Lemony French Cake

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This cake is my dream cake! It reminds me of a gâteau au fromage blanc (quark cake) my mom and I used to have in order to celebrate the end of the week, every week. I’m not even that fanatic about fruity-tasting desserts, but this one’s a big happy, tender and decadent exception. I’m not too familiar with pound cakes, but I’m told its texture is somewhat reminiscent of that.

It’s best to prepare it a day ahead of time, to let the flavors develop.

Lemony French Cake:

1 cup (240 g) plain or vanilla soy yogurt
1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons pure lemon extract + zest of one small lemon
1 1/2 cups (185 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Grease your cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. [note: I used a 6-inch round cake pan [it’s 4 inches deep], so you might have to check your cake after 35-40 minutes to see if it’s done, if you use a different pan size. dip a toothpick in the center of the cake, and if it does not come out clean, add another 5 minutes, and check again. repeat until toothpick comes out clean.]

In a large bowl, whisk soy yogurt, sugar, oil, extracts, and zest.
Sift flour and baking powder on top and stir until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared cake pan.

Bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Leave in pan for 1 hour on a cooling rack before attempting to remove. Chill overnight.
Serve cold, with a simple icing or frosting, as follows.

If you want a fair amount of frosting…
Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting

2 ounces tofutti cream cheese (quarter of a tub)
1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon (14 g) margarine
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

Place cream cheese, margarine, and lemon extract together in a bowl, mix until smooth.
Add sugar little by little, beating (with a handheld mixer or in a stand mixer) for a few minutes, until fluffy and completely smooth.

If you want just a small amount of icing…
Simple Lemon Icing

1/2 cup (60 g) powdered sugar
fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at the most

Mix sugar and droplets by droplets of lemon juice until extremely well blended. You want the icing to be thick enough to stick to the back of the spoon, so go slowly when adding the lemon juice.
Prepare just before decorating the cake so that the icing doesn’t harden.

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  • Goodness, help me. This looks so GOOD.

  • Mattie says:

    Next weekend I’m making this for my class to bring in during school finals :D
    I can’t wait, it looks amazing.
    I love your whole website! Thanks for sharing it.

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  • Monica Shaw says:

    Mmm. I’m looking for a cake to use for a vegan strawberry shortcake. How light is this cake? As in, is it fluffy or dense? Looks like a dream!

    • Celine says:

      I wouldn’t say it’s entirely dense, but not fluffy either. maybe not a perfect match for what you need to use it for.

  • Kat says:

    I made this cake in a 9″ an, so it came out flat enough to cut in half and layer. The icing was a simplified version of the Lime Frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World (except I made it with lemon, to match the cake). And it was very good–just the lemon cake I’ve been looking for. Our guests devoured it; every crumb that they didn’t devour, they took home with them for later.