Chocolate vegan cakes are easy. Finding a vegan white or yellow cake that doesn't taste like slightly sweet but dry cornbread is a lot harder. Until now! This recipe produces a light, moist, very flavorful cake that will become a favorite, and the basis for endless desserts.
I have been baking cakes since I was about 9, and baking and decorating cakes since I was 16. I worked a local grocery store bakery and several years later, started my own wedding and cake decorating company, and even briefly had my very own bakery in Fayetteville, TN. So I KNOW how to bake a good cake. A cake containing tasty animal bits that is.
Fast-forward to now, and I've been plant-based for almost 4 years. I've never labeled myself as vegan because there are times that I allow myself to consume some dairy, usually in the form of cheese, often as a matter of convenience or if I'm eating out and I simply can't avoid the dairy or the kind waitperson hasn't listened completely to my request to "leave off the cheese". Or, if I'm on a hot date with my hunky husband and we're at a winery that has the BEST pizza in the mid-South (but I'm digressing).
As a plant-based baker, I absolutely SUCK. No exaggeration. I simply cannot get anything to turn out right (except for that one carrot cake recipe I tried that every single member of my family LOVED and still talks about - now where did I find that recipe and why didn't I add it to my recipe box? Dang it!!) I'm so bad, in fact, that I'd almost given up on baking altogether. I do have good success with vegan chocolate cakes but a white or yellow cake? Forget it. Until now.
Oh, em GEE this recipe is amazing! I stumbled on it on Instagram. The picture of the cake was so very pretty and I absolutely love blueberries, and lemon is a great flavor for just about anything so I worked up the courage to try the recipe and it was an absolute winner. So without further ado, below is my take on Bianca Zapatka's Lemon Blueberry Cake.
(Make sure you get a whole bag of lemons when you shop for your ingredients because you are going to need a lot of them!)
1-1/2 cup unsweetened, unflavored almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 cups plus 6 tbsp cake flour (or 3 cups all-purpose cake flour)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup neutral oil (I used canola)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon zest
14 oz blueberries
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup vegan butter
8 oz vegan cream cheese
2 cups vegan powdered sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
Vegan Lemon Cake
1. Combine almond milk with lemon juice and set aside until it curdles to create vegan buttermilk.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line two 8-inch pans with parchment paper, cut to fit the pan (this is a better option than using flour, to make sure the cakes don't stick in the pan.)
3. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.
4. Stir the oil, vanilla and lemon zest into the vegan buttermilk. Then pour it into the flour mixture and mix everything until just combined. (Be careful not to over-mix or your cakes will be dense.)
5. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans (I recommend weighing them on a kitchen scale) and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Don't over-bake or your cakes may get dry.)
6. Let cool completely. (Best option is to wrap each cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours until well chilled because this makes them easier to cut evenly.)
Blueberry Filling (my favorite part!!)
1. In a pot, combine blueberries, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat until the blueberries are soft and the sauce has thickened up, about 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Let cool afterwards. (The best is to let it chill in the fridge overnight so it can thicken up more.)
Lemon Frosting (my least-favorite part - more on this later)
1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the vegan butter with a handheld mixer until creamy. Then add the vegan cream cheese and mix again. Lastly, sift in powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice and mix again until creamy and well combined. (If it's too firm and not spreadable, stir in more lemon juice. If too soft, add more powdered sugar).
Assembling the Cake:
1. Cut each cake horizontally in two equal layers. Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread about 1/ of the cream frosting over the cake so that it's higher around the edges (to hold the blueberry filling inside). Alternately, place frosting in a decorating back with a round tip, or just an empty coupler, and for a ring of frosting around the outer edge of the cake to make a dam of frosting. Then spread 1/3 of the blueberry filling inside.
2. top with the next layer, another 1/4 of the frosting (or make the frosting dam), followed by another 1/3 of blueberry filling and repeat process for the third layer. Place the fourth layer on top and spread the remaining lemon frosting over it. (There was enough frosting that I was able to do a little decorating).
3. Chill cake about 3-4 hours in the fridge before decorating and serving (I decorated and then chilled since the frosting was firm enough.)
Notes: Ok so here's the deal with the frosting. I'd never tried vegan cream cheese before this recipe and I did NOT like the taste of it at all. I used a local store-brand and it was just yuck. I have heard wonderful things about brands like Miyoko's but their products are made with cashews, which I'm highly allergic to. So for me, when I make it again, I'll just use all plant-based butter and make a lemon buttercream. Or I'll taste-test another vegan cream cheese brand before I put it into a frosting! Almost ruined this amazing cake!