I’ve been meaning to do some dabbling in vegan baking for a while now; veganism is becoming increasingly popular and while I myself am not vegan (vegetarian does me just fine and I would struggle to give up cheese), I do know several vegans and am attempting to cut down on dairy so it only seems fair to have a few vegan versions of bakes up my sleeve.
This vegan lemon curd layer cake is not only incredibly tasty, but incredibly easy to make too. I made my own vegan lemon curd and it is even quicker and easier to make than the original egg and butter laden kind and is addictively good too! It is best to make it the day before you plan to serve the cake so that it has time to firm up in the fridge (it will keep in the fridge for about three weeks.), and you can also bake the cakes the day before assembling them too.
The cakes are very fluffy and moist; a little delicate to handle so be careful when trimming and stacking them, but very tasty. They contain a bit of golden syrup which helps to bind them in place of the egg; you can taste it in the baked cake which I really like (I love golden syrup), but if you are less keen then I think that you could use maple or corn syrup (or honey if you aren’t making this cake for vegans) in it’s place. I baked my cakes in three 15cm/6in tins but you can also use two 20cm/8in ones instead.
The cakes are layered up with the lemon curd and a vegan lemon buttercream. I used a vegan spread in all three elements of the cake – the cake, curd and buttercream. The one I used was Flora Freedom (post not sponsored – just letting you know what I used), but Vitalite is good too. If you want to adapt this cake to make a vanilla rather than lemon one then you can simply omit the lemon zest from the cake and add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract to the cake and to the buttercream in place of the lemon extract; leave off the lemon curd and replace it with jam if you like to make a victoria sponge. Of course this cake isn’t just for vegans, it is delicious enough for any occasion and is also perfect for anyone with an egg or dairy allergy.
Update The buttercream can be a little soft and prone to splitting; to avoid this you can use half vegan spread and half vegetable shortening instead (so 75g of each). Make sure that you whisk the vegetable shortening really well before adding the other ingredients; it should be lump free as any lumps that you don’t whisk out are likely to remain in the finished buttercream.
Vegan Lemon Curd Layer Cake
Vegan Lemon Curd:
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon optional
- 1 1/2 Tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
- juice of 2 large lemons (about 100ml)
- 50 ml (scant 1/4 cup) water
- pinch salt
- 100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp almond milk unsweetened
- 2 Tbsp vegan spread (such as Vitalite or Flora freedom)
Vegan Lemon Cakes:
- 300 ml (1 + 1/4 cups) almond milk unsweetened
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 150 g (5.3oz) vegan spread (such as Vitalite or Flora freedom)
- 3 Tbsp golden syrup
- 275 g (1 + 1/4 cups) self-raising flour
- 45 g (4 Tbsp) cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 175 g (3/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- finely grated zest of 3 large lemons
- couple drops lemon extract or oil optional
Vegan Lemon Buttercream
- 150 g (5.3 oz) vegan spread (such as Vitalite or Flora freedom)
- 225 g (2 + 1/4 cups) icing (powdered) sugar sifted
- couple drops lemon extract or oil
Vegan Lemon Curd:
Make the lemon curd at least the day before you assemble the cake. Place the lemon zest (if using) and cornflour into a small pan. Gradually whisk in the lemon juice then whisk in the water, salt and sugar..
Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved then continue to cook, whisking constantly, until it comes up to a gentle simmer and becomes very thick; cook for a further minute.
Whisk in the almond milk and vegan spread and continue to stir over a low heat until melted and smooth then remove from the heat. If you like you can pass the curd through a fine mesh sieve to remove the lemon zest (I leave it in). Transfer to a bowl or jar, cover and place in the fridge overnight. It will thicken as it cools and will keep in the fridge for about 3 weeks.
Vegan Lemon Cakes:
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease three 15cm/6in round tins (or two 20cm/8in ones) and line the bases with baking parchment.
Stir the lemon juice into the almond milk and set aside to curdle. Place the vegan spread and the golden syrup in a small pan and heat until the spread has melted, set aside to cool slightly.
Sift the flour, cornflour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and stir in the sugar and lemon zest. Whisk in the milk mixture then the melted spread and lemon extract (if using) until smooth.
Divide the mixture evenly between the tins (I use a scale) and bake for about 25 minutes (a little longer if using 20cm/8in tins) until golden, pulling away from the sides of the tin and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tins for 20 minutes then carefully (they are delicate) turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Vegan Lemon Buttercream:
Place the vegan spread in a bowl and gradually stir in the icing sugar. Add the lemon extract then whisk until smooth.
Very carefully trim the tops of two of the cake layers (one if you used the larger tins to make two layers rather than three). Place one of the trimmed layers on a serving plate and spread over half of the buttercream then spread over a generous layer of lemon curd.
Place the second trimmed layer on top and repeat the buttercream and curd. Top with the un-trimmed layer and serve.
Cake recipe adapted from one by Flora