Vegan lemon drizzle cake
Vegan lemon drizzle cake
In the last week and a half I transitioned from the Siberian cold that I’ve had to endure during my holiday in Poland, to an almost spring aura over here. I mean there is a bit of a chill in the air still, but the sun is shining and the birds are chirping and it almost feels like Madam Spring herself has finally moved in. I love that transition when everything (people included) wakes up from the sluggishness of winter.
I went running again for the first time in about 3 weeks (an illness and my holidays, which ended up lasting longer than planned, have derailed my training a bit) and even though I was totally out of breath by the end, I loved it! By way of motivating myself to be a bit more consistent with my running, I have (perhaps stupidly) signed up for a 10 km race in mid-May so I’ve got a goal to help keep me focused.
Right now, I’m only at about 4-5 km and I haven’t got heaps of time to reach 10 km comfortably, but I think it’s doable if I put the work in. As I am training, I am being a bit more careful about what I eat and I’m trying to stay off sugar as much as possible. I did have a slice of this cake, but the old me would have had way more than that. I’m trying to catch myself when I do mindless eating, which happens when I’m stressed, frustrated or bored, as it brings me no joy or nutrition.
The key, I found, is to get rid of the offending item as soon as possible. The moment I finished my photoshoot I ran over to my neighbour with a few slices of cake on a plate and packed the rest up for Duncan to take to work tomorrow. That way I get to enjoy feeding other people and I still get to eat one slice (in the name of testing, of course) and not gorge myself silly and feel disgusted with my lack of will power the moment I finish.
Anyways, ‘cos it’s almost spring, I’ve decided to make a cake that for some reason reminds me of spring – a classic lemon drizzle cake. I’m not sure why as it’s not like lemons grow in the UK anyway. Perhaps it’s the colour, like the colour of daffodils, which wink at me from all corners of our garden. The cake is light and moist, tangy yet sweet at the same time. Perfect with a cup of afternoon tea in the Spring sunshine.
- 100 g / ½ cup neutral oil (for example mild coconut oil)
- 125 g / ½ cup + 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 180 ml / ¾ cup thin & lukewarm (not from the fridge) plant milk (I used almond)
- 60 ml / ¼ cup lemon juice (approx. 1 lemon)
- zest of 2 lemons
- 180 g / 1½ cups all purpose white flour or GF cake flour mix, sifted
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100 g / 1 cup almond meal or finely ground almonds*
LEMON AND ROSEMARY SYRUP
- 70 g / 1/3 cup caster sugar (fine sugar)
- juice of 1½ lemons (about 90 ml / 6 tbsp juice)
- 1-2 fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)
- 50-100 g / ½-1 cup icing sugar*
- juice of ½-1 lemon
- Heat up the oven to 180° C (or 160° C fan forced) / 355° F (320° F fan forced). Line a 1 kg / 2 lb tin with a wide strip of baking paper to be able to remove your cake easily.
- Melt the coconut oil gently over a low heat.
- Whisk the coconut oil and sugar together with an electric whisk. Add in the plant milk, lemon juice and lemon zest.
- Place a sieve over the bowl with the wet ingredients and sift through all the dry ingredients, except for the almond meal. Fold them in gently, until just combined.
- Next, gently fold in the almond meal.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared baking tin.
- Bake for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is nicely browned.
- Once baked, remove the cake from the tin. Pierce the top with a toothpick in several places to allow the syrup to infuse the cake better. Brush the surface of the hot cake (that’s important as otherwise the syrup will stay on the surface) with syrup several times allowing the syrup to soak into the cake between each go.
- Once cool, drizzle with icing starting from the middle so that it drips down to the sides creating pretty drizzle marks.
LEMON AND ROSEMARY SYRUP
- Place the sugar and lemon juice in a small pot over a low heat. Add sprigs of rosemary if you wish.
- Bring the contents of the pot to a gentle simmer and cook until the sugar dissolves completely. Set aside.
- Whisk the icing sugar and lemon juice in a medium size bowl until fully combined. Add the lemon juice gradually to avoid lumps in your icing. Alternatively, you could also sift your icing sugar before combining it with the lemon juice.
*Given that the cake is already covered in sugar syrup, I recommend making a smaller amount of icing (50 g / ½ cup icing sugar and juice from ½ lemon) and drizzling the cake with it for decoration. The larger quantity given above allows you to cover the cake in icing completely.
I used a 2 lb / 900 g cake tin of the following dimensions: 18.5cm x 8cm x 6cm (like this). It holds 8 cups / 2000 ml liquid (to the brim), but the batter should fill no more than 2/3 – 3/4 of the 2lb cake tin or else the cake may not raise.
I very much love this recipe and I am so thankful for you creating it. Now, I’ve made this a couple of times and my family doesn’t like the coconut taste - is there anything I can swap the coconut oil out for?
Much love to you 💕
Also not keen on the taste of almonds, though could cope with a small amount. Is there anything else I could add instead as a cup of them sounds rather strong. ?
You could mix vigorously with a hand mixer, it shouldn't be a problem. As for the almonds, you could substitue them with regular flour, but I haven't tested this exact recipe with 100% flour so I can only guess the amount. I think 1/2 cup of flour (65 g) of flour should do the trick, but baking time may differ as a result of this change. Hope this helps! Ania
Thank you for your kind words about my blog. I would not recommend a whole wheat flour in this sort of cake although feel free to override me. This cake has a delicate crumb and I feel like whole meal flour will make it dense and much less pleasant to eat. I think it is better suited to a carrot or zucchini cake, for example. Hope this helps! Ania
Self-raising flour doesn't contain baking soda as far as I know, only just baking powder so yes, it should work but you may not get as much of a rise from it. Hope this helps! x Ania
Sure it will, but as oranges are generally sweeter, you may not need as much sugar. Also, you won't get that lovely tang and contrast between sweet and sour, which is what makes this cake special. Hope this helps! x Ania
According to my research 8" / 20 cm dia pan should be fine, but it will not require as long a baking time, that's for sure. Ania
Also I wanted to say a special thank for including details like measuring the coconut oil unmelted, or fan/not fan oven etc, really appreciated having all those details, as I'm never sure with other recipes.
is there a different oil i could use instead of the coconut oil ? thanks !
It will be okay at room temperature for a day provided it is out of direct sunshine/heat and ideally it should sit under a cloche (or an upside down glass bowl). You can infuse it with syrup while the cake is hot (and the syrup is cool) or once it's cool (the syrup needs to be hot then) - it's up to you - either way works fine. The icing might break up a little during transportation so perhaps it's a good idea to bring icing sugar in a jar and squeeze a small amount of lemon juice into it just before icing - it does need an hour or so to solidify depending on how thick it is. Hope this helps and that the cake goes down well with your partner. Ania
I'm glad to hear that you've enjoyed this cake. In terms of sugar, I must admit that I have never used either of the two sugars for baking as caster sugar is easily available here and it is the best type of sugar for baking so that's what I tend to stick to when using refined sugar. I am therefore not sure whether it's the sugar that's making the cake dense. Two possible issues that spring to mind is overmixing, which causes too much of an air loss in the batter and can lead to denser cakes. Also I don't know if you use scales or cups, but if the latter is it possible that you are being a bit too generous with your flour? I always recommend using scales when baking as it is a very exact science and using cups to measure out dry ingredients is inherently imprecise. I'm not sure what else could be the issue here as thanks to the addition of almonds meal this cake is designed to be on the light and airy side. Happy to help you troubleshoot if you have any more ideas. Ania
Thank you for this fantastic recpie. I've made it numerous times and even put my own spin on it by doubling the cake recipe which makes two lemon rosemary sponge cakes and then I iced it with lemon buttercream. So good! I just noticed the cake crumbles quite a bit, as do a lot of vegan cakes. Do you have any ideas on how to make it hold together a little better? Thanks!
Thanks for your kind words, I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed it enough to make it again and again. I must say I personally have not noticed this tendency in vegan baked goods as a whole, although sure some recipes are better than others. The trick is to use the correct ratio of liquid to dry ingredients and not to skimp on fat too much (I always try to get away with as little as possible) and then not to overbake it as even a few extra minutesin the oven tend to dry the cake out too much. And then to let it get cold before slicing. Other than these small morsels of 'wisdom' ;) , which I am sure you are well aware of anyway, I have no more suggestions, I'm afraid. Ania PS: Oh and maybe adding a flax or chia egg (or another binder) might help in some situations, but I don't feel that they are needed in this particular case.
Loved the recipe ..looks great will try it tomorrow . Can u pls tell me what can i use for the glaze as i dont have icing sugar ...can it be replaced with any other type of sugar.. may be crystal sugar powdered ??? Pls advice i really want to bake one soon.
You could grind regular sugar in a coffee grinder and use that instead, but there is no icing sugar alternative as far as I know. I hope you'll enjoy it. Ania
Thank you for posting this recipe.
This was my first time baking a vegan cake. It tastes lovely and is very fluffy.
However, although I left the cake in the oven (160 C fun-assisted) for 50 minutes and the toothpick came out clean, it felt very heavy and fragile after coming out of the tin. When I sliced it it was too moist inside - not sure if this was because of the syrup or because I didn't bake it long enough. I put it back in the oven just now - hopefully it will be okay.
I will definitely try baking it again - maybe leave it in the oven for longer next time.
It's hard to say but I suspect that it may have needed a bit more time in the oven. The trick is to get it to the point when it's not too wet, firm yet not dried out - although if you dry it out by accident the syrup really does help. Also, never judge a cake while it's still warm - it does settle a lot during the cooling process. I myself made a mistake of despairing over some test cook as I judged it way too early, only to discover that it was on point once I gave up on it and allowed it to cool down completely. Hope it's going to be spot on next time you make it! Ania
As I am vegan, I obviously have not tried using cow's milk, but I imagine any liquid with some fat content will be fine. Hope that helps and that it comes out well. Ania
I am not sure and I have never tried making this cake with any other flours than specified so you may need to experiment yourself. Ania
I simply mean 'not chilled' / 'at room temperature'. Hope that helps! Ania
125g sugar and 1/2 cup don’t seem to be the same? 125g is working out at 1 cup for me.
Depends on the sugar, I guess, but 125 g of caster sugar is 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp, which is what I specified in the recipe. 1 cup of sugar is 200 g. I am using US cups here. Hope that helps! Ania
(For the solid coconut oil the measurement is 100g)
I would go with 135 ml / ½ cup + 1 tbsp of liquid oil here. Hope that helps! Ania
I am really pleased to hear that you enjoyed this cake. Yes, I am pretty confident that swapping half of the oil for apple sauce or vegan yogurt should give you a nice, moist cake. I am not sure about getting rid of almond flour, I think it will make a denser cake if you were to sub it with flour. Good luck! x Ania
minutes with the original temperature? Would be a pity to waste this amazing cake due to a wrong unfreezing method ;)
I've never frozen any cakes, but my gut feeling would be to freeze it and then allow it to thaw naturally without baking it again, I might be wrong though - if that's a method you successfully used on other cakes in the past, just ignore me. x Ania