This vegan lemon poppy seed layer cake takes the classic citrus + berries + poppy seeds combo and takes it to the next level with blackberry ginger jam and vegan cream cheese frosting!
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
- 3 cups (~380g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ½ cups (~280g) organic cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (about 2 medium lemons)
- 1 ⅔ cups (~400 mL) unsweetened almond milk
- ½ cup (~120 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 medium lemons)
- ½ cup (~120 mL) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons poppy seeds
Blackberry Ginger Jam
- 3 cups fresh or frozen blackberries (~425 – 450g)
- 1 ½ tablespoons freshly grated ginger (use a bit more for a more prominent ginger flavor)
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ cup (8 tablespoons or ~112g) vegan butter, softened to room temperature
- 8 ounces (~227g) vegan cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 – 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
To make the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F. Grease and line two 9-inch round cake pans (or 8-inch round cake pans) with parchment paper to make removal easy.
- Zest the lemons until you get two tablespoons of zest. Then juice the lemons until you get ½ cup of lemon juice.
- Combine the almond milk with the lemon juice and set aside until it curdles like buttermilk.
- Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the curdled milk, olive oil, lemon zest, vanilla and poppy seeds. Use a large wooden spoon to mix the batter, just until the ingredients are combined. Avoid over mixing the batter, as it can cause the cake to become denser in texture.
- Pour the batter evenly between the two pans (I use a kitchen scale to weigh each pan to evenly distribute the batter). Arrange the cakes in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until the center is set, and a toothpick inserted comes out with only a few moist crumbs. I baked mine for 32 minutes (you will need to bake them for a few minutes longer if using 8-inch cake pans).
- Remove the cake pans from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely before inverting them onto the cooling rack.
To make the Blackberry Ginger Jam:
- Add the blackberries, ginger, maple syrup, and lemon juice to a small saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil. After 2-3 minutes, use the back of a wooden spoon or a fork to break down and mash the berries.
- Cook for 7-10 minutes or until the jam has reduced and thickened a little bit. Remove from the heat and then stir in the chia seeds to thicken. The jam will also thicken as it cools.
To make the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:
- To a large mixing bowl, add the softened butter and cream cheese. Beat on low speed with an electric handheld mixer (or stand mixer) until smooth and creamy.
- Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest for a few seconds. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar in 1 cup increments, and mix on low speed until the icing is thick and spreadable.
- If your frosting is too runny, place the bowl in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
To assemble the cake:
- If you are making this into a traditional layer cake, you’ll need to slice each cake layer in half, horizontally, so you end up with four cake layers.
- Spread ¼ of the frosting over the first cake layer using a frosting spatula or silicone spatula, then spread ¼ of the jam on top. Repeat with the remaining three cake layers.
- If you have any leftover frosting, lightly spread the frosting on the outside of the cake.
- If you don’t want to make this into a four-layer cake, simply add a generous amount of the frosting and jam on top of the first cake, top with the second cake, and then repeat.
Find more of Nisha’s recipes on Rainbow Plant Life.