A Light Pound Cake Revelation – and Recipe Testing Galore

DSC_3077Recently, I came across a Hillah Cooking recipe for lemon pound cake. After trying the original recipe first (always a good idea!), I decided to attempt a recipe development milestone: creating light pound cake.
I don’t always share my healthy recipe makeovers. Some flop, while others shine. The recipe must be beyond scrumptious and flat-out fabulous. This cake fits the bill!
This is a secret that cannot be kept hidden from you. I can honestly say the citrus healthy pound cake created based on Hillah’s lemon pound cake recipe is outstanding.

The texture is perfect, and the new cake has just the right amount of sweetness and essence orange and lemon. Plus, it comes together in a sinch.

The changes to the recipe are fairly straightforward. The lightened-up version has half the sugar of the original recipe and uses a mother-load of lemon juice in place of the milk for extra zing.
As for the fat, I kept half the amount of butter (it is a pound cake, after all) and substituted Greek yogurt for the remainder.
DSC_3088The Curls and Carrot cake utilizes bright, fresh orange zest in addition to lemon, as well as crunchy pine nuts to accent the softness of the cake itself.
I used a bit more leavening, and wah-lah: the worlds most delectable, lightened-up pound cake (that won’t add the pounds!). Fortunately, the dense, richness of a traditional pound cake is ever present.
Friends, try this dish and let me know what you think! You will not regret it. Plus, the delectable cakes are baked in mini-loaf pans, so you can freeze a few for a lazy weekend morning.

And onto the pregnant lady soap box.

The funny thing about early pregnancy is the morning sickness and nausea Not funny, haha, but funny as in weird (and annoying). What is going on inside that little (but rapidly growing) belly of mine that can make me feel so sick (and exhausted)? My tummy has been taken over by an outside force… an adorable, wee parasite.

I have discovered a few things about my loveable little belly inhabitant: it likes carbs, particularly breads, and often. Mommy’s tummy should never be empty, but may also not be too full – or very bad things will happen, indeed. Abiding by these rules, my sweet daughter and I are baking up a storm. I am making sure to enjoy the treats throughout the day, in regular intervals, to keep the little belly master content. Do not anger the belly master.


Speaking of which, she/he doesn’t seem to like cheese. Can this little fetus friend by my offspring? The little one doesn’t protest chocolate, so there is home for the munchkin yet.


This week, we have done quite a bit of recipe testing to keep the unborn child (and the little tikes running around the house) happy as clams.

The testing was purely for the sake of bettering the culinary arts; it was not for enjoyment of any kind. You know we don’t like to eat or cook in the least. The recipes featured here turned out fabulously and were enjoyed by one and all! These particularly dishes are perfect, so I found no need to reinvent the wheel.

If you just clicked on the above link, I dub you a nerd, like me!

DSC_3012Do try (and share) the elegant Food and Wine Magazine recipe for peach streusel cake for your next brunch.
 It is moist and slightly sweet, with a lovely crunch from the pecans. DSC_3007
We added a simple glaze to our cake, spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. It gave the delicate pastry a bit of pizzaz!
We added some New Mexican, roasted green chiles to our eggs, along with big handfuls of fresh dill, thyme and parsley. A smoked paprika from Spain added the most comforting, rich flavor to the tomato base.DSC_3062
Once the egg whites were set and the yolks were still slightly soft, we soaked up the goodness with lots of homemade naan.
The Travelling Pantry recipe for soft, succulent yogurt flat breads is unparalleled.

The are the perfect match for the runny eggs and creamy tomatoes in shakshuka eggs. The two are a duo for the gods and utterly satisfying to the soul, spirit and palate. The two recipes combined are comfort on a plate, for certain.

Let me know if you try the shakshuka eggs, yogurt flatbreads, peach streusel cake or my new favorite, light pound cake (recipe below). Each dish adds a little ray of sunshine to your tummy and your day. Now, that’s happy food!



My Favorite Citrus Pound Cake (low-fat, reduced-sugar)

Loosely adapted from a Hillah Cooking recipe – that I lightened up!

Cake Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter or Earth Balance buttery sticks, room temperature

3/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt (plain, unsweetened)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs, room temperature

¾ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (from 3 – 4 lemons)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon orange zest

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

cooking spray

Glaze Ingredients:

1 cups sifted powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tsp. orange zest


  • Preheat oven to 350•F.Spray five mini loaf pans generously with cooking spray.
  • Use an electric mixer to cream the yogurt, sugar and butter together.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until well-combined.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients together and add one-third to the batter. Add one-third of the lemon juice. Repeat until the dry ingredients and lemon juice are completely added. Mix until very smooth.
  • Pour the batter into prepared loaf pans.
  • Bake for about 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans, and invert onto wire racks when cool enough to handle.
  • Make glaze by adding lemon juice to the powdered sugar. Mix until a thick, pourable consistency. Feel free to add a bit more sugar or lemon juice to reach your desired consistency.
  • When the cakes have cooled, drizzle them with most of the glaze, reserving an extra for another use.

©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013-2014), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.


61 thoughts on “A Light Pound Cake Revelation – and Recipe Testing Galore

  1. SHANNA _ it takes me ages to find where I can comment, your new format has me klicking on buttons the way small children now finger regular TV screens expecting IPAD miracles to happen and disappointed when the screen is not touch sensitive, me I am just clicking all over the page until I find a comment box. Very stressful, but now I have found it I will stop complaining. The little fetus is definitely your offspring – good that the mother always knows that much eh 🙂 made me laugh such a happy, relaxed and natural post, with your lovely kids. They are really sweet 🙂

  2. oh and the cake looks divine too – kitchen goddess and earth mummy. I guess the leavening is back.
    I will try this out. Although I made a “cake” today with semolina flour, almond meal, milk and water and a bit of baking powder and some raisins, which kcal wise would have to beat yours and was very nice with strawberries and other fruits BUT was not luscious or pound cake – just nice and moist and good with berries, have a great day and FEED THE FETUS 🙂

    1. Hi, Poli. We made these dishes before Passover. This being said, I had a slice of a local bakery sourdough with homemade fig jam. A perfect Jew I am *not*.Your cake sounds out of this world! Send me some to feed the fetus! 😉 Thanks for your most awesome note. My best, Shanna

      1. perfection is as we all know a myth 🙂 – the cake was actually very good, did add a bit of sugar, but not much, so it was not very sweet but went well with berries ..). I like the feed the fetus tagline – look after yourself and keep us updated – love reading your blog Poli

  3. Love the way you write, and love the precious pics of your children (& descriptions of the little one on the way!) – not to mention that your lemon pound cake looks particularly delicious!

  4. i love lemon pound cake!! especially when you brown (ok borderline burnt) or caramelize the edges of each slice in the toaster oven. can’t wait to try this but will have to hold off for a few months until i get my baking stuff unpacked 🙂 xox*

    1. Thank you, Vera! Yes, I always toast my banana bread and pound cake in the oven and then add a touch of earth balance or butter. Yum, yum! 🙂 I do have a few extra kitchen things I need to pass onto a good home if you need some things… Just shoot me an email.

      1. OOOH. Yes, I will definitely email you! How long has it taken you to collect your “arsenal”?? I’m slowly building up my collection, but my problem is trying to get things that I will use a lot of. Like I have a fantastic madeleine pan except for the fact that I’ve only used it ONCE! Pity, maybe now it will make me make more of those yummy treats. Will email you soon! xox*

  5. Such a beautiful post – I’m enjoying the new format with lots of photos of food and family.
    You really have been busy cooking and baking. Lucky little traveller is being fed so well 😉
    Good wishes to you all.

    1. Katie, they are wonderful. Or were… my daughter ate the few that remained after dinner. I added a touch of za’atar, yet she chose honey over butter. I feel so lucky to have stumbled across your blog – thanks to Google. I can’t wait to try many more of your delectable, gorgeous and international recipes, Katie! Welcome to Curls and Carrots, and thank you for visiting! Best, Shanna

  6. The belly master – love it!
    Never had pound cake – what a deprived life. Actually, I don’t think we have pound cake over here. Probably something like it. Yours I’m loving as it’s less poison (as in sugar) and loads of lemon – one of my favourites.
    Hmm, wondering if I could use my muffin tin…

    1. Johnny, Pound cakes are slightly sweet and dense/rich in texture. I think they would be delicious in muffin tins – just realize that you won’t have a “fluffy cupcake.” Poundcakes are quite Southern here; my husbands mother and grandmother make the best ones. 🙂 Thanks for your visit and note, my friend. Best, Shanna

  7. Shanna…what a gorgeous cake! The photos alone prove just how perfectly moist it is. I’m printing this to add to my collection of recipes to try… and there is a very high chance that it will be sooner than later! I love your photos… those blue eyes…oh those gorgeous blue eyes…. 🙂

  8. Shanna–It all looks delicious–as usual. The lemon pound cake especially. Maybe I will try it after Passover! I love lemon pound cake.
    And even though my “baby” is now 23, I still remember those days of having to eat to eat or else!! 😉

    1. Thank you, my dear friend Merril! I loved reading about your memories of when your munchkin was young and in your tummy…Not too long ago.
      I read this today and thought you might enjoy it: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/dining/24passover.html?ref=recipes
      On a side-note, this cake recipe was prepared before Pesach. Hehe. Not that I did not have a bread moment, in hiding, behind the kitchen door, this morning. 😉 My best to you and yours; happy holiday!

      1. You’re so funny, Shanna. Thank you for the citation. I remember reading that article, but it is worth looking at again. Right now I must finish a test writing assignment that is due. . .um. . .today.

  9. You are so busy in the kitchen Shanna! The shakshuka looks so good, my style of breakfast…or dinner! Your lightened up version of the pound cake is fabulous. How do you do it? I could never try to rework a baking recipe and have success. 🙂 Great post!

    1. Thanks so much, Seana. Yes, I love the flavors of the egg dish – and fresh, organic, locally raised eggs in general. Yum, yum. As for reworking recipes, I have many failures. First, I make the recipe as is. Then, I use use tricks and techniques learned over time to “lighten” a recipe. If the recipe doesn’t taste just as good as the original, it is not “post-worthy.” I am looking forward to your next post with great anticipation – and can’t wait until your garden is in full-swing. There will be some good TWC savory tart recipes in our family’s future! 🙂 Best, Shanna

  10. good gosh, you’ve been busy, Shanna! Love hearing what baby is liking and also liking not so much. Funny how it works. I remember craving meat and not being able to keep down veggies–which was a complete 180. Glad you’re able to humor your inner Baker 🙂

    All the food looks amazing. (How many loaves of the lightened bread did you bake? Looks like a lot!) And great pix. Thanks for sharing your kitchen adventures.

    1. Hi, Liz… Yes, last night I had too many veggies and felt so sick. Then inserted steak in mouth with toast and felt better. 🙂 Who knows, right? Thanks for leaving such kinds words; I know there are a lot of great things going on in your kitchen these days. Best, Shanna

  11. OH Shanna! Yum. I love pound cake. It reminds me of my grandma. I think Greek yogurt is the best substitute for almost anything, sour cream, butter cream, heavy cream, etc. This looks so good. Love the touch of citrus. And those flat breads…i’m so jealous that you live in New Mexico and have access to the green chili. I love green chili in everything, beer, tacos, juevos rancheros, all of it. I keep ordering the dried version from Los Poblanos farm, but it’s nothing like the real deal. ❤ PS how cute is your daughter?!

    1. Hi, Amanda, We live right by Los Poblanos, maybe twenty or so minutes away. I could definitely send you some large, dried ones…. though you maybe sick of those at this point. Have you ever tried the ground version of green or red chiles? Thanks for your lovely note. Have a lovely Thursday, Shanna

  12. Haha! I love how you call your “bun-in-the-oven” the “belly master!” Very cute. Even though it doesn’t seem to like cheese, the other recipes look amazing. I think it has good taste, even if it hasn’t acquired one for fromage (yet) 🙂

    1. Thanks, Melissa. I can’t wait to read more about what you are baking these days. Actually, I saw a recipe the other day for a fromage-filled, savory muffin and thought, “Well, that’s a good thought!” 🙂 Enjoy your day!

      1. Shanna-the same to you and your familly! Have a great easter!
        Hugs from Sweden!

  13. I just adore pound cakes. This version looks so delicious! And the fact that it’s lighter than the regular one just makes it more interesting.
    Thanks for sharing such a great recipe! Well, you’re a great baker, for how could it have been otherwise? 😉
    Besos, amiga mía! ❤

      1. Sadly, pound cakes are not popular in Spain at all. But they are at home, fair enough 😉
        Now what is not so fair is that you use your blog to praise my baking! You, of all the bloggers I know, that prepare ones of the most amazing dishes!

  14. You certainly don’t want to anger the belly master. 😀 And look at all that food! I’m eying the pound cake. It looks so moist. Yum! Will definitely try it, Shanna. Thanks for sharing. Have a blessed Easter to you and your beautiful family. 🙂

  15. What a great post! The cake, Shanna, had me when I saw the glaze but I thought you’d use lemon juice in it. Seeing flecks of zest in it, though, has me literally salivating. Frosting is good but a citrus glaze is so much better. You could have stopped there and I would have been happy but, no, you went on. Your shakshuka eggs sound wonderful. I really love eggs and tomatoes. We have a recipe, far simpler than your tasty dish, called Eggs in Purgatory. The principle is the same and I love it. I cannot wait to try yours. I know it will be wonderful.

    1. Thank you, John! If you try it, let me know what you think. Is there a recipe for your blog for Eggs in Purgatory (what a name! 🙂 )? I think it would go well with the Italian Easter bread on your blog (but, then again, what wouldn’t?). 🙂 Happy holiday to you and yours.

  16. Hi Shanna! Your citrus pound cake seems very much like one I made way back, and we must be connected because last night I was in the plane coming back to Bcn thinking that I needed to make another citrus cake again 🙂
    Nice to know your pregnant lady updates, and what the little one likes and not! xx

  17. Those light pound cake loaves look so deliciously moist and adorable, Shanna. I love pound cake, but am always afraid how far I will have to run the next day to keep balanced after a slice of pound cake. Your recipe using Greek yogurt sounds perfect for me–all flavor, no sacrifices. I enjoy the small loaf size too, easier to share or as you suggested, freeze for later. I am a huge shakshuka fan, but we mainly eat it for lunch or dinner instead of breakfast as I know is customary. It goes really well over a bed of spinach. 🙂 Have a lovely Sunday!

    1. Thank you for your most kind and warm wards, dear Ngan! I hope your Sunday is a wonderful one (including reading, donuts and time with Dr. J!). 🙂 Yes the poundcake has significantly reduced fat and sugar but tastes like the full-calorie version. I enjoy sweet treats every morning, so I keep them on the “light’ side. My best, Shanna

  18. Oh my oh my..The citrus pound cake looks yummie! Using greek-yogurt is a good idea, very healthy. Love the pictures of your beautiful daughter helping mommy in the kitchen hihi.

  19. Wow, this is an epic post Shanna! Loving everything about it… the naan bread, your healthy pound cake recipe testing (I like the pine nuts on top!), the preggers belly stories, that baked egg shakshuka dish… ah! Wonderful. Glad that your pregnancy is moving along in a healthy way, despite the little tike’s preference for carbohydrates (haha, I’m like that and I’m not even pregnant!). Your daughter is gorgeous. I will try your healthier version of the lemon pound cake… that extra bucket load of lemon juice is calling my name (I love lemony, zingy treats!) xx

  20. The lemon pound cake looks very moist and delicious. If I had those small loaf pans I would make, eat one and freeze the rest. Do they freeze well? I hope “both of you” are doing fine. You all seem to be doing really great. Enjoy the new week and best wishes to your lovely family!

  21. Isn’t freezing mini-loaves the best? 🙂 These freeze so well. Your beautiful coconut curry rice with peas… don’t I wish I could freeze that in portion-sizes. I could eat anything with curry everyday! Have a fantastic week, Shanna

  22. Hello my friend, you’re being busy, isn’t it? The lemon pound cakes are just perfect, also the dough seems great!They reminds me to little tiny plumcakes 😉
    I think that with your precious little helpers you can cook all over the day! Have a great evening. Cris

      1. One time I had to throw away a whole cake because it was soo sickeningly sweet!! What a waste. Nothing could have saved it. This was a long time ago when I didn’t know that two cups of sugar for a 13×9 cake was a bit on the heavy side! And to think I got the recipe from the Food Network!

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s