Dense, moist pound cake gets its name from the classic recipe of a pound each of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. No surprise that a slice weighs in at more than 700 calories and a day's dose of saturated fat. Can anything replace the richness of a block of butter—and still maintain that treasured tender crumb?
Yes: After testing cakes that were dry, crumbly, or spongy, we found that a deft combo of butter and canola oil was the fix, with the help of a smart trick. See, canola oil may be righteously heart-healthy, but it's also bland—until you steep a vanilla bean in it. This magically transforms the oil, giving it a creamy texture and rich flavor. We happily break with tradition, cutting half the calories and 80% of the saturated fat—in a cake that can stand proudly beside the original.
The Classic: •707calories per slice • 39.6 grams total fat • 23.7 grams saturated fat
The Makeover: •294calories per slice • 12.6 grams total fat • 4.7 grams saturated fat
Warming a split vanilla bean in canola oil infuses the oil with deep vanilla essence as the seeds spill out and mingle in the liquid. This is a simple, quick step that is well worth the little bit of time and effort.
Lay the vanilla bean flat on a cutting board. Using a small, sharp knife with a tip, split the vanilla bean down the middle lengthwise, end to end.