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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  • Isabella says:

    this is lovely, thanks for sharing, Celine.

    When I use the oven, should I turn on the heat both at the top and at the bottom? Or just one of them?

    you mentioned I should prepare icing just before serving, how about frosting? Should I prepare it before I chill the cake, or afterwards?

    • Celine says:

      the frosting is best prepared in advance so it has time to chill.
      the oven should be hot all over, as is usual for most cakes.
      have fun baking!

  • [...] to Have Cake, Will Travel to see what Celine could offer. I found perfection in the form of her Lemony French Cake. You all need to go check out Celine’s gorgeous photos of this cake to understand why I was [...]

  • Swarna says:

    Celine
    I prepared this yesterday…oh my lemony goodness.
    It turned out awesome. I did not have lemon extract so I substituted lemon flavored grapeseed oil for vegetable oil and instead of lemon icing I made a simple sugar syrup with water sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice and poured on the top of the cake.

    Your recipes are fool proof.
    I have your 500 vegan recipes.
    But i think you should seriously write a vegan baking book.
    I will be first in line.

    • Celine says:

      yay! and I am very intrigued by the lemon flavored grapeseed oil, it sounds scrumptious.

      • Swarna says:

        yes you must try the lemon flavored oil…. I am going to try to prepare the same cake with cardamom/pistachio flavoring…will let you know how it came out. I think this is going to be base cake recipe from now on me…

  • Cassidy says:

    this sounds delicious !
    i’m so going to try making it :}

  • Linda says:

    Bonjour,

    Ceci est le meilleur gâteau au citron que j’ai jamais mangé et de loin! Parfaitement moelleux, léger, citronné (je n’ai pas utilisé d’arôme, seulement le zeste et le jus d’un citron). Merci pour cette formidable recette que je peux adapter au gré des envies.