package. Our family doesn't use anything from packages due to food allergies. Please, if you are going to put a PACKAGE of something, let us know what is in it so we can substitute the ingredients.
05/06/2009 3:51:57 PM CDT
Deb Lewis says ...
Ok - how long do you cook it and at what temperature?
05/06/2009 6:59:56 PM CDT
Hannah says ...
I would love for you to make a healthy version of puppy chow! It was one of my childhood favorites but the list of ingredients make it unappealing now. Thanks!
05/06/2009 8:14:49 PM CDT
Diane says ...
I don't understand this. You didn't give us directions-just the ingredients. Can you please email me the directions so I can make this recipe?
05/06/2009 8:23:41 PM CDT
Diane says ...
Oh sorry I just found it. You have to click on Blueberry Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel. Diane
05/06/2009 8:26:58 PM CDT
Karen says ...
I'd love if you could make this recipe more healthy. The no-bake chocolate peanutbutter bars are, in my opinion, one of the best desserts out there. I just have trouble limiting myself to the size I should be eating.
05/06/2009 10:30:44 PM CDT
Lan says ...
I clicked the link for the Coffe Cake it takes me to the recipe. I am going to try this very soon. thanks
05/07/2009 7:56:38 AM CDT
Ron says ...
Please publish the directions for the Blueberry Coffee cake in your 5/7/09 blog. You published the complete recipe for the Blueberry Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel, but not the coffee cake that uses the boxed cake mix. Thank you
05/07/2009 8:33:23 AM CDT
Carmen says ...
Some of the comments provided are going by Ava's recipe rather than WFM's makeover. Joan, Jane and Mcbobby click on link provided to what looks like a healthy and delicious alternative. Can't wait to try this.
05/07/2009 8:50:01 AM CDT
Patricia says ...
This looks great. I'd love to also see this kind of healthy re-do for a chocolate chip coffee cake-- I will look for a recipe! Thanks for printing this, and I'd love to see this in Whole Foods Bakeries as well!
05/07/2009 10:00:51 AM CDT
Deb says ...
"Bad Blueberry Coffee Cake"...please need the original 'white cake mix' directions. Thanks.
05/07/2009 2:51:36 PM CDT
Bonnie Svetlik says ...
This sounds fabulous. How about making a gluten free version?
05/11/2009 9:33:48 AM CDT
Claire Haddad says ...
I made this for Mother's Day and it was a big hit!
05/11/2009 5:22:01 PM CDT
Anna says ...
This sounds great. I'm going to try it with your recipe first and then try it with coconut flour instead. Should I add additional liquid with the coconut flour?
05/12/2009 10:44:31 AM CDT
Lidia says ...
Yummy cake! I was surprised not to see any vanilla in the ingredient list. I always use vanilla in baked goods. Call me silly but I do, ha,ha,ha. I prefer the Totonac brand because they are all natural and no sugar added. This allows me to have healthier baked goods. I wish I could find an all natural sweetener that does not have any after taste. Any suggestions?
05/13/2009 8:14:21 PM CDT
sugara says ...
Hi Joan, The directions for this blueberry cake can be found by following the link in the blog. Best, Alana
05/15/2009 4:26:24 PM CDT
sugara says ...
Hi Jane, The recipe does contain baking powder and baking soda - click on the link in the Blog to the healthier recipe. Thanks, Alana
05/15/2009 4:27:32 PM CDT
sugara says ...
Hi McBobby, The recipe posted at the beginning of the blog is an example only of an unhealthy recipe. As you read through the blog you will find a link to the healthy version that contains full instructions. Thanks, Alana
05/15/2009 4:29:22 PM CDT
sugara says ...
Hi Anna, Thanks for your inquiry. If you use coconut flour, you will need to reduce the amount greatly; possibly using only 1/3 cup or so, and you may need to increase liquid as the coconut flour is very high in fiber and absorbs a great deal of liquid. I can't give you any exact amounts - I would have to experiment with it in my kitchen, but a great guide to go by is the book Cooking with Coconut Flour. Thanks for writing! Alana
05/15/2009 4:34:49 PM CDT
Kim says ...
I've saved the recipe to try at home! I'm going to try substituting another flour for the all purpose flour still. Are there any you'd recommend? I'll try the almond flour that someone mentioned, too.
05/28/2009 8:35:00 AM CDT