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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, 1 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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  • Lori Schmitter
    Jan 1, 2021

    I made this recipe using the lemon zest and juice. I thought it was a great way to have dessert and cut calories. The second time I made it I used orange zest and juice. Both ways were equally good. It is a keeper. Also I cut the salt down.

  • Mary
    Aug 21, 2020

    I only have a question right now, what could be used instead of yogurt?Thank y’all Mary in Texas

  • 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.