It’s finally starting to feel like spring around here! Leaves are budding, my social feed is filled with photos of cherry blossoms and there is one daffodil standing in the garden amidst several flower-less stems, thanks to the neighborhood deer-folk. Warmer weather is on the horizon and with it, summer berries, peaches, cherries off the tree, and (my favourite) t-shirts and flip flops. But, I’m getting a tad ahead of myself.
Lemons evoke early spring to me for their fresh flavour and vibrant yellow colour reminiscent of that flaming ball of light we rarely see in the sky these days. Lemon desserts of any kind always tickle my fancy, especially when they are as cute as this 6″ mini layer cake. This is my go-to cake recipe for special occasions or just because; it’s versatile, easy to prepare, perfect for a small crowd, and has a great cake-y texture. It makes for lovely cupcakes as well with that delicious crunchy top, which we all love, right? With Easter this weekend, I knew it was the perfect time to share this healthier yet fun lemon dessert. Not to mention my blog has been cake-less until now (gasp)!
For me, the deliciousness factor of any cake is determined by it’s frosting. And cashews make a surprisingly perfect cake frosting that is neither too sweet nor devoid of that luscious frosting texture. Cashews bring it all: fluffiness, easily piped or spread and a pleasant sweetness that doesn’t cross the line to “overly sweet”. Conventional frostings tend to be far too sugary for my liking, so if you’re like me, you’ll adore this variation. Best of all, it’s naturally sweetened with a mere 1/4 cup of maple syrup. I just love this cake (and long weekends).
If you’re new to making cakes (vegan at that), have no fear; this cake recipe is pretty foolproof, however, even I make mistakes from time to time. If I can share one piece of advice, use a bamboo skewer to hold the layers together while frosting your cake. Frosted cake layers shift with pressure, but a skewer will hold it upright with ease. There was one photo of me finishing the frosting on this cake and surely it resembled the tower of Pisa; I left it out purposely, but know that I do stuff like that all the time behind the scenes.
Lastly, I want to say a big thank you to Vanessa Vorbach, holistic nutritionist and editor at the FeedFeed.com for featuring me on her blog among a few other very talented and inspiring foodies. I’m honored to make her list of “9 Inspiring Foodies You Should be Following”. Check out her beautiful blog and lovely post here. If you’re reading this, thank you so much Vanessa for being such a wonderful inspiration yourself. Your words are encouragement to me. BIG HUGS!
Well, I don’t want to keep you too long… so, cheers to a wonderful long weekend and don’t forget to have a slice of cake (or two).
DOUBLE LEMON MINI CAKE
This mini 6″ cake is perfect any spring occasion. It has a lovely lemon taste and is nicely sweet but not overly sweet like traditional cakes and frostings. This cake packs a healthy dose of fibre with the inclusion of whole spelt flour. But when it comes time to indulge in cake, it’s all about the frosting; cashews make an amazingly delicious frosting that holds up to being piped, if desired. The cashews need to be soaked 12 hours in advance, so be sure to soak them the day before you plan to make the cake. Also, I would recommend frosting the cake just before serving to preserve the luster of the frosting. To achieve an ombre frosting effect, add half the frosting to a separate dish and mix in more turmeric powder or natural food colouring to get a darker hue. Frost with the darker hue on the bottom and the lighter hue on top.
| makes 1-6″ layer cake | | soaking time – 12 hours |
For the Lemon Cake
- 3/4 cup coconut oil, softened
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- 3 tsp egg replacer powder + 6 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups whole spelt flour
- 1 1/2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups almond milk
For the Lemon Cashew Frosting
- 1 2/3 cup raw cashews, soaked 12 hours
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (juice of 1 lemons)
- 2 tbsp filtered water
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/8 tsp turmeric powder, for colouring (optional)
For the Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 375’F. Line the bottom of 2 6″ round cake pans with parchment and grease the sides with coconut oil. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the egg replacer powder and water. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat the coconut oil and cane sugar on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add in the egg replacer mixture, lemon zest, vanilla and beat until combined.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together the spelt flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir just until combined. Add half of the almond milk and stir just until combined. Repeat until all the flour and milk is incorporated. Be sure not to over-mix the batter.
4. Pour the batter evenly into your prepared pans and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes in the pan. Carefully remove from the pan, remove the parchment paper and cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Frosting:
5. While the cake is cooling, prepare the frosting. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. Add the cashews and the remainder of the ingredients to a high powered blender (I use a Vitamix) or a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides occasionally if using a food processor.
6. Transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl and place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Remove from the freezer and whisk vigorously. The mixture should have a frosting like consistency (spreadable while holding a peak). If it seems too soft, simply freeze for another 10 minutes and whisk again.
7. Place one cake layer upside down on a cake plate and cover the top in an even layer of cashew frosting (about 1/2″ thick). Carefully place the second layer right side up on top of the first layer. Cover the cake with the remaining frosting. Serve right away.
Notes | if you prefer to use all purpose or whole wheat flour, they will work perfectly fine in this recipe. You may wish to add a small skewer to the middle of the cake once assembled; this will help the cake hold together while being frosted. Any non-dairy milk also will work for this recipe.