Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Pound Cake (Lightened)

image of Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Pound Cake (Lightened)

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.

Buttermilk Babycakes


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • Glaze
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 4 tablespoons well-shaken buttermilk
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line a 9×13″ or larger pan with parchment or foil and spray lightly with baking spray. Set aside.
  2. Measure flour, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Add zest to sugar in mixer bowl and rub together with fingers until sugar is moist and fragrant. Add butter and beat until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla.
  4. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk alternately at low speed, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and beat until smooth.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread with a rubber spatula. Batter will be thick, so you will need a little patience and a gentle touch to get it spread evenly and without displacing your parchment (if using).
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick tester comes out clean (moist crumbs okay).
  7. Place on rack and prepare glaze while cake cools.
  8. Whisk glaze ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
  9. Remove cake from pan. It’s okay if it is still a little warm as long as you can handle it comfortably. Using cookie or biscuit cutters, cut into shapes, placing cutter carefully to avoid waste. Move babycakes onto a piece of parchment, foil or wax paper because you WILL have some mess from drizzling the glaze.
  10. Use a spoon to drizzle about a tablespoon or a little less onto the top of each babycake, encouraging glaze to drip down the sides. If desired, top with a berry or other decoration. Allow to sit until glaze has dried.
  11. Store in an airtight container at room temperature

Nutritional Information calculated using Calorie-Count

 Original Recipe
(12 servings)
Lightened Recipe
(12 servings, full sized bundt)
Lightened Recipe
(16 servings, baby bundts)
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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