This beautiful lemon, plum, almond, and coconut spice cake is my favourite cake of all time - although it may seem like it's overloaded with flavours, they all meld together spectacularly into a kaleidoscopic muddle of fragrant scents and tastes. It was inspired by one of the Ayurvedic doshas, vata. Vata is characterised by its light, cold, and dry qualities, so according to Ayurvedic theory, in order to balance this one must eat a diet rich in warming, dense, and oily foods.
This cake is a combination of these, incorporating almonds, coconut oil, sweet plum, lemon, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. It is exceptionally unique and utterly moreish. I can confirm, with great expertise, that you certainly do not need to follow an Ayurvedic diet in order to appreciate its decadence! The coconut oil and almond meal make it an exceptionally forgiving cake - overcooking need not be an issue if you are prone to doing so. Its dense crumb and chewy crust make it especially delicious.
If you're baking for a crowd, or with a limited time frame, this vata cake would also be lovely served straight from the oven with the ginger-spiked yoghurt and raw lemon curd spooned atop, or perhaps even cooked in ramekins to make fudgy little hot pots with a globule of lush, melty turkish delight in the centre, like gooey gems of rose fondant. The options are endless, so do not hesitate to get creative!
LEMON, PLUM, ALMOND, AND COCONUT SPICE CAKE
300 grams of flour
150 grams of almond meal
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1 1/2 cups of desiccated coconut
3 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of ginger
1 teaspoon of cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of salt
200 grams of coconut sugar
1 cup of coconut oil, melted
2 cups of rice milk (or any preferred plant milk)
2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 lemons, juice and zest
2 medium-sized plums
LEMON AND ROSEWATER SPRINKLE
2 tablespoons of rosewater
Juice of 1 lemon
TANGY LEMON CURD
1/4 cup of cashews, soaked
1/4 of a banana
1 lemon, juice and zest
1/2 a teaspoon of maple syrup
Pinch of turmeric, until yellow
2 cups of coconut yoghurt
1-2 teaspoons of fresh or frozen ginger, grated finely
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
Thin slices of lemon
Piped coconut yoghurt
Chunks of sticky rose turkish delight
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius bake. Take two 25cm springform cake tins and grease liberally with coconut oil, then line the bases with a circular piece of parchment paper. You can also flour the sides, but I find that the oil is sufficient. Now is also a good time to place the cashews in a bowl of tepid water so that they'll be soft enough to prepare the lemon curd later.
- Place the flour, almond meal, baking powder, desiccated coconut, coconut sugar, salt, spices, and lemon zest into a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until well-combined. Make a well in the centre.
- Add the melted coconut oil, plant milk, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Stir through gently until just combined, then pour into the pre-prepared cake tins and spread evenly. Tap the tins on your bench top a couple times to get rid of any excess air bubbles that may be trapped within the batter.
- Take your plums, run a knife vertically around the outside, then twist to split. Remove the pip, then slice the plum into 1cm cubes. Dot these evenly within the cake batters, then press gently until they're almost fully submerged.
- Bake the cakes on the centre rack of the preheated oven for approximately 40-45 minutes, or until they spring back when touched, are a light golden brown, and the sides are pulling away from the edges of the tins. You can also test by inserting a skewer - if it comes out very nearly clean, then they will be cooked.
- While the cakes are still warm, mix together the rosewater and lemon juice for the sprinkle. Pierce the cakes around 10-20 times, then sprinkle the mixture over both cakes evenly. Allow the cakes to cool in their tins for 15 minutes before gently running a knife around the edges and releasing the springform sides. Set on a wire rack to cool completely - this will take a good hour or two.
- While the cakes are cooling, prepare the lemon curd by placing the soaked cashews, banana, juice and zest of a lemon, maple syrup, and turmeric in the bowl of a food processor and blitzing until silky smooth and vibrant yellow. Scoop this out into a bowl and set aside.
- When the cakes are completely cool, make the ginger-spiked coconut yoghurt by stirring the grated ginger and maple syrup through the coconut yoghurt. Take the first cake, place on a plate, and scoop half the coconut yoghurt mixture onto the centre. Using the back of a spoon, spread outwards in circular motions to create an even layer. Now take half of the lemon curd and spoon onto the coconut yoghurt layer, smoothing out to create a dripping effect on the outside edges.
- Next, place the second cake on top of the first and repeat with the coconut yoghurt and lemon curd. Place the lemon slices on top of the cake, and if you'd like to add a bit more interest, you can pipe coconut yoghurt on top. I like the look of a clean, simple cake, but edible flowers and a few torn knobs of turkish delight would look beautiful too.
- This cake is best kept in the refrigerator due to the coconut yoghurt, but should be left at room temperature for an hour prior to serving. Consume within 2-3 days.