Healthy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with White Icing

Every time I go grocery shopping, the baking aisle seems to lure me in.  I just love looking at all the different flours, extracts, utensils and pans.  Recently though, I saw a bundt pan and just had to have it.  I picked it up and thought of what I could bake in it…

Chocolate Cake?  Been there.

Pound Cake?  Done that.

I turned around with the pan in my hands and saw the Betty Crocker Lemon Poppy Seed muffin mix sitting neatly on the shelf…  yeah, I’ll bake that!  Only from scratch, and uh, not hazardous to my health (no, Betty Crocker, your mixes no longer appeal to me!)

Healthy Lemon Poppyseed Cake with White Icing

Trial #1:  Pretty good! The cake was airy and sweet, but not sweet enough.  The lemon wasn’t as bold as I thought it would be, so the lemon extract needed to be increased.  Sadly, it was a little heavy on the stomach.  I need to lighten it up so I’ll add more applesauce.

Healthy Lemon Poppyseed Cake with White Icing

Trial #2:  I ran out of lemon extract so I knew there wouldn’t be enough lemon flavor, but it was sweet enough from adding more stevia.  I added more applesauce and added one more egg replacer.  It was moist, but It was still dense and heavy like the first trial.

Trial #3:  Mmmm…  the lemon flavor came through, and the sweetness made eating the cake much more enjoyable.  It is still dense, but soft at the same time!

1 bundt

Healthy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with White Icing



  • 21g (3 tbs) Egg Replacer + ½ cup Water (equivalent to 2 Eggs)
  • 738g (3 cups) Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 225g (1 cup) Plain, Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • 84g (¼ cup) Honey
  • 56g (¼ cup) Grapeseed Oil (or any other neutral oil)
  • 5 tsp Stevia Extract
  • 4 tsp Lemon Flavor
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp Natural Butter Flavor
  • 480g (4 cups) Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 120g (1½ cup) Whey Protein Concentrate
  • 96g (½ cup) Sucanat (or dry sweetener of choice)
  • ¼ cup Poppyseeds
  • 1 tbs Double-Acting Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Salt
White Icing:
  • 147g (7 tbs) Honey
  • 52g (6 tbs) Dried Nonfat Milk


For the Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a large bundt pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg replacer and water. Whisk in the applesauce, yogurt, honey, oil, stevia extract, lemon flavor, vanilla extract, and butter flavor.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, protein powder, sucanat, poppyseeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Dump the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients and fold together (do not overmix). Pour batter into the bundt pan and bake for ~80-90 minutes, or when the surface is firm when touched.
  4. Flip the pan onto a wire cooling rack, but leave the pan on the cake for ~10 minutes. Remove the pan and make the icing.
For the Icing:
  1. In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, microwave the honey for 10-15 seconds, or until warm.
  2. Stir in the dried milk.  It will look like there is not enough honey, but just be patient, it will mix in. It will also be super thick so flex those muscles!
  3. Let the icing cool, then spoon over the cake!  If you don't use all the icing, place in the fridge and use for any other dessert topping 🙂

Healthy White Icing

Healthy Lemon Poppyseed Cake with White Icing

^^ Looks and tastes like real icing!  I’m so happy an icing can be healthy  🙂


With love and good eats,


– Jess



Be sure to follow @DessertsWithBenefits on Instagram!  If you try this recipe, make sure to snap a picture of it, tag me @DessertsWithBenefits, and hashtag #DessertsWithBenefits.  I’d love to see it and feature you on #FanFaveFridays!


16 comments on “Healthy Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with White Icing

  1. Thanks for the recipe and the beautiful pictures!!! I love lemon poppy seed cake especially with icing because its super delicious! You should try out another recipe that I found on , a bit different but same cake.

  2. Thanks!

  3. Oh my goodness… This looks incredible. I don’t have honey or brown rice syrup, do you think it would be possible to sub light agave in the icing?


  4. Hey Jessica! I was wondering if you have some more recipes for homemade icings. I made a few different kinds today using plain Greek yogurt and truvia, but they were slightly tart. I think next time, I’ll try using vanilla Greek yogurt and straining it overnight to drain some of the excess liquid. Also, I got this crazy idea to make homemade whipped cream out of almond milk and truvia, but I’m not sure it can be done…do you have any insight on that? I know that you typically use heavy whipping cream, but I wonder if you can get the same effect by making a thick version of homemade almond milk and whipping that with the truvia.

    • Toni-
      I haven’t had much success in recreating certain toppings (like buttercream), but you can check out my glazes, frostings, etc at my Recipes tab at the top of the page under the header, or here:

      As for the whipped cream, the almond milk may work if you whip it long enough. I have bookmarked a whipped cream recipe made out of evaporated milk for the longest time but have never got around to trying it out. You can check out the recipe here and see if almond milk would work:

    • In MY experience, no go on the whipped cream made from almond milk, even with one of those CO2 aerator thingies. There just isn’t enough fat to make it work. Cow-less whipped toppings can be made from coconut milk (the full-fat kind in the cans), raw cashews pureed with water and sweetener which is creamy but not fluffy, or tofu ditto with some other stuff like oil and agar added. Google “non-dairy whipped cream recipe” for specific recipes. Or you can buy a Very Expensive stuff called “Healthy Top” made by MimicCreme.

      Since I’m single and it would be a Very Bad Thing to have significant quantities of this kind of stuff around even if I considered them perfect substitutes (which I don’t, sorry), I admit I usually just break down and buy TruWhip from the freezer case. It’s basically Cool Whip made with ingredients you can actually pronounce and recognize, most of them organic, none GMO, and it’s not too expensive. It’s in a lot of ordinary grocery stores now, as well as the spendy natural-food places. If you grew up with Cool Whip, you’ll definitely get a hit of nostalgia. If I’m in the mood for cow squeezin’s, Cabot’s aerosol-can stuff is the best one of that ilk I’ve had by far (don’t talk to me about ReddiWip – ewww). It may be a regional brand in the eastern US.

      The evaporated milk deal works best if you have a hand blender aka stick blender or immersion blender. Organic evaporated milk can be found in many health-food stores. It really does need the gelatin, though, or it falls apart immediately. I’m sure one could substitute agar for gelatin in the usual fashion. The nonfat-dry-milk-and-gelatin concoction is vile, in my opinion.

  5. Can i know any other alternatives to substitute whey protein concentrate?

    • dessertswithbenefits

      I’m afraid I don’t know of any good replacements for the whey protein. The recipe calls for 1.5 cups of it, and it helps with the texture and firmness of the cake.

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