Waste Not: lemon sourdough waste cake

This is a lovely fresh, light cake. Perfect for Spring desserts or tea time. It optimises the sourdough waste in terms of the cake’s light finished texture, without being yeasty in flavour. See below for why sourdough starter and lemons are both great for gut health, and also a wonderfully quick Lemon Gin Fizz cocktail 🙂

I like to stud the cake with fruit. If you have surplus harvests of apple slices, blackcurrants, or raspberries, try scattering them within, or laying across the top of the cake.

We’re lucky enough to still have stored apples from a bumper Autumn crop!

Studded with unpeeled apple slices & served with greek yogurt and chunky apple compote


  • 1 cup of unfed sourdough starter discard
  • 1 cup dairy or non-dairy milk 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flaxseed or other neutral oil 
  • 2 beaten eggs 
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • 2 generous Tbs lemon zest 
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Lemon Glaze (optional): Whilst cooling, mix I cup of icing or granulated sugar, depending on whether or not you want crunch. Thin a little with lemon juice and drizzle, allowing ‘glaze’ to soak in.


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 9×13″ tin, or a 1LB loaf tin & small, 4″ cake tin.
  2. Whisk together the sourdough starter, milk, sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice & zest.
  3. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet.
  5. Stir with a wooden spoon or hand mixer to combine until smooth
  6. Gently pour into the prepared tin/s and spread it out until smooth, adding fruit if you wish.
  7. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, until a thin knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  8. Pour over ‘glaze’ if desired.
  9. Cool and serve. Store in a sealed container. Will keep in the freezer for up to a month.

Recipe originally from the beautiful blog, Fraiche.

Natural yeast and lemons for gut health.


Probiotics, and gut health generally, are increasingly understood as being linked to overall good health and virus resistance.

It’s widely known that the slower fermentation process employed to make sourdough bread not only improves this traditional loaf’s flavour and texture, but also makes for a more healthy, easily digested alternative to commercially produced loaves. The ‘starter’s’ fermentation process depends on wild yeast, or probiotics – friendly bacteria which aid digestion and, for some, eliminate digestive issues.   The probiotics themselves are killed in the heat of the oven, but they have done their good.

Another example of probiotics in our food is Kefir. Along with various other yogurt type ‘probiotic’ drinks, the popularity of Kefir has increased as people have understood the far reaching benefits of looking after our guts. It is a milk drink produced from fermented Kefir grains, and can be made vegan, from non dairy milk. When consumed, its probiotics help replace and maintain “good” bacteria in the body, which is vital to help us to get the most nutritionally from our food. They also help replace our essential gut flora if it has been depleted by, for example, a course of antibiotics, insufficient sleep, exercise, fibre, or excessive stress.

The probiotic drinks industry is said to have been worth around $13.65 globally in 2019.


Prebiotics, though, are also essential for gut health and have had less focus. They are a type of fibre which gut bacteria feed on. Less easily marketed, perhaps, because they have most benefit when consumed in their natural, unprocessed form.

Rich sources include:

  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Apple skin (hence think twice about peeling!)
  • Oats
  • Onions, garlic & leeks
  • Peas & beans
  • Jerusalem artichokes & chicory root
  • Asparagus
  • Dandelion greens

Prebiotics & Probiotics – what’s the difference?!

Both are needed for good gut health…

As a gardener, I think of probiotics as the seeds, & prebiotics as the water and nutrients, or fertilizer, that the seeds need to grow well.

Both Probiotics (the ‘seeds’) and Prebiotics (fertilizer) are needed for healthy gut flora!

When life gives you lemons… take the opportunity to improve your gut health!

Lemons help give this cake a fresh lift. Like apples, they are naturally high in the fibre Pectin. When making jams and jellies, adding apples, and / or fresh lemon to the fruit being boiled down can help the conserve set, due to the high level of pectin in lemons.

Pectin also feeds the bacteria in our guts, thereby keeping them healthy.

The citric acid that lemons contain can aid digestion. Although acidic in its natural state, once metabolised lemon is alkaline and can help reduce stomach acid and issues with reflux.

Lemon & Ginger Gin Fizz

Steep a lemon & ginger tea bag in a little boiling water to create a concentrated liquid. Use as the base for a gin cocktail – topped up with a little sparkling water or lemonade, if you wish. Serve with ice & lemon… it must be fantastically healthy, with all that lemon – and the ginger!

Giuila Enders, writer & scientist

“Every day we live and every meal we eat
influence the great microbial organ inside us
– for better or for worse.”

3 thoughts on “Waste Not: lemon sourdough waste cake

  1. That cake – what a fabulous idea! The trouble is I gave up n breadmaking when this fabulous baker (sourdough) moved into town. She’s so wonderful that – in the interests of the local economy of course 😉 – I must support her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to hear that you have stayed with Sourdough, even if not home made… I agree, it’s good to support local artisan businesses 🙂


  2. Lemon and ginger are my favourite flavours for cake. The yoghurt and apple compote and the fizz are perfect accompaniments

    Liked by 1 person

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