So moist it melts in your mouth! This Vegan Lemon Cake is one of the most popular vegan dessert recipes on my blog. It's so easy to make and is the perfect cake to bring to any of your special occasions, any time of the year! From spring and summer to Christmas and other winter celebrations, this loaf is so delicious and everyone will love it! And, the best part is that it is so tender, fluffy, and lemony that no one will guess it's vegan and gluten-free friendly.
You can also make light and fluffy vegan + gluten-free lemon cake by using one of the recommended gluten-free flours listed below.
- Plant-based Milk: To make this lemon cake vegan, we use almond or oat milk. If you are not vegan, feel free to use regular milk in this lemon cake recipe.
- Sugar: To sweeten the lemon cake batter, we use organic cane sugar. You can also use regular white table sugar.
- Lemon Juice: To give this lemon loaf a light lemon flavor, use lemon juice from the bottle or option to use freshly squeezed lemon juice to enhance the vegan lemon loaf flavor!
- Vegan Butter: To make the lemon cake vegan, we use vegan butter in this recipe. If you are not vegan, you can use regular butter. Coconut oil is also a great substitution in this vegan lemon loaf recipe.
- Vanilla: For additional flavor.
- Baking Powder: The baking powder helps the lemon cake get super light and fluffy.
- Lemon Extract: Add a tiny bit of lemon extract to enhance the lemon flavor. The lemon juice already adds a nice light lemon flavor so the extract is optional and can be used if you want a stronger lemon flavor.
- Baking Soda: The baking soda helps the lemon cake rise.
- Flour: To make this vegan lemon loaf, we use regular all purpose flour. If you would like to make it gluten-free as well, simply use gluten-free all purpose flour in this recipe. I recommend King Arthur Measure for Measure or Cup4Cup (be careful, this flour has a small amount of milk powder in it so if you are dairy-free, I would advise using the other gluten-free flour recommendation).
- For the Cream Cheese Frosting: Use Vegan Cream Cheese, Softened Vegan Butter, and Powdered Sugar for the cheese cream frosting. You can simply whisk these ingredients together using a hand mixer for a perfect, fluffy frosting!
How To Make Vegan Lemon Loaf Cake
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a metal cake pan or loaf pan with non-stick baking spray.
Step 2: To make the lemon loaf cake batter, mix the almond milk, lemon juice, melted vegan butter, sugar, vanilla, lemon extract (if using) baking powder, and baking soda together. The vegan cake batter will begin to foam. This is ok, quickly add the regular or gluten-free flour into the bowl.
Step 3: Mix until a smooth cake batter is formed. Be careful not to over-mix.
Step 3: Transfer the lemon cake batter into the greased cake pan or loaf pan and bake for either 40 minutes for a loaf or 25-30 for a round cake. Depending on your oven, times may vary.
How To Make Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
Step 1: Add softened vegan butter, vegan cream cheese, and powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: Use an electric hand mixer to blend until smooth and creamy.
Step 3: Allow the lemon loaf to cool for a few minutes before drizzling or spreading the frosting over the warm lemon loaf.
How To Store Vegan Lemon Cake
If making this vegan lemon cake in advance, wrap it in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container such as a on a cake platter with a lid, at room temperature, until ready to serve. If wrapping in plastic, wait until you're ready to serve before frosting.
- If Using Lemon Extract: For more lemon flavor, you can add lemon extract to the cake batter. A little bit of lemon extract goes a long way so please use sparingly.
- Foaming Cake Batter: Yes, your cake batter will foam. No worries, once you mix in your regular or gluten-free all purpose flour, it will stop. The foaming is the reaction of the lemon juice, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. It is what makes this lemon loaf super fluffy.
- Softening Butter: I find the easiest way to soften butter is to simply place it onto the counter for about an hour before baking. Or, on top of a warm oven for 3-5 minutes if you're in a hurry.
- Metal Cake Pans: Use a metal loaf or cake pan in this recipe if you can. They conduct heat more evenly than glass or ceramic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! I recommend baking the lemon cake and allowing it to cool completely. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. Store the icing separately or make it fresh before serving the cake.
Yes! Use gluten-free all purpose flour in place of regular all purpose flour in this recipe. I recommend using King Arthur Measure for Measure for best results!
Lemon and vanilla are two flavors that compliment each other very well!
Other Vegan Desserts
- Super Moist Vegan Blueberry Lemon Cake
- Vegan Cinnamon Cake
- Vegan Strawberry Cake
- Vegan Chocolate Cake
Super Moist Vegan Lemon Loaf
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Metal Loaf Pan or Cake Pan
- Non-Stick Baking Spray
- Electric Hand-Mixer
Vegan Lemon Loaf
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup melted vegan butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract - optional
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 ¼ cup regular or gluten free all purpose flour If gluten-free, I recommend King Arthur Measure for Measure gluten-free flour. Please don't substitute any other flour such as almond flour, baking flour, etc.
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup softened vegan butter
- 4 oz vegan cream cheese
Vegan Lemon Loaf
- Preheat oven to 375. Grease a metal loaf or cake pan with non-stick spray.
- Mix (by hand) the almond milk, sugar, lemon juice, melted vegan butter, and vanilla. Option to add 1 teaspoon lemon extract for a bolder lemon flavor. Add the baking powder and baking soda and mix. The mixture will begin to bubble, this is ok. Quickly add the flour and mix until smooth.
- Pour the batter into a greased 9x5 loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. You may also use a round cake pan and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes.
- While the lemon cake is baking, use an electric hand mixer to mix the vegan cream cheese icing ingredients and spread over the warm or cooled loaf. Enjoy immediately .. trust me - it's good warm!
The recipes on Peanut Butter and Jilly can easily be adapted to fit a vegan lifestyle, a gluten-free lifestyle, or both depending on the ingredients you use. Please review the ingredients lists carefully and refer to our recommendations in the Notes of the recipe card to make this recipe compatible with your needs. Nutrition information provided is an estimate, and will vary based on specific brands of ingredients used and cooking methods.