Tart and sweet – this easy Vegan Lemon Cake is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Super moist, easy to make, and packed with lemon-y flavour – each bite is sure to brighten your day.
There are few cakes we would pick over other desserts, but a lemon cake is one of them. Incredibly moist and perfectly tart and sweet – there really isn’t a better cake. This super simple Vegan Lemon Cake is light, fluffy, and has a tender-moist crumb. Brushed with lemon simple syrup, each bite is packed with flavour.
Great for a weeknight treat or your next birthday celebration. We enjoy this cake for dessert or even breakfast. Since there isn’t any overly sweet icing on it, its great alongside a warm cup of coffee or tea.
This is a super moist cake, so don’t be surprised if the crumb is VERY moist. You will think it looks slightly undercooked when cutting into it, but rest assured, as long as you baked it until the edges start pulling away from the pan, they’re golden, and you press the top of the cake with your finger and it bounces back – it’s fully cooked. We love topping ours with icing sugar to balance out the tartness of the lemon, but you can skip if you want.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Quick and easy to make.
- Super moist and tender.
- Packed with a bright lemon flavour.
Top tips for making Vegan Lemon Cake:
- Grease and line the baking pan. For the easiest removal after baking, we grease the pan and then place a round piece of parchment on the bottom of the pan. We also like to use a springform pan for this, but you don’t have to as long as you grease the sides super well.
- Massage lemon zest and sugar. This is how you increase the flavour of lemon cake. To get the most out of your lemon zest, massage it into the sugar with your fingers. This helps release the oils from the rind resulting in a flavour-packed cake. The lemon aroma should fill the bowl with you massage it.
- Beat butter until light and fluffy. For a light and airy cake beating the butter until the right consistency is key. The butter should be super light, fluffy, and creamy. It will also lighten in colour.
- Don’t over-mix the flour. Over-mixing the flour will develop the gluten and create a tough cake. Mix until JUST combined and you don’t see any dry patches.
- Smooth the top of the batter. For a smooth top and an even bake we use an offset spatula to smooth out the top after pouring into the prepared baking pan.
- Let cool completely before glazing. Let the cake cool on a wire rack before you brush on the simple syrup.
- Granulated Sugar – If it’s of concern for you, not all white granulated sugar is vegan-friendly as some is processed with animal bones. Most available in Canada are vegan, but it may be different in other countries.
- Lemons – This is where you are getting the bulk of the flavour and because we use both juice and zest, we recommend getting the freshest and highest quality lemons you can for this recipe. It will help ensure the flavour is as bold as it can be.
- Vegan Butter – We use the Becel Plant Based Sticks for almost all of our recipes. But we have also had success with Earth Balance.
- Vegan Yogurt – We use a plain vegan yogurt as we don’t want it to add too much flavour, other than tartness, to the recipe. The object of the yogurt is to replace egg. We have the best success with the Maison Riviera Plain Vegan Yogurt.
- Non-Dairy Milk – We like to use soy milk for most of our recipes, but we have had success with other non-dairy milks like oat, almond, and pea. Our go-to non-dairy milk is the Kirkland Soy Milk.
- All-Purpose Flour – We use our store brand (No Name) unbleached all-purpose flour.
- Icing Sugar – Also known as confectioners or powdered sugar.
How do you store lemon cake?
To keep it fresh, we recommend storing it in an airtight container at room temperature. You can also freeze it for an extra long shelf life. Just cut into slices, place in an air tight container, and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, let a slice thaw on the counter.
How do you know when cake is fully baked?
Bake this lemon cake until the edges start pulling away from the pan, they’re golden, and you can lightly press the top of the cake with your finger and it bounces back. You can also try the toothpick test by sticking a toothpick into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean it’s fully baked.
Other dessert recipes you’ll love:
- Vegan Almond Peach Cake
- Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
- Lemon Raspberry Scones
- Mini Rhubarb Fritters
- Mixed Berry Crumble Bars
How to make Vegan Lemon Cake:
Vegan Lemon Cake
- 200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
- 3 lemons, zested
- 113 g (1 stick or ½ cup) vegan butter, softened
- ½ cup vegan yogurt
- ⅓ cup non-dairy milk
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 180 g (1½ cups) all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- lemon slices, for topping
- icing sugar, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and line a 8” or 9” round cake pan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer add granulated sugar and lemon zest. Massage the lemon zest into he sugar to release the oils and infuse with flavour.
- Add softened vegan butter to the lemon sugar and beat until light and fluffy – about 5-6 minutes. Beat in the non-dairy yogurt, then set aside.
- Combine non-dairy milk and lemon juice in a small bowl – set aside.
- Combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt – set aside.
- Alternating between the milk mixture and the dry mixture slowly beat into the butter mixture ½ cup at a time.
- Mix in the vanilla extract.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and using an offset spatula smooth off the surface.
- Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes or until the edges look golden brown and start pulling away from the sides.
- While the cake cools prepare the lemon glaze by adding lemon juice and granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Mix until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Once the cake has cooled, brush over the lemon glaze, sprinkle with icing sugar and top with fresh lemon slices.