Best Vegan Lemon Cake

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2022)

Easy  Vegan Lemon Cake Recipe

This tangy vegan lemon cake is easily one of my new favorite desserts!

 

It has the most light, moist and fluffy crumb that is perfectly flavored with freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest.

 

The zest colors it a light yellow and gives it such a strong, well balanced citrus flavor.

 

Then it’s all topped off with a vanilla and lemon buttercream, and sprinkle more of lemon zest and a lemon wheel!

 

Top of frosted lemon cake.

While I love baking with just about any sort of fruit, I think lemon and orange have got to be some of my favorite flavors!

 

The slight tang they give desserts is so delicious and keeps you coming back for more – it’s also a perfect cake for summertime, the holidays, birthday parties, and anytime you need a delicious crowd-pleasing desserts.

 

Try my recipes for Vegan Lavender Lemon Cake and  Vegan Orange Loaf next!

Cake slice on gray plate.

Homemade Lemon Cake from Scratch

Lemon cakes are traditional British desserts and were very popular in the 19th century.

 

Lemons were easy to store and were used in many types of desserts and pastries.

 

I absolutely love the fresh citrus flavor when made into a light and fluffy cake, and when balanced with just the right amount of sweetness!

 

I also have a delicious recipe for a Vegan Lemon Loaf that is topped with a lemony glaze if you’d like to try that next!

 

Loaves are slightly denser than cakes, sort of like comparing muffins to cupcakes. But both are great and unique in their own ways!

 

Cake bite on gold fork.

INGREDIENTS

  • Almond Milk & Vinegar – This creates a sort of vegan “buttermilk” that helps add richness to the lemon cake, as well as helps in rising.
  • Vegan Butter – Use a softened vegan butter stick that tastes good, I love the Country Crock plant butter sticks for baking.
  • Sugar – White sugar is best for the color of this cake.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice & Zest – Fresh is the key! I highly recommend taking the time to prepare these fresh as they seriously take this cake to the next level.
  • Vegetable Oil – Any neutral oil like canola can also be used. 
  • Vanilla – Lemon and vanilla together are so good!
  • All-Purpose Flour & Cornstarch – This is a homemade “cake flour” that helps the cake have a lighter and softer texture which I think pairs perfectly with a lemon flavor! You can also substitute these with 3 cups store-bought cake flour.
  • Baking Powder & Soda – To help the cake rise.
  • Salt – To bring out the vanilla citrus flavors.
  • Lemon Buttercream – A tasty combination of vegan butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and a splash of almond milk.

 

Lemon Cake Ingredients in bowls.

How to Make Layered Citrus Cake

Making the Vegan Cakes

Before you start making your cake batter, preheat your oven and prepare your cake pans!

 

To two nine inch cake pans, add a circle of parchment paper to the bottom or place a sheet of aluminum foil inside to cover the bottoms, then lightly grease.

 

Then, mix your almond milk and vinegar and set aside.

 

Cream your butter and sugar, then mix in the remaining wet ingredients (including the milk mixture above) with the sugar, mix until smooth. Some slight separation is okay here.

 

Add your dry ingredients and mix again until smooth.

 

Divide equally into your prepared pans, then bake for 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean without any wet batter on it.

 

Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the edges and carefully transfer to a cooling rack to fully cool.

 

Making the cake batter.

Making the Dairy Free Frosting

Beat the butter on medium for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy, then add the lemon juice, vanilla and just a splash of milk and mix again.

 

Add the powdered sugar, mixing it in by hand for a bit just to make sure it doesn’t make a mess, and then mix on medium until combined and fluffy.

 

Add more milk only if needed to thin, you want a thicker frosting for this recipe to look like the photos.

 

Frosting the lemon cake.

Serving and Decorating Homemade Cake

Place one cake on a serving plate, add a layer of frosting and evenly spread out.

 

Place the second cake on top, gently press down, and generously frost the entire top and sides.

 

Using a butter knife or an icing spatula, make little divots in the frosting to add texture, then sprinkle some more lemon zest and add a lemon wedge. Slice into pieces and enjoy!

 

STORING

This cake can be stored in an airtight container for up to five days. I recommend keeping it in the fridge to avoid any melty frosting!

Cake slice on plate.

For desserts like this dairy free lemon cake, it’s so important to use all parts of the lemon – the juice and the zest!

 

I used to think adding zest to a cake was strange, but it really adds little pops of color and flavor throughout, something juice alone could not do.

 

That being said, freshly squeezed lemon juice is just as important in keeping the cake moist and packed with flavor.

 

Cake on serving plate.

This recipe is:

  • Easy
  • Delicious
  • Tangy
  • Fresh
  • Sweet
  • Moist
  • Fluffy
  • Vegan
  • Dairy Free

 

Try these other tasty vegan desserts:

Soft Vegan Lemon Sugar Cookies

Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Best Vegan Strawberry Cake

Vegan Vanilla Almond Pound Cake

Vegan Orange Olive Oil Cake

 

Cake slice with bite taken out.

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Lemon cake pin

Cake slice on gray plate.

Best Vegan Lemon Cake

Yield: 12 Slices
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This easy vegan lemon cake with lemon vanilla buttercream frosting is so moist, fluffy and tangy! Homemade with fresh lemon juice and zest!

Ingredients

Lemon Cake

  • 1 1/4 Cups Almond Milk
  • 2 Tsp Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Vegan Butter (stick), softened
  • 1 2/3 Cups White Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 3 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Zest (approx. 3 lemons) + more to top
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla
  • 2 2/3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Cornstarch
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt

Lemon Buttercream

  • 1 Cup Vegan Butter (stick), softened
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 1-2 Tbsp Almond Milk
  • 4 Cups Powdered Sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9 inch cake pans with aluminum foil, or add a circle of parchment paper to the bottoms, lightly grease on top.
  2. Mix together the almond milk and vinegar, set aside.
  3. To make the cake: add the vegan butter and sugar to a bowl and mix on medium (or by hand) for two minutes until light and creamy.
  4. Add the almond milk and vinegar mixture, lemon juice, lemon zest, oil and vanilla and mix just until combined.
  5. Add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until smooth.
  6. Divide equally into prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean without any wet batter on it.
  7. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the edges and carefully transfer to a cooling rack to fully cool.
  8. To make the frosting: Beat the butter on medium for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy, then add the lemon juice, vanilla and just a splash of milk and mix again. Add the powdered sugar, mixing it in by hand for a bit just to make sure it doesn't make a mess, and then mix on medium until combined and fluffy. Add more milk only if needed to thin, you want a thicker frosting.
  9. Place one cake on a serving plate, add a layer of frosting and evenly spread out. Then add the second cake on top, gently press down, and generously frost the entire top and sides. Using a butter knife or an icing spatula, make little divots in the frosting to add texture, then sprinkle some more lemon zest and add a lemon wedge. Slice into pieces and enjoy!*

Notes

*For cleaner slices, it's best to let the cake sit on the counter or in the fridge for 30ish minutes to help everything set.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 662Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 4gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 234mgCarbohydrates: 91gFiber: 1gSugar: 65gProtein: 3g

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13 thoughts on “Best Vegan Lemon Cake”

  1. Really really good! The cake had a brilliant texture, very airy and fluffy, but not at all dry! And the flavour of it will satisfy all lemon- lovers! Really zingy and refreshing! Our new favourite summer cake 🙂

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