They say time flies when you are having fun and even though running a food blog can be a tad bit stressful (you have to make time even when you don't have it) these six (six!!!) years have passed by so fast. Somehow it feels like it was yesterday when I was publishing my first recipe but at the same time, and after all that I've learned along the way, it also feels like it all started long long ago. It's kind a contradiction, right? Well, Cinnamon Girl turns 6 today and to celebrate my blogiversary I baked this super moist, super lemony and deliciously tender naked layer cake. I called it a 'Double Lemon Cake' because both the cake and the filling are lemon-flavored, plus some shredded coconut because: 1- I love coconut, and 2- coconut and lemon make a damn great combo.
Be careful when assembling the cake because this lemon cream is a bit 'slippery' and can make the layers move and not be perfectly centered. I recommend to gently spread this cream and remove any excess if the outside of the cake starts to look a bit messy. But remember that cakes don't have to always be perfectly frosted, a little chaos and decadence is super tempting too!
Double Lemon Naked Cake
(Makes one 6-in/15 cm three-layer cake)
- For the lemon cream:
2 cups unsweetened soy milk.
1/3 cup organic light brown sugar.
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk, at room temperature.
Peel of 1 organic lemon.
60 g (2 oz approx.) non-hydrogenated margarine.
2 drops organic lemon essential oil.
- For the lemon cake:
(Recipe adapted from 'Naturally: more great dairy-free desserts' by Fran Costigan)
1 cup whole spelt flour.
1 cup white pastry flour.
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder.
1 teaspoon baking soda.
1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt.
1/3 cup mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil.
3/4 cup pure maple syrup.
2/3 cup unsweetened soy milk.
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Zest of 1 small/medium organic lemon.
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla powder.
2-3 drops organic lemon essential oil.
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar.
Unsweetened shredded coconut, for sprinkling the top of the cake.
I suggest to make both the pastry cream and cake the day before assembling. Here's how I usually organize myself:
1- Bake the cake. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes, unmold and cool completely on a wire rack. Do NOT cut the layers yet.
2- While the cake is cooling make the lemon cream. Let it cool at room temperature covered in plastic wrap.
3- When both the cake and cream are cold, transfer them to the fridge overnight. This way the cake will be way more easy to handle and cut in three layers and the cream will also set and become thicker, which means easier to pipe (if desired).
4- On day 2 cut the cake in three layers and assemble.
- To make the lemon pastry cream:
In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat stir together the first 2 cups of soy milk, sugar and lemon peel. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and discard the lemon peel and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl stir together the cornstarch and the other 1/4 cup of soy milk, mix well using a fork or wire whisk. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan of infused milk and cook, over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent any curdling. Keep whisking (with a hand whisk) until the mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency, it will take up to 5 minutes approximately.
Once the cream is thick remove from the heat immediately and stir in the margarine and lemon essential oil. The margarine will quickly melt and will add a velvety and smooth finish to the cream.
Let it cool completely at room temperature, covering the surface of the cream with plastic wrap as this will prevent a skin from forming on the top.
Chill in the fridge until ready to use, preferably overnight.
- To make the lemon cake:
Preheat oven to 180 º C (350 ºF). Lightly grease one 6-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir well with a wire whisk to distribute the ingredients.
Whisk the oil, maple syrup, soy milk, lemon juice and zest, vanilla powder, lemon essential oil and vinegar in a separate medium bowl until well blended. Pour into the dry mixture and stir with a whisk until the batter is smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap lightly on the counter to eliminate air bubbles.
Bake for 35-40 minutes approximately (depending on the height of your cake pan), or until the top of the cake is golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean (a few moist crumbs are okay).
Let the cake cool in the pan, placed on a wire rack, for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and carefully peel off the parchment paper. Invert the cake topside up on the rack and cool completely.
Wrap the entire cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before filling and frosting.
- To assemble the cake:
Place the cake on a flat surface and cut in three equal layers. Spread the lemon cream over the top and repeat the process two more times until the cake is completely assembled.
Sprinkle around 1/4 cup of shredded coconut on top of the cake.
Store the cake well covered in the refrigerator, cut the slices while still cold but let it come to room temperature before serving.