Lemon tendercake with blueberry compote

This cake has a miraculous texture – almost like a super-aerated fluffy pancake – and a delicate flavour; it is scented with lemon rather than tingling with it. And even though there is coconut milk in the cake, this comes through as sweetness rather than tropical exuberance. For all that it is a tripartite affair, it is ridiculously easy to make: the perfect pudding when friends come round for supper. And did I mention that it is vegan?

Don’t shake the tin of coconut milk, as it’s best to get as much of the thick creamy part as possible. However, please don’t worry too much about it: the better-quality cans of coconut milk tend to be thicker anyway. But you are not allowed even to think about using light coconut milk.

INGREDIENTS

Makes: 8-12 slicesMETRICCUPS

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 225 grams plain flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 150 millilitres vegetable oil (plus more for greasing)
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 275 grams coconut milk (see recipe introduction)
  • 2 lemons (finely grated zest, plus 3 x 15ml tablespoons of juice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE COMPOTE:

  • 150 grams blueberries
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon caster sugar
  • 50 millilitres cold water plus 1½ teaspoons
  • 1½ teaspoons cornflour

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 250 grams coconut-milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ teaspoons icing sugar

METHOD

You will need 1 x 20cm springform cake tin / 1 x 8inch spingform cake pan

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/350°F. Grease the sides and line the base of your springform cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl large enough to take all the other ingredients later.
  3. In a wide batter jug (or another bowl), whisk the oil, sugar and coconut milk together, followed by the lemon zest and juice and the vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the jug of liquid ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, whisking to combine, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30–35 minutes, by which time the top will be golden brown, the sides shrinking away from the tin and a cake tester should come out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and leave the cake to cool completely in its tin. It may sink slightly as it cools, but this need not concern you in the slightest. While you’re waiting, you can get on with making the blueberry compote.
  5. Put the blueberries, lemon juice, caster sugar and the 50ml / 3 tablespoons of cold water into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, stirring gently every now and again, for a couple of minutes until the blueberries have softened in the now garnet-glossy liquid.
  6. Take the pan off the heat and, in a small cup, slake the cornflour with the 1½ teaspoons of cold water and stir this paste into the pan of blueberries, making sure you scrape every last bit out. Stir together, put the pan back over the heat and stir gently for about 30 seconds, by which time the sauce will have started bubbling again and will have thickened. If you feel it has become too jammy and thick, simply add a little more water and stir it in over the heat. Pour the compote into a small heatproof bowl or jug to let it cool. It will set once cold.
  7. Do not assemble the cake until just before serving. So: unclip the completely cold cake from its tin, unmould it and turn it over (so the underneath is now on top) onto a cake stand or plate.
  8. Mix the coconut-milk yogurt and vanilla together, spoon the icing sugar into a tea-strainer, then sieve it over the yogurt and stir it in, too, before spreading and swirling this soft mixture over the top of the cake. Thrash the blueberry compote a little with a fork to loosen it, and gently spoon it on top, leaving a gleaming white frame. Serve immediately.

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