There’s something wonderful about the Daring Baker group that I’d recently joined.
Well, a few things actually. For starters, it’s a great community of super talented baker/bloggers. With currently over 600 members, it’s a fabulous place to have a question about baking. It’s also great to discover all these new and wonderful recipes, getting me to completely read a recipe over like a little school girl.
I was delighted to have cake as the challenge for this month (it’s my birthday month). Of course, Morven of Food Art and Random Thoughts did not choose just any cake. This one is perfect, Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake.
I left the challenge to the end of the month for one reason and naturally opted to bake my own birthday cake this year. With a small houseful of friends and family, I decided to bake two versions. When I joined the Bakers, I’d sworn to stick to the rules, which means sticking to the original recipes, so I’ve posted the true version over on my Food+Photography blog.
However, for you and my vegan house guests, I baked up this version. Although intimidated by the pillowy bowls of whipped egg whites, I tried my darnedest to stick to the essence of the original. Only lacking the meringue buttercream, side by side, this version got fairly close to the original – and if I dare to say it: A Practically Perfect <birthday> Cake. Yum.
VEGAN LEMONY WHITE PARTY CAKE
2 1/4 Cups Cake & Pastry Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
3/4 Cup Margarine or Butter
Zest of One Large Lemon, about 1 Tablespoon
1 3/4 Cups Soy Milk, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon Pure Lemon Extract
1 Tablespoon Vinegar
Measure and leave the soy milk to come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Prepare two 9″ round or 8″ square pans by lining the bottom with fitted parchment or wax paper, lightly spraying then dusting with flour.
Sift the flour, baking powder, soda and set aside.
Rub the lemon zest with the sugar until evenly distributed and fragrant.
If using a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment and cream the margarine with the zested sugar until well blended; about 3 minutes.
Add the lemon extract and combine along with 1/3 of the flour mixture.
With the motor running, add half of the soy milk, followed by another 1/3 of the flour.
Once the flour has absorbed add the remaining soy milk and mix well.
Add the vinegar and the last of the flour, beating until smooth.
Halve the batter and pour into prepared pans.
Bake for 30 minutes. Check with a cake tester or a toothpick for doneness.
Cool slightly then invert onto a rack to cool completely before icing.
CREAMY LEMON ICING
2 Cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted
3 Tablespoons Margarine
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Vanilla
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the sugar with the margarine and lemon juice.
Once it has come together, then add the vanilla to incorporate.
Continue to blend on med-high speed until light and creamy.
Putting It All Together
You will need, 1 jar of the preserve of your choice, I went with strawberry for this one, gently heated and strained to remove seeds.
Line the edge of your cake plate with strips of wax or parchment paper.
With a long serrated knife, slice the the cakes through the middle horizontally and lay one layer in the center of your cake plate over the waxed paper.
Using either a pastry brush or a butter knife, evenly spread 1/3 of the jam over the top of the sliced cake, carefully toward the edge.
Top with another layer and repeat with another 1/3 of the jam.
Add another layer and finish with the remaining jam and last cake layer.
Dollop the prepared icing in the center of the top of the cake and using a spatula, evenly spread the icing over the top and sides of the cake.
Decorate to your liking with fresh berries, candied lemon peel or sugared pansies.