My mother-in-law has always baked a lovely lemon cake based on a recipe handed down through generations in her family. However, my son and his cousin have never been able to enjoy it because of their allergies. Sadly, any attempts to create a version that is gluten-free and vegan have always failed to get the taste and texture right.
I am very pleased to say that I have been successfully developed a recipe that works for everyone in the family, and which can now be handed down to future generations to enjoy!
Gluten Free Flour
For gluten-free baking, you need to use a mixture of various types of flour in order to obtain the right texture and flavour. Because there are so many varieties available to use, experimenting with varying proportions, I just stick with Freee by Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising White Flour. This allows me to save time and focus on the flavour and final texture. It is a mixture of rice, potato, tapioca, maize and buckwheat with raising agent and xanthan gum as a stabiliser. It is also free from milk, peanuts, egg and soya. I use this flour for most of my gluten-free cake baking.
This recipe calls for lemom juice and many of the standard starch-based egg replacer won’t work. This is possibly because the acidity of the lemon prevents these starch to froth up and I think I probably need something else other than just using one type of starch. The only egg replacement that works reliably is the No Egg™ Egg Replacer. It is a mixture of potato and tapioca starch with stabilizer and raising agents and is allergy-friendly:
Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, GMO Free, Kosher, No Added MSG, Nut Free, Soy Free, Tummy Friendly, Vegan, Wheat Free, Yeast Free
Taken from Orgran website March 2020.
When you bake gluten-free and vegan cake you really need to add flavour otherwise you are left with something very bland. At the beginning I just used water with the egg replacer to bake. However, I realised that if I use at least half of the weight of the liquid as plant-based milk, it is possible to create a gluten-free vegan cake with good flavour.
I usually like to use oat milk but as it is not gluten-free, for this recipe I used soya milk from Alpro. Remember, however, that when you use lemon juice, soya milk curdles so make sure that you add the milk slowly (see method below).
My very top tip!
Baking gluten-free AND vegan cakes that look delicious, taste delicious and even have a similar texture and flavour to regular cakes is really challenging as the ingredients are so different. But don’t despair! It is not impossible to achieve this culinary wonder.
It is very important to remember to make sure you whisk the batter as much as possible to include air bubbles in the batter before you add the flour. For this particular recipe an interaction of acid from the lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda also helps to raise the cake nicely.
And lastly, gluten-free cakes are always best eaten on the day of baking. This one is also the same, but it can be revived by putting a slice in the microwave for 10 seconds and the moist, soft fluffiness is back. We have even managed to enjoy this cake over three days!
Ingredient To make one small cake using 1lb loaf tin
30g lemon juice
90g plant-based milk (I used sweetened Alpro Soya milk)
80g sunflower oil
70g castor sugar
1tsp lemon zest
135g Freee by Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising White Flour
10g potato starch
5g tapioca starch
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Preheat the oven at 180C (160C fan / 350F / gas 4).
- Add the egg replacer to water and whisk well with an electric whisk until all dissolved.
- Add lemon juice and mix at high speed until the mixture is creamy.
- Slowly add plant-based milk in batches while you whisk. This is important as plant-based milk such as soya milk curdles when it is mixed with acidic solution such as lemon juice.
- Whisk thoroughly until the mixture is thick (it would not make a soft peak but looks like it would almost get there).
- Add sugar in 3 batches and continue whisking.
- Add sunflower oil slowly and continue whisking.
- Add lemon zest and continue whisking. I sometimes even check my emails on my right hand while holding a hand mixer on the left!
- When the batter is fluffy and resembles almost a soft peak meringue, stop whisking.
- Mix the flour, potato and tapioca starch and bicarbonate of soda. Sift into the batter and very quickly mix (this is important to work quickly as the bicarbonate of soda and acid in the lemon juice start reacting to bubble up!) and transfer into a lined cake tin.
- Pop it in a preheated oven and bake for 40min or until the top is nice and golden.
Let it cool before eating.
Best eaten on the day of baking but if you would like to eat it over the next couple of days, just make sure you put the slice in the microwave and warm it up for 10 seconds at 650W and it will return to a springy moist lemon cake!
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