Over the weekend, I was wondering who decides if it’s a special day or week. For instance, last week was National Curry Week, celebrating what has become one of the nation’s favourite genre of dishes (and rightly so!). Apparently it was also Humphrey’s Pyjama Week. Plus there were special days including World Arthritis Day, World Sight Day and World Food Day, as well as a few others. It was a very busy week!
Of course, these special days and weeks are awareness or fundraising campaigns, often for causes that slip out of the limelight when there is so much going on in the world. On occasion, they’re more of a marketing campaign for the companies who sponsor them (cynical head fully on). They also give bloggers something to talk about!
So with all that in mind. let’s raise a floury hand and a cup of tea to this week’s special week – National Baking Week! Something we can all enjoy with gusto! The popularity of The Great British Bake Off really does show how much we as a nation value cake. There are some truly mouthwatering offerings constructed before our eyes, with sweat, tears and tension folded in for our viewing delight. All we need is smell-o-vision to make it perfect. There’s even a GBBO drinking game been devised, with extra shots quaffed for a sunken disaster or soggy bottom (or so my student daughter tells me!).
Cake has always been important to The Sensitive Foodie, and I’m not alone, as my most frequently read posts are baked goodies. Eating whole food and plant based doesn’t mean that cake is banished, just adapted – and it still tastes as yummy, if not better.
This lemon and blueberry cake is definitely a winner. It’s easy to make and is reliably successful. Plus, with the addition of blueberries, you could claim it’s a super food! It works just as well with gluten free flour as normal wholemeal flour, and the coconut sugar adds a certain deep richness you can’t achieve with super refined caster sugar.
One thing to watch out for – don’t panic if you think the batter is too runny. I think this every time I make it, but it always firms up beautifully with a light, fluffy texture. Just keep the faith and don’t panic!
The lemon drizzle on the top is optional, as are additional fruit decoration. It just depends on how fancy you want to be! So have a go, and start National Baking Week off with a corker – make sure you get a slice though before hungry hands get on it!
Lemon and blueberry cake
250g self-raising flour – wholemeal or gluten free blend
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
100g coconut sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
220ml dairy-free milk (I use rice milk)
85ml olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 unwaxed lemon, zest and juice
100g fresh blueberries
To top (optional)
Juice of a lemon and 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (for drizzle)
extra blueberries and/or raspberries
Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Pop the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and mix together well. In another bowl, add the sugar, maple syrup, olive oil, dairy free milk, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla essence and stir well to combine.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together well, but lightly so you don’t lose all the air bubbles created from the lemon juice hitting the raising agents. Quickly stir in the blueberries, pour into the prepared tin (remember it will be pretty wet), tap on the worktop then place in the oven for 35 -40 minutes until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly in the tin.
If you’re adding lemon drizzle (really worth it) mix the lemon juice and coconut sugar together in a small bowl. Prick lots of holes in the top of the cake, with a toothpick or fine skewer, then pour spoonfuls of the lemon mixture over the top, letting it soak into the holes. Leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes then tip out onto a cooling wrack, peel off the baking paper and leave to cool completely. Scatter fresh berries over the top, and cut into slices to serve.