Vegan sticky lemon cake drizzled with lemon-mint syrup – gluten-free

This post kicks off my first day with the veganmofo challenge.   Veganmofo is an annual event in which participating vegan food blogs from all over the world, post one vegan delicacy a day on their sites.  Considering that I do only two posts a month, this is going to be a huge challenge.  You  can keep up with all the veganmofo posts by subscribing to the feed here.

This post was written for my very talented blogger friend, Saee, originally.

The recipe for the cake is not on the same lines as usual vegan cakes.  The wet ingredients have been cooked before being added to the dry ingredients.  I feel it the top of the cake made this way is stiff, similar to the ones made with egg whites.  I still haven’t successfully substituted egg whites in vegan cakes.  Have you?  The cake is gluten-free, soy-free, and refined-sugar  free.  I used whole almonds this time as Jr.H is not demonstrating as much reaction to nuts as she used to earlier.  This cake is dense, and sweet.  It reminds me of Indian sweets.  Probably it does not wish to digress from my Indian theme this month!  I again made use of the ‘mint and rosehip’ tea leaves I bought from Manali.  You knew you will see more, did you not?

Being invited by Saee to do a first time guest post is flattering and humbling.  We are practically neighbours as we live in the same city and we have met as often as two good friends busy with their own lives can.  When ever we have met, Saee has treated me to good food – amazing food comes closer.  Her strawberry jam was a hit with my family, and her mango jam became my favourite.  I had it with practically all kinds of food – bhakris, rotis, breads and even crackers!  Once when she visited she brought along a jackfruit and cashew subzi.  It was one of the best versions of savoury jackfruit preparations I have ever had.  We hogged.  Saee not only cooks well but is also very generous with portions, which works really well for me.  I would like very much to go on, but I promised I would share a recipe.

I must warn you that the cake in texture and taste may or may not be the same as the regular version made with refined flour and butter.  That is because gluten and eggs add lift to cakes and achieving the same is not always possible in a gluten-free vegan cake.  Nevertheless, once you start living gluten-free, you will find that these desserts do justice to flavours of the ingredients.  Gluten free flours like jowar (sorghum), ragi (millet) and brown rice have nutty taste and they go on to make not only healthy desserts, but also leave better after taste.

Ever since I discovered that my ‘mint and rosehip’ tea does wonders to desserts, it has become a favourite with me.  You can substitute with your favourite mint.  This cake is dense and is best when served in small portions with a little cream (I used tropolite) on the side.

I have used Italian lemons which are bigger in size, and sweeter than Indian lemons.

Recipe : Vegan sticky lemon cake drizzled with lemon-mint syrup
Yield : Serves 5
Oven temperature – 180 deg. Cel.


Dry Mix:

Brown rice flour – 1/3 cup
Amaranth flour / Rajgira atta – 1/3 cup
Whole ground almonds with skin – 1/3 cup
Corn flour – 1 tbsp.
Baking powder – 1 tsp.
Baking soda – A generous pinch
Rind of one Italian lemon

Wet Mix:

Raw sugar – 100g / ½ cup
Fine ground sea salt – A pinch
Almond oil / Olive oil – ¼ cup
Water – ¼ cup


Place all ingredients listed under ‘dry mix’ except lemon rind in a mixer and blend to incorporate ingredients evenly.  Remove in a wide mixing bowl and add the lemon rind.

In a steel saucepan place all the ingredients listed under ‘wet mix’, and heat on low flame till the sugar dissolves.  Remove and let it come to room temperature.

Pre-heat oven to 180 deg. Cel.

Fold the ‘wet mix’ into the ‘dry mix’.  The batter will be of thick lava consistency.  If needed add 2-3 tbsps. of water.

Prepare a 7” tart tin or cake tin, dusted with brown rice flour, and pour the cake batter into it.  Tap the tin to spread the batter evenly.

Bake in the centre of the pre-heated oven at 180 deg. Cel for about 20-25 minutes till the top is golden.  Check for burn spots in between baking, after about 15 minutes and rotate the tin as needed and bake further.  Check for doneness using a toothpick.  Remove the tin and let the cake cool for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile make the syrup:


Juice from one Italian lemon – About ¼ cup
Sugar – 2 tsp. or as per taste
Beans scraped from one vanilla pod
Dried mint leaves – 1 tsp.


Place the ingredients in a saucepan and heat till the syrup become sticky and sweet.  Filter.  Use while warm.

Make holes all over the lemon cake with a toothpick, space apart by an inch.

Drizzle about two teaspoons of the syrup all over the cake.  You will not need the entire syrup.

Let the cake absorb the syrup completely.

The left over syrup can be thinned and the sugar adjusted to make juice.


Slice the cake and serve with a little soy cream or cashew cream.  The cake will be a little tangy, and sticky, from the syrup.  Since the cake is gluten-free, it will be dense, more like a well-set halwa.

Serve in small portions.


Harini is a vegan food photographer, writer and recipe developer. She also loves feeding birds, reading, watching crime thrillers, and travelling amongst other things.

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  • Susmitha - Veganosaurus

    What a great kick start recipe Harini. The stickiness makes the cake sound extra yum! 🙂

  • Madhulika

    Thanks for the tips Harini. I haven’t used acacia till now. Is it the one that we use in laddus ?

    • Harini

      Madhulika, I looked into my notes and found that there is not acacia gum used here. I made another cake in which I used dink. Here the cooking takes care of the stability of the cake. I am sorry over the confusion I had between two cakes. 🙁 But you can add acacia whenever you have a doubt about the crumble factor. Yes, acacia gum is dink, the one we use in Indian laddoos.

      • Madhulika

        Oh ok. Thanks for the reply. Looking forward to some great vegan mofo posts. 🙂

  • PG

    love the pictures and the cake sounds wonderful.

  • Madhulika

    Hi Harini,

    I noticed this is a gluten free cake without any xanthum or gaur gum. Doesn’t the cake become crumbly ? I am experimenting a lot with gluten free but results are not very encouraging when it comes to cakes. Any tips that you can give me ?

    • Harini

      I missed that in the recipe. Will ask Saee to correct it immediately. I roasted dry and powdered 1/2 tsp of ‘dink’ (acacia gum) and added it to the wet mix. Thank you, Madhulika for noticing the omission. However if I make cupcakes I don’t use any gum, esp. when I use chocolate. Add cornstarch, tapioca or potatostarch for binding. Restrict tapioca or potato to 1/2 tsp. for 1 cup of flour, as they tend to harden the cake.

  • sapthanaa

    awesome combo.. cake has come out well!

  • GiGi

    Wonderful post to lead off MOFO. I came way of vegan temptivists. This is my 3rd year doing MOFO but am getting a late start today.
    Gorgeous photography and delicious looking dessert. Look forward to following you.

    • Harini

      Wow! Three years is encouraging! I hope I will make it this month without a break. Thank you for visiting, Gigi. Doesn’t matter if you start late, do keep posting. 🙂

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