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Lemon Tendercake with Blueberry Compote

by . Featured in AT MY TABLE
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Introduction

This cake has a miraculous texture – almost like a super-aerated fluffy pancake – and a delicate flavour; it is scented with lemon rather than tingling with it. And even though there is coconut milk in the cake, this comes through as sweetness rather than tropical exuberance. For all that it is a tripartite affair, it is ridiculously easy to make: the perfect pudding when friends come round for supper. And did I mention that it is vegan?

Don’t shake the tin of coconut milk, as it’s best to get as much of the thick creamy part as possible. However, please don’t worry too much about it: the better-quality cans of coconut milk tend to be thicker anyway. But you are not allowed even to think about using light coconut milk.

This cake has a miraculous texture – almost like a super-aerated fluffy pancake – and a delicate flavour; it is scented with lemon rather than tingling with it. And even though there is coconut milk in the cake, this comes through as sweetness rather than tropical exuberance. For all that it is a tripartite affair, it is ridiculously easy to make: the perfect pudding when friends come round for supper. And did I mention that it is vegan?

Don’t shake the tin of coconut milk, as it’s best to get as much of the thick creamy part as possible. However, please don’t worry too much about it: the better-quality cans of coconut milk tend to be thicker anyway. But you are not allowed even to think about using light coconut milk.

Image of Nigella's Lemon Tendercake
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Makes: 8-12 slices

Metric Cups

For the cake:

  • 225 grams plain flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 150 millilitres vegetable oil (plus more for greasing)
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 275 grams coconut milk (see recipe introduction)
  • 2 lemons (finely grated zest, plus 3 x 15ml tablespoons of juice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the compote:

  • 150 grams blueberries
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon caster sugar
  • 50 millilitres cold water plus 1½ teaspoons
  • 1½ teaspoons cornflour

For the topping:

  • 250 grams coconut-milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ teaspoons icing sugar

For the cake:

  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil (plus more for greasing)
  • ¾ cup superfine sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk (see recipe introduction)
  • 2 lemons (finely grated zest, plus 3 x 15ml tablespoons of juice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the compote:

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cold water plus 1½ teaspoons
  • 1½ teaspoons cornstarch

For the topping:

  • 1 cup plain coconut-milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ teaspoons confectioners' sugar

Method

You will need 1 x 20cm springform cake tin / 1 x 8inch spingform cake pan

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/350°F. Grease the sides and line the base of your springform cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl large enough to take all the other ingredients later.
  3. In a wide batter jug (or another bowl), whisk the oil, sugar and coconut milk together, followed by the lemon zest and juice and the vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the jug of liquid ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, whisking to combine, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30–35 minutes, by which time the top will be golden brown, the sides shrinking away from the tin and a cake tester should come out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and leave the cake to cool completely in its tin. It may sink slightly as it cools, but this need not concern you in the slightest. While you’re waiting, you can get on with making the blueberry compote.
  5. Put the blueberries, lemon juice, caster sugar and the 50ml / 3 tablespoons of cold water into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, stirring gently every now and again, for a couple of minutes until the blueberries have softened in the now garnet-glossy liquid.
  6. Take the pan off the heat and, in a small cup, slake the cornflour with the 1½ teaspoons of cold water and stir this paste into the pan of blueberries, making sure you scrape every last bit out. Stir together, put the pan back over the heat and stir gently for about 30 seconds, by which time the sauce will have started bubbling again and will have thickened. If you feel it has become too jammy and thick, simply add a little more water and stir it in over the heat. Pour the compote into a small heatproof bowl or jug to let it cool. It will set once cold.
  7. Do not assemble the cake until just before serving. So: unclip the completely cold cake from its tin, unmould it and turn it over (so the underneath is now on top) onto a cake stand or plate.
  8. Mix the coconut-milk yogurt and vanilla together, spoon the icing sugar into a tea-strainer, then sieve it over the yogurt and stir it in, too, before spreading and swirling this soft mixture over the top of the cake. Thrash the blueberry compote a little with a fork to loosen it, and gently spoon it on top, leaving a gleaming white frame. Serve immediately.

You will need 1 x 20cm springform cake tin / 1 x 8inch spingform cake pan

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/350°F. Grease the sides and line the base of your springform cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl large enough to take all the other ingredients later.
  3. In a wide batter jug (or another bowl), whisk the oil, sugar and coconut milk together, followed by the lemon zest and juice and the vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the jug of liquid ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, whisking to combine, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30–35 minutes, by which time the top will be golden brown, the sides shrinking away from the tin and a cake tester should come out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and leave the cake to cool completely in its tin. It may sink slightly as it cools, but this need not concern you in the slightest. While you’re waiting, you can get on with making the blueberry compote.
  5. Put the blueberries, lemon juice, superfine sugar and the 50ml / 3 tablespoons of cold water into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, stirring gently every now and again, for a couple of minutes until the blueberries have softened in the now garnet-glossy liquid.
  6. Take the pan off the heat and, in a small cup, slake the cornstarch with the 1½ teaspoons of cold water and stir this paste into the pan of blueberries, making sure you scrape every last bit out. Stir together, put the pan back over the heat and stir gently for about 30 seconds, by which time the sauce will have started bubbling again and will have thickened. If you feel it has become too jammy and thick, simply add a little more water and stir it in over the heat. Pour the compote into a small heatproof bowl or jug to let it cool. It will set once cold.
  7. Do not assemble the cake until just before serving. So: unclip the completely cold cake from its tin, unmould it and turn it over (so the underneath is now on top) onto a cake stand or plate.
  8. Mix the plain coconut-milk yogurt and vanilla together, spoon the confectioners' sugar into a tea-strainer, then sieve it over the yogurt and stir it in, too, before spreading and swirling this soft mixture over the top of the cake. Thrash the blueberry compote a little with a fork to loosen it, and gently spoon it on top, leaving a gleaming white frame. Serve immediately.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
Compote can be made ahead if refrigerated as quickly as possible, in an airtight container, for up to 2 days. Stir before using. Cake is best eaten on the day it is made. Leftovers can be refrigerated, loosely covered with cling film, for 1 day.

FREEZE:
Compote can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge. Use as above.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
Compote can be made ahead if refrigerated as quickly as possible, in an airtight container, for up to 2 days. Stir before using. Cake is best eaten on the day it is made. Leftovers can be refrigerated, loosely covered with cling film, for 1 day.

FREEZE:
Compote can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge. Use as above.

Tell us what you think

What 14 Others have said

  • Delicious!! I made it in a loaf pan and skipped the yogurt layer. It was a hit!

    Posted by iuliap on 24th August 2019
  • I made this cake a while ago and it was lovely. I cut it into pieces and froze it and when I defrosted it was still lovely. I made it recently but used gluten free rice flour and it did not work as it was really crumbly but still tasty. After reading other comments I think maybe I should look for a GF plain flour and Xanthon. Any suggestion would be received gratefully. Thanks.

    Posted by jasime on 9th April 2019
  • This cake is a marvel. Made it for Christmas for my (quite picky) vegan sister-in-law. Made it again last night for a New Year's celebration. It was a big hit both times.

    Posted by Cordine on 1st January 2019
  • Made this today and OMG one of the best cakes I’ve tasted. I substituted the coconut milk yoghurt topping for a small coconut Greek yoghurt and topped it up with Greek yoghurt. Just divine. Not one bad recipe have I come across on this site.

    Posted by Bakingqueen64 on 23rd November 2018
  • I came across this recipe accidentally, was looking for something else. The picture looked lovely and I became very curious about this cake. Well, I made it twice within last two weeks and I am very pleased with the results. Our guests were impressed by the taste and also to know that this cake is egg-less. Lovely cake and easy to follow recipe - recommend!

    Posted by Aniram78 on 6th August 2018
  • A cake that is meltingly dense with the tangy coconut yogurt and luscious blueberry compote was a revelation. Vegan or not, this is winner. I recently made this with a passion fruit compote on top. Heaven!

    Posted by BunnyMayfair on 10th February 2018
  • I saw the recipe on episode 4 of At My Table and made the cake last weekend and it was an absolute success at home. Thank you Nigella :))))

    Posted by Atlantys on 5th February 2018
  • Oh my goodness, I made this cake this week and it is delicious! Almost like a cross between a cake and a pudding. Not too sweet, not too lemony (not that that would a problem for me). I may make it with blackberry compote or a black cherry compote next time! Hmmm!

    Posted by mburton on 3rd February 2018
  • Absolutely gorgeous and sumptuous cake! I made it for Christmas Eve dinner alongside a chocolate tart my mother made and everyone wanted a piece! I didn't even tell them it was Vegan or gluten free (adapted with gluten free flour for myself and my sister who are intolerant) and no one could believe it! It's now a firm family favourite and we ate the rest on Christmas Day evening with turkey sandwiches! Light, fluffy and creamy! Your coffee and walnut cake is also a family favourite too

    Posted by Abud67 on 2nd February 2018
  • Delicious cake, delighted that it’s vegan too for my daughter who loves it.

    Posted by Bakingcakes on 1st February 2018
  • Lovely cake. I made this with gluten free flour and it worked very well.

    Posted by Macla on 31st January 2018
  • This cake is every bit as easy to prepare as suggested. Nice to know it's vegan, but I'll be offering it to everyone just because its truly delicious.

    Posted by Karen Foster on 8th January 2018
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