A few days back I received a box full of goodness from my parents. Every now and then they spoil me with some foods I can only find in Italy.
Amongst other things I found beautilul homegrown lemons, that come from straight from my parents’ garden.
Lemons are definitely my favourite citrus fruit. I like using them in savoury dishes, like pastas, cous cous, stir fries etc. I even put a bit of lemon zest in my morning espresso for a nicer kick!
But the thing I like lemons in the most are indeed desserts!
This is why with these I couldn’t help but baking a delicious and zesty lemon cake!
This cake presents a very simple and lemony sponge and it’s topped with a generous layer of a light lemon curd that accentuates even more the overall flavour.
First step is to make the fluffy sponge.
In order to make it even fluffier I used whipped aquafaba.
What is Aquafaba?
Aquafaba, for those that are new to the word, is simply the viscous water of cooked legumes.
This water, mainly composed of starches and proteins, is largely used in vegan cooking as egg substitute of both yolk and egg white.
This liquid can be used as a thickener, binder, emulsifier, foaming agent, and more.
It also contains a small amount of saponins which are the substances thanks to which we are able to whip this magic water as we were with egg whites. The legumes that produce better aquafaba for whipping and binding are beans and chickpeas.
And chickpea water is the undisputed preferred one in vegan bakery.
You can use both the water from canned chickpeas or homecooked ones.
How do I make Aquafaba at home?
To make aquafaba at home you’ll only require 2 ingredients: water and dry chickpeas.
For 1 cup of chickpeas all you need to do is:
– soak chickpeas overnight (or for around 8 hours)
– rinse chickpeas thoroughly
– add 4 cups of fresh water and simmer the chickpeas until tender (up to 1:30 hours).
– drain chickpeas and keep the water.
– while simmering make sure to remove the foam that will form on the top
– let chickpeas cool in their water (this allows to be infused even more)
– acquafaba is suitable for home freezing!
Another key element of this cake is the vegan buttermilk.
You can simply make vegan buttermilk at home by combining ideally soy milk (almond will work too) and lemon juice or vinegar.
Once combined all you need to do is wait a few minutes (5 to 15) and your vegan buttermilk will be ready to be used straight away!
All lemons I used are organic, and I highly recommend you to buy organic lemons too if you’re making this cake.
I used lemons in pretty much all their forms in this recipe: juice, zest and alchool-infused.
For the alchool bit (completely optional) I used homemade limoncello but if you don’t have it at home and still want to enhance the lemony flavour you can substitute it with a lemon extract.
If you’d like to buy limoncello I recommend this brand.
Lemons are also the main ingredient of the lemon curd that goes on top of the sponge.
This curd is a very light one, made only with water, sugar, cornstarch and of course, lemons.
Note: If you want a bright yellow custard then you have to use caster sugar.
I used demerara sugar, because I like avoiding using not highly refined ingredients, which gave the curd more of an amber colour, that reminds more of an orange curd instead of a lemon one.
Once all the ingredients are mixed all you need to do is to thicken the curd on a low heated stove and – the fun bit – pour it generously on the cake!
If you are a big fan like me I really recommend you to bake this delicious lemony treat, that I find perfect for breakfast, tea or as a snack
At the end of the recipe you will find this dessert’s Nutrition Facts and an easy to follow video (Click here to watch it now!)
If you decide make this recipe and to share it on Instagram or Facebook, don’t forget to tag me for a shoutout
-> @avegtastefromatoz or #aVegTasteFromAtoZ and because I’d love to see your personal takes on my recipes🙂
How to make this Zesty Lemon Cake
…for the cake…
200 gr All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Soy Milk (or Almond)
1/2 cup Demerara Sugar
1/2 cup Whipped Aquafaba
1/4 cup Coconut Oil
1 tbsp Limoncello (optional)
1/2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tbsp Baking Powder
Zest 1 Lemon
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
…for the lemon curd…
200 ml Water
100 g Demerara Sugar
60 ml Lemon Juice
30 gr Cornstarch
Zest 2 Lemons
1. For the sponge. Preheat the oven at 180°C (350°F)
2. Whip the aquafaba until stiff peaks. Set aside.
3. Make the buttermilk. Measure the soy milk, add the lemon juice and stir well for a bunch of seconds. Set aside.
4. In a mixing bowl combine sugar, melted coconut oil, lemon zest and vanilla extract.
5. In the meantime the buttermilk should have curdled. Add both the buttermilk, 1 cup of whipped aquafaba and Limoncello. Stir gently.
6. Sift in the flour, then add the baking powder and the salt. Combine well with a spatula.
7. Pour the mixture into a 500ml bread loaf mould. Spread the mixture evenly and bake for 30 minutes.
8. For the Lemon Curd. In a pan add the cornflour and the sugar. Gently pour in the water and the lemon juice. Finally add the lemon zest and cook on low heat until it thickens, constantly stirring the mixture.
9. Once the cake is ready let it cook completely, then pour the lemon curd on the top and decorate with thin slices of lemon and mint leaves.
Watch the Video!