Make Ahead

a small batch sourdough lemon cake

September  9, 2019
1 Ratings
Photo by weshook
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Makes a single 6-inch cake
Author Notes

For the second day of keeping my sourdough starter on the counter instead of in the fridge, I made a sourdough lemon cake with the discard...just 2 ounces of discard. I used coconut milk, but any non-dairy milk will do; the same goes for the olive oil, while the olive oil adds a nice fruitiness, a neutral oil would be fine, or melted butter or coconut oil.

It makes a lemony, hearty, moist cake that is well suited to breakfast paired with a cup of tea or coffee or a glass of milk. Sturdy enough to eat without a plate or fork. For a fluffier cake, increase the baking soda to 1/4 teaspoon and the baking powder to 3/4 teaspoon. Alternatively, you could let the batter rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours before baking. —weshook

What You'll Need
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 2 ounces sourdough starter
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a 6-inch cake pan.
  2. In a small bowl (3-cup), stir together the sugar, olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. It should be a thick batter, not runny or dry.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with additional sugar if desired. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a pick comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes (unless you want to eat it out of the pan), then remove from pan and cool completely.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sybil Garrison
    Sybil Garrison
  • Lepac
  • taryn
  • weshook

7 Reviews

Lepac December 5, 2020
I have been looking for simple cake to make with sourdough starter. This is my first foray. It was a success. I used the amounts for the rise, so no extra soda or powder. Then when I was ready to put the pan in the oven I added a light scattering of blackberries and blueberries. They gently rested and sank partway. I will make this again.
weshook December 9, 2020
Glad that it worked for you. The berries sound awesome, I love lemon and berries.
taryn April 13, 2020
I made this today and doubled the recipe. I used the method of subtract one third the bake time, double the time left and then add in the third you removed. So all in baked 50 minutes in a bundt pan at 375. The taste is fine but considering it has discard, baking soda and baking powder, it hardly rose at all and is quite dense. Any advice where I went wrong and how to avoid it?
Sybil G. May 9, 2020
I have not made his cake, but I do bake with sourdough. I would add an egg and leave the batter to ferment for at least an hour and up to a couple of hours before baking.
weshook May 11, 2020
Just saw your comment, I'll bake another soon to test. The change from a small layer to a Bundy may affect the texture. It was originally a vegan cake, so had no egg.
Sybil G. May 12, 2020
You can skip the egg, but definitely allow time for fermentation.
I used a banana muffin recipe this week, halved the recipe (90 g flour) and added 28 g of rye starter to the batter. I left the dough to ferment in a small Pyrex glass pan). After 3 hours, it had overfermented a bit, 2 hours would have been sufficient. Baked it and got a little oven rise. This tells me that 1 h 45 minutes-2 hours would have been the sweet spot. Just watch the dough carefully.
weshook May 16, 2020
I did bake this recipe again and while the texture in the smaller size was to my liking for a breakfast-type cake, I added some additional changes in the notes for a fluffier cake. Thanks for your feedback.