March 21, 2012

Low-Fat Lemon Buttermilk Sheet Cake

Oh, I just love lemon-could 'ya tell?     This is definitely our favorite lemon cake!  It has a sweet-tart flavor from fresh lemon and buttermilk and it's a delight for spring!  I've made it numerous times for special occasions and showers and it's always a hit!  But I really thought the original recipe could stand some lightening up-way too sweet and I wanted to try to cut the fat without losing the flavor.  By simply replacing half the butter with low-fat yogurt and reducing the sugar, the calories were dropped from 348 per serving to 163 and the fat went from 10.2g to 4.0g.  And it's still moist and delicious!  How cool is that?!  

2-1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/4 cup juice from 3 lemons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt
3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk

1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Adjust oven rack to middle position.  Grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine buttermilk, lemon juice, and vanilla; stir well.  With stand or hand mixer on medium speed, beat granulated sugar and lemon zest until moist and fragrant, about 1 minute.  Transfer about 1/8 cup of the sugar to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and reserve.  Add the 6 tablespoons butter to remaining sugar mixture and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs and yolk, mixing until incorporated.  With a rubber spatula, scrape down bowl and fold in the yogurt.  Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of buttermilk mixture, and mix on low speed until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.  Bake about 25 to 35 minutes, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.  Transfer cake to wire rack and let cool about 10 minutes.  For the glaze, whisk confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, and buttermilk until smooth.  Add a little more buttermilk if it's too thick.  Gently spread glaze over warm cake, then sprinkle with reserved lemon sugar mixture.  Cool completely, at least 2 hours.   One note- cake flour yields a nice tender crumb.  If you don't have any on hand, you can substitute 2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour and 5 tablespoons of cornstarch.   16 servings

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