Lemon Poppy Seed Cake w/ Citrus Cream

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Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Citrus Cream

I am considering doing a 30-day unprocessed food challenge on top of my recent obsession with reducing waste, but I wonder how baking would fit within these boundaries. I need baking powder, agar powder, arrowroot, coconut milk all of which are processed and packaged. It would be possible, but I would be extremely limited as to what I could bake. Perhaps there is a happy medium where 80% of my foods are unprocessed and 20% are processed. Also, when buying lemons, I have no idea whether wax was applied to increase their shelf life. Other commonly waxed fruit and veg include cucumbers, peppers, apples, limes and oranges.  There are no labels that say “treated with x”.  Thankfully, lemons for this cake were fresh from my sister-in-law’s lemon tree.  She has a bountiful lemon tree that gives and gives.

This cake is phenomenal. It’s the type of cake where you call the girls to come over and pull out the french press because it’s time to sit down and have a piece of cake with a cuppa. It’s a dense cake, rich in flavor and has what all the other lemon poppy seeds cakes are missing, a citrus vanilla cream. It took a few hero players and failed attempts, but here I believe is a good old fashioned vegan lemon poppy seed cake just like grandma would have made it.


For the dry mix:
2 cups spelt (white) flour
1/2 cup bakers (white) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
pinch of salt
For the wet mix:
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider (mixed with 1 tablespoon of soy/almond milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
For the citrus vanilla cream: (best if made the night before)
1 can (400ml) coconut milk
2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
1 teaspoon agar powder
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder (dissolved in 1 tablespoon water)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Make the cream
    • Place coconut milk, rice malt syrup and agar powder in a medium saucepan and bring to boil while mixing. Reduce heat and add the dissolved arrowroot then let simmer for 10-15 minutes, whisking often. Remove from heat and mix in the orange and lemon juice. Once it stops steaming place in a container and refrigerate until it sets. Preferably overnight.
  2. Make the cake
    • Preheat oven to 180C. Grease two 15cm (6inch) cake tins with coconut oil and set aside.
    • In a large bowl, sieve in the flours, baking powder, and baking soda then add poppy seeds and salt. Whisk through to break up any lumps and to combine the ingredients.
    • In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients and mix well. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Divide batter across the two cake tins and bake for 40 minutes.
    • While the cakes are baking, the citrus cream that’s been resting in the fridge is now a solid mix. Place in a blender and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Blend just until smooth then place in an airtight container and refrigerate till ready to frost the cake.
    •  Remove cakes from the oven and let cool before gently removing from the cake tins. Place on a wire rack until completely cooled. Spread half the cream evenly over one of the cakes. Place the other cake on top and spread the remaining of the cream evenly over the top base.
    • Garnish with lemon zest.