Cake baking is not one of my specialities, so when I do pop a cake into the oven it’s likely to be for a special occasion. In this case, we’re celebrating the 24th anniversary of our vegetarian dinners in Palo Alto. For our party I will dress up a simple lemon cake with two sauces, coconut cream and a raspberry coulis. Although this cake is good in any season, I especially like it in summer with a topping of local berries or stone fruit. Rustic in style, it is light, yet substantial, with maple syrup adding sweetness and cornmeal providing a hint of crunch. If you’re looking for an-easy-to-make cake for a special celebration, I think this one will make you happy. Recipes after the jump.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 3/4 cups unbleached pastry flour
1/2 cup cornmeal (provides texture)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
grated zest from 2 large lemons
1 – 1 1/4 cups water
1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk well to combine, making sure to eliminate any lumps.
4. Line with parchment or lightly oil a 9-inch round spring form cake pan (or similarly sized pan) and pour the batter in, smooth.
5. Bake on the center shelf of a 350 degree F oven, 40-45 minutes or until the cake tests done.
6. Cool before attempting to remove from the pan.
For the Coconut Cream:
1 13-ounce can rich (not lite) coconut milk
4 ounces firm tofu, well drained
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or to taste)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Carefully open the coconut milk, and spoon out only the thick part, leaving the watery part for another use ( as part of the water in the cake recipe, for example).
2. Combine this coconut cream with the other ingredients in a food processor and process until very smooth and creamy.
3. Chill before using as a replacement for whipped cream.
For the Raspberry Coulis:
1 12-ounce package organic frozen raspberries
4-5 tablespoons maple syrup, or to taste (depending on how sweet you want your sauce to be)
Combine the raspberries with the maple syrup in a blender. Blend until you have a very smooth sauce. For a more refined sauce, strain out the raspberry seeds using a fine sieve. Yields about 1 1/2 cups.