Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Makeover

You can have your cake and enjoy eating it without guilt too!  As mentioned in my last post, the key to enjoying your dessert is to include ingredients in a way to boost fiber, protein and healthy fats while reducing the sugar-spiking carbohydrates.  I did each of these things in my version of Lemon Poppy Seed cake.  I boosted fiber by using whole grain sprouted wheat flour, ground flax seed and substituted a larger amount of chia seed for the poppy seed.  I boosted protein by adding plain fat-free yogurt and using the whole grains – wheat flour, flax and chia seed.  I reduced the total fat by using less olive oil.  Carbohydrates were also reduced by using less sugar.   I made up the difference in taste for less sugar by painting a lemon and confectioners sugar glaze over the entire cake.

Not All Lemon Poppy Seed Cakes Are Healthy

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Look at the ingredients! And it’s got trans-fats too!

I compared the nutritional value of my Lemon Chia Seed cake to the Betty Crocker Lemon Poppy Seed Cake and a highly rated New York Times Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.

Before I go any further I need to discuss the ingredients in a Betty Crocker cake.  Take a look at the ingredients in this picture.  Be aware that this mix has emulsifiers such as monoglycerides and propylene glycol mono and diesters of fatty acids.  What the heck are those?  All I know is that the Fed has some regulation on them.  Emulsifiers are used to help stabilize ingredients that normally won’t stay mixed, like vinegar and oil.  Examples of emulsifers are eggs, mustard, gelatin and skim milk.  Why doesn’t General Mills just use natural ingredients for the emulsification?

Furthermore they’ve added food additives like stearoyl lactylate and partially hydrogenated oils to enhance taste, preserve flavor and freshness.  Hydrogenated oils are transfats, the worst fats, because they not only raise the bad LDL cholesterol, but they lower the good heart protective HDL cholesterol.  Betty Crocker is not making my mouth drool.  You don’t hear the FDA regulating the ingredients in my cake recipe.  My cake flavor is enhanced with real lemon juice, moistened with Greek yogurt, olive oil and flax seed and contains nothing artificial.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Comparison

New York Times Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

New York Times recipe

I used the New York Times recipe for my makeover which called for baking in a loaf pan.  I did the same with the Betty Crocker recipe so I could compare portion sizes equally.  To make sure I compared lemons to lemons I used the same pan for both recipes and took the same portion size for each recipe.

The nutritional information I took from the Betty Crocker box also included the ingredients added to make the cake: the oil and eggs. Lemon Poppy Seed Cake When you compare the calories, fat, carbs, fiber and protein of my recipe to the others you’ll see that mine has fewer calories and carbs and more protein and filling fiber.  Eating a piece of my cake will get me to that recommended daily fiber goal of 25-40 grams and keep my blood sugar from spiking, unlike the other recipes that are made with white flour and have more sugar.  Next time I will try reducing the sugar to 1/2 cup.  If you use a larger pan like I did I would make sure you reduce the cooking time.  My recipe also calls for chia seeds instead of poppy seeds because they are higher in fiber, protein and omega 3’s.  And, did I tell you that my cake is delicious!!!


My Lemon “Poppy Seed” Cake Recipe


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 1/2 baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Zest from 1 washed lemon
  • Juice from one lemon (should be about 4 tbsp)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds

Glaze (mix these ingredients until the sugar is dissolved):

  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon (the other half of the lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease and then flour a loaf pan.  In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients except for the sugar and chia seeds.  In another bowl mix the lemon zest, half the lemon juice, yogurt, eggs and sugar.  Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.  Add the olive oil and the chia seeds.  Bake for 40-45 minutes if you are using a 10″ loaf pan, for 50-55 minutes if you are using a 8″ loaf pan.  Release the cake out of the pan and let it cool on a rack.  When it is room temperature brush the glaze all over the cake.

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