I made this sweet and tart cake for the first time when we celebrated two birthdays at the end of February, shortly before the talk of quarantines. When Memorial Day came around and the city of Nashville prepared to start opening back up, it seemed appropriate to make it again. This time as a celebration of the future.
It is extremely easy to make. I used a gluten free cake mix, which has just the right amount of sweetness. (See below mix suggestions.) It is the glaze topping that makes it so unique – it has only 3 ingredients and two of them come from a lemon.
Sweet and Tart Cake
Gluten-free and GMO-free vanilla cake mix**
1 large organic lemon
2 cups organic powdered sugar
Bake cake per the directions, using two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans. (It is best not to use aluminum or non-stick baking pans. I have had good luck with stoneware pie “pans” like these. They look like pie plates but the edges are straight so they can also be used for cakes. For easy cake removal, grease with coconut oil and use wax paper cut to fit the bottom.)
When ready, remove the cakes from the pans and cool on wire racks. When fully cooled, mix the icing. Start by grating the lemon rind onto a plate. You will want to have at least 1 teaspoon but closer to 2 teaspoons is better. Then squeeze the lemon until you have about 3 tablespoons of juice. Mix the rind pieces into the juice.
Put powdered sugar in a separate bowl. (Sifting is optional.) Add the lemon mixture and stir with a fork. It will take a few minutes to get everything wet and the lumps mixed out. Add a little water if necessary but do not make it too thin.
Put the first cake layer on a wide round plate and spread about one third of the icing on top. Set the second cake on top. Then carefully spread/pour the remaining icing over the top layer, letting some of the icing drip down the sides. The icing will begin to harden after a few minutes.
The cake will keep a day or two covered on the counter or several days in the refrigerator. Slice and serve. Yield will depend on serving size.
** It is very difficult to find a gluten-free, dairy-free, and GMO-free cake mix. I have yet to find one that is also organic. Most gluten-free cake mixes include GMO ingredients like corn or soy and even preservatives. For this cake I used Pamela’s Vanilla Cake Mix. It does include xanthan gum, which can aggravate some people. (I used organic coconut oil for the required oil.) Another “clean” cake mix is made by Simple Mills. It is good but made with almond flour, which is high in oxalates and can be a problem for others. Go to My Pantry for other suggested brands.
You can also make a cake from scratch using your own recipe. This article explains how to substitute ingredients to make a standard recipe gluten-free and dairy-free.