Who doesn’t love a tangy, moist, lemon cake, with sticky lemon syrup drizzled over and cream or ice cream on top, and a cup of tea on the side? You guys obviously agree with me, because when I shared this recipe in our newsletter a few months ago it went crazy! Well, good news, here it is on the blog so it’s easier to find now… AND my sister and I played with the recipe and improved on it, so it’s even better now! Woo hoo!!
For those who didn’t see the original newsletter recipe, here’s the story behind this cake…
A few months ago my 18 yr old son, Simi, was going for his drivers licence (P plates) test. Everyone told us that it’s practically impossible to pass the test first go (especially for young guys, as the instructors are pretty tough on them), and most of his friends took two or three goes to pass. Simi was feeling very nervous, and saying he was sure he wouldn’t pass… so of course I gave him a bit of a pep talk about not talking himself into failing, doing the very best he can, keeping positive, staying calm… and meanwhile I prayed HARD that he would pass because my GOODNESS I was making a lot of trips to take kids to and from work every day – often six trips in a day!! I was so ready to have some help with all the taxiing.
As he drove off with the instructor I said to my daughter Cassia, “Let’s make lemon cake and homemade ice cream while he’s gone!” Because I figured if Simi passed the test we could celebrate with cake and ice cream, and if he didn’t pass we could console ourselves with cake and ice cream. Win win!! 😀 (Although I didn’t know if the cake would actually work, as it was a new experiment…)
Thankfully, not only did the cake work BEAUTIFULLY, but Simi also passed his test!! FIRST GO!!!! Do you know how happy that made me??? (If you have kids you are constantly driving everywhere, you will understand the joy of having an extra driver in the family!)
So this is our celebration cake. We recommend serving it with homemade ice cream (there’s a dairy free recipe in Life-Changing Food) with friends, family and neighbours – because in my opinion, that’s the best way to eat cake! But it’s delicious on its’ own too, with a quiet cuppa in a cozy corner. We hope you enjoy.
Tips for best results…
- Check your scales: Baking requires much more exact measurements than say a soup or a casserole – make sure your scales are working properly before you begin.
- Oven: Every oven is different, so we recommend you keep an eye on the cake as it cooks, as you may need to tweak the cooking time to suit your oven. We use a Falcon Australia oven, on the fan-forced setting. If you know your oven cooks a bit slow, change temp to 180C, and cook until lightly browned on edges and top (see photos below), then cover with foil/lid and cook until skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean and the cake is firm when pressed gently in the centre. If you find after it’s cooled that it’s still a bit too moist, just pop it in the fridge and leave overnight – it will firm up as it gets cold.
- Texture: Nut meal cakes are not the same texture as a fluffy, white wheat flour cake – they are denser and moister, and are better cooked a day ahead as they will firm up as they cool. Don’t be discouraged if it falls a little as it cools – that’s also quite usual with grain free cakes. It will still taste amazing!
- Ingredients: Blanched almond meal is preferable to whole almond meal in this recipe as you’ll get a lighter result, although whole almond meal may work. If you use sunflower seed meal instead you’ll find the cake will turn a funny green colour, just so you know… which is why we didn’t. 🙂 (I think it would be heavier texture too.) I haven’t tried it with egg substitutes, I think it would end up too dense – but you could maybe halve the recipe and use chia ‘eggs’ plus a little baking powder, and cook in muffin cups.
- GAPS: This cake is suitable for Full GAPS, or if you leave the bicarb soda out it’s ok for Stage 4… it would probably be best to cook as cupcakes if not using the bicarb soda.
- Cupcakes: The recipe is PERFECT for cupcakes! Fill cupcake papers to 3/4 full and cook at 180C for about 20 mins, or until done. No need for a water bath. They freeze beautifully too!
- butter or coconut oil for greasing tin
- 3 large (60g) eggs
- 100g honey (or pure maple syrup)
- zest of 2 lemons (finely zested)
- 70g lemon juice
- 300g blanched almond meal
- ½ tsp bicarb soda
- 280g Greek yoghurt (or thick coconut yoghurt for dairy free)
- 120g extra virgin olive oil
- 70g lemon juice
- 60g honey (or pure maple syrup)
- 2 Tbsp water
- zest of 1 lemon (finely zested, or sliced thinly with sharp knife)
- 20cm round cake tin (not spring form or it will leak!)
- baking paper
- a large, high-sided baking dish*
- Preheat oven to 170C. Line the base of a 20cm cake tin with baking paper, and grease the sides with butter or coconut oil.
- Place eggs and honey into TM bowl, insert butterfly whisk, and mix 4 mins/speed 4.
- Add lemon zest and lemon juice and mix another 2 mins/speed 4. Remove butterfly.
- Add almond meal, bicarb soda, yoghurt and olive oil to bowl, and mix 20 sec/speed 4.
- Pour batter into the lined cake tin and place it into the baking dish.
- Pull the centre rack halfway out of your preheated oven and carefully place the baking dish on it. Using a kettle, pour very hot water carefully into the baking dish until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the cake tin. Gently slide the oven rack back into place, taking extra care not to slosh the water around.
- Bake for 45 mins, or until lightly browned on top.
- Gently slide oven rack out and carefully cover cake with foil (not touching cake) or a pot lid. Slide rack slowly back in, and cook another 25-30 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. (It will be slightly moist inside, but the top and sides of the cake should be golden brown and firm to touch.)
- Remove cake from oven and leave covered while preparing syrup.
- Place lemon juice, honey or maple syrup, and water into a clean TM bowl and cook 5 mins/Varoma/speed 2.
- Poke holes all over cake with a thin metal skewer and pour half the hot syrup over the cake. Wait until it sinks in, then pour over the remaining syrup. Cover cake and allow to sit and cool for 30 mins.
- Run a butter knife around the side of the tin to loosen cake. Release from pan.
- Decorate cake with zest. Slice and serve with cream or yoghurt.
- Follow step 1 as above.
- Whisk eggs and honey with an electric mixer until fluffy, then add lemon zest and juice and whisk another couple of minutes.
- Add almond meal, bicarb soda, yoghurt and olive oil to bowl, and mix until smooth.
- Pour batter into the lined cake tin and place it into the baking dish. Continue as above.
- Place lemon juice, honey or maple syrup, and water into a small saucepan and simmer over low heat for 5 mins. Continue as above.
- * For ample water circulation, the baking dish should be wide enough to leave a 2-4cm edge around the cake tin, and the sides should be high enough to hold about 4cm of water.