Gluten-free & vegan Lemon Cake...

Weekend baking. I generally have a lot of fun with it, but sometimes it can turn downright frustrating. Or a mixture of both, like in this case. Frustrating because of the failed attempts and fun because of all the tweaking, experimenting and finally getting it right which resulted in a silly dance and some excited jumping around in the kitchen - oh, and a cake, of course. I really wanted to make this one work but my inexperience in baking anything vegan was clearly hampering my efforts. I've eaten vegan bakes before and have mostly been pretty underwhelmed. I actually remember the first vegan cupcakes I had at a café several years back: stodgy and with rock-solid icing on top. I have since tasted and sampled some more cakes and biscuits, but, again, they generally required me to double my coffee intake in order for me to be able to actually swallow them. So, I wasn't entirely convinced this could be done.

Over Christmas I had baked a sponge sheet cake to make some trifles. Whilst it was edible, it still left me feeling like "this isn't the real deal". I had followed a recipe I had found online, but the whole thing was in actual fact way too oily and too cloy. Not really the way a sponge should be. Since it was for a trifle, soaking it in vast amounts of brandy did help a lot, but that's not really the point. If I wanted to bake a "real" vegan cake, I had to go back to the drawing board. I found a recipe for a lemon cake by The Ethical Chef. The picture looked great! I did, however, for some reason, want it to be in one of my old bundt tins instead of a loaf tin and that didn't work out. I don't know whether it was the tin or the recipe, but it was just too heavy and tasted too "floury" (which, I know, sounds weird considering the amount of flour in a cake). Again. Clue: it needed more air. So, I tried something different, again, more like a stodgy pudding, a sunken one at that. I did more research, adjusted the baking times and oven temperature and it finally worked! The outside has a tiny bit of crunch to it, so it might in that sense not be absolutely super-sponge-perfect, but it rose, it browned, it was light and fairly fluffy on the inside, didn't really "taste vegan" and - of course most importantly - Monsieur really liked it and was able to eat it whilst on his six foods elimination diet. 

So, here's my recipe for a small, gluten-free, vegan lemon bundt cake with lemon icing.

Ingredients:

  • 270g self-raising gluten-free flour (I use Dove Farm - and no, it's not sponsored)
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 100ml rapeseed oil
  • 150ml aquafaba (the water from 1 tin of chickpeas)
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • zest & juice of 1 large lemon
  • 75g icing sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
Vegan Lemon Cake 3.jpg

How it's done:

  • preheat your oven to 180C
  • grease and flour the cake mould
  • mix the flour and baking powder
  • pour the aquafaba into a bowl and whisk with a mixer on a medium to high speed until it forms soft peaks
  • slowly add the sugar whilst continuously whisking
  • once all the sugar is incorporated, pour the oil in a thin stream whilst still whisking
  • add the lemon zest and juice and whisk until combined
  • stop whisking and sift the flour/baking powder mix into the bowl
  • gently fold the flour into the mix making sure it's all well incorporated
  • now spoon the mix into the prepared mould
  • put into the oven and bake for one hour
  • once the hour is up, turn off the oven and partly open the door to let the heat out gradually
  • after a further half hour take the cake out of the oven and turn onto a cooling rack
  • leave to cool completely
  • to make the glaze, sift the icing sugar into a bowl
  • add the lemon juice bit by bit until you have a smooth and thick-ish consistency that droops off a spoon
  • spoon the glaze onto the cake 
  • decorate with flowers if you want or enjoy as it is