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Makeover Lemon Pound Cake

For this lovely golden cake, I use fat-free yogurt to trim the calories. It's a comforting dessert for days when it's warm enough to dine outside. —Lauren Gilmore, Pennington, New Jersey
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 50 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    1 loaf (16 slices)


  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds, optional
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt
  • Candied lemon slices, optional


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9x5-in. loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until crumbly. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in oil, lemon juice, zest, vanilla and, if desired, poppy seeds. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with yogurt, beating after each addition just until combined.
  • Transfer to prepared pan. Bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, top with candied lemon slices.
Candied Lemon Slices: Bring 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water to a boil; stir until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add 1 thinly sliced lemon and simmer 5-7 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool slices completely on a wire rack.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 145 calories, 6g fat (2g saturated fat), 43mg cholesterol, 253mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (11g sugars, 0 fiber), 4g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fat.

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Average Rating:
  • Nan
    Apr 15, 2018

    Excellent recipe, my husband loved it. Doubled the recipe, knew 1 loaf wouldn't last long. I didn't have enough Greek yogurt so I used 1 cup of Greek & 1 cup of Mango. The flavors were very good. Plan to make it again next week. Thank for sharing your recipe Lauren!

  • bunqui95
    May 22, 2017

    My family enjoyed this very much. It's not as heavy as a traditional pound cake, and at first I thought it wasn't lemony enough. I might try using lemon extract the next time, but one of the things I like about this recipe is that the flavor wasn't overpowering or "fake," like some store-bought cakes can be, for example. I especially liked that all the ingredients are real--no artificial sweeteners or "substitute" things. I'll be keeping this recipe in my collection for use this summer.ETA: I made it again, using lemon yogurt. That added the lemon taste I was looking for. In fact, a foodee friend had seconds.

  • ms11145
    Mar 25, 2017

    I knew going in that this recipe would be more of a Lemon poppy seed bread instead of pound cake. I appreciate less calories and carbs; however, sometimes it's just best to have the *real* thing. I will use my favorite lemon pound cake from now on and I will be using my regular lemon poppy seed bread . Again, I applaud less calories.

  • catlovesbooks
    Jan 29, 2017

    I used 2% vanilla Greek yogurt because that is what I had on hand. I also added the optional poppy seeds. This lemon bread/cake was delicious and moist. I will definitely make this again.

  • puffybloomers
    Jan 2, 2017

    Made it as written. My husband and I thought it was excellent. Will definitely make again.

  • jdphotog
    Apr 25, 2016

    The cake is delicious, but it does have a spongy texture as one reviewer commented. It is to be expected with only 1/4 c of butter. I suggest that you under bake it - mine was ready in 40-45 min. Served with a dollop of yogurt and fresh berries and it was divine. It is not quite as good without it so just 4 stars. Note: I did not think the cake was too salty in the least!

  • Angel182009
    Apr 14, 2016

    I read the reviews prior to baking this so I cut the salt in half and used regular yogurt over Greek bc it's what I prefer. I thought it turned out great!

  • kal5002
    Apr 13, 2016

    My family really liked this cake. We tend to have a sweet tooth, so having a recipe that satisfies that and does not require four sticks of butter is awesome! I did not find it too salty, but I used unsalted butter.I would recommend this for a weekday dessert, but not special occasions.

  • Dooze59
    Apr 3, 2016

    Turned out beautiful but way too salty. Sorry I wasted all the ingredients. I double, triple checked the ingredient list and was hesitant on putting in a teaspoon of salt but followed instructions anyway. This cake doesn't need that much salt using the yogurt and salted butter in the recipe . Loved the texture. Even tossed some sliced strawberries in a little flour and added to the cake. When you read a recipe and think there is a typo or missing ingredients , go with your instinct. Have a blessed life.

  • delowenstein
    Apr 1, 2016

    I'd made this cake and I really liked the recipe! I made four 7-1/2x3-1/2" loaves and retained the glaze from the lemon slices which I'd drizzled over the baked loaves-just enough to moisten them. I'd also used lemon yogurt the first time and vanilla yogurt the 2nd time-5.3oz. cartons. I baked the loaves less time-40 to 45 minutes, greasing and flouring my loaf cake pans. I'd used candied lemon slices on my first batch of breads! The balance of the lemon glaze, I'd used for another purpose! Thank you for yet another great recipe for a lemon cake! This is a keeper for me! delowenstein