I made this cake for a good friend who cannot have dairy in any form. As it was her birthday, I felt it was important to make her a special celebration cake she would really enjoy, without having to worry about being inadvertently exposed to her allergen.
The texture of this cake is tender and super-moist, and the lemon flavouring used both lemon juice and zest, with no need for lemon extract. The naturally dairy-free frosting is effectively a meringue with subtle lemon flavouring, which you also add to the middle as a filling (would be awesome to add a berry jam as an extra filling in the centre as well), and then cover the outside of the entire cake. I decided to use my brulee torch and “toast” the outside of the cake to make it a true lemon meringue, which was a delicious decision!
Unfortunately I *forgot* to take a photo of the finished cake (gasp!), but I’ve borrowed a photo from the interwebs to indicate what my cake looked like before it was gobbled down to the last crumb, with the difference being that I torched the external meringue and did not use candied lemon slices.
Other similar recipes show lemon curd being used for the filling, which is an excellent idea, but I didn’t have enough time or lemons to make any. I will make and post a recipe for lemon curd some another time, as well as a dairy-free curd option that is equally as delicious.
Dairy Free Lemon Meringue Cake
YIELD: 12 svgs | PREP: 15 mins | BAKE: 45 mins | COOL: 1 hr
- 1 cup/205g vegetable shortening or coconut oil, room temperature
- 2½ cups/315g AP flour, plus a little more for pans
- ½ tsp/2.5g baking powder
- ½ tsp/2.5g baking soda
- 1 tsp/6g salt
- 2 lemons; 1 thinly sliced and seeded, and one zested to achieve 1 tbsp lemon zest, and juiced for ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cups/375g granulated sugar, divided
- 2 large eggs, plus 3 large egg yolks (save the whites for the frosting!)
- 1 cup/240mL soured almond milk
- Whipped DF meringue frosting (see below)
- Preheat oven to 350°F/175° C. Spray two 8″x2″ cake pans with pan spray (or use a little extra shortening) and flour, tapping out excess flour.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.
- In a separate, larger bowl, beat shortening and 1½ cups of the sugar until light and fluffy. Gently beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time until well-incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl to ensure mixture is well-combined. Beat in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
- Beat in flour mixture and soured almond milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix until just combined (do not overbeat).
- Divide batter between pans, and smooth tops. Bake until cake rounds pull away from the sides of the pans (about 35 minutes), carefully rotating and moving pans halfway through baking time. Remove from oven when a toothpick inserted into centre of cakes comes back clean. Let cool slightly, then carefully invert onto a wire rack, with a large plate underneath (to catch syrup).
- Meanwhile, while cakes are baking, bring remaining ½ cup of sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add lemon slices and simmer for 20 minutes. Transfer lemon slices using a slotted spoon to a waxed-paper-lined plate, and stir remaining 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice into syrup. Keep warm until cakes are finished baking.
- Poke several holes into both cakes using a toothpick while still warm. Brush liberally with lemon syrup, then let cool completely.
- Prepare frosting (recipe below). Frost completely cooled cakes , then using a brulee torch, caramelize the outside of the cake. Top with candied lemon slices.
YIELD: 1 cake worth of filling and frosting | PREP: 10 mins
- 3 egg whites (reserved from above recipe)
- ¾ cup/140g granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup/80mL water
- Pinch cream of tartar (optional)
- 2 tbsp/30mL lemon juice
- In a bain marie (a heatproof bowl set over 1-2 inches of simmering water), combine egg whites, sugar, salt, and water. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture registers 150° F/66° C on a candy or instant-read thermometer, 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer to a large bowl. Add cream of tartar (optional; use if whites are not whipping well)).
- Using an electric mixer, beat mixture on medium-high until glossy, stiff peaks form -do not overbeat-about 2-3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add lemon juice nd beat until just combined. Use immediately.