Skinny Coffee Cake

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Happy 2013! I know, it’s January 3rd, I’m a little late to the New Years bandwagon. But, in my defense, I’ve been slowly dying of some new string of the bubonic plague so it’s really a plus that I’m still able to type. Okay, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic but I don’t do well sick. It just really throws off my entire life schedule. As a freelancer, I don’t get sick days. Sick days = no pay. So, despite being close to dead, I’ve been working my butt off trying to get everything done. But, you didn’t come here to hear about how pathetic I am right now, you came here for a recipe. And boy do I have one FOR YOU! 🙂 This skinny coffee cake is probably the best thing to happen to my kitchen since the Keurig.

Skinny Coffee Cake - The Realistic Nutritionist

I’m not one to make resolutions, but I do try to make New Years goals that are attainable. This year? My goal is to eat better. You’d think with a healthy food blog that’d be easier but I’ve just been eating sub par the past few months. And my view of myself (mentally and in skinny jeans) is totally reflective of that. I’m not saying I’m fat, but I’m not happy with what’s staring back at me. So, to start eating better, I’m remaking a lot of my favorite indulgent recipes into light, guilt-less recipes.

Low fat coffee cake

Sour cream coffee cake is one of my favorite morning indulgences. Seriously, I can’t tell you how much willpower it takes when I walk into a bakery not to eat all the coffee cakes or buy the entire Entemann’s display when grocery shopping. The mix of cinnamon, nuts and super fluffy cake is just perfect. Really, it’s that simple.

Healthy coffee cake

Even though the bakery coffee cakes are DIVINE, they aren’t exactly guilt-free. In fact, most recipes have two sticks of butter in just the batter. Paired with a heaping cup of sour cream and your cake has more than 15 grams of fat PER SLICE. That’s about the equivalent of eating a McDonald’s fried chicken sandwich.

Guilt free coffee cake

To make this healthier, I swapped out 3/4 of the butter with unsweetened applesauce and used nonfat vanilla Chobani in place of sour cream. And guess what? That beautiful, fluffy, insanely moist little cake in front of your peepers is what you get. My husband took one bite and then said “so how fat is this going to make me?” Then, I proceeded to tell him the stats (less than 5 grams of fat per serving) and he nearly had an aneurysm. You can’t tell there’s almost no butter. All you taste is perfect coffee cake.

Who doesn’t want to start your day with cake for breakfast and still lose weight?

Skinny Coffee Cake

low fat coffee cake2




Serves about 12. Recipe inspired by King Arthur Flour.
Prep time: >8 minutes
Cook time: About 25 minutes


For the cake: 

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 cup nonfat vanilla Chobani


  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until mixed.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, applesauce, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until creamed. Mix the Chobani into the applesauce mixture until fully combined. Add the flour mixture and stir until fully combined. Pour 1/2 of the batter into the prepared baking dish.
  3. To make the topping, mix the sugars, pumpkin pie spice and almonds together. Sprinkle 1/2 of the topping over the batter. Cover with the rest of the batter and then sprinkle the remaining topping over the batter.
  4. Bake cake for about 35* minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

*Some people have mentioned it needed close to an hour, so just watch the cake and determine when it’s done.

Nutritional information per slice:

Calories: 170.5 
Fat: 4 grams 
Carbohydrates: 28.03 grams
Fiber: 2.5 grams 
Protein: 5.3 grams 
Weight Watchers Points: 4

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  1. Posted by Erin Duke on
    Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
    That looks absolutely AMAZING! Going in my "to-make" file! :)
    • Posted by claire on
      Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
      OH yay!! I hope you like it!
  2. Posted by Kathryn on
    Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
    Happy new year! I think cake is an excellent way to start the new year.
    • Posted by claire on
      Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
      You too darling!!
  3. Posted by Ashley on
    Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
    Skinny coffee cake sounds like the best thing ever! Hope you're feeling better soon, girly!
    • Posted by claire on
      Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
      Thank you! I miss you!
  4. Posted by Elaine @ Cooking to Perfection on
    Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
    Baking this tomorrow morning! I love substituting applesauce, yogurt, pumpkin, and mashed bananas for fat/oil in recipes. I actually sometimes prefer the skinny versions over the full fat! Go figure :)
    • Posted by claire on
      Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
      Me too!! :)
  5. Posted by The Beeroness on
    Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
    Hope you feel better, I hear that Smallpox is going around, you should be careful ;)
    • Posted by claire on
      Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
      Oh crap. The plague AND smallpox?
  6. Posted by Leslie Harpole on
    Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
    I have tried the pumpkin substitute and it is really good! I haven't tried applesauce, but I eat unsweetened applesauce out of the container, so this sounds great! Love coffee cake so I can't wait to try this. Hope you feel better soon! (I am not a good sicky either...)
  7. Posted by Dinnersdishesdessert on
    Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
    I want to come to your house for breakfast!!
    • Posted by claire on
      Friday, January 4th, 2013
      You are always invited Erin!
  8. Posted by Allie {Urban Feast} on
    Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
    I've been looking all over for a healthy coffee cake to see if I can add some raspberry jam without adding too much sugar...
    Allie from Urban Feast
    • Posted by claire on
      Friday, January 4th, 2013
      Use low-sugar jam!
  9. Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
    I loooooove coffee cake! And even more that this is skinny!
  10. Friday, January 4th, 2013
    Happy new year! And what a wonderful way to start off 2013. Since these babies are "skinny," I'll have 3 servings, please :)
    • Posted by claire on
      Friday, January 4th, 2013
      That's exactly what I did!
  11. Posted by Sarah on
    Friday, January 4th, 2013
    I love healthy baking recipes. This sounds and looks wonderful!
    • Posted by claire on
      Friday, January 4th, 2013
      Thank you Sarah!
  12. Friday, January 4th, 2013
    Love how you lightened up coffee cake! Definitely would love a piece of this with my morning coffee!
    • Posted by claire on
      Friday, January 4th, 2013
      Oh it's so good with coffee!
  13. Posted by Tutti Dolci on
    Friday, January 4th, 2013
    I love coffee cake, I need this in my life!!
  14. Posted by jacquie on
    Friday, January 4th, 2013
    looks wonderful. but what about using whole wheat flour - either regular or white - would thatn work ok? and perhaps reducing the sugar to 1/2 cup?? or subbing honey?
  15. Posted by Charlotte on
    Saturday, January 5th, 2013
    Can you use plain yogurt?
    • Posted by Kara on
      Monday, January 21st, 2013
      I think that would be equally delicious.
  16. Posted by Anita at Hungry Couple on
    Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
    We both have a serious love of coffee cake so it's nice to have a lighter version!
  17. Posted by Caitlin on
    Saturday, January 12th, 2013
    It tastes great and you would never know it's missing the "good stuff", but I am having to bake it about twice as long as the recipe says. It is in an 8X8 pan, so I don't know what is going on. Otherwise, wonderful!
  18. Posted by Kara on
    Sunday, January 20th, 2013
    I made this for breakfast this morning and it was delicious!! My family and guests all loved it too. Sadly it's already gone.
    • Posted by realistic nutritionist on
      Friday, February 1st, 2013
      YAY!! I'm so glad to hear that!
  19. Posted by Sonya on
    Friday, February 1st, 2013
    I made this last weekend and wat a huge hit it was! like the other poster,mine took about an hour to bake all the way through. I think next time I will use a 9x9 pan..It was still moist and delicious though even after baking it for that long..huge thumbs up!
    • Posted by realistic.nutritionist on
      Friday, February 1st, 2013
      Oh yay!!! I'm so glad you love it!
  20. Posted by Cruz on
    Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
    Thank you for the recipes. Going to try the coffee cake.
  21. Posted by Uinii on
    Sunday, March 3rd, 2013
    Hi my name is Uinii, and I have 2 questions about your recipe.
    1) I'm a 13 year old girl who would like to make this for my mom, do you think I can make this for her?

    2) Can I use cake flour or almond flour?

    Thank you very much (^3^)~
    • Posted by cgallam10 on
      Monday, March 4th, 2013
      Hey Uinii! Of course you can, it's really easy. And yes, you can sub in almond flour, just don't fully replace the all purpose. Maybe add 1/2 cup almond flour and use the rest all purpose so it will rise properly.
  22. Posted by Puja on
    Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
    I have made this 4 times since your post and it has been a hit each time. Never makes it to the next day. I always make it when we have company ( if not I would be in trouble). I sub pumpkin in for the apple sauce and 1/2 ww pastry flour and 1/2 reg. flour. So good!
  23. Posted by Betty on
    Sunday, March 24th, 2013
    I am so glad I found your is wonderful, especially because I am a WW and you have the points for everything at the bottom of each recipe. thank you so much...
    Betty Horne
  24. Posted by Lilly on
    Friday, May 10th, 2013
    Hi! Just wondering if it is Greek Yogurt that you used,and if cutting out all the butter and using a little more yogurt would work?
  25. Posted by Mallory on
    Tuesday, August 13th, 2013
    When I read this recipe, I stopped everything I was doing to try it! My mom recently bought me coconut flour for another recipe, so I swapped 1 cup of it in for the All-Purpose Flour. My friends laughed when I thought there was coffee in coffee cake, so I decided to add a cup of coffee as well. It turned out very well. Thanks so much for posting this! Love it :)
  26. Posted by Shirley on
    Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
    Hi :) Lovely looking recipe, and awesome nutritional stats! But where is the coffee?
  27. Posted by Linda on
    Saturday, May 24th, 2014
    Recipe coffee cake
  28. Posted by Shelby Patty on
    Thursday, June 12th, 2014
    Do you think these would bake well in a muffin tin instead of a cake pan? I want to make it for a party and I always prefer muffin form so you don't have to worry about cutting it!
  29. Posted by Kate on
    Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
    Mine turned out very dense :( It's only like 3 cm high. I start to believe it's because I'm from Germany and the ingredients are just not exactly the same, because that happens really often to me... Or it's because I convert the cups wrong. Why can't you Americans just use the metric system? :-D So many awesome recipes online, and they never turn out as expected!
  30. Posted by Amanda on
    Wednesday, December 24th, 2014
    Hi there and merry Xmas.
    On reading the method you say pour half the batter in ..... what do I do with the other half?
    Look forward to hearing from you,
  31. Posted by marina on
    Monday, July 27th, 2015
  32. Posted by Rebecca on
    Thursday, December 3rd, 2015
    Aw man, I tried making this coffee cake this afternoon and it came out awful! I am pretty bummed :( I most likely ruined it because I tried to use flax eggs instead of regular eggs! I do not advise!
  33. Posted by Tina on
    Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016
    Am I doing something wrong? I entered this recipe into MyFitnessPal and it came out with 246 calories per serving? I entered them exactly. Help, I really want it to be 170!!!
  34. Posted by Melissa on
    Sunday, January 29th, 2017
    Quick question, how many slices per recipe so I can figurr the calories correctly?
  35. Posted by Gloria on
    Monday, April 17th, 2017
    I clicked for the printable version several times, in google and in google chrome... no luck This sounds delicious, please help! What should I do differently so I can print this? Thank you
    • Posted by cgallam10 on
      Thursday, August 17th, 2017
      Oh no! I'm so sorry. Not sure let me look into it.
  36. Posted by Heather R. on
    Monday, May 1st, 2017
    This was amazing! I'm always looking for lighter versions of the classic and this one lived up to the challenge! I can't wait to explore more recipes.
    • Posted by cgallam10 on
      Thursday, August 17th, 2017
      Yay! So happy to hear.
  37. Posted by Kristin on
    Saturday, September 15th, 2018
    I used truvia instead of the sugars (they make a brown sugar baking blend too now) and it turned out so good!!! Thank you for this recipe!! I have a coffee cake weakness.