This may look like just another cake, to me it's a lot more than that! I'm fairly certain that this would have to be one of the best cakes I have ever baked, vegan or otherwise. It ticked all of the right boxes - light, moist, lovely flavour without being too sickly sweet and it was very simple to bake. The only box it didn't tick is that it's not exactly healthy which doesn't bother me as life is too short to worry about eating the right things all of the time.
Over the past month or so, our lemon tree has been taunting me. From a distance it appears there are plenty of fruit ready to be picked. When I'm about to rip some off ready for baking I discover green patches on the base or one side of the fruit and have to resort to the lemons from the grocers. So I have continued to wait patiently, planning many more recipes to make than I possibly could with my limited supply of fruit. It's only the first season the tree has been in the ground and with over 30 lemons this year, I'm optimistic for an even bigger crop next year.
Right up on the top of my list to make was a lemon poppy seed cake. I was planning to adapt it from an orange poppy seed cake recipe that my mother in law had given me years ago but I couldn't track down the recipe. A quick search led me to a lemon poppy seed cake on taste.com.au that needed a few vegan substitutions to be made. A further replacement had to be made for the self raising flour when I found a few nasty weevils lurking within my packet. Using plain flour plus baking powder for the self raising flour, nuttelex for the butter, soy milk for cow's milk, a bit of extra lemon juice and egg replacers I was delighted with how light and moist the cake turned out.
An interesting point to note from the recipe was that the poppy seeds were required to be soaked in warmed soy milk for 15 minutes initially. There was no explanation for this on taste.com.au so I did some further research and found that it was to soften the seeds and prevent them from drawing moisture out of the cake whilst baking. I'll never know if this made a difference as I don't think I'll make it any other way now!
Lemon poppy seed cake (Adapted from a recipe on taste.com.au)
3/4 cup warm soy milk
1 cup raw castor sugar
2 cups plain flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 egg replacers (I used 3 teaspoons Orgran whisked with 6 tablespoons water)
185g dairy-free margarine, softened
zest of 1 lemon plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon dairy-free margarine
2 tablespoons (or a bit more) lemon juice
Mix the poppy seeds into a jug containing the warmed soy milk and allow to soak for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 23cm x 10cm loaf tin with baking paper.
In a large bowl, place the castor sugar, plain flour, baking powder, egg replacers, dairy-free margarine, lemon zest, lemon juice and soy milk/poppy seed mixture. Beat with electric hand beaters until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, mix the icing sugar together with a teaspoon of dairy-free margarine and slowly drizzle in the lemon juice, stirring all the time. If the icing becomes too runny, stir through some more icing sugar. When the cake has completely cooled down, spread the icing on top of the cake then refrigerate for 5 minutes to allow the icing to set.