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More Nigella recipes

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.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

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.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Lemon Tendercake
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Yields: 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 unwaxed 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 fresh lemon juice
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon caster sugar
  • 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 unwaxed lemons (finely grated zest, plus 3 x 15ml tablespoons of juice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the compote:

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • 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 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 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 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 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 35 Others have said

  • Fabulous easy recipe & absolutely delicious. After my first bake I added some desiccated coconut to the topping to firm it up slightly (this also give it some added texture) which worked brilliantly. I’ll be making this cake forever!

    Posted by Maggie62 on 14th June 2024
  • It sounds wonderful!!!

    Posted by Florette552 on 7th June 2024
  • As we’ve a wheat intolerance in the family I tried this with gluten free plain flour - the smell was fabulous when it was cooking but it was awful, it was dense and chewy. I’ll make it again with plain flour but it’s not good with GF.

    Posted by DiRidgy on 5th June 2024
  • This is one of the most delicious cakes I have made in years!

    Posted by PipRatcliffe on 8th November 2023
  • Made it for my birthday party-divine!!!

    Posted by nakula on 3rd November 2023
  • This is so fuss-free to make – measuring and stirring – which is perfect for any slow/weekend mornings! I halved the sugar (75g) and used two limes because they needed using and oh my goodness me – the whole kitchen smelt incredible and the cake turned out to be sweet and fragrant (no trace at all of the Thai-inspired lime and coconut taste!). I was surprised that even though it looked dense and damp in the middle (the sides were dreamily crumby), it was so pillowly soft. The yogurt (I used plain Greek yogurt – not vegan, I know – of which tang was superb) and compote moistened the slice up just right. Every mouthful was a dream. Thank you, Nigella!

    Posted by eddy_ on 16th July 2023
  • I was a bit sceptical about making this , but as always trust in Nigella ! I made these but in cupcake form and then people could add topping if they wanted , as it’s actually tastes really nice just on its own in cake form ! Had compliments from everyone about how nice the cake was and honestly couldn’t tell it was dairy free ! Will defo be making again and if your worried cake is over powered by coconut, it’s not . Also if you can’t get coconut yoghut you can always mix the rest of the can with Greek yoghut , really good ! Thankyou nigella !

    Posted by Rosiecooks22 on 28th May 2023
  • I’ve made this for my vegan son on a couple of occasions. Followed the recipe exactly and it’s nice. This Easter I wasn’t catering for anyone with dairy free needs, so I replaced 75 ml of the coconut milk with an egg. An improvement in my opinion (but then not vegan). Lifted the sponge. Not a cake that keeps, because the yoghurt topping dries out. But quick and easy to make on the morning of any occasion.

    Posted by Bakingforfun on 9th April 2023
  • I’ve been so looking forward to making this & today I did. Nigella is absolutely right it doesn’t disappoint. It’s so light & moist. Utterly delicious. Very easy to create & very attractive on the cake dish.

    Posted by BeauA on 7th February 2023
  • A most decadent, lush fluffy lemon tendercake with blueberry compote such a light delicious cake suitable for any occasion try it I hope that you love it it's delicious - enjoy! Many thanks Nigella on another superb recipe!

    Posted by Odelle on 15th November 2022
  • Just made this cake. It was so easy and delicious. Didn't have coconut yoghurt so used a mix of greek and the creamy bit of the coconut milk. Also made the topping with frozen mixed berries.

    Posted by Jacquiespana on 11th November 2022
  • I made this cake on a whim after seeing it on my Instagram feed what a beautiful cake! I couldn’t make the topping so just made whipped lemon cream with fresh blueberries. Yum! The cake is still beautiful 2 days later. Btw - I am not Vegan but could turn after this!

    Posted by Obsessed on 11th November 2022
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