I recently subscribed to bon appétit magazine, and was delighted with a picture of stacked slices of French Yogurt Cake in last month’s issue. It was so pretty, and I love quick breads so much, I immediately decided I wanted to make it.

I looked at the recipe, which was billed as a healthier version of pound cake. With full-fat Greek yogurt and 1/2 cup vegetable oil, each slice would be about 184 calories with 7 grams of fat. That’s a bit steep for me for something I eat during the week (as opposed to my weekend dinner splurge), so I decided to make some adjustments, decreasing it to about 120 calories and 3.4 grams of fat per slice.

I made three rounds of this bread, since it seemed to disappear rather quickly, even with just the two of us eating it. The first round wasn’t quite moist enough, so I added a bit of orange juice in the second round. That was slightly better, but not quite it, so for the third round I used applesauce instead, and deemed that the winner.

Instead of using whole milk Greek yogurt, I used low-fat Greek yogurt. I also decreased the amount of oil used, and substituted olive oil for vegetable oil. (Olive oil actually goes quite well with sweet foods, and in this application you really can’t taste it, anyway). Applesauce made up for the decreased oil. Only using one egg yolk saved a bit more fat.

The other big adjustment was using a 3:1 ratio of erythritol to sugar. Erythritol can have a cooling effect, which I definitely notice in my banana breads, but I didn’t notice at all in this bread. It’s up to you if you want to substitute erythritol for some of the sugar. But three-quarters of a cup of erythritol has about 112 calories, as opposed to 552 calories for the same amount of sugar, so I like using it.

I also tried different citrus each time. The first time I used lemon, the second time orange, and the third time grapefruit. Each one was great in its own way. My husband and I decided that the lemon was the best, and I think that the grapefruit (ruby-red) was my second favorite. I think I’ll probably try lime next, just to try it out.

Pick your citrus, and zest away!

Pick your citrus, and zest away!

This probably sounds weird, but one of the most enjoyable things about making this bread is seeing the sugar (erythritol) mixed with the citrus zest. It’s so radiant and sparkly. (Ooh, shiny!)

Sparkly Citrus Sugar (well, Erythritol)

Sparkly Citrus Sugar (well, Erythritol)

Adapted from a recipe for French Yogurt Cake in bon appétit

Luscious Low-fat* Citrus Bread
makes 1 loaf – 12 slices
recipe for ~ 5400 ft altitude**

nonstick vegetable oil spray
1+1/2 c White Whole Wheat flour + extra for dusting the pan
2 tsp less 1/8 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 c erythritol and/or sugar (I use 3/4 c erythritol and 1/4 c sugar)
1 to 2 Tbsp lemon, orange, or grapefruit zest
1 c plain low-fat Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp lemon-flavored olive oil***
1 whole egg + 1 egg white
2 Tbsp applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a standard-sized loaf pan with cooking spray, then dust with flour to coat the sides and bottom. Get rid of any excess flour by turning it upside-down and tapping the bottom or sides.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the erythritol/sugar with the citrus zest with your fingers until the sugar is moist. Then add the yogurt, olive oil, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla, and combine well.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix just enough to absorb all the dry ingredients.

Pour into the loaf pan, and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

* Low-fat is 3 grams of fat per serving or less. My calculations for this is 3.4 grams per slice – so if you round down, it is indeed, low-fat. Close enough.

** For lower altitudes: use a full 2 tsp baking powder

*** Just use a little more zest if you’re using regular olive oil instead of lemon

Luscious Low-fat Citrus Bread

Luscious Low-fat Citrus Bread (with two mysteriously missing pieces)

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