Vegan Tuscan Lemon Cake

Several weeks before I had my baby, my sister decided she would host Easter so family could gather and meet her. Around that time I came across this recipe for Betty Crocker’s lemon cake, veganized by a couple who went through Betty’s whole book and veganized it, posting recipes to their blog Meet the Shannons. They also published them in their debut cookbook Betty Goes Vegan. As much as I’m trying not to buy cookbooks, I really think I need this one.

Everyone told me just to bring the baby and nothing else but, well, I don’t really know how to do that. And the more I get submerged in the all-consuming schedule of a new mom the more I wanted to make it happen — bake a cake! Like I used to! Or maybe would have!

It has basic ingredients, all of which I had on hand, so I went for it. Besides, I really wanted to use that bundt pan I just HAD to register for when we got married almost two years ago and still haven’t used. So, I did it. “Wait, WHY are you making a cake?” I got on Easter morning when my husband woke up, thinking I already would be en route to my sister’s for those who had asked for extra baby time before the masses arrived. Oops. If the last five weeks are any indication, I may not be “on time” (yes, in quotes as it’s relative) for the next several years if you invite me somewhere.

As I was running late, there are no pictures. Well, that, and it was ugly. Though I generously sprayed my pan, I couldn’t wait for it to cool completely and the nice golden brown outer layer stuck to the pan upon removing it. I also REALLY wanted to put it on the lovely vintage cake stand my mother-in-law got me at my baby shower, but it was the exact size as the stand. That doesn’t really work — especially when there’s glaze involved. I made a mess, had to transport it to a bigger pan and it started to fall apart. It wasn’t pretty.

And the lemon glaze? Well, you have to keep it warm to pour it on when the cake is cooled a bit and I made it before I showered. So, but the time I poured it, it wasn’t the nice lemon yellow color displayed on the Shannons’ blog, but more of a golden brown. That’s OK though. I thought it turned out delicious and, as much as I hate to say it, it’s super moist without being too dense. It got rave reviews from the small group that passed up my mom’s (non-vegan) coconut cream and cherry pies (I don’t blame anyone for choosing those however. All of her pies really are the best). This was really fast and easy to make though — I’ll be revisiting this recipe for sure.

My window of sleeping baby is closing. Better get to it!

Cake Ingredients
• 1 1/2 c. sugar
• 1/2 c. Earth Balance (non-dairy margarine)
• 1 Tbsp. applesauce
• 1 Tbsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer  powder
• 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 14.5 oz can coconut milk (I went with full fat)
• 2 Tbsp. lemon zest
• 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
• baking spray for the bundt pan

Glaze Ingredients
• 2 c. powdered sugar
• 1/4 c. Earth Balance
• 2 Tbsp. lemon zest
• 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice

From Meet the Shannons:

Heat oven to 325.

In a large bowl, blend your Sugar and Margarine with a hand held electric mixer on a high setting until it is smooth and fluffy. Then blend in Applesauce and Ener-G Egg Replacer.

In another bowl, mix Flour, Baking Soda and Salt with a whisk until completely blended. Then add the Flour mix to the Margarine mix a little at a time – alternating with Coconut Milk. Each time you add some Flour or Coconut Milk, use your mixer to blend it in completely. Once your Flour and Coconut Milk are completely blended in add your Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice and blend on a medium setting for 2-3 minutes. You want your batter to be fluffy and smooth.

Spray a fluted tube cake pan with Baking Spray. Then pour your Batter into the pan evenly. Use a spatula to spread it out to make a nice even layer. It’s important to make sure the Batter is even because the cake will be sitting with the rimmed ring on top. So if you see any ridges or clumps be sure and smooth them out now.

Put in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. Now not every fluted cake pan is the same and some are deeper than others. So start checking on your cake at around 30 minutes. Use a bamboo skewer to test if your cake is done. If you can poke the bamboo skewer in a few times and remove it cleanly. You’re done. (Note: Mine took 60 minutes. It didn’t look done even then, but I poked it with the skewer and sure enough it was done!)

While your cake is baking, make your glaze. In a saucepan, melt your Margarine on a low heat. Once your Margarine is melted, use a whisk to blend in your Powdered Sugar. Then blend in Lemon Zezt and Lemon Juice. The glaze is pretty sweet. If you taste it and are like this is too sweet for you – just add a little more melted Margarine and Lemon Zest until you get the flavor you like. You’re going to want to keep your glaze warm till you drizzle it over the top.

Pull the cake out once it is fully baked and immediately poke your cake several more times – like 15 times with the bamboo skewer. You only want to go in about as deep as a fork would go. You’re releasing moisture from the cake to help it cool and also release from the pan. Let your cake cool for 20 minutes and then turn your cake pan upside down on a large serving dish. (It had been at least 30 by the time I did this, but the cake still stuck to my non-stick, heavily-sprayed pan. I think it would have come out perfectly if I had let it cool completely).

Now drizzle the warm glaze over the top and let your cake cool. In the springtime – it’s nice to decorate lemon cakes with edible flowers. I couldn’t find any this time. Pity.

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