I’m a history buff and I have a love for all things vintage – especially when it comes to the kitchen. I’ve been collecting vintage cookbooks and retro kitchenware for years, so it’s no surprise that when I decided to write a dessert cookbook, I packed it full of modernized, plant-based versions of classic retro desserts.
My current obsession is this vegan adaptation of Purity Flour’s “Busy Day Cake”. It first appeared in their 1945 war-time edition of their famous “Purity Cookbook.” (Purity Flour was Canada’s largest flour milling company for generations, before being amalgamated with Maple Leaf Foods and is an iconic historical Canadian brand.)
I found it as the lead-in for chapter 12 of @KarmaKBrown’s amazing novel, “Recipe for A Perfect Wife” (which is a must-read book whether you like cooking or not!) and I knew I just had to make a plant-based version of it.
What I love most about this cake is that it really is great for a busy day. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it kind of recipe that takes just a few minutes up front and then the oven (and time) do all the heavy lifting. Pop it in the oven in the morning and you’ve got a fabulous cake for your afternoon tea.
The original recipe calls for either a vanilla or lemon version but, if given the choice, I’ll always take lemon.
Busy Day Lemon Cake
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup vegan butter, softened
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk, such as almond or soy
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 7×12 inch baking dish.
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
3. In another large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add lemon zest and lemon juice and beat for another 2 minutes to incorporate. Alternately, use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.LikeForwardCopyUnsend4. Reduce speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Add the plant-based milk and applesauce and mix for one minute, then add the remaining flour and mix until just incorporated.
5. Pour into well-greased pan and bake for 60-65 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 30 minutes before transferring to serving plate. Make lemon glaze by stirring together the confectioners sugar and lemon juice until a thick but pourable glaze forms, and pour over the cooled cake.