Previously, I wrote about my experience trying to recreate a vegan version of a now-shuttered Tokyo bakery’s “lemon cake with wow”. As promised, I’ve continued my quest for a vegan lemon cake recipe that matches the best of non-vegan lemon cakes.
I tried both of the lemon cake recipes from Fairfoods (a bakery and caterer located in Devon, England), beginning with their gluten-free recipe. Since I had never used xantham gum, I followed the instructions closely (even weighing the ingredients–instead of using measuring cups–as professional bakers do) and also determined that the British “2 dssp” (dessert spoons) of ground flaxseeds translates to 4 teaspoons in American.
The gluten-free cake batter was so thick and viscous, I thought I had made a mistake, but Clare of Fairfoods assured me that thick and sticky batter is normal for xanthan gum, as long as it is not lumpy. “Always sieve the flours, xanthan and raising agents together,” she told me, “and give the batter a really good whisk so it is even. Just whisk as much as it needs and no more. ”
Sure enough, after baking, the cake’s consistency was spongy and moist. I made it in an 8″ springform pan and it came out an impressive 2″ high. Still, Fairfoods suggests making a larger batch (i.e 1.5 times batter in a 9″ pan), slicing it down the middle, filling it with lemon curd, and topping it with vanilla icing!
While both cakes undoubtedly have the “wow factor” for those special occasions, both the wheat (I used whole-wheat flour) and gluten-free vegan lemon cakes taste impressive without icing or filling. I reduced the sugar in the batter by 1 oz. and opted instead for a simple lemon syrup (1/2 cup cane sugar dissolved in 3/4 cup of hot lemon juice) drizzled over the cake while still warm out of the oven. Before serving, I also sprinkled each piece with freshly grated lemon zest.
If you don’t care for brown specks in your cake (as seen in the photo), you can leave out the flaxseeds, says Clare, who generously shares recipes and answers reader inquiries on her blog. If you’re looking for a spectacular tasting lemon cake recipe, why not make one of these? And if you’re ever in England, stop by Fairfoods for a taste of the real Wow.
And–if you make one of these recipes or have any other favorite vegan lemon cake recipes–I’d love to hear from you in the comments.