If you have been here for a while, you know I love lemon cake, and thus have shared several variations over the years; from the Lemon & Poppyseed cake that made its way into my book, to my white sugar-free Lemon Loaf Cake of 5 years ago (my first baking commission!), and my Sansa Stark-inspired Candied Lemon Cakes which I shared circa 2016 in celebration of Game of Thrones, Season 6 (ah, the nostalgia!). But this one – THIS one – is the one you should bake to impress your non-vegan friends who need convincing. If there’s a perfect plant-based dupe for a conventional, dairy and egg-filled buttercream-sandwiched lemon layer cake, this is it.
I should add that this cake was almost never shared in blog form… for the very silliest of reasons. Reasons that I am almost embarrassed to share “out loud”. The recipe, in my humble opinion, is pretty much spot on. I believe people will love it for being exactly what it is, rather than praising it in a tastes-good-for-a-vegan-cake manner. In fact, I doubt anyone will even notice that it is vegan. The recipe is not the issue. The issue, and reason for my sharing hesitance, was comparison. Or more specifically, the fact that just after I shared the behind the scenes baking of this cake a month ago when I returned from Miami, I noticed another layer cake pop up on Instagram… then a lemon cake. This is not strange. People make layer cakes all the time, and lemon cakes are particularly popular during the summer, etc. It may have been a side effect of jet-lag or general sensitivity brought about by tiredness, but I started to wonder what people would think of mine in comparison to others out there. And thus I literally restyled it no less than three times to take additional shots and give my cake a visual point of difference (this was also as a result of the 50/50 poll results as voted by my followers, half of whom wanted a rustic cake and half who wanted a “fancy” cake!). My efforts were no doubt “extra” in the most unnecessary of ways. To be honest, all I wanted to do from the outset was create a good recipe, bake with my kids, make something appealing and eat some delicious cake.
I don’t normally let comparison or what others are sharing prevent me from sharing anything, but I truly loathe my inner critic at times.
(Can I get an “amen” from my fellow Virgos? 😛 )
In any case, I hope that those of you who bake this cake will see just how deliciously lemony, moist and perfectly textured it is. My thoroughly non-vegan parents love it, my very vegan husband loves it. Heck, even 3 year-old Oliver loves it, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a tougher food critic.
Halve the ingredients for a somewhat less grandiose 2-layer cake. And please note that this was the second styling of the same cake/s and somewhere in between styling versions 1 and 2, a layer was consumed by my ravenous family. The original cake had four layers (as per the recipe) and the frosting is definitely enough to cover a 4-layer cake. Unless you have the sweetest sweet tooth in the world and require inch-thick buttercream!
I will share the other iterations (including a less-sweet version) over time too!
In the meantime, love from Stockholm and I wish you a wonderful summer/winter solstice,
*The “Bake with us” behind the scenes stories highlight is still available on my Instagram profile if you want to see the process of baking this cake or bake along with my children.
SWEDISH “BUTTERMILK”, BLÅBÄR
& BLÅKLINT VEGAN LEMON LAYER CAKE
1 3/4 cups creamy oat milk (I use deluxe) or nut milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup (180 ml) aquafaba, whisked until slightly frothy
3/4 cup (180 ml) dairy-free baking butter at room temperature
1/2 cup (120 ml) organic olive oil, or melted coconut oil
1/4 cup (60 ml) apple sauce
2 cups (480 ml) birch sugar or organic caster sugar
4 tsp (20 ml) vanilla extract
4.5 cups (1080 ml) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1 punnet of fresh blueberries
1/2 cup (120 ml) blueberry jam
1 quantity of Vegan Vanilla Butter (see recipe below)
Fresh blue cornflowers (blåklint) or dried cornflower petals, optional
- Preheat the oven to 330°F/165°C, fan.
- Grease and line the bases of 4 round 7-inch (18 cm) spring-form cake tins.
- Mix the plant milk and apple cider vinegar to create your “buttermilk”. Set aside.
- Whisk the aquafaba (the liquid from a can of unsalted chickpeas) until frothy.
- Using stand mixer with a wire whisk or paddle attachment, beat the baking butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the oil a little at a time and continue to mix. Add the aquafaba, vanilla extract and lemon zest.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients.
- Put your stand mixer on low speed, adding the vegan “buttermilk” and flour mix a bit at a time (alternative between them). The batter should be smooth and creamy, but not over-mixed.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared tins, and bake two of them together on the centre rack of your preheated oven for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down a fraction to 320°F/160°C (still fan) and bake for a further 10 or so minutes. When done, the cake should be golden, the surface should be set, and a toothpick inserted in the centre of each cake should come out clean. Remove the first 2 cakes from the oven and immediately bake the second 2 cakes in the same manner.
- Allow the baked cakes to cool in their tins for 10 minutes, then carefully release the spring-form mechanisms. Allow the cakes to cool completely on two wire cooling racks (or one large one!) before frosting and decorating.
- To assemble your layer cake, take one lemon cake (to be the base) and place it on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread a layer of butter cream – no more than a 1/4 inch or 1/2 cm thick – evenly over the top using a spatula or knife.
- Spread 2-3 tablespoons of blueberry jam gently over the butter cream.
- Place a second cake on top and repeat the process until you have your assembled cake. Frost the top and sides, smoothing away excess buttercream.
- Decorate the top of the cake with blueberries and cornflowers/dried petals, if using.
*Please note that both the cakes and frosting can be made and frozen in advance of assembly. Good party prep tip!
*To make this cake gluten-free, use gluten-free all-purpose flour, gluten-free baking powder and nut milk.
VEGAN VANILLA BUTTERCREAM
1/2 cup (120 ml) non-dairy baking butter
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegan buttery spread/margarine
500 g organic icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In the large bowl of a standing mixer, beat the baking butter and spread together until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to whip.
Add the vanilla and beat for a further 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
*A small amount of plant milk can be added, a teaspoon at a time, if you desire a thinner consistency for this frosting.