This post is sponsored by Stonyfield. All opinions expressed are my own.
During the holidays, I love to bake a something extra special for breakfast on Christmas morning or New Year’s Day. Holidays are special occasions and special occasions call for a celebratory breakfast, not just a regular bowl of oatmeal or eggs. However, I try to lighten up what I bake without sacrificing flavor or texture. This winter spice whole wheat coffee cake, made with Stonyfield yogurt rather than sour cream, is the perfect breakfast to enjoy with a steaming hot cup of coffee on Christmas morning.
The ingredients for this winter spice whole wheat coffee cake are simple and wholesome: Stonyfield organic yogurt, whole wheat pastry flour, natural brown sugar, butter, eggs, leavening agents, and spices. Nothing out of the ordinary that would require you to make another trip to the grocery store during this busy time of year goes into this recipe. Many of the ingredients – the Stonyfield yogurt and whole wheat pastry flour in particular – are less processed and more nutritious alternative to the typical coffee cake ingredients.
Most coffee cakes are made with white flour, lots of sugar, and sour cream. Whole wheat pastry flour and reducing the sugar are logical adjustments for a healthier coffee cake, but sour cream poses a conundrum. The tangy flavor and creamy texture factor into the taste and texture of the coffee cake, but sour cream is high in cholesterol and rarely something I have in my fridge.
Stonyfield’s Whole Milk Smooth & Creamy Yogurt serves as a substitute for sour cream in our household: we dollop it on baked potatoes, chilis, and other foods traditionally served with sour cream. The logical next step is to substitute the yogurt for sour cream in baking – especially since we already have it on hand in our fridge.
What we almost always have on hand is some type of yogurt. Stonyfield yogurt is my favorite because of its taste, texture, nutritional value, and sustainability. Stonyfield yogurt is organic, made from pasture-raised cows that have not been treated with antibiotics or growth hormones. Most importantly, organic dairy farms emphasize sustainability. By prioritizing organic food, Stonyfield strives to make the planet, food, and people healthier.
Unlike many other yogurt brands, Stonyfield reduces the amount of sugar in their products (including flavored yogurts). A little bit of sugar can lend flavor and a desirable texture to baked goods, but you do not want an excessive amount of sugar, especially with a healthy substitution such as yogurt. In addition to the lower sugar content of Stonyfield yogurt, I also decreased the amount of sugar in the coffee cake by approximately 10% – enough to reduce sugar intake and calories, but not enough to compromise taste or texture.
To add flavor without adding sugar and make the whole wheat coffee cake seasonal, I used cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice in the recipe. To further improve the nutrition without sacrificing taste and texture, I used whole wheat pastry flour (Bob’s Red Mill, to be specific). Whole wheat pastry flour has a lower protein content than regular whole wheat flour, thus rendering baked goods more tender. The texture is similar to that of white flour, while still boasting the fiber and nutrients of whole wheat flour.
However, this winter spice coffee cake is not completely lightened-up – I could not leave off the crumb topping. I used European-style butter for the crumb topping since the tangy flavor and higher butterfat content of European-style butter makes the crumb topping even more melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
(As a note: I weigh all of my ingredients for precision and to simplify the recipe. I place the mixing bowls on the scale and tare the scale between each ingredient and thus reduce the number of measuring spoons and cups I need to use and then later wash.)
Winter Spice Whole Wheat Coffee Cake
For the cake
- 1 ¾ cup 166 grams whole wheat pastry flour*
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup 115 g butter, softened
- ⅔ cup 135 g natural brown sugar
- ½ cup 113g plain whole milk Stonyfield yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
For the crumb topping
- 3 tablespoons 45 g butter
- ⅓ cup 41g all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
- ⅓ cup 67 g natural brown sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper.
For the cake
- Whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small mixing bowl.
- In a separate mixing bowl, use a stand mixer or hand beaters on a medium speed to beat the butter for one minute or until creamy. Add in the sugar and beat on medium speed for another 1-2 minutes until creamy. While beating, add the eggs, yogurt, and spices.
- Reduce the beater speed to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients. Do not overmix; once the dry ingredients are combined, stop beating. The batter will be thick.
- Spread the batter evenly in the parchment paper-lined pan.
For the crumb topping
- Combine together the all-purpose flour, sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Use your fingers, two forks, or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into crumb-sized pieces and combine with the flour and sugar. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top of the coffee cake.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Baking time will vary based on your altitude and oven; start checking with the toothpick at 30 minutes into the baking time.
- Let cool in the pan before serving. Store in a covered container for up to 3 days; you can also freeze the leftovers.
What are you baking for the holidays?
Do you use yogurt to bake?