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Friday, 30 July 2021

The BEST Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd

A zingy Vegan lemon cake with 2 lemon sponge cakes, a filling of homemade lemon curd, coated in lemon Swiss meringue buttercream and fresh lemon slices.


This cake is zingy, zesty, easy to make, bursting with flavour and is 100% vegan friendly! 
Lemon-cake-with-lemon-curd

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!
My mum is the most generous, caring, compassionate and overall most loving mum I could have ever asked for. She's my best friend in the world and I wouldn't be where I am today without her! Love you mum, to the moon and back! (hugs).

As it was her birthday yesterday, me being the baker of the house, I wanted to come up with a delicious cake for her and that only means one thing- LEMON! 
My mum absolutely loves all fruits and berries such as orange, raspberry and strawberry but she adores lemon. Lemon is one of mine and my dads (sister likes it but isn't as crazy about it as us three- haha) favourite dessert flavours too so i couldn't not make this divine little bake! 

This is probably one of my favourite cakes! The light and moist sponge paired with the zesty, zingy and ultra creamy curd is just phenomenal! 
Slice-of-lemon-cake-with-lemon-curd
swiss-meringue-buttercream-on-a-whisk

Why do I frost with Swiss meringue as opposed to American buttercream?
American buttercream is exceptionally sweet. For small batch / mini cakes like these, I want you to taste as much lemon and zingyness as possible, without it being overly sweet. 
Swiss meringue takes down the sweetness leaving you with a silky smooth, not too sweet buttercream. I always tell people its like eating a buttercream cloud- haha!

Why you need to make this cake:
  • Easy to make
  • Scrumptious
  • Light and fluffy 
  • Extremely zesty
  • Fun to make
  • The perfect addition to any dinner table / celebration
  • Fruity and refreshing
Lemon-cake-with-lemon-filling
cake-filled-with-lemon-curd

This recipe one element of it's sublime lemon flavour from homemade lemon curd!
Lemon curd is a fruit spread, usually made with citrus fruit. The main and most popular curd being lemon!

This curd is:
  • Thick
  • Gooey
  • Bursting the tangy lemon
  • Easy to make
  • Perfect for adding into desserts 

How to make the most delicious vegan lemon curd?
Store-bought lemon curd has NOTHING on homemade! This 'made from scratch' lemon curd is creamy, tangy and zesty. It is the most perfect curd for this cake!

You'll want the condensed milk along with the juice & zest of fresh lemons, caster sugar, dairy-free butter, cornflour, water and turmeric. The turmeric isn't necessary but does give the curd a lovely, classic yellow colour. Put everything into a saucepan and allow it to simmer until thick, that's it! It couldn't be more simple! 

It's also great for drizzling down the sides of a cake to create a drip effect.
Lemon curd in a glass jar
Looking for more Lemon recipes? Look no further.
Check out my popular Lemon Loaf and Lemon Cupcakes here:
Vegan Lemon. cupcakes and Lemon Loaf Cake

Notes*
What is aquafaba?
Aquafaba is the water from a can/tin of Chickpeas.The Chickpea water or brine as its called, acts as an amazing egg substitute for cakes, meringue buttercreams etc. You can also buy it in a carton. Check it out here

What vegan block butter to use?
As Swiss meringue uses liquid from the aquafaba, having a stiffer butter is key. I like the Naturli Vegan Block or Flora Plant Based Block Butter Alternative.

What condensed milk should I use?
My two favourites are Natures Charm Coconut Condensed Milk and Carnation Oat based condensed milk. Both are vegan and can be found in supermarkets and online. 

Preparation: 2 hours (or overnight)
Baking time: 25-30 minutes
Serves: Approximately 6-8
Level: Easy

____________________________________________________________

Ingredients for the cake
  • 240ml of dairy-free milk 
  • 1 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 210g of self-raising flour
  • 200g of caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 60g of vegetable oil / melted coconut oil
  • 2 lemons (zest only)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Ingredients for the lemon curd
  • 3 tablespoons of corn flour + 2 tablespoons of water
  • 100g of dairy-free butter/margarine
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 170ml of lemon juice
  • 3 small unwaxed lemons (zest)
  • 100g of vegan condensed milk (see notes*)
  • Pinch of turmeric
Ingredients for the Swiss meringue buttercream
  • 200g of dairy-free block butter ( see notes*)
  • 200g of icing sugar
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 50ml of aquafaba (chickpea brine) see notes*

To decorate
  • 1 Lemon (thinly sliced)
____________________________________________________________

Method (lemon curd)
1. In a small bowl, add in the corn flour and water. Stir together into thick paste.
Add the cornflour paste, dairy-free butter, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, condensed milk and a pinch of turmeric into a medium sized saucepan.

2. Place the saucepan on the hob and heat over low to medium, stirring constantly, preferablywith a whisk. After around 5-8 minutes the lemon curd will thicken. If the curd isn’t thickening, turn up the heat and constantly whisk.
Pour curd into a heat proof jar or bowl, cover and place aside to cool down. 
You can either put it in the fridge or keep it at room temperature to cool. Before you use it, give it a good stir as it will thicken.

Method (cakes)
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees c fan and line two, 6 inch loose base / push up cake tins with grease-proof paper.

2. In a bowl, combine the dairy-free milk with the apple cider vinegar and whisk until fully combined.
Set aside for 10 minutes to curdle. This creates a vegan 'buttermilk'.

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
Mix well to combine. Stir in the lemon zest.

4. Add the oil and lemon juice into the 'buttermilk' and whisk to combine.

5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix.

6. Pour equal amounts of batter into the lined cake tins.
Make sure to tap the tins on the worktop to remove any air bubbles. 

7. Pop the cakes into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for around 25-30 minutes.
You will know they are done when you put a knife or skewer in and it comes out clean and they are springy to the touch.

8. Place the cakes on a cooling rack and allow to cool fully. 
Once cool, pop them into a sealed container to keep them fresh before frosting.

Method (swiss meringue buttercream)
1. In a large mixing bowl, add in the dairy-free butter, whip until creamy. I use a stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, a hand mixer will work great too.

2. Sift in the icing sugar and pour in the lemon juice, whip on high speed for a couple of minutes to incorporate it.

3. Pour in the aquafaba and whip for 5 minutes until it turns light and creamy. Don't over whip it or it can become too soft. If it does, just add in more icing sugar until it's thick and creamy. The buttercream should be airy and light. You might need to add in some more butter to get it to the right consistency. 
Tip- If the buttercream ever looks like its splitting, add chunk more butter at a time while its still whipping on medium / high speed. It'll come back together within a minute or two. 

4. Place one of the cakes on a serving plate or cake stand. Dollop some of the buttercream on top and spread out until even using an off set spatula or pallet knife.
Make a well in the middle of the buttercream and fill with 2 heaped tablespoons of lemon curd. 

5. Place the second cake layer on top. Press it down gently so it sticks.
Coat the whole cake with the buttercream, swirling it around to create texture with the spatula.

6. Press lemon slices around the cake (as seen in the photos).
TIP- Dry the lemon segments on kitchen paper before applying to the cake.

To store:
Keep this cake stored in a sealed container in the fridge. Best eaten within 3 days of making.
Un-iced cakes can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for 2 days.
The lemon curd can be kept in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to a week. Just give it a stir before using.
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