Browsing my new copy of Sticky Fingers’ Vegan Sweets cookbook, I came across a recipe for Coconut Strawberry Lemonade Cake with two layers, lemon curd and a decadent-sounding strawberry frosting. Yum! I wondered if I could recreate those flavors without using dairy, eggs, soy or gluten, and simplify the presentation a bit to make it a fail-safe version for non-bakers like myself.
I started gathering a bunch of different recipes for strawberry cake, and got to work testing ingredient combinations until I arrived at this version. I used fresh summer strawberries in the batter and icing, replaced shortening in the icing with coconut oil and included lemon zest, lemon juice and coconut milk in the batter for a tropical flavor perfect for warm weather dinner parties.
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- Hand mixer
- 9X13” baking pan
- 1 cup cane or granulated sugar
- zest and juice of one lemon
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk (mix before measuring)
- ¼ cup room temperature water
- ⅓ cup liquefied coconut oil (if you have solid coconut oil, you can melt it in the microwave. Be sure to re-measure after it's melted)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1¾ cup gluten-free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill One-to-One Baking Flour)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup fresh strawberries, diced small and tossed in a small amount of gluten-free flour to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake
- ⅓ cup solid coconut oil
- ½ cup room temperature soy-free Earth Balance
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp strawberry puree (Clean approximately one cup of strawberries, place in a blender and puree until smooth. This will make more than you need, but leftovers are great for yogurt parfaits or over your favorite dairy-free ice cream).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly grease a 9X13” pan with coconut oil and dust lightly with gluten-free flour.
- Make the strawberry puree (see instructions above).
- Make the batter: In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, coconut milk, water, liquified coconut oil and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk until a smooth, thick batter forms.
- Fold in diced strawberries and stir gently until they’re evenly distributed throughout the batter.
- Pour batter into prepared sheet pan and spread evenly with a spatula (it’ll be a rather thin layer of batter but will rise a bit when you bake it).
- Bake approximately 25 minutes, or until the top of the cake (especially at the edges) is slightly brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting, place solid coconut oil and soy-free Earth Balance into a medium bowl. Use a hand mixer to whip on medium-high until smooth.
- Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, whipping until incorporated each time you add more sugar.
- Add lemon zest, vanilla extract and strawberry puree (start with 2 tbsp of the puree; you can add more as long as the frosting isn’t too runny) until the frosting is smooth and spreadable.
- Once cake is completely cool, frost and garnish with fresh strawberries.