Even though blueberry season is still quite a ways away (we only just got local asparagus and rhubarb in the last week here in Ontario, let alone berries), I've already made my first blueberry dessert of the year!
Our department was having an end of the year pizza lunch for everyone last week, and the students in each division were assigned to bring additional dishes. This year, our division finally graduated from salads to desserts, and I spent a lot of time deciding what kind of dessert I wanted to bring!
Eventually I chose this vegan frosted blueberry cake from Kathy of The Lunchbox Bunch. I figured a single layer cake was a nice size and could be cut into small pieces, since there were a lot of people to feed! I also wanted to offer a vegan option for anyone with dairy intolerances or other dietary restrictions.
With my recent string of bad luck in the baking department, I didn't have high hopes for this cake actually turning out and was prepared to have to run to the store for a backup dessert, but luckily this recipe was a success!
The cake was soft with a light crumb and stayed nice and moist even after making it a day in advance. I reduced the amount of sugar so that the cake itself wasn't very sweet, letting the blueberries shine. You could serve the cake by itself as a more plain breakfast or snack cake, but I went ahead and added a frosting to make it more of a sweet dessert cake.
The frosting is made with Earth Balance to resemble a traditional thick buttercream frosting, and I added some lemon juice to try to cut some of the sweetness. Next time I would use a bit less frosting since it was still a touch too sweet for my tastes, but if you have more of a sweet tooth, then go ahead and use a thick layer of it!
My cake was a hit at our department lunch, along with a lot of other great desserts like mini strawberry pies from Natalie, banana bread, lemon blondies, raspberry-coconut squares, cupcakes and even mini creme brulees! I was asked for the cake recipe by another student (who recently became vegan), so here it is!
Frosted Vegan Blueberry Lemon Cake
Adapted from The Lunchbox Bunch
2 tbsp ground flax
2/3 cup warm water
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp rolled oats
1/3 cup almond milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup blueberries
Extra blueberries for topping
1/3 cup vegan buttery spread
2 1/4 cups icing sugar
2-3 tsp fresh lemon juice
1-2 almond milk
1/2 tsp lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a 9" cake pan by spraying with cooking spray and dusting the bottom and sides with flour.
Mix the flax with water and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flours through to oats). In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients (almond milk through to vanilla extract). Add the flax-water mixture to the wet ingredients.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the blueberries.
Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the sides are starting to brown and pull away from the edges of the pan, and the top feels firm and springy when you touch it. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should also come out clean. Remove cake from oven and let cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the frosting, beat the buttery spread with the icing sugar using a hand mixer or stand mixer until the icing sugar is incorporated. Add 2 tsp lemon juice and 1 tsp almond milk and beat again until the frosting becomes creamy. If you want it creamier, add another teaspoon of almond milk. Add another teaspoon of lemon juice if you want more lemon flavour. Beat or stir in the lemon zest.
Once the cake is cooled, spread the frosting onto the top (I left the sides bare) using a rubber spatula. Press blueberries into the frosting for decoration, in whatever pattern you like!
Makes 1 single layer 9" cake.
Note: I stored my frosted cake in the fridge overnight and let it sit at room temperature for the morning before serving at lunchtime.