A new start and lemon cake…

Veganuary and psychological well-being as OU students during 2021

Hi, is anyone else vegan? do you have recipes? 

I’m Jake, I’ve recently completed my enrolment after a turbulent but exciting start. I’ve started exploring some of the resources that the OU and the OU Students Association have provided and as much as I’m terrified, it all looks great! I feel I’ve already gained from the course materials in ways I wouldn’t have expected and I’m feeling positive. I’m finding two of the most mood-lifting, soul-inspiring and life-affirming things I’m doing right now though are cooking and eating.

I have been vegetarian all my life but last year was influenced to become vegan. At first, it was hard going and seemed limited – then I found so much amazing tasty food created by others. But because much of it was new to me and I didn’t know ingredients could be combined like that, I was mindful of every flavour… It’s only this month that I’m really beginning to develop a real passion for cooking for myself. I always loved cooking for others, but now everything is new, challenging and creative – it feels like self-directed study but it tastes like home-made salads, pizza and cake! 

Just as I hope to learn how to create a success of my study and student life from anyone who is prepared to share their knowledge with me, what I really want more is not your recipe for success, but for food! I will share one of mine first – it didn’t rise much for me, but tasted great and had a nice cakey texture:

Lemon Cake

200 g Self-raising flour,

50  g Sugar

Tbsp Apricot Jam

1//4 tsp Stevia powder or if not Stevia, then another 150 g sugar

¼ tsp Baking powder

180 g  Vegan margarine

Pinch of salt 

A little bit of vanilla

Juice of ½ lemon 

Aqua faba (the liquid from a tin of chickpeas ) enough so that it looks like a slightly runny cake mix when whisked ( at this stage the jam may make some lumps but they go as it cooks) 


I bake it at 200 degrees for about 25 mins on a medium self so I can see when it looks right and test it.

It’s based on a Victoria sponge recipe and is only supposed to take 20 mins so checking it frequently is a good idea I think.    


For the icing I use :

Juice of ½ lemon 

Enough icing sugar to make it almost like a stiff paste

and 1 Tbsp plain flour to stiffen it   



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Jake Keohane


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