Light and lemony dairy-free mother's day cake!

Mother's day is this Sunday as I have been told repeatedly by corny ads on tv and discount catalogs flooding my mail box and while I don't really fall for the marketing hype for these things (ok so maybe I do just a little) this is my first as a new mom.
My little monkey is four months old and so far it's been a roller coaster ride with sweet toothless smiles following projectile spit-up, red faced colicy screaming that no amount of rocking, singing or my own crying can calm  but also joyous squealing and giggles at the slightest hint of a funny face.
It's meant a bit of giving up and growing up and being responsible for this tiny teeny little dictator who loudly demands my attention at the most inopportune times-so I have to run out of the shower sopping wet or leave my cooking to burn on the stove or change diapers at a bleary 3 am. But then I did say sweet toothless smiles right? and yummy baby smells, and tiny teeny fingers that curl around my thumb...
So how am I going to celebrate? I don't know yet but there will be lots of funny faces and of course there will be cake. Like this one. And if my mom wasn't so far away I would bake this cake for her.
Since the little monkey may have a dairy allergy I have been looking for dairy free desserts and other food-allergy friendly eats. I found this easy and delicious sounding recipe for a lemon cake made with canola oil instead of butter and I substituted milk with soy milk and slightly adapted to make more 'lemony' by adding more zest and the juice as well.
The batter itself was so delish, I licked the spatula clean- always a good sign. The wonderful smell of lemons enveloped the house while it was baking and I kept peering at glass front of the oven door because I just couldn't take the suspense. I am so bad at waiting for my cakes to be done and almost always open the oven door too soon and everyone knows what happens then- the cake may look like its risen but then, it falls as flat as a pancake.
Well that wasn't happening this time! I baked it for 50 mins at 375 C until a toothpick inserted in the center came out clean and the center part felt all bouncy and springy.
Light & Lemony dairy-free cake
Recipe source: Susie T's Spanish Lemon cake from Recipezaar here
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk or alternatives like rice milk or almond- I used Soy Milk
  • 3/4cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice ( juice from 2 lemons)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • Preheat oven to 180 C or 350 F 
  • Combine sugar and eggs and beat well with an electric beater or in the bowl of a stand mixer till foamy
  • Add lemon zest, then the oil. Do not beat, just stir it lightly with a spatula.( you don't want the mixture to turn into mayonnaise!)
  • Fold in the flour alternatively with the milk and lemon juice. Beat on low for about a minute.
  • Bake in a 23cm round or similar size square cake tin ( I used my 8 inch round spring-form)  for about 40 minutes or until skewer/toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (Or make this in double quantity and bake it in a large rectangular pan about 30cm x 25cm.)
  • Check after 40 minutes and see if it needs longer if the batter sticks to the skewer/toothpick.
  • I served it with a dusting of powdered sugar for which I cut out a heart stencil out of a piece of paper to make the heart shape. You could also top it with lemon glaze
To make Lemon Glaze (optional) :
Mix the juice of 1 lemon and 1 cup fine granulated sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and microwave it for 30 seconds on high. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.
I HEART this light and lemony cake that is wonderfully fluffy yet moist, and has such a tantalizing summery citrus y taste! Going to try it with orange juice and orange zest sometime soon too.
I have been searching for a citrus y, dairy-free cake and my attempt at Cenk's Clementine and Olive Oil cake was a bit too olive oil-y and dense for me ( mostly because I don't think I followed the instructions too well) .
I think this simple recipe is a winner and I especially love how versatile a good Lemon cake recipe can be. Amy suggests variations for lemon cakes: "add savory herbs (thyme, lavender), sweet spices (nutmeg, cloves, cardamom), ground nuts (almonds, hazelnuts), liqueurs (Grand Marnier, Amaretto)" 
All you Mommas, wish you all an early happy mothers day from me :) Kick back, take a bite out of this tangy summery cake and relax a little!


  1. My dear friend made this cake for me. I too am a nursing mom, who's baby is dairy and soy intolerant. It was absolutely delicious. She accidentally baked it for an hour at 180 F having missed the C, but then caught the error and corrected it. So we don't know how that might have impacted things. She chose to use coconut milk instead of soy/rice/almond, which resulted in an incredibly moist cake with a wonderful crumb. Somehow it tasted like it included things like butter and ricotta. It was divine. As you know, its a big deal when someone cares enough about you, and your little one, to bake a safe cake. Truly divine. -Carrie

  2. Carrie I am so glad to hear from you! Congratulations on your teeny one :) Hope you are enjoying the early months, as hard as they are, they are so incredibly precious and so fleeting right? Mine is already a toddler and outgrown some of his allergies though not yet dairy. Great to hear that coconut milk worked well. Must try that myself -sounds yummy. Will make a note about Fahrenheit conversions in the recipe too. Thank you!

  3. I love lemon cake! Thanks for sharing your lemon cake recipe! Definitely have to try it.;)

  4. This recipe is a total winner. Thank you SO much!
    I just added mashed pumpkin and cinnamon to this recipe today. I'm not an exact science kinda mum, so can't really tell you how much pumpkin nor how much extra flour. But the results? Yum. Thanks for getting on the dairy free baking recipe train.

  5. Have just made this - yum!! House smells delicious X janette, NZL

  6. In the Method of your wonderful recipe you are missing the mention of the baking powder and salt. Subsequently I missed both in the baking of the first cake. It was dense but delicious. I can't wait to try the fluffy one!

  7. I noticed that in the recipe you state 350 for the oven, but in your opening remarks, you state 375. I want to make this for my daughter's birthday, as she is becoming intolerant to dairy. Can you help with the temp??

  8. 350 should be fine for you, my oven used to run a little cold.

  9. The cake was FANTASTIC!!! I have to tell you, the flavor was out of this world. ...


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