Lemon drizzle cake [vg]

Rather exciting news, it’s free-from baking next week at the GBBO tent.  I am hearing cries and outrage from baking enthusiasts everywhere: no dairy, no sugar, whaaaat?!

Personally, I am in my element.  I am averse to anything too sickly sweet anyway; I even find Bran Flakes sweet… yes, sue me.  Since I am on the last leg of my 31 days of veganism, this GBBO theme could not have come at a better time.

I am still on my mission to create a veganised Afternoon Tea spread.  Scones have been tackled, now onto those cakes.

I am not a fan of chocolate-flavoured desserts and treats, and would rather swap it for a hearty British classic.  Enter the lemon drizzle cake.

It’s frightfully fruity, best served with a cup of Earl Grey tea.  The cake’s citrus tones are easily the game-changer for many: as sharp as you can handle, or just with a hint of lemon, it can be quite divisive.

True to form, I changed up this recipe to create my lemon drizzle cake.  I used half spelt, half plain flour for that added rustic nuttiness; I swapped caster sugar for pure maple syrup; I sided with Nigel Slater and squeezed lemon juice all over for a lovely sharp cake before drizzling with a mix of icing sugar (with much reluctance), lemon juice, and fresh thyme.

It turned out quite well, a light sponge with a ‘bread-like’ rise, which can be attributed to the spelt.  The queen of lemon drizzle, a.k.a. my mother, even approved.  So if you like your lemon drizzle towards the sharp end of the spectrum, rather than the saccharine tip, then this semi-sweet, semi-wholewheat vegan version may just tickle your taste buds.

Lemon drizzle cake [vg]

Adapted from this recipe from Bit of The Good Stuff which I first saw on The Independent


125 g spelt flour

125 g plain flour

¼ tsp salt

2/3-3/4  cup maple syrup (depends on your sweetness preferences)

70 ml coconut oil, melted

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

For the drizzle

1/3 cup icing sugar

Juice of ½ a lemon


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 C/ Gas Mark 4.  Line a loaf tin with some parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt and zest.
  3. In another bowl, add the maple syrup, vinegar, lemon juice and milk. Whisk together.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with dry ingredients.  Mix.
  5. Lastly, add the coconut oil and mix well.  Careful to not over-mix.
  6. Pour the batter onto the prepared tin.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
  7. Whilst the cake is baking, prepare the drizzle.  In a bowl, add the icing sugar.  Add as much lemon juice as you would require – depends on how thick you’d like the drizzle to be.  Add the thyme leaves, and set the drizzle mixture aside.
  8. Once the cake has baked, prod holes in it and brush with some freshly-squeezed lemon juice.
  9. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes before peeling the parchment paper and transferring the cake onto a wire rack. Pour over the drizzle and cool.

The cake will keep for 3 days, provided you have not devoured it as quickly as we did at home.

I originally added the coconut oil with the rest of the ingredients but found that it quickly solidified – by adding it at the end, this will be prevented.  I was reluctant to use icing sugar for the drizzle, as I wanted to retain the ‘refined sugar free’ label, but lack of maple syrup meant otherwise.  Surprisingly, I can bear the sweetness of this cake; the nuttiness of spelt probably helped.

There are worse things than a keen baker without a sweet tooth.

Peace and love, Julia

P.S. I have big things in store for this blog, so watch this space.

P. P.S. If you like to try your hand at changing up recipes, and perfecting cakes/bakes/anything to your taste, I find The Guardian’s Word of Mouth blog provides some superb tips, with some food history and cooks’ insights added to the mix.  


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