I love a good bit of cake.
I sometimes get my kids to imagine that they have a pillow made out of cake and we fantasise about how lovely it would be to eat it. The last time we played that game my son took it to the next level and imagined a marshmallow duvet. Inspired. The boy will go far.
I have a friend who also loves cake, her name is Ali. Last September Ali came to Paris with Annie to run a short road race with me. The good thing about a short race (I mean 6k short, not even 10k) is that there’s none of the stress associated with a long one. The day before is not devoted to carbo-loading (although we did carbo-load just for fun), there’s not the knot of tension in your stomach and you are pretty much free to be tourists in Paris.
So that’s what we did.
A bit of browsing outside the Sacré Coeur and some mooching around Montmartre. Some chillin’ on the Champ de Mars and some falafels in the Jewish quarter. Ahh, Paree, je t’aime.
It was when we were on the Métro that the conversation turned to cake.
Ali and Annie talked passionately about a cake they love. Ali described in detail how the sugary, lemony topping solidifies when it cools and makes a crunchy crust on the soft sponge. She told of her friend who always requests the middle section of Ali's cake because it is squidgy cake perfection. Annie recounted how she doesn’t bother adding the required 6 tablespoons of milk, whereas Ali always adds them. It was a lively, useful debate about cake.
Which cake? Lemon Drizzle Cake.
Since the Métro conversation I've tried many times to make Lemon Drizzle without eggs, sans success. Gluten free with eggs, yes. Gluten free without eggs, not so good.
Then, the breakthrough. My KitchenAid worked her magic and lo! a pillowy, egg-free cake. Granted, it doesn’t have as much pillow-factor as one with eggs, but I would happily rest my head on it for a good 12 hours. Possibly longer.
To Ali, Annie, cake and passion. And a lovely weekend in Paris.
Lemon Drizzle Cake
Who would think that a prolonged whisk of the egg replacing mixture would yield such happy results? Can it really have been that simple all along? You'll need an electric hand whisk (or KitchenAid!) for this recipe.
Egg free, dairy free, gluten free
6 tsps Orgran 'no egg' egg replacer
3 tbsps ground golden linseeds/flax seeds
¼ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tbps GF apple/banana purée (like the stuff babies eat)
3 tbsps oil (I used olive oil)
15tbsps rice milk
180g Doves Farm Self Raising Gluten free flour (or other gluten free flour enhanced with xanthan/guar gum)
¼ and an ⅛ xanthan gum (that's a ¼ tsp plus a good pinch)
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsps vanilla essence
100-150ml rice milk
Gluten free with eggs
Replace the first 6 ingredients in the Gluten free, egg free version above with:
Then use the rest of the ingredients shown in the gluten free, egg free, dairy free version.
Egg free with wheat flour
Replace the gluten free flour and ¼ & ⅛ xanthan gum with 180g self-raising wheat flour then use the rest of the ingredients shown in the gluten free, egg free, dairy free version.
Juice of the two lemons plus 6 tbsps of sugar
- If not using eggs, prepare the egg replacing mix. Put the Orgran no egg powder, ground linseeds, bicarbonate of soda, xanthan gum, oil and rice milk into a bowl and whisk with a mini whisk to remove any lumps. Set aside
- Pre-heat the oven to 180˚ celsius. Grease an 18x28 rectangular baking tin and line with baking parchment. If using real eggs, you can use a slightly larger tin, about 20 x 28 (ish)
- Remove the zest from the two lemons with a zester or fine grater and place in a large mixing bowl
- Squeeze the juice from the lemons into a separate bowl (or use a reamer and get the guts as well) and reserve
- Add the sugar and eggs or egg replacing mixture to the mixing bowl with the lemon zest and whisk using an electric hand whisk/KitchenAid/Kenwood. The eggs will grow and froth up and show off about being so much better than egg replacer. The egg replacer will definitely bulk up but will not double in size. Hope that's clear
- Add the remaining ingredients, but only half of the rice milk. Mix to incorporate and add the remaining rice milk (or more) to achieve a dropping consistency
- Scrape into the baking tin and bake in the oven until risen and golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. About 20-30 mins. If the top starts to brown but the middle is not cooked, cover the top of the cake with aluminium foil and slightly reduce the heat until the middle is cooked
- About three minutes before the cake is cooked, add 6 tbsps of sugar to the lemon juice you set aside earlier and stir. Don't do this bit too early or the sugar will dissolve, you want it crunchy
- Remove the cake from the oven and spread the sugar and lemon juice mix over the surface. Use the back of a metal spoon to spread it around the cake. Some of it will dribble down the sides and will make your cake deliciously squidgy
- Leave to cool and the sugar topping should go crunchy
- Best eaten on the same day. Alternatively you could use it as a pillow and eat it in your sleep
All cake pictured is gluten free and vegan
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