Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lemonade Layer Cake

I walked outside today to find that spring had sprung.  Buds on trees, warm sunshine.... it all seemed to demand a dessert that captured the spring spirit, and this cake is it.

For the cake:
  • 1 and 1/3 cups vegan sugar
  • 6 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 3 tablespoons frozen lemonade concentrate. thawed*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 Ener-G eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/4 cups vegan buttermilk**
  • Cooking spray
For the frosting:
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces Tofutti cream cheese
  • 3 and 1/2 cups vegan powdered sugar
1. Combine the sugar, 6 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon lemon rind, 3 tablespoons lemonade concentrate, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer; beat at medium speed for a few minutes, until well blended.  Add the Ener-G eggs and beat until combined.  Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.  Combine the flour with the baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a bowl.  Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately to the sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating well after each addition.

2. Pour the batter into 2 (9-inch) round cake pans coated with cooking spray; give the pans a sharp tap against the counter once to remove any air bubbles.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes (you may need a minute or two more than that); a wooden pick inserted in the center should come out clean.  Cool in the pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove the cakes from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

3. To prepare the frosting, place 2 tablespoons butter, 2 teaspoons lemon rind, 2 teaspoons lemonade concentrate, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and the cream cheese in a bowl.  Beat with a mixer at high speed - the mixture should be fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar and beat at low speed just until blended.  Chill for 1 hour.

Note: I find it helpful to sift powdered sugar first when working with large quantities.  It makes the powdered sugar super fine, and easy to blend with the other ingredients for a smooth, creamy frosting.  Looking for a good organic powdered sugar?  Wholesome Sweeteners specifies right on the package that their product is suitable for vegans.

4. Place 1 cake layer on a plate and spread with 1/2 cup frosting.  Top with the remaining cake layer.  Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.  Store in the fridge, loosely covered, until ready to serve.  The cake will be yummy served chilled or at room temperature.

*Try the frozen lemonade concentrate from Cascadian Farms - it is all organic with organic sugar, so you can be sure there was no bone-char filtration used.  Every other brand of frozen lemonade I found used regular sugar as a sweetener.

**To make the buttermilk, place 1 tablespoon + 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup; fill with plain non-dairy milk to equal 1 and 1/4 cups.  Let stand for 5 minutes to clabber (sour) the mixture, then add to the recipe as directed.

Nutrition Info:
16 servings (1 slice), Calories 322 

Tasting Notes:
If I was being picky, I would say that you could easily get away with increasing the amounts of lemon rind and lemonade concentrate, in both the cake batter and the frosting, for more tart lemonade flavor to every bite.  But how can I be picky with a cake this light and moist, frosting of such perfect consistency, and the wonderful balance between the sweet frosting and the tart lemon cake?  I can't be picky, because I used my finger to lick the crumbs off my plate - a sure sign of a "5" in my rating system.


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